How and Why to Categorize Game Studies

  • Mari Koskela Mrs
Keywords: categorization, meta study, game studies


In this paper, I discuss the existing research in the field of game studies by proposing a model that can be used in categorizing the existing studies. By categorizing the studies, the question of “What is game studies about?” can be discussed further. I have constructed a model called the 3+1 model, that builds on the divisions Mäyrä[1] and Juul[2] use in describing the game studies.

According to the 3+1 model, all the studies that are game studies study either game, player, or context, or the intersections of each category that are game & player, game & context, and player & context, or the nexus of all the three, play(ing). This study tests the 3+1 model by analyzing a set of 24 articles from the following four journals: Eludamos, Game Studies, Games and Culture and ToDIGRA. The articles are categorized according the mentioned categories, and thematized in order to discuss the themes in each category.

In result, the 3+1 model needs some further refining which is proposed in the results. However, the preliminary results indicate that the model could be a valid tool in perceiving the field of game studies, but both the qualitative and the quantitative analysis are needed to further evaluate this.

[1] Mäyrä, F. (2008)

[2] Juul, J. (2011).


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