Undergraduate Degree




DM2004 History of Games

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To deliver to students a grounding of the historical aspects of the field of gaming, addressing both traditional and contemporary forms as well as the contextual factors from which they arise.


The word ‘game’ in modern society can be associated with a number of different fields and activities within entertainment, academic and social fields. Currently it is most strongly associated with the realm of the digital computer and handheld games, many of which owe their underlying architecture and success to the more traditional forms of game play some of which go back thousands of years. This course aims to provide students with an historical outlook on the evolution of various genres and media of games, their structures and the strategic reasons for their development. Out of this knowledge will develop a critical approach to the subject.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

Ancient to Arcade

- Ancient pastimes

- Traditional ‘board’ games

- Paper-based games / books 

- Birth of digital – arcades, personal computers


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

Uses of games

- Serious games

- Technology & gaming

- Military applications

- Contexts: Entertainment, educational, business 

- The future of gaming


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

Students will have a broad understanding of the cultural, technological and social backgrounds of games and their context in today’s human interaction, business, education and entertainment. Student will have a larger understanding of the roles that games play in society.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Lecture-based sessions

  • Individual and group written assignments


        1. Liz Miles, Games: From Dice to Gaming (Timeline History), Raintree

        2. Thomas James Maltman, Electrifying, Action-Packed, Unusual History of Video Games, Velocity Business Publishing

        3. Jack Botermans, Book of Games: Strategy, Tactics and History, Sterling