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Research Guides

Jackman Humanities Institute - Scholars in Residence - 2023

A library guide supporting research projects included in the JHI SiR 2020 program.

Project Description

Playing with Stories: Developing a Critical Encyclopedia of Video Game Narratives
Supervisor: Sonja Nikkila (English)

Student RAs will develop a critical encyclopedia for video game narrative studies: we will lay the groundwork for a digital, collaborative, and evolving resource that offers definitional entries as well as sample critical analyses and discussions of exemplar games. We will begin by absorbing foundational information on video game analysis––narrative lenses, categories, vocabularies, etc.––and plot a framework for the encyclopedia, including an outline of topics and proposed organization. We will explore a range of research resources (from the library to “the internet” to the games themselves) in order to extract and synthesize information for entries.

Some Recommended Research Databases

Some Recommended Books and Articles of Interest

Chess, Shira. “The Queer Case of Video Games: Orgasms, Heteronormativity, and Video Game Narrative.Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016, pp. 84–94,


Currin, Joseph M., et al. “Taking the Red Pill: Using The Matrix to Explore Transgender Identity Development.Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, vol. 12, no. 3, 2017, pp. 402–09,


Dahlberg-Dodd, Hannah E. “Katakana and the Mediatized Other: Script Variation in Fantastical Narratives.Japanese Studies, vol. 42, no. 1, 2022, pp. 61–79,


Ensslin, Astrid, and Tejasvi Goorimoorthee. “Transmediating Bildung: Video Games as Life Formation Narratives.Games and Culture, vol. 15, no. 4, 2020, pp. 372–93,


Fuchs, Michael. “Livin’ Da Dream? Playing Black, Illusions of Meritocracy, and Narrative Constraints in Sports Video Game Story Modes.European Journal of American Studies, vol. 16, no. 3, 2021,


Ip, Barry. “Narrative Structures in Computer and Video Games: Part 1: Context, Definitions, and Initial Findings.Games and Culture, vol. 6, no. 2, 2011, pp. 103–34,


Klaehn, Jeffery. “An Interview with British Writer and Game Designer Alexis Kennedy.New Writing (Clevedon, England), vol. 17, no. 3, 2020, pp. 324–32,


LaPensee, Elizabeth. “When Rivers Were Trails: Cultural Expression in an Indigenous Video Game.” International Journal of Heritage Studies : IJHS, vol. 27, no. 3, 2021, pp. 281–95,


Perreault, Mildred F., et al. “What Does It Mean to Be a Female Character in ‘Indie’ Game Storytelling? Narrative Framing and Humanization in Independently Developed Video Games.Games and Culture, vol. 17, no. 2, 2022, pp. 244–61,


Pugh, Tison. “The Queer Narrativity of the Hero’s Journey in Nintendo’s the Legend of Zelda Video Games.Journal of Narrative Theory, vol. 48, no. 2, 2018, pp. 225–51,


Steinkuehler, Constance. “Video Games and Digital Literacies.Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 54, no. 1, 2010, pp. 61–63,


Welhouse, Zach, et al. “‘What Am I Fighting For?’: Creating a Controlled Vocabulary for Video Game Plot Metadata.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, vol. 53, no. 2, 2015, pp. 157–89,


Wellenreiter, Michael. “Screenwriting and Authorial Control in Narrative Video Games.Journal of Screenwriting, vol. 6, no. 3, 2015, pp. 343–61,


Search for Video Games

Browsing collection(s) 

Using UTL LibrarySearch 

  1. Type in “video games” in UTL search bar and click on the search button. 

  1. On the search results page, located the filters on the left and under Format, select Other 


Video Game Collections by platform

The follow searches will show results for all libraries. Use the filters on the left side to limit to specific locations. Materials at Robarts Library will require a hold request for pick up


Searching for specific title(s) 

  1. Type in desired game’s title in UTL search bar 

  1. Under the Format filter, check of “Other”. 

Screenshot of UofT LibrarySearch Results with the format filter and Other option highlighted


Search tips:  

Filtering your Results 
  • Format: Video games are categorized as “Other” in LibrarySearch. 
  • Libraries: Robarts, UTM, UTSC, and Kelly Libraries have video games collections. 
  • Subject
    • Limit to software platforms
    • Limit to genres of games
  • Check the location in the item record. If a video game displays “course reserve” as its location, the loan period will be reduce to allow for course access. 
  • Use "Subject" filter in advanced search for specific game titles

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Search Tips for Video Games Research

Useful LibrarySearch queries:

  • ("video game" OR "video games") AND theory
  • ("video game" OR "video games") AND (“motion pictures” OR film OR cinem* OR movie)
  • (video OR computer) AND (games OR game) 

Search by Subject Headings

  • Computer & Video Games
  • Video Games
  • Computer Games
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Augmented Reality
  • Video Games Social Aspects
  • Computer Games Social Aspects
  • Video Games Design
  • Computer Games Design
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Video Games Psychological Aspects
  • Game Theory 
  • Video game music -- History and criticism
  • Video game music -- Analysis, appreciation

Platforms / Software

  • Xbox Video Games
  • Xbox One Video Games
  • Playstation Video Games
  • Sony Playstation Video Games
  • Ps4 Video Games
  • Nintendo Video Games
  • Nintendo Switch Video Games
  • Nintendo Switch Games
  • Nintendo Switch Video Game Console Computer Games
  • 2d Video Games 
  • Platform Video Games

Video / Computer Game Genres

  • Action Video Games 
  • Action Adventure Video Game
  • Automobile Racing Computer Games
  • Battles Computer Games
  • Computer Adventure Games
  • Computer War Games
  • Combat Computer Games
  • Dystopias Computer Games
  • Fantasy Video Games
  • Fighting Video Games
  • Hand To Hand Fighting Computer Games 
  • Imaginary Places Computer Games
  • Imaginary Wars And Battles Computer Games
  • Magic Computer Games
  • Monsters Computer Games
  • Quests Expeditions Computer Games
  • Revenge Computer Game
  • Role Playing Video Games 
  • Space Warfare Computer Games
  • Sports Video Games
  • Shooting Computer Games
  • Survival Computer Game

Industry Topics

  • Video Games Industry
  • Video Game Industry
  • Computer Software Industry
  • Game Development
  • Computer Entertainment Systems
  • Building Computer Games
  • Computer Games—programming
  • Computer Games Programming
  • Computer Graphic
  • Image Processing And Computer Vision
  • Multimedia Information Systems
  • Intellectual Property
  • Product Development
  • Patents
  • Education & Educational Research
  • Application Software
  • User Interfaces Computer Systems
  • User Interfaces And Human Computer Interaction



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