Digital Game Histories

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
312DGH ZK 2 2 lecture hours (45 min) of instruction per week, 32 to 42 hours of self-study English winter

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

The class will introduce the students to the history of computer and video games, with frequent excursions into non-digital games. Its goal is to allow students to understand digital games as a medium interconnected with social, cultural and technological histories. Moreover, it will teach students to identify and interpret influential and inspiring works in the history of games, and use the inspiration in their creative work. It emphasizes the diversity of game histories across nations and platforms, with special focus on European productions and independent, experimental games that might not be familiar to students. It will build a foundation for future discussions about games and create a common core of knowledge that students can take advantage in other classes. Lectures are organized conceptually rather than chronologically. They will be interspersed with class discussion.

Mode of study


Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

Current syllabus and schedule is available here:!AunJGu7eVJmisphClXOij65mGM9pWw?e=cYXx8A

Lecture topis:

1.Introduction to game historiography – approaches and methods

2.Non-digital games (folklore games, Kriegsspiele, pen and paper role-playing games)

3.The origins of games in research and university settings (Spacewar!, Adventure, Lunar Landing Game)

4.Arcade machine industries and designs (Pong, Space Invaders, Missile Command, Adventure, Pitfall, Yar’s Revenge)

5.Field trip to the arcade museum

6.Homebrew and “bedroom” programming; 1980s British surrealism (Manic Miner, Attack of the Mutant Camels, Deus Ex Machina)

7.Activist and political games; Computer games in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic

8.Genre histories; the example of the adventure game (Adventure, Mystery House, King’s Quest, Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Walking Dead)

9.History of game engines (Filmation, Freescape, SCUMM, ZZT, DOOM, Source, Unreal, Unity); histories of digital game labor

10.Authorship in the history of game design (Warren Robinet, Roberta Williams, Matthew Smith, Mel Croucher, Peter Molyneux, Sid Meier, Will Wright, CliffyB, Mojang, the Flappy Bird case)

11.History of game worlds (Ultima, The Hobbit, Knight Lore, Elite, Dungeon Master, Wasteland, Grand Theft Auto, Daggerfall, Fallout)

12.Regional and transnational histories – French games and “French touch” in game design; the origins of the Japanese RPG fames

Recommended or required reading

Compulsory readings:

•DONOVAN, Tristan. Replay: the history of video games. East Sussex, England: Yellow Ant, 2010. ISBN 978-9565072-0-4.

•KOCUREK, Carly A. Coin-operated Americans: rebooting boyhood at the video game arcade. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0-8166-9183-8.

•ŠVELCH, Jaroslav. Gaming the Iron Curtain: How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia Claimed the Medium of Computer Games. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018. Game histories. ISBN 978-0-262-03554-5.

Optional readings:

•KIRKPATRICK, Graeme. The formation of gaming culture: UK gaming magazines, 1981-1995. London: Palgrave Pivot, 2015. ISBN 978-1-137-30510-7.

•NOONEY, Laine. A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History. Game Studies [online]. 2013, 13(2) [vid. 2015-12-15]. ISSN 1604-7982. Dostupné z:

•PETERSON, Jon. Playing at the world: a history of simulating wars, people and fantastic adventures ; from chess to role-playing games. San Diego: Unreason Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-615-64204-8.

Assessment methods and criteria

Assessment components: Written final examination - 40 %, Presentation on a selected historical game - 20 %, Active participation - 20 %, attendance (minimum 80%) - 20 %



Further information

This course is an elective for all students of this school

Schedule for winter semester 2022/2023:

room HD-1
Room GD-1

(Klimentská ulice)

(lecture parallel1)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Mon 17:20–18:55 Room GD-1
Klimentská ulice
lecture parallel1

Schedule for summer semester 2022/2023:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans