Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Games and Algorithmic Culture
Code COMM309
Coordinator Dr P Ruffino
Communication and Media
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15


- Investigate how videogames are responding and contributing to the current technological and cultural changes in the use of AI, data mining, procedurally generated content, metrics and automation.

- Provide a fundamental knowledge of the videogame industry, the contemporary trends of digital entertainment, and new techniques of game development and distribution.

- Understand videogames in relation to the history of computing and cybernetics, and through theories of governmentality, posthumanism, and procedural rhetoric.

- Understand how the medium of the videogame is entangled with the technical, aesthetic, social and economic changes brought by contemporary digital culture.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to critically analyse how the use of AI, data mining, procedurally generated content, metrics and automation is changing our lives and culture, including our contemporary forms of entertainment.

(LO2) Students will understand and critically analyse the key trends of the videogame industry through documents and reports produced by academic research and industry representatives.

(LO3) Students will understand and critically analyse how theories of cybernetics, computing, governmentality, procedural rhetoric and posthumanism emerge through contemporary forms of digital play.

(LO4) Students will identify areas of intervention and of critical analysis through original and independent research.

(S1) Analysis of academic texts and industry documents

(S2) Critical skills

(S3) Analysis of case studies



The module will look at the current trends of the global videogame industry, such as the emergence of online, mobile, and casual gaming, the use of games in non-entertainment contexts, and the dynamics of production, distribution and consumption of digital entertainment. It will analyse the historical and technical connections of the medium of the videogame with the military-entertainment complex. It will then explore contemporary gaming phenomena such as online gaming, gamification, eSports, and live streaming. It will analyse how these social and economic trends adopt techniques of data mining, user profiling and self-tracking, contributing to the practices of surveillance and governmentality of contemporary digital culture. The module also investigates trends of game development and game-play that include the procedural generation of content, the automation of play via AI and bots, and the analysis of players’ activity via online platforms.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching method: 1 hour lecture, followed by 2 hour workshop (3 hours total).
Workshops will be used for critical discussion of key texts, and for the analysis of case studies. The class will be divided in groups and engaged through quick exercises.
Students will be given the opportunity to meet with the module convenor for a 30-minute supervision before their formative submission (week 8) and after they have received their feedback in weeks 11-12.

Attendance recorded: yes

Notes: PowerPoint slides and notes released to students at the end of each week. Video recordings of lectures distributed on VITAL.

Description of how self-directed learning hours may be used: reading essential texts provided as part of the module reading list; independent research towards final coursework submission.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 36

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 114


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
1,000 word plan  -1100 words         
3,500 word essay/case study. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL late submission penalties apply.  2700-3300 words    100       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.