Tese de Doutoramento sobre «Games without Frontiers: Theories and Methods for Game Studies and Design»

Aki Jarvinen defendeu recentemente a sua Dissertação de Doutomento sobre  «Games without Frontiers: Theories and Methods for Game Studies and Design» na Universidade de Tampere.

Faculty Humanistinen tiedekunta - Faculty of Humanities
Department Taideaineiden laitos - Department of Literature and the Arts
Subject Mediakulttuuri - Media Culture
Date 2008-03-08
Author Järvinen Aki
Title Games without Frontiers: Theories and Methods for Game Studies and Design
Publisher of the electronic version
Electronic series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 701
ISBN of the electronic version 978-951-44-7252-7

[Versão electrónica]


Ph.D. on studying games, game play, and game design

Aki Järvinen defends his Ph.D., titled Games without Frontiers: Theories and Methods for Game Studies and Design for the discipline of Media Culture at the University of Tampere. The study is a result of the author's almost ten-year long work on the research and development of games. As the name of the dissertation suggests, the study covers games of all kinds. Järvinen has studied an empirical sample of over 100 games, which include computer and video games, board games, card games, and television game shows.

The study introduces a set of concepts, categorizations, and analysis methods deduced from the above sample. The concepts can be used in trying to understand games from the perspectives of design and consumption as a particular form of entertainment. Järvinen's study is multi-displinary, as it draws and applies theories from psychology, aesthetics, communication, cognitive science, etc. Besides a wealth of observations regarding games and play, the main results of the work are analysis methods aimed for practical applications in game studies and development.

Games without Frontiers consists of five parts: The first part outlines the young history of game studies as an academic discipline and situates the work in to its contexts. The second part is a cornerstone of the work, as it documents a theory of what parts games are made of. The theory of game elements, as the author calls it, defines nine different elements found across games, and the theory functions as the reference point for the concepts and methods introduced in later chapters. Part two also introduces an analysis method based on the theory, and a card game inspired by the theory and designed by the author. Part three focuses on the psychological nature of game play. It introduces a theory of player experience, i.e. a theoretical framework for understanding experiences of playing games from the perspectives of cognition, emotion, pleasure, and entertainment. Study of the psychology of goals and emotions is a central aspect of part three, and it yields a number of observations of playing games as goal-orientated activity that entertains planning and performing in the face of goals. Part four, ‘Studies in game systems’, focuses in detail into certain aspects of games, such as genre and the ways that games communicate and persuade their players. The final and fifth part summarises the work by applying the theories formulated into practice by defining a set of analysis methods for studying games and the play experiences they facilitate. These analysis methods constitute the main results of the work, and they have been iteratively developed through analysing and re-analysing the sample of over 100 games.

The primary audience of Games without Frontiers includes game scholars, but also teachers, students, and practitioners in the field of games. Järvinen is an internationally known game scholar whose work is expected to have an impact on the emerging field of academic study of games. His work was recently included in the ‘Top 10 Gamestudies Download 2008’ in Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

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