Espen Aarseth

Espen Aarseth, Dr. Art.

Professor, Head of Center

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

Building: 5D15

Information Desk: 72185000

Research Group Coordinator

Center for Computer Games Research

View graph of relations

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.


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.

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.

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.

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 : 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.

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.

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.

ID: 263501