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Making Sense of Games: A Methodology for Humanistic Game Analysis

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "MSG" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 2300

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Denmark [DK]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙006˙905 €
 EC max contribution 2˙006˙905 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-11-01   to  2021-10-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    IT-UNIVERSITETET I KOBENHAVN DK (KOBENHAVN) coordinator 2˙006˙905.00


 Project objective

Making Sense of Games (MSG) will build a methodology for the humanistic study of games, and develop a theory of how ludic meaning is produced.

Following the pervasive, global growth of video gaming culture and the games industry, the multi-disciplinary field of game studies has grown exponentially in the last 15 years, with numerous new journals, conferences, university programs and research departments.

However, still lacking at this ‘adolescent’ stage of the field’s development are game-specific methods and theoretical foundations necessary to train researchers and build curricula. In aesthetic games research there is not yet any widely accepted methodology for game analysis, and there has not yet been any large-scale, long-term attempt to produce a theoretical platform that can support and advance the field.

MSG aims to fill this gap by combining fundamental hermeneutic approaches (semiotics, reception theory, reader response, theories of representation, narrative theory) with recent theories of ludic structure (game ontology) into a hermeneutic theory of game meaning, which can be used as a set of tools and concepts for game analysis and criticism. MSG will be a triple first for aesthetic game research: a five-year research program, a hermeneutic theory of games, and a team-based effort to build an interdisciplinary methodology.

The results from MSG will speak to many of the current public concerns and debates about games, such as gamer culture, games’ cultural and artistic status, the representation of minorities, misogyny, violence and even addiction. MSG will demonstrate the strong usefulness of humanistic approaches not only to game studies itself, but also to the 21st century’s most vibrant new cultural sector. It will also provide other aesthetic fields (literary studies, film studies, art history) with theoretical models, critical insights, and a rich empirical material for comparative exploration.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Paweł Grabarczyk
From Rogue to lootboxes: two faces of randomness in computer games.
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Paweł Grabarczyk, Espen Aarseth
Port or conversion? An ontological framework for classifying game versions.
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Michael S. Debus
Unifying Game Ontology: A Faceted Classification of Game Elements.
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2018 Paweł Grabarczyk
\"SNES - Not so \"\"Super,\"\" After All\"
published pages: , ISSN: 1604-7982, DOI:
Game studies: the international journal of computer game research 2019-06-13
2018 Rune K. L. Nielsen, Daniel Kardefelt-Winther
Helping Parents Make Sense of Video Game Addiction
published pages: 59-69, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-95495-0_5
2017 Christopher J. Ferguson, Rune K. L. Nielsen, Ryan Maguire
Do Older Adults Hate Video Games until they Play them? A Proof-of-Concept Study
published pages: 919-926, ISSN: 1046-1310, DOI: 10.1007/s12144-016-9480-9
Current Psychology 36/4 2019-06-13
2018 Espen Aarseth
Spec Ops: The line between player and spectator in ludic entertainment
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2018 Espen Aarseth, Emil Lundedal Hammar
No Worries? Game Research in Denmark 1984-2014
published pages: 311–326, ISSN: , DOI:
Cultures of Computer Game Concerns: The Child Across Families, Law, Science and Industry 2019-06-13
2016 Pawel Grabarczyk
It\'s like a walk in the park - On why are walking simulators so controversial
published pages: 241-263, ISSN: 1230-0292, DOI:
Transformacje 1 (3-4) 2019-06-13
2017 Christopher J. Ferguson, Rune K. L. Nielsen, Patrick M. Markey
Does Sexy Media Promote Teen Sex? A Meta-Analytic and Methodological Review
published pages: 349-358, ISSN: 0033-2720, DOI: 10.1007/s11126-016-9442-2
Psychiatric Quarterly 88/2 2019-06-13
2018 Rune Kristian Lundedal Nielsen
From Concerns About Addiction to the Internet Gaming Disorder Diagnosis
published pages: 295–310, ISSN: , DOI:
Cultures of Computer Game Concerns: The Child Across Families, Law, Science and Industry 2019-06-13

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The information about "MSG" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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