GAW is a two-day workshop where a diverse selection of approaches to game analysis are applied to a single game.

Welcome to the official website of the Game Analysis Workshop (GAW), an annual event that strives to develop a multidisciplinary game analysis toolkit. By game analysis, we refer to the systematic and critical identification of structures, elements, and qualities of a game or genre. Approaches can be formal, empirical, or qualitative.

GAW’s unique structure–where a diverse selection of participants are invited to analyze the same game–offers a unique challenge to analysis tools and methodologies. In fact, participants do not know in advance what game they will be analyzing, as the game is revealed on the opening day of the workshop. This way, participants apply to the workshop with an approach to analysis, and then they discover in the course of the workshop whether their mode of analysis is truly adaptable.

GAW seeks a broad spectrum of approaches to analysis: from meaning-making to user experience, from art direction to cognitive science. And participants hail from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to: game design, game studies, psychology, human computer interaction, theater studies, sociology, visual design, and philosophy.

GAW promotes a collaborative and creative atmosphere, where participants play and analyze a game together in a shared space. Rather than focusing solely on presentations/papers, GAW places an emphasis on the related acts of game playing and game analysis. In this 2-day workshop, the first day is dedicated entirely to game analysis. The second day offers participants time to finish up their analysis, concluding with a round of informal reporting of what worked and what didn’t.    

This website hosts any and all materials relevant to GAW, including CfPs, workshop reports, and pertinent information concerning future events and publications. If you have any questions or recommendations, please feel free to contact us directly: email address.


The GAW Committee

Espen Aarseth (ITU Copenhagen), Emmanuel Guardiola (Cologne Game Lab), Jussi Holopainen (University of Lincoln), and Curtis Maughan (Vanderbilt University – Cologne Game Lab).

GAW was founded to develop a multidisciplinary game analysis toolkit (i.e. a collection of theories, methods, approaches, and technologies) that is helpful for anyone interested in the study of games–on any level, not limited university scholars. By developing such a toolkit, GAW should help participants in the workshop and visitors of this website to better understand, appreciate, and/or create video games. The GAW Committee strives to keep its events and corresponding materials as open to as many groups as possible, including any academic field, industry, or policy-making entity.  

If you want to contact us, you can do so using our contact form here.