Language of Gaming - LING5002

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Heidi Colthup checkmark-circle


In this module, students develop a range of skills which will enable them to undertake the narratological, ludological, and linguistic analysis of videogames and related texts taken from a number of sources: widely available commercial 'Triple A' games, free 'indie' games, open gamer forums, YouTube and similar, and media commentary from magazines, newspapers, and website. Areas covered include: cultural and historical significance of videogames, ludology, ludostylistics, discourse analysis, cognitive poetics, digital ethics, and narratology. Students will develop the ability to approach the language of gaming critically, to identify common narrative and cognitive structures evident in videogames and related writing.


Contact hours

Private Study: 130
Contact Hours: 20
Total: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Assignment 1 (1,000 words) 40%
Assignment 2 (1,500 words) 60%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework (1,500 words).

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

Indicative reading list

Ensslin, A (2012) The Language of Gaming Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Salen and Zimmerman (2003) Rule of Play: Game Design and Fundamentals Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Stockwell, P (2019) Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction Abingdon, Cambridgeshire: Routledge.
Ryan, M-L (2015) Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Wardrip-Fruin et al. (2004) First Person Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key narratology, ludology, and linguistic theories (storyworlds, intertextuality, genre theory, semiotics) coming to a systematic understanding of key aspects of this field;
2 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the related fields of game studies and literary studies where they are relevant (ludostylistics, immersion and attention);
3 Accurately carry out detailed analysis of a range of videogame discourse genres (including narrative design, world building, emergent player narratives) demonstrating cogent application of the particular linguistic approach under discussion;
4 Use narrative, ludology, and linguistic theory and related scholarly apparatus to make informed critical and evaluative judgments about a wide range of videogames, and be able to make use of this knowledge outside of the contexts in which it was first encountered;
5 Understand how theoretical approaches to the videogame industry impact on a wide range of themes and topics, for example: genre, narrative, and concepts of culture and community, gender, politics and ideology, identity;
6 Appreciate how their own knowledge and cultural background contributes to their understanding of media discourse.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Engage in critical reflection, verbal discussion and written analysis and devise and sustain arguments relating to these analyses;
2 Make judgments about the appropriateness of different theoretical approaches and evaluate the efficacy of such approaches;
3 Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent learning (exercising initiative and personal responsibility) and reflect critically on their own academic work;
4 Present cogent arguments in written form.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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