Research in Game Studies and Entertainment Computing

Synopsis of the research area

Game studies is the discipline of studying games, their technology, the people who play them, and their role in society and culture more broadly. It is a multi- and inter-disciplinary field with researchers and academics from a multitude of other areas including computer science, psychology, sociology, media studies, and communications. CDM faculty engage in a variety of games-related research projects such as supporting games education, analyzing games to improve game design, understanding how games engage their players, and the meaning people make of games in their daily lives.


Susy Chan
Dr. Chan focuses her research on e-business strategies, enterprise applications and transformation, information systems/e-commerce curriculum, and mobile commerce.

Amber Settle
Dr. Settle is the director of the Innovation in Technology Education Center (iTec). Her research interests include theoretical computer science, online education, innovative approaches to teaching programming and other technical courses, and ways to attract students to technology majors. Dr. Settle is interested in exploring different tools and methods to support game development curricula.

Noriko Tomuro
Dr. Tomuro’s research focuses is on Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Lexical Semantics. She is interested in using these techniques to better understand videogames and the meaning we make of them.

Xiaowen Fang
Dr. Fang focuses his research on user-centered design of Web search tools, usability of e-business, usability of mobile commerce, multi-modal information presentation, and enjoyment of computer game play.

Jose Zagal
Dr. Zagal’s research explores the development of frameworks for describing, analyzing, and understanding games from a critical perspective to help inform the design of better games. He is also interested in supporting games literacy through the use of collaborative learning environments.

Current Research Projects

Game Enjoyment Project

This project investigates how players’ personality interacts with their enjoyment of computer game play through an online survey at Funded by URC and Microsoft.

Game Review Analysis

This projects seeks to use NLP techniques to analyze game reviews, both professional as well as user-written, to explore the meaning of videogames, the discourse surrounding their use, and also their fundamental qualities and how they are perceived.


GameLog is an online blogging environment for supporting reflection of gameplaying experiences. GameLog also support users' understanding of how a game, and the gameplay experience, can change over time.

Ethically Notable Games

This project is dedicated to the analysis of videogames that are ethically notable. An ethically notable game is loosely defined as a game that provides opportunities for encouraging ethical reasoning and reflection.

Recent Publications

  • Zagal, J.P. & Mateas, M., "Time in Videogames: A Survey and Analysis", Simulation & Gaming Vol. 41, No. 6, 844-868, (2010).
  • Zagal, J. P., Bruckman, A, (2010) "Designing Online Environments for Expert/Novice Collaboration: Wikis to Support Legitimate Peripheral Participation", Convergence. Vol. 16, No., 4 451-470, (2010).
  • Zagal, J.P "Manhunt: The Dilemma of Play", Davidson, D. (Ed), Well Played 2.0: More Perspectives on Video Games, Value and Meaning, ETC Press: Pittsburgh, (2010).
  • Murphy, J. & Zagal J. P., "Videogames and the Ethics of Care", Meaningful Play 2010, East Lansing, Michigan, USA, (2010). (Winner of Best Paper Award)
  • Zagal, J. P., Tomuro, N., Shepitsen, A. (2010), “Natural Language Processing for Games Studies Research”, Games Research Methods Seminar, Tampere, Finland.
  • Fang, X., Chan, S., Brzezinski, J., and Nair, C. (2010). Development of an Instrument to Measure Enjoyment of Computer Game Play. Accepted for publication on International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction.
  • Zagal, J.P. (2010) "Ludoliteracy: Defining, Understanding, and Supporting Games Education", ETC Press, Pittsburgh (
  • J. Linhoff and A. Settle, (2009) “Motivating and Evaluating Game Development Capstone Projects”. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Orlando FL.
  • Zagal, J. P. (2009) "Ethically Notable Videogames: Moral Dilemmas and Gameplay", Proceedings of the Digital Interactive Games Research Association Conference (DiGRA 2009), London, UK.
  • Zagal, J. P., Ladd, A., Johnson, T.,(2009) "Characterizing and Understanding Game Reviews", Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Orlando FL, 215-222
  • Zachara, M. & Zagal J.P (2009), “Challenges for Success in Stereo Gaming: A Virtual Boy Case Study”, International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2009), Athens, Greece