Espen Aarseth

Espen Aarseth, Dr. Art.

Full Professor

IT University of Copenhagen
Rued Langgaards Vej 7
DK-2300 Copenhagen S

Building: 2F11-2T01

Information Desk: 72185000

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Profile photoEspen Aarseth
Associate Professor
Center for Computer Games Research
Culture and Games
Postal address:
Phone: +45 7218 5045


I am the Head of Research at the Center for Computer Games Research,[ link: ] where I have worked on the aesthetics of computer games since its founding in 2003.  I am currently also director for the Games Program here at the IT University of Copenhagen. I am also Editor-in-Chief of Game Studies ( ), the oldest peer reviewed journal in the field of (surprise!) game Studies.

My current research concerns ideological, narrative, semiotic and ontological aspects of games and game communication, as well as topics such as game addiction, games and meaning, and also digital literature culture and aesthetics (what some people used to call "new media" 15-20 years ago).


Dr.Art., Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen, June 1996.

Cand philol., Comparative Literature, University of Bergen, December 1991.

Academic Positions

July 2003 – present: Associate professor, The IT University of Copenhagen (from 2009, Lektor MSK,=’with special qualifications’) and Principal researcher (Head of research group 2003-2008; 2012 - present), Center for Computer Games research.

Aug. 2002 –2012: Professor II (20%), Dept. of Media and Communication, University of Oslo.

May 2002 – June 2003: Full professor at Dept. of Humanistic informatics, University of Bergen.

2000: Researcher for the large scale Norwegian research project “Power and Democracy”
June 2000 - May 2001: Visiting Scholar, Scholarly Technology Group, Brown University.
August 1996 – April 2002: Associate Professor at Dept. of Humanistic informatics, University of Bergen.

January 1993 - July 1996: Scholarship holder/research fellow (Norwegian Research Council) in Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen.

August 1992 - December 92: Research Assistant at the Arts Faculty’s Computing Section.

Administrative experience

Acting Dept head, Dept of Hum. Informatics, April - Dec. 1996

Board member, the Humanities Information Technology center, UoB, 1997-2001

Evaluation committee member, Assoc. professorship in humanistic informatics, UoB 1999.

Evaluation committee head and member, various positions, ITU 2004-present.

Head of Games teaching program, ITU, 2015 - present.

Member of the ITU PhD Study Board, 2009-2014.

Member of the ITU Research Ethics Committee, 2014 - present.

ITU’s representative on Ministerial committee for Open-Access Publishing, 2014-2016

International service

Editor-in-Chief, Game Studies, the international journal for computer game research,(2001-present)

Reviewer for various programs, conferences, journals.

Grants, Honors, and Project Funding as P.I.

Meltzer student grant, University of Bergen, 1990: Nok 10 000.

NFR (Norwegian Research Council) student Fellowship, 1990: Nok 60 000.

NFR doctoral reseach fellowship, 1993-96.

Dept. of Education, CALLMOO/Lingo, 1997-2000: NOK 4 million.

NFR (SKIKT) “Humaniora og de digitale mediene”, 1998-2002: NOK 1,1 million.

EU/IST: mGain- Mobile Entertainment, 2002-2004: 67 000 Euro.

Ubisoft: Emotions in multiplayer games: 2005: 8000 Euro.

The Gyldendal Lecture of Excellence, SDU, Odense, October 2008: DKK 10.000.

NOP-HS: Game Studies journal: 2011: 8000 Euro.

NOP-HS: Game Studies journal: 2012-14: 237 000 NOK.


Game Analysis Reloaded: Editorial for Game Studies special issue

Jørgensen, I. K. H. & Aarseth, E. J., 21 Apr 2022, Game Studies.

A Narrative Theory of Games (Chinese translation)

Aarseth, E. J., 2022

Dataspill og metode: en samtale med Espen Aarseth og Torill Mortensen

Aarseth, E. J. & Mortensen, T. E., 2021, In: Norsk Medietidsskrift. 28, 4

Game Studies

Aarseth, E. J., 2021, Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. 2nd ed.

Le jeu et son nom : qu’est-ce qu’un auteur de jeu vidéo ?

Aarseth, E. J., 2021, In: Poïétique du jeu vidéo. 23

Two Decades of Game Studies

Aarseth, E. J., 2021, In: Game Studies. 21, 1

The game itself? Towards a Hermeneutics of Computer Games

Aarseth, E. J. & Möring, S. M., 2020, FDG '20: International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. Association for Computing Machinery, p. 1-8 36

Strategies for Unlocking Content in Nintendo Franchises

Blom, J., Aarseth, E. J. & Grabarczyk, P., Aug 2019.

Game Studies: How to play - Ten play-tips for the aspiring game-studies scholar

Aarseth, E. J., 2019, In: Game Studies. 19, 2

Introduction: Space – The Theoretical Frontier

Aarseth, E. J. & Günzel, S., 2019, Ludotopia: Spaces, Places and Territories in Computer Games. Aarseth, E. & Günzel, S. (eds.). Transcript Verlag

Ludoforming: Changing Actual, Historical or Fictional Topographies into Ludic Topologies

Aarseth, E. J., 2019, Ludotopia: Spaces, Places and Territories in Computer Games. Aarseth, E. & Günzel, S. (eds.). Transcript Verlag, p. 127-140

Ludotopia: Spaces, Places, and Territories in Computer Games

Aarseth, E. J. (ed.) & Günzel, S. (ed.), 2019, Transcript Verlag.

A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution

van Rooij, A., Ferguson, C., Nielsen, R. K. L., Aarseth, E. J., Poulsen, A., Kardefelt-Winther, D., Bean, A., Colder Carras, M., Przybylski, A., Shi, J., Brus, A., Fiskaali, A., Karlsen, F., Lieberoth, A., Markey, P. & Prax, P., 12 Mar 2018, In: Journal of Behavioral Addictions. 7, 1, p. 1-9 9 p.

An Ontological Meta-Model for Games Research

Grabarczyk, P. & Aarseth, E. J., 2018, In: Proceedings of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA).

Port or conversion? An ontological framework for classifying game versions

Grabarczyk, P. & Aarseth, E. J., 2018.

Replaying Minecraft? Sandbox Building Meets Action JRPG

Aarseth, E. J. & Blom, J., 22 Aug 2017.

Against ‘Videogames’: Epistemic Blindness in (Video) Game Studies

Aarseth, E. J., 2017.

Just Games

Aarseth, E. J. (ed.), 2017, In: Game Studies. 17, 1

Spec Ops: The line between player and spectator in ludic entertainment.

Aarseth, E. J., 2017, 10 p.

Terminological triage - a method for evaluating ludic terms

Aarseth, E. J. & Grabarczyk, P., 2017.

Scholars’ open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal

Aarseth, E., Bean, A., Nielsen, R. K. L., Boon, H., Carras, M., Coulson, M., Das, D., Deleuze, J., Dunkels, E., Edman, J., Ferguson, C., Haagsma, M., Bergmark, K., Hussain, Z., Jansz, J., Kardefelt-Winther, D., Kutner, L., Markey, P., Prause, N., Przybylski, A., Quandt, T., Schimmenti, A., Starcevic, V., Stutman, G., van Looy, J. & van Rooij, A., 29 Dec 2016, In: Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

Transmedia (Storytelling?): a polyphonic critical review

Sánchez-Mesa, D., Aarseth, E. J., Pratten, R. & Scolari, C. A., 2016, In: Artnodes: E-Journal on Art, Science and Technology. 2016, 18

Meta-Game Studies

Aarseth, E. J., 2015, In: Game Studies. 15, 1

The Word Game: The ontology of an undefinable object

Aarseth, E. J. & Calleja, G., 2015, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2015). Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, 8 p.

Connecting the Dots between Games and Addiction

Nielsen, R. K., Karlsen, F., Goggin, J. & Aarseth, E., 6 Aug 2014. 3 p.

Challenges for Game Addiction as a Mental Health Diagnosis

Nielsen, R. K., Aarseth, E. & Poulsen, A., 7 Apr 2014, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games: FDG 2014 Proceedings. 3 p.


Aarseth, E. J., 2014, The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies. J. P. Wolf, M. & Perron, B. (eds.). New York, NY: Routledge, p. 185-189 5 p.


Aarseth, E. J., 2014, The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies. J. P. Wolf, M. & Perron, B. (eds.). New York, NY: Routledge, p. 484-492 8 p.

Ad Ludum! The Study of Games From the Colosseum to the Computer

Aarseth, E., 2013, Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age. Selliaas Thorsen, T. (ed.). Trondheim: TAPIR Akademisk Forlag, p. 11-23 13 p. (Trondheim Studies in Greek and Latin; No. 1).

Game History: A special issue

Aarseth, E. J., 2013, In: Game Studies. 13, 2

Ludic Zombies: An Examination of Zombieism in Games

Backe, H-J. & Aarseth, E., 2013, In: Proceedings of DiGRA 2013. 7, 16 p., 405.


Aarseth, E. (ed.), Sep 2012, In: Game Studies. 12, 1

A Narrative Theory of Games

Aarseth, E., 2012, In: Foundations of Digital Games Conference Proceedings. p. 129-133 5 p.

Game Studies (Vol. 11, issue 3): The International Journal of Computer Game Research

Aarseth, E. (ed.), Dec 2011

Game Studies (Vol. 11, issue 2): The International Journal of Computer Game Research

Aarseth, E. (ed.), May 2011

Game Studies (Vol 11, issue 1): The International Journal of Computer Game Research

Aarseth, E. (ed.), Feb 2011

“Define Real, Moron!” -Some Remarks on Game Ontologies

Aarseth, E., 2011, DIGAREC Keynote-Lectures 2009/10. Günzel, S., Liebe, M. & Mersch, D. (eds.). Potsdam: Universität Potsdam, Vol. 6. p. 50-68 18 p. (DIGAREC Series).

Game Addiction Triangulated: Media Panic or Health Problem – Who Can Tell?

Nielsen, R. K. L. & Aarseth, E., 2011.

Ungdommers opplevelser med overdreven bruk av online-rollespillet World of Warcraft

Flaaten, Ø., Torp, S. & Aarseth, E., 29 Oct 2010, In: Nordisk Tidsskrift for Ungdomsforskning. 10, 2, p. 57-78 22 p.

"Ich will nicht, dass es mir schmeckt, aber es schmeckt mir doch!": Ein Gespräch

Aarseth, E. & Fuchs, M., 2010, Das Spiel und seine Grenzen: Passagen des Spiels II. Fuchs, M. & Strouhal, E. (eds.). Wien New York: Springer, p. 95-100 6 p.

A Cultura E O Negocio De Produçoes Crossmedia

Aarseth, E., 2010, FILE Sao Paulo 2010. Barreto, R. & Perissinoto, P. (eds.). 2010 ed. Sao Paulo: FILE, p. 9-15 6 p.

Uma Teoria Narrativa Dos Jogos

Aarseth, E., 2010, FILE Sao Paulo 2010. Barreto, R. & Perissinoto, P. (eds.). 2010 ed. Sao Paulo: FILE, p. 170-177 8 p.

Mapping the game landscape: Locating genres using functional classification

Dahlskog, S., Kamstrup, A. & Aarseth, E. J., 2009, DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory. Brunel University

Mufaji zavar: A narrativizmus és a szimuláció muvészete

Aarseth, E., 2009, Narratívák 7.: Elbeszélés, Játék és Szimuláció A Digitális Médiában. Fenyvesi, K. & Kiss, M. (eds.). Pécs: Kiarat Kiado, p. 159-174 15 p.

A Hollow World: World of Warcraft as Spatial Practice

Aarseth, E., 2008, Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader. MIT Press, p. 111-122 12 p.

Homo Ludens Viator: Mobilizing Game Studies

Enevold, J. & Aarseth, E., 2008.

Mama Ludens: Interviews with Women who Play

Enevold, J., Hagström, C. & Aarseth, E., 2008.

Doors and Perception: Fiction vs Simulation in Games

Aarseth, E. J., 2007, In: Intermédialités: Histoire et théorie des arts, des lettres et des techniques/Intermediality: History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies. 9, p. 35-44

Forskning på spel: Metodologiska ansatser til spelanalys

Aarseth, E. J., 2007, Datorspelandets dynamik: Lekar och roller i en digital kultur. Linderoth, J. (ed.). Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur, p. 209-229 20 p.

I Fought the Law: Transgressive Play and The Implied Player

Aarseth, E. J., 2007, DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play. Vol. 4. p. 130-133

Investigación sobre juegos: aproximaciones metodológicas al análisis de juegos

Aarseth, E., 2007, In: Artnodes: E-Journal on Art, Science and Technology. 7, p. 1-11 11 p.

Narrative Literature in the Turing Universe

Aarseth, E. J., 2007, The Novel: Volume 2: Forms and Themes. Moretti, F. (ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, Vol. 2. p. 839-870 31 p.

How We Became Postdigital: From Cyberstudies to Game Studies

Aarseth, E. J., 2006, Critical Cyberculture Studies . Silver, D. & Massanari, A. (eds.). New York, NY: New York University Press, p. 37-46 9 p.

Sin sensación de final: la estética hipertextual

Aarseth, E. J., 2006, Teoría del hipertexto : La literatura en la era electrónica. Vilariño Picos, M. T. & Abuín González, A. (eds.). Madrid, Spain: Arco Libros, p. 93-119 26 p.

Stories vs. Games: Is There Hope for the Interactive Narrative?

Aarseth, E. J., 2006, New Media: production, development and distribution. Damásio, M. J. (ed.). Lisbon: Edições Universitárias Lusófonas, p. 150-157, 334-343

Warum Game Studies

Aarseth, E. J., 2006, Clash of Realities: Computerspiele und Soziale Wirklichkeit. Kaminski, W. & Lorber, M. (eds.). München: Kopaed, p. 17-23 6 p.

From Hunt the Wumpus to EverQuest: Introduction to Quest Theory

Aarseth, E. J., 2005, Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2005. Kishino, F., Kitamura, Y., Kato, H. & Nagata, N. (eds.). Springer, p. 496-506 11 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 3711).

Genre Trouble: Narrativism and the Art of Simulation

Aarseth, E. J., Mar 2004, First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Harrigan, P. (eds.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p. 45-55 11 p.

Quest Games as Post-Narrative Discourse

Aarseth, E. J., 2004, Narrative across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Ryan, M-L. (ed.). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, p. 361-376 15 p. (Frontiers of Narrative).

A multi-dimensional typology of games

Aarseth, E. J., Smedstad, S. M. & Sunnanå, L., 2003, DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up. Copier, M. & Raessens, J. (eds.). p. 48-53 6 p.

A Typology of Mobile Games

Smedstad, S. M., Sunnanå, L. & Aarseth, E. J., 2003, DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up (Digital Edition). Copier, M. & Raessens, J. (eds.).

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