The Game Studies Crisis: What Are the Rules of Play?


  • Marc Ouellette
  • Steven Conway



Though no field or discipline’s historical vector presents itself as a strictly linear building of knowledge, the historical trajectory of Game Studies is problematic: certainly not linear, yet also not even multiplicious or rhizomatic. Instead, we are cyclical. Past debates often re-emerge, zombie-like, muttering the same arguments, often encased in binaries as endemic to our field as they are to the objects we study: unbridgeable disagreements on fundamental concepts; incompatible ontologies and epistemologies; incommensurability writ large. We view this as a chronic issue which has of late culminated in a crisis, exacerbated by changing institutional prerogatives championing multidisciplinary approaches and demands for “public impact”. This article takes a metaphysical approach, performing a meta-review to search for the root cause of our field’s cyclical nature. We identify and explore a key issue, namely our continuing status as pre-paradigmatic field, and ask questions designed to provoke ways forward, to provide more inflection points and fewer endless loops.




How to Cite

Ouellette, M. and Conway, S. (2021) “The Game Studies Crisis: What Are the Rules of Play?”, Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 11(1), pp. 145–159. doi: 10.7557/23.6360.