Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play

"Culture arises and unfolds in and as play" - Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga, 1938

At the Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play (GAP) we examine digital games as well as the role of play in our contemporary culture. Produced by one of the main creative industries for digital entertainment, digital games have been continuously at the cutting edge of developments in new media for the last decades. Studying these games, the way they are played, as well as the culture that formed around them, thus provides insight in past and contemporary media use.

At GAP we do not limit ourselves to games and their surrounding culture as such, but also want to view games and play from the larger viewpoint of cultural transformation. We are witnessing a “ludification of culture” in which our (social) identities have become progressively more playful. Games and playing increasingly saturate other cultural practices, both in terms of content and use. Playful and gaming perspectives can be found everywhere from traditional media like film and television to new media like mobile technologies and social network sites, as well as in the growing emphasis of learning through games. These cultural and medial changes form the focal points of our research.

We believe that such developments call for a re-evaluation of the manner in which we study media and culture. One approach we use for this purpose is the notion of play as a conceptual framework for the analysis of media use. The study of digital games and play therefore enables us to address fundamental changes in the way we create and use media. 

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First contact: Prof.dr. Joost Raessens