Video games have become important objects of study for different academic disciplines. From the birth of the medium in the mid-twentieth century to the present, video games have offered new and creative ways of approaching reality and fiction, and not only serve as entertainment, but also have significant cultural, social, and technological implications. The formal study of this medium is the purview of the field of game studies, which brings together the contributions of various disciplines. This paper presents a bibliographical review of several theoretical trajectories in game studies, reflecting on the relevance of early debates on narratology and ludology, and examining the ways these initial divisions of the field have branched beyond that debate. Over the past several years, the narratological line of critique has established links with other theories such as cognitivism, the theory of fictional worlds and the contributions of unnatural narratology to the analysis of new technologies; ludology, for its part, has grown through its adaptations to postcolonial and decolonial theories in cultural studies, as well as through its connections to critical race and gender studies. We conclude that as game studies has evolved as a discipline, its initial theoretical debates have undergone profound transformations that have brought depth to the analysis of games’ meaning and diversified to the tools and techniques we have for analysing games as digital and cultural artefacts.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021, Rosa Núñez-Pacheco; Phillip Penix-Tadsen.