Game studies

Game Studies research opportunities are opening up in India: Souvik Mukherjee


Gaming studies involve a critical analysis of video games while exploring emerging discourses in gaming cultures.

Masters and doctorate opportunities are available at the Center d’études en sciences sociales (CSSS)

When it comes to higher education, there are Game Studies courses all over the world, especially in North America and Europe.

The study of video games has become a new discipline globally as it encompasses the social and cultural aspects of modern society. And few, like Souvik Mukherjee, assistant professor in cultural studies at the Center d’études en sciences sociales (CSSS), know this emerging field like the back of their hand.

Editor recently caught up with Souvik, a former student of the University of Jadavpur, to take a look at the video game culture that leaves its mark on social identity and culture.

Editor: What is Game Studies and what is its reach in India?

Souvik Mukherjee: Game studies is a relatively new discipline around the world, with basic research having been carried out until the 1990s. This discipline involves critically analyzing video games as a play (entertainment) medium and exploring discourses emerging in video game cultures. Lately, Game Studies has also started to include discussions of board games and other non-digital games.

In India we now have an emerging interest in the field with a few PhD and Masters students writing their theses on the subject. When I started working on Game Studies in 2001, I was the only researcher in the region, so this increase in numbers is an encouraging development.

I am officially the mentor of two students doing their doctorate in cultural studies at the Center for Social Science Studies. Apart from that, I also informally advise many others all over India. I started the Indian Chapter of the Digital Games Research Association with a group of dedicated postgraduates and undergraduates in November 2020 – our group now has 125 members and counts.

Is gambling studies part of university curricula globally?

Souvik Mukherjee: Indian academia has been reluctant to engage in digital games, but this may change in the future. For example, the national school curriculum in Poland now includes video games, This war of mine, based on the experiences of the Bosnian people during the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s.

What are some of the institutes offering courses in Game Studies?

Souvik Mukherjee: Regarding higher education, there are Game Studies courses all over the world, especially in North America and Europe. Such courses are increasingly offered in Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. Some of the main institutes dedicated to gaming studies are the Center of Excellence at the University of Tampere, Finland, and the Computer University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe and Georgia Tech in the United States.

Are there specific courses offered as part of Game Studies?

Souvik Mukherjee: There are courses on game design that can incorporate some topics from game studies. I was aware of a course run by Srishti in Bangalore and another by DSK Supinfocom in Pune that might have incorporated elements of Game Studies. Regarding these subjects, they were taught in the English department of the University of the Presidency when I was employed there. There was obviously a literary connection in these courses. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of doctoral candidates in gambling study subjects. Although many of them are going abroad, an increasing number of people are also looking for doctoral opportunities in India. . I supervise both master’s and doctoral students who are interested in game studies at the CSSS.

There is an increase in the number of PhD aspirants in gaming study subjects. Although many of them are going abroad, an increasing number of people are also looking for PhD opportunities in India.

– Souvik Mukherjee

What are the prerequisites for this?

Souvik Mukherjee: I would say a background in basic critical theory, philosophical discourses, and familiarity with some of the key Games Studies writings would be helpful, although these are not essential.

What are the main trends in Game Studies?

Souvik Mukherjee: Globally, Game Studies addresses multiple questions such as whether games can be a way to tell stories, if they can represent history, how the rules of the game affect the game experience, game cultures, game, diversity and inclusiveness in games, genre and postcolonialism. Behavioral studies, psychological analyzes, and anthropological and sociological research are also an important part. ESports and online gaming sustainability studies as well as the delivery of gaming instances through Twitch, Youtube and similar platforms are also emerging areas of interest.

How does it contribute to a new game culture?

Souvik Mukherjee: Game Studies is a response to the culture of digital games and, as I said, more recently, non-digital games. Just as Film Studies and Media Studies courses are involved in the critical analysis of various aspects of film and media, so are Game Studies and Digital Games. Nonetheless, Game Studies research has also had a lasting impact on the development and experience of video games. We see more storytelling games such as Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which takes place in Victorian London and where the player meets Charles Dickens and Karl Marx! There are also more inclusive games that represent race and gender issues by making the player feel responsible for their decisions – such games offer a wider range of gaming experiences ranging from philosophy to gang. drawn.

How is game studies different from game development / design?

Souvik Mukherjee: Game studies may or may not be related to game development or design. Just as someone who teaches media studies doesn’t have to make a film, the game studies researcher may not be directly related to game development. However, game development is a diverse process and involves large teams working across many facets that may or may not involve programming. For example, there are game authors, testers, game evangelists, critics, researchers, artists, and a whole range of other professions related to game development.

In many cases, Game Studies researchers partner with game developers to create games. For example, a local game developer, Satyajit Chakraborty, made the The mystery of Durga Puja video game with Xenia Zeiler, a games specialist based in Helsinki.

Last updated 04 Jan 2022