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Universidade Lusófona do Porto

Video Game Critique and Analysis


Videogames and Multimedia Design

Level of Qualification|Semesters|ECTS

| Semestral | 6

Year | Type of course unit | Language

1 |Mandatory |Português



Recommended complementary curricular units

Videogame History

Professional Internship



1. From critical thinking to creative writing

     1.1. What is the purpose for writing a critique?

     1.2. Critique vs. review;

     1.3. Critical thinking: how to develop?

     1.4. What is creative writing?

     1.5. Creative writing: how to develop?


2. The videogame critique

     2.1. Context analysis

     2.2. How to develop a critique?

     2.3. How to evaluate a good critique?


3. General guidelines for videogame analysis

     3.1. Playing a videogame before writing;

     3.2. Types of videogame' analysis;

     3.3. Contextualization;

     3.4. Videogames at a glance;

     3.5. Formal elements of analysis.


Students should acquire elementary notions of critical analysis of the various formal dimensions of the video game as a playful artifact. The aim is thus to promote students' ability to judge the value of video games, considering such competence as absolutely essential for the production of artifacts in their industry.


At the end of UC, students should be able to:


  • Recognize and distinguish the moment of analysis from the moment of critique;
  • Play, analyze, interpret and criticize video games as a whole;
  • Develop critical thinking and creative writing;
  • Analyze a video game in relation to a genre and / or author;
  • Know how to apply judgments on the basis of different aesthetic theories, bibliographical references, perspectives and knowledge;
  • Know how to evaluate the content of a critique;
  • Write texts and critical essays on videogames based on formal analysis guidelines.

Teaching methodologies and assessment

The classes are theoretical and practical, being the oral presentation of the syllabus by the teacher with occasional recourse to the projection of complementary audiovisual elements and discussion with students. Several practical exercises will also be performed using the activity of playing video games to consolidate knowledge.


Continuous assessment is divided into the following components:


  • Practical exercises in class and at home (critical analysis) individual, with presentation and discussion in the classroom (60%);
  • Final group work of 2 students (critical essay) to a videogame with presentation in the classroom (40%);
  • Attendance: students must attend to at least 70% of classes.



Exam evaluation:


  • Critical essay with presentation of a videogame or a list of videogames proposed by the teacher (100%).


  • ATKINS, B. (2003), More Than a Game: The Computer Game as Fictional Form, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • BOGOST, I. (2006), Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, Mass.: The MIT Press.
  • CARITA, A. (2015), Pensar Videojogos: Design, Arte e Comunicação, Lisboa, Ed. U. Lusófonas.
  • GALLOWAY, A. R. (2006), Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture, London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • GEE, J.P. (2004), What Videogames Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • GOUVEIA, P. (2010), Artes e Jogos Digitais ¿ Estética e Design da Experiência Lúdica, Lisboa: Ed. U. Lusófonas.
  • JUUL, J. (2005), Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds, Mass.: The MIT Press.
  • RUTTER, J.; BRYCE, J., ed. (2006), Understanding Digital Games, London: SAGE Publications.
  • SALEN, K.; ZIMMERMAN, E. (2004), Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Mass.: The MIT Press.
  • TAVINOR, G. (2009), The Art of Videogames, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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