[VideoGames] Few misconceptions often found among computer game students


Below I list a few misconceptions often found among computer game students (and researchers I might add).

These are not set in stone but are based on my own experience as a student, comments from other students, and supervising students:

1. There is no academic research in computer games. There is plenty of research in the game-resarch.com reference database there is more than 500 references to games research, and it is far from complete [link]. Rest assure that somewhere out there others have wrestled or are wrestling with similar problems as yours. You are not alone.

2. Computer games require its own form of academic writing: The normal principles for academic writing apply when you approach computer games. It may very well be hard to keep you personal feelings and subjective opinions in leash, when analysing your favourite game. But make sure to maintain a balanced academic approach.

3. The field is too new to have basic themes, canons, and important theorist. This is not the case, and there is no excuse for not knowing the most basic theorist in the field. Be sure to have a quick breeze through Jonas H. Smiths 101 on Game research, where many important researchers are mentioned [link].

4. Computer games are entirely different from everything else: This is hardly the case and much game research draws heavily on other disciplines like literature, psychology, media studies, history, sociology, and anthropology. Still, computer games have characteristics that set them aside.

5. It is not important to have played computer games to study them: Think again. How many other areas do you find, where students and researchers have no first hand experience with their object of study.

6. Playing computer games since you were 6 years old is no guarantee: You should not confuse experience with computer games with academic ability although it definitely helps to know your object of study.

7. Studying computer games must be paradise: I am not the one to shoot down dreams but as everything else studying computer games is hard work with an occasional glimpse of paradise.

8. Computer games were invented yesterday: The history of computer games runs at least 40 years back in time, and probably more depending on your level of detail and criteria for computer games. Do not ignore history as it tends to repeat itself. There is a wealth of history books out there. Just make your pick. I recommend you start with the Dot Eaters [link].

9. Computer games are different from games: Computer games and games share a lot of the same characteristics but there is also interesting differences. In many areas of computer game studies you can find relevant research done earlier on non-electronic games.