Counting Clicks – guest talk at Lincoln Games Research Network by Dr Tom Brock

Counting clicks: Gameplay metrics, power and the body politics of competitive videogames
Dr Tom Brock (Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University)

This talk develops a critical approach towards competitive videogaming by considering how gameplay metrics, such as ‘actions-per-minute’ and ‘match-making rank’, extend neoliberal political formations through the surveillance and control of players’ bodily practices. By way of examples from DOTA2, it argues that competitive videogames attune players’ habits and practices to affect economic methodologies and rationales on themselves and others. This is important for critiquing how videogames promote the competitive market as an ideal social formation whilst obscuring its negative psychological and sociological effects.

Tom Brock is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests include play, games and social theory. He has authored publications on esports, player skill, failure, player labour and digital games consumption in peer-reviewed journals including, Games and Culture, Journal of Consumer Culture, and Information, Communication and Society. Tom has also published widely on social, political and cultural theory in peer-reviewed journals including, The Sociological Review, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour and the Journal of Critical Realism.

Date: 3rd April 2019
Room: SLB0006
Time: 14:00 – 15:30


CfP: Multiple Approaches to Game Analysis Workshop (MAGAW 2018), Lincoln, UK – deadline 2nd of September

Call for Proposals

3rd Multiple Approaches to Game Analysis Workshop (MAGAW 2018), 8th – 9th of November 2018, University of Lincoln, UK

Queries about the workshop, email:

Emmanuel Guardiola (Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln), Jussi Holopainen (Lincoln Games Research Network, University of Lincoln), and Curtis Maughan (Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln, Vanderbilt University) invite you to apply to a two-day, hands-on game analysis workshop.

Workshop Goal

In an attempt to develop a multidisciplinary game analysis toolkit, we are seeking a diverse spectrum of approaches to game analysis. By game analysis we refer to a systematic and critical identification of structures, elements and qualities of a game or genre.

Proposal FormatApplicants should submit a concise description of their preferred method of game analysis, no more than 250 words in length. Approaches to game analysis can be formal, empirical or qualitative in nature and should speak to a broad audience while featuring the applicant’s home discipline. Please send a description of your game analysis approach to by September 2nd. The number of participants is limited. Acceptance/Rejection notifications will be sent by September 7th.

Workshop Structure

Applicants who are accepted will be invited to the two-day game analysis workshop at University of Lincoln, UK. Selected applicants will analyze a mainstream game during the workshop, but will not know in advance what game.

MAGAW 2018 will begin with the ‘big reveal’ of the game that will be the object of analysis. Participants will spend the rest of the day (Thursday November 8th) playing the selected game and analyzing it with their particular approach. The necessary equipment — consoles, PCs, portable devices, and copies of the game — will be provided.

On day two (Friday November 9th), participants will spend the morning reviewing the results of their analysis and preparing a brief recap. After lunch, participants will share their findings with one another and assess the efficacy of their methods by discussing such questions as: What worked? What could be improved? How might the diverse selection of approaches complement one another?

Important dates/info

Proposal deadline: September 2nd
Notification of acceptance: September 7th
Workshop: November 8th-9th (University of Lincoln,
Workshop email:
More information about Lincoln Games Research Network can be found at

Here are two samples of what an approach to game analysis might look like:

Approach to Game Analysis: Diegetic vs. Non-diegetic Sound

The combination of diegetic and non-diegetic sound is essential to establishing an immersive game world. Furthermore, sound cues often provide the player with a visceral form of feedback that shapes play development. This approach to game analysis revolves around key elements of sound information to catalogue the ways in which diegetic and non-diegetic sound are used to guide the player and enhance player experience. This analysis will include sound effects as well as soundtrack and/or score.In my game analysis, I will create a catalogue of diegetic vs. non-diegetic sounds, and analyze how various sound information distinguish themselves from one another and how they work together. Employing the catalogue of sounds, I will then illustrate the ways in which diegetic and non-diegetic sound is implemented in the game of choice by breaking down a few key sequences of gameplay. I hope to approach answers to the following questions: What is the nature of the interplay between diegetic and non-diegetic sound in creating an immersive game world? What is the nature of the interplay between diegetic and non-diegetic sound in guiding the player? How does the interplay of diegetic and non-diegetic sound in video games differ from that in film or theater?

An approach to Game Analysis: visual patterns discourse in gameplay progression by Mariana Amaro

Games, unlike movies, can mostly allow camera view framing control and exploration of large world scenarios to players. This relative freedom makes it more difficult to capture and analyze visual data in video games rather than in films, as every game experience can be somewhat unique to each player. So I propose a methodological approach to understand if there is a visual coherence in games regarding its challenges and climax progression with its visual elements, i.e. a “gameplay visual discourse”.

In my analysis, I will process gameplay images with ImageJ, a software that can extract numerical metadata of a large volume of images and also generates graphic charts from collected data. This analysis will only include visual elements from gameplay, excluding cutscenes.  Two techniques will be used: a) Parameter of hue, brightness, and saturation balances extracted from gameplay images, and b) Generate visualization of game scenario’s color scheme from collected data.

I intend with this approach observe gameplay visual impact (by the principle of color and tone contrast) and its affinity within the intensity of game’s progression structure. I hope to get answers to the following questions: What can it be analyzed from a scheme coherence’s graphic charts of gameplay visual data color? How is the relation between image metadata, color and tone scheme, and game challenges intertwined during gameplay? What layers of meaning could emerge from the confluence between game progression and color and tone contrasts in gameplay?

British issue of ToDiGRA journal

A special issue of the journal ToDiGRA (Vol. 3 No. 3, 2018) is out now. It collects the work of the British Digital Games Research Association, and it is co-curated by Dr Paolo Ruffino, from University of Lincoln.

Table of contents:

Paolo Ruffino, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Garry Crawford