The Manchester Games Studies Network (MGSN), established at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2016, is an interdisciplinary research group working on games and play. Our focus is on both analogue and digital games, and the MGSN team brings together academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines, including Education, English, Games Design, History, Media Studies, Psychology, Science Communication, and Sociology.
Dr Sam Illingworth is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University and a co-director of the Manchester Game Studies Network. He has diverse research interests within Game Studies, specifically in developing games that enable dialogue around important societal topics, and which give voice to traditionally under-heard and under-served audiences. Sam is also a games designer and a columnist for Tabletop Gaming Magazine.
Dr Paul Wake is Reader in English at Manchester Metropolitan University and a co-director of the Manchester Game Studies Network. His research interests include games and culture, games and communication, and, more recently, the use of game theory in the reading of literary texts. He has published articles on literary representations of casino games, 80s Adventure Gamebooks, and game design for communication. Paul also designs, uses, and plays games to start conversations about important societal topics.
Dr Tom Brock is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests include play, games and social theory. He has authored publications on esports, player skill, failure, player labour and digital games consumption in peer-reviewed journals including, Games and Culture, Journal of Consumer Culture, and Information, Communication and Society. Tom is currently co-editing a Special Issue on ‘Digital Transformations in Gaming and Gambling’ for the Journal of Consumer Culture.
Senior Lecturer in Film at MMU. Researching Western, Science Fiction, and Horror in films, and the cross-over with games.
Dr Ben Challis is a Senior Lecturer in Music and Sound in the Department of Media, Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests are focused on accessible design, interactivity and performance with music and sound. This extends into areas of game research and practice including non-visual gaming, serious gaming, game audio for non-linear narrative and models for analysing sound within interactive environments.
Psychology PhD student at MMU. Researching the use of video game avatars to promote health behaviours such as physical activity.
Dr Jenny Cole is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is interested in how bodies are represented in games and how experiences of virtual bodies may differ for marginalised groups. Jenny has published research on how women experience playing video games containing hypersexualised characters and how avatar choices may be influenced by how gender roles are experienced outside of game worlds.
Marsha Courneya is a Research Associate at MMU, and a Canadian writer, editor, and open licensing specialist based in Manchester. Starting out in indie film, she has experimented with feature length, shorts, web series, and immersive experiences and hopes to use open licensing for the benefit of growing story worlds through collective authorship.
Dr Jenny Cromwell is a Lecturer in Ancient History at Manchester Metropolitan University and a member of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies. Within Game Studies, she is primarily interested in the reception of Ancient Egypt in video games and in archaeogaming. Additionally, she is also interested in the material culture and role of games and gaming in the ancient world.
Senior Lecturer at MMU. Researching nature-inspired algorithms, and how they lend themselves to the automation of games.
Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at Edge Hill University, PhD student at MMU, looking at how location based games can make us more social.
PhD student at MMU, researching death, difficulty and transformative textuality in role playing games.
Dr Chloé Germaine Buckley is a Senior Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research in Game Studies focuses on analogue and rpg games, exploring materiality and games. She is also a member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies. Her publications include a chapter on “Weird” objects and props in LARP for a forthcoming book, Diseases of the Head and a journal article on the experience of space in horror LARP. Chloé is secretary of the Dark Door LARP club and writes and organises live-action roleplaying games. She has also written table-top rpg scenarios, including material for the indie game Cthulhu Hack.
Postgraduate researcher in English at MMU, researching artificial intelligence, game studies and spatial theory.
Dr John Henry is a Lecturer in Computer Games at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has interdisciplinary research interests in Games, Serious Games, Gamification and Game Technology, along with sensors and the Internet of Things ecosystem. He is actively researching the applications of this merger of disciplines by considering games as an applied technology.
John Lean is a Lecturer in Education at Man Met, working on the innovative cross-faculty Third Term programme. John is interested in the ways in which games and play intersect with education, including game-based learning with adults, gamification and playful experiential learning. He has particular interest in the ways in which the philosophy of higher education can be informed by games and play, and his recent PhD thesis explored this.
Lecturer in Information and Communication at MMU, researching identity in relation to technology, digital media, and popular culture.
Postgraduate researcher at MMU, researching queer theory, performance studies, and role-playing in games.
Members of the MGSN have worked with (and continue to work with) the following external organisations. If you would like to be involved in the work of the Network please contact us.
The MGSN is committed to supporting games researchers regardless of age, race, nationality, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sex, sexuality, ability, body, or ethnic origin. We believe that games studies, and the games industry, is held back when these voices are marginalized. We aim to build a culture in which fairness and inclusion are a fundamental part of everything that we do, and in which diversity is valued and celebrated. We subscribe to Manchester Metropolitan University’s statement on equality and diversity, which can be read in full here.
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