Editorial: Behind the Making

  • Lars de Wildt
  • Carina Assuncao
  • Samir Azrioual
  • Matthew Barr University of Glasgow http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5147-0673
  • Landon Kyle Berry
  • Mahli-Ann Butt
  • Daniel Joseph Dunne
  • Sarah Beth Evans
  • Eric Murnane


Few theses, proposals and books in game studies start without some statement of the importance of video games as a media format. However, despite this emphasis on the industry’s size and importance, very little academic attention goes toward what is behind the process of designing games.

Game developer Katharine Neil, writing about the state of the game industry and its relation to academia mounts a call to arms: "We can demand research and development into design support technology — not for more tools for prototyping and production or metrics, but for tools that support design thinking".

For Neil, these have led to a palpable stagnation in game design. Judging by the articles selected for this issue of Press Start, young game scholars increasingly seek to ameliorate both the lacking academic reflection on game design; and the lack of communication that Neil diagnoses between academics and game makers.

Author Biography

Matthew Barr, University of Glasgow
Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University. PhD research concerns how playing video games may help develop transferable skills and competencies. Convenor of the HATII Game Studies course. Editor of Press Start.


Aoyama, Y., & Izushi, H. (2003). Hardware gimmick or cultural innovation? Technological, cultural, and social foundations of the Japanese video game industry. Research policy, 32(3), 423-444.

Balland, P.-A., De Vaan, M., & Boschma, R. (2013). The dynamics of interfirm networks along the industry life cycle: The case of the global video game industry, 1987–2007. Journal of Economic Geography, 13(5), 741–765. https://doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbs023

Banks, J. A., & Cunningham, S. D. (2016). Games production in Australia: Adapting to precariousness. In M. Curtin & K. Sanson (Eds.), Precarious Creativity Precarious Creativity: Global Media, Local Labor (pp. 186–199). California: University of California Press. Retrieved from http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520290853

Duffy, B. E. (2016). The romance of work: Gender and aspirational labour in the digital culture industries. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 19(4), 441–457. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367877915572186

Dyer-Witheford, N., & Peuter, G. de. (2009). Games of Empire. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Entertainment Software Association (ESA). (2016). Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. Retrieved from http://essentialfacts.theesa.com/Essential-Facts-2016.pdf

Grandadam, D., Cohendet, P., & Simon, L. (2013). Places, spaces and the dynamics of creativity: The video game industry in Montreal. Regional studies, 47(10), 1701-1714.

Harris, B. (2014). Console Wars: Sega Vs Nintendo-and the Battle that Defined a Generation. Atlantic Books Ltd.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2012). The Cultural Industries. SAGE.

Neil, K. (2016). How we design games now and why. In Z. Jellicoe (Ed.), Critical Hits: An Indie Gaming Anthology. Sunday Books.

Newzoo. (2015). Global Games Market Report. Retrieved from https://newzoo.com/solutions/standard/market-forecasts/global-games-market-report/

Nieborg, D. B. (2015). Crushing Candy: The Free-to-Play Game in Its Connective Commodity Form. Social Media + Society, 1(2), 2056305115621932. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115621932

Niel, K. (2016). How We Design Games Now and Why. in Zoë Jellicoe (ed.). Critical Hits: An Indie Gaming Anthology. Dublin: Liberties Press Limited.

O’Donnell, C. (2014). Developer’s Dilemma: The Secret World of Videogame Creators. MIT Press.

Ruggill, J., McAllister, K., Nichols, R., & Kaufman, R. (2016). Inside the Video Game Industry: Game Developers Talk About the Business of Play (1st edition). New York: Routledge.

Therrien, C., & Picard, M. (2016). Enter the bit wars: A study of video game marketing and platform crafting in the wake of the TurboGrafx-16 launch. new media & society, 18(10), 2323-2339.

UKIE. (2017). UK Video Games Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://ukie.org.uk/sites/default/files/UK%20Games%20Industry%20Fact%20Sheet%2020%20March%202017.pdf

Zackariasson, P., & Wilson, T. (2012). The Video Game Industry: Formation, Present State, and Future. Routledge.
June 12, 2017