Game: Doors – A Playable Philosophical Essay on In-game Doors

Prof. Stefano Gualeni (University of Malta) and his team, which includes Dr. Nele Van de Mosselaer (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and other members of the Institute of Digital Games (University of Malta), are happy to announce the launch of a new, FREE and SHORT playful attempt at making a new set of philosophical arguments.

You might remember their previous game about the analytical definition of what a soup is: Something Something Soup Something. Well, their new game is titled ‘Doors’ and is about doors. It takes about 20 minutes and it is great for in-class use.


‘Doors’ was made possible with funds made available by Maltco Lotteries and the FWO (FWO Research Foundation – Flanders).

What is the game about?

‘Doors’ is a ‘playable essay’ designed to playfully examine existing theories about how objects are represented within games and virtual worlds more in general. Each door in the game raises a different question regarding its representation!

How is it valuable as a didactic tool?

‘Doors’ can be used in a variety of ways, beyond being played and reflected upon. It can be assigned as homework in order to stimulate in-class conversations concerning the representation of in-game objects and related theories in fields such as the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of imagination, the philosophy of games, game studies, and so on.

Also, each student can be tasked – as an assignment – to find doors in games that are represented in a way that aligns with one of the categories offered by the game (and related literature). After that, they can present to the rest of the class about what they found, such as interesting overlaps and uses, cases that transcend basic categorizations, or particularly relevant examples.

All the doors and the papers connected to each are also possible to be browsed off-game HERE.

‘Doors’ is a SHORT and FREE experiment in playable philosophy about in-game doors. Do you think you can HANDLE it?

Workshop: DiGRA2020 – The Practice (and Philosophy) of Referencing Games

There is currently no consensus within game studies as to how games—the main objects of analysis in the field—ought to be cited in academic publications. While some journals and publishers do offer guidelines on this matter, these guidelines are not followed consistently (Olsson, 2013). No specific guidance for game citation exists in the main referencing systems of APA, Chicago etc. This lack of standardization has led to huge variation in how games are cited in text and in reference lists, if they are cited at all.

At DiGRA last year, I addressed the notions of game authorship and game referencing with my colleagues and friends Riccardo Fassone and Jonas Linderoth in a paper titled: ‘How to Reference a Digital Game’ (

This year, for DiGRA2020, I am organizing a game citation workshop together with Paul Martin and Jonathan Frome (on the 2nd of June, starting from 9.30). The objective of this workshop is to consult with game scholars, publishers, and editors on what would constitute an appropriate method for citing games in academic writing on games (both digital and non-digital). The workshop itself will be an opportunity for game scholars to discuss both the principles that should inform the development of a citation standard and some of the technical details involved in creating the standard.

Its intended outcomes are:

  • Criticism of existing reference practices.
  • An agreed upon set of guiding principles for developing a citation standard.
  • A citation standard based on these guiding principles that can be implemented within any of the main existing citation methods.
  • An agreed upon process for establishing this standard in the main journals and publishers of game scholarship and in the next edition of guidelines published by APA, MLA, Harvard, and the other main citation systems.

 How to participate in game citation workshop at Digra 2020

The workshop will be open to everyone at the conference. Since this will be an open discussion, we are not asking for submissions. However, it would be very useful for us to know how many people wish to attend. Please indicate your interest in attending the workshop by emailing one of the organizers (emails listed below) or filling out this short questionnaire (<5 minutes) about game citation: link to questionnaire. This questionnaire will be used to identify the challenges to be discussed during the workshop and is a very important step for us to ensure that the workshop includes diverse opinions on this topic.

Even if you cannot attend the workshop, please fill out the questionnaire to help us solicit a wide range of opinions on game citation in advance of the workshop!



Gualeni, S., Fassone, R., & Linderoth, J. 2019.“How to Reference a Digital Game”. Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA international Conference. Kyoto, Japan, August 6-10, 2019.

Olsson, C. (2013). Spelreferenser i akademiska publikationer. En kartläggning av referenspraktiker inom spelvetenskap. Bachelor thesis (2013:4), Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås.

Attribution for illustration picture: / CC BY (

Game: “HERE” – A New Attempt at ‘Playable Philosophy’

A couple of days ago we released to the public our newest and slightly ridiculous attempt to disclose philosophical notions and approaches in ways that are experiential and interactive (that is, in ways that are not exclusively linguistic).

This new attempt at ‘playable philosophy’ is titled “HERE” and can be freely accessed clicking on the link below:

>> <<

You might remember that last year we released “Something Something Soup Something” which playfully explores the limitations of analytical categories in a way that was inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Instead of focusing on soups and linguistics, “HERE” philosophically tackles the notion of indexicality. The players are challenged to engage with- (and be puzzled by-) what it means when the word “here” is used in a computer game… Or, rather, how many meanings of “here” can co-exist in a computer world.

Have fun! 🙂

Stefano from the Institute of Digital Games.

Book Chapter: A Philosophy of ‘DOING’ in the Digital


Greetings, earthlings!

I am taking the liberty of writing as  I recently published a chapter in a 2018 book published by Palgrave: Towards a Philosophy of Digital Media, a chapter that I imagine might be of interest to you.
SomethingSomethingSoupSomethingExampleSoupIt is titled “A Philosophy of ‘DOING’ in the Digital”, and it proposes an understanding of the digital medium that focuses on its disclosing various forms of “doing.”
My chapter begins by offering an understanding of “doing in the digital” that methodologically separates “doing as acting” from “doing as making.” After setting its theoretical framework, the chapter discusses an “interactive thought experiment” I designed and developed (you might remember it: Something Something Soup Something) that is analyzed as a digital artifact leveraging both dimensions of “doing in the digital” for philosophical purposes.

In extreme synthesis, one could say that this chapter is about several kinds of soups. 🙂

Find a pre-print draft at the link below, in case you think these ideas are interesting and/or useful for you:
By the way, I am working on a new, playable philoso-thingie. Will be freely playable in a month or two, or whatever 🙂