From Gamers to Scholars : Challenges of Teaching Game Studies

  • Zagal J
  • Bruckman A
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This article reports on the results of a study that explores the issues and challenges faced by instructors of games studies classes. Using a semi-structured protocol, we interviewed twelve professors and instructors of game studies courses. The interviews were transcribed and iteratively coded in order to refine theoretical categories, propositions and conclusions. Our results indicate that learning about games can be challenging for multiple reasons. For instance, an extensive prior videogame experience often interferes with students' abilities to reason critically and analytically about games. They also have difficulties articulating their experiences and observations. The medium itself also presents obstacles in access. Students must be skilled at games in order to fully experience them and technological barriers make it difficult to provide older games for students to experience. The article describes many of the solutions that instructors are adopting in order to overcome these challenges. We conclude by drawing attention to the issue that current game studies courses run the risk of limiting the diversity of people who could become game scholars.

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  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-67650761153
  • PUI: 368266553
  • SGR: 67650761153


  • Jose P Zagal

  • Amy S Bruckman

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