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Michigan State University

Game Studies Guild: Events & Resources

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2020 Events Schedule

Wednesday, 1/15, 7:00-9:00pm

"Rage Games and the Aesthetics of Frustration" presented by Jonny Thurston and Bruno Ford

Wednesday, 2/12, 7:00-9:00pm 

"Playable Research: Level 101 and Serious Game Design" presented by Justin Wigard

Wednesday, 3/25, 7:00-9:00pm 

"Apocalyptic Medievalism & Dark Souls III: Knighthood, Vulnerability, and Enlightenment" presented by Bruno Ford and Robin Aultz

Wednesday, 4/15, 7:00-9:00pm

“Friends or FighterZ? Competitive Camaraderie in the FGC” with the MSU Fighting Game Community, and MSU Sociology Dr. Pamela Smith


All events and meetings are held in the Digital Scholarship Lab, on 2 West in the Main Library.
All Critical Let's Play events stream live at, and are moderated by a human being, who will ask questions on viewers' behalves. Watch, share, or join the conversation, whether you have read the material or not.
Check the Resources tab for more information, including selected reading material and related media.

Resources - Current Term


Playable Research: Level 101 and Serious Game Design” Presented by Justin Wigard

My dissertation, Level 101: A Video Game About Video Games, is a serious video game that explores, explains, and interrogates the video game medium along three distinct paths: video game history, design, and theory. This project is aimed at educating students about the video game medium, as well as encourage critical reflection on video games and the process of playing through them. In other words, it utilizes the digital medium of the video game to self-referentially engage with video games from a humanities perspective.

This presentation, then, will present the current state of Level 101, along with data and insights gathered from undergraduate students who have played through this demo. Data was collected in three ways (pre-play surveys; real-time play; and post-play surveys). Participants will be able to play through Level 101 in its current in-progress state, gaining a deeper understanding of the design components and processes of game development. Ultimately, this presentation hopes to showcase the ludic connections between game studies, digital humanities, and critical pedagogy through a playable methodology.


This session will refer to the following books/articles/chapters:

  • Abt, Clark C. Serious Games. New York: Viking Press, 1970. Print. (Ch. 1)
  • Yusoff, Amri et al. “A Conceptual Framework for Serious Games.” In the 2009 Ninth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies.
  • Becker, K. and J. Parker. “An Overview of Game Design Techniques.” Learning, Education, and Games, Volume One: Curricular and Design Consideration. Ed. by Karen Schrier. ETC Press, 2014, pp. 181-200.
  • Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004. Print. (ch. 1 & 2)


Suggestions for content that supports critical discussion on any game/topic listed here, or for future issues we might address, are always welcome! Contact Jonah:

Resources - Long Term

The Rovi Video Game Collection

Many video games are available for checkout and on-site use in the Digital and Multimedia Center (DMC) on 4 West at the MSU Main Library.


Check out our full video games catalog, or search by following these steps:

  1. Go to

  2. Type a term to search
    • for a specific title/platform/genre/etc., e.g. "Super Mario"
    • or input an asterisk (*) to return all game listings
  3. Select "ROVI Game Collection" from the drop-down menu, and click "Submit"

Games, and fully-equipped rooms to play them, are available for walk-up use in the DMC.

If you wish to reserve space ahead of time, visit "Video Game Lab A" and "Video Game Lab B" are listed under Group Study. The nearby Gaming Alcove (featuring 3 gaming PCs, 6 Macs, and an array of CRT and LCD screens) is available for walk-up use any time.


Oxford Bibliographies: Feminist and Queer Game Studies by Adrienne Shaw, Alexandrina Agloro, Josef Nguyen, Amanda Phillips, Bonnie Ruberg

Michigan State University