Conor Mckeown



United Kingdom

Institutional affiliation

Kings College London


Teaching Fellow

Research interests relevant to game philosophy

I aim to address the gulf between human-centred and problematically atomistic ideas of reality common in western culture. Through the lens of contemporary critical theory and philosophy, I explore videogames as a tool for exploratory thinking. I reject a focus on games as visual texts, instead viewing them as opportunities for a posthuman performance between human, machine and environment. I focus on videogames, predominantly independent productions, that offer alternative play experiences, challenging players’ concepts of space, time and reality, forcing an engagement with ontological possibilities more commonly discussed within theoretical physics. My belief is that videogame play can be an opportunity for a player to take place in a performance that highlights their lack of central importance, their entanglement with wider ecological, worldly systems, and the limits of their understanding of the fundamental properties of reality.

To do this, I draw on a range of disciplines including Game Studies, Code Studies, Platform Studies, Media Archaeology, New Media Studies, Media Ecology and contemporary philosophy including New Materialism, Object Oriented Ontology, Posthumanism and Post-Noumenal thought.
A key methodology I employ in my research is exploration through praxis. To illustrate my thinking on games I develop elements of games myself – elements of physics programmes or movement scripts, for instance – to highlight how the underlying functions of games are, at once, deeply aligned with quantum forces and with the agency of human players.

Publications and presentations relevant to game philosophy

2018 “Playing with Materiality: An Agential-Realist Approach to Videogame Code-Injections”
Information Communication and Society: Special Issue on ‘Work and Play’, Vol. 21, Issue 9. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2018.1476572

2018 “Videogames Beyond Representation: Intra-Acting with Independent Videogames”
Proceedings of the Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference, Vol 5, Issue 1.

2016 “Alternative Trajectories: Structuring Play Through Videogame Physics Engines”
Performance Research, Vol 21, Issue 4.

2016, with Dr Timothy Scott Barker, “Unearthing techno-ecology: on the possibility of a technical media philosophy of ecology”
Digital Culture and Society, Vol 1. Issue 1.

2014 with Dr Jenna Ng, ““You Have all the Weapons You Need” — Sucker Punch and the Multiform Gaze”
Computer Games Journal, Vol 3. Issue 2.


Agential Realism; New Materialism; Object-Oriented-Ontology; Performance; Representation


Conor Mckeown


Film and Media Studies, Philosophy, Game Studies