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Media, Popular Culture, and Communication Rights Research Guide: Video Games & Virtual Worlds

Research strategies and resources on media, popular culture, journalism, copyright, digital society, and related topics.

Video Games and Virtual Worlds

What's Here

Scholarly research on video games, virtual worlds and related topics can take a variety of directions. Here are some resources to help you locate it. NOTE: for information on computer games (etc) as an industry, check out the Business Research Guides. For more technology-oriented material, see the Engineering Resources page.



See also: Social Media & Digital Culture

Key Databases for Articles

Note: None of the databases at Yale cover all of the scholarly journals on computer games and virtual worlds. See the list of some important journals below.

Academic Search Premier

This is a huge multi-subject database, covering video games (etc) from a variety of perspectives. Some of the subject headings in Academic Search are "Computer games," "Internet games," "Virtual reality," "Massively multiplayer online role-playing games," "Mobile games," "Electronic games," "Video games," "Avatars (Virtual reality)," and many more.

Communication & Mass Media Complete

A cousin to the much larger Academic Search Premier, CMMC is an excellent database for articles on computer games and the like. It has the same expansive range of subject headings, too. It indexes a deeper range of journals than Academic Search, so don't neglect it.

Web of Knowledge (includes the Arts & Humanities Citation Index)

Web of Science is another enormous multi-subject database. It uses its own topic categories, different from the subject system used in Orbis.


Selected Subject Headings and Keywords for Searching Orbis

Selected Online Journals and Other Resources

The online journals below aren't indexed by the databases listed above. I've also included other useful resources.

Digital Culture & Education

"Devoted to analysing the impact of digital culture on identity, education, art, society, culture and narrative within social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts." DCE includes articles on gaming.

Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture

"An international, multi-disciplined, biannual e-journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles that theoretically and/or empirically deal with digital games in their manifold appearances and their sociocultural-historical contexts."

Journal of Virtual Reality and Broadcasting

JVRB's scope "includes basic technologies such as displays, tracking and computer graphics," under the thesis that "synergies between virtual environments and broadcasting techniques ... will eventually cause these two application fields to merge."

Game Studies: The international journal of computer game research

Game Studies's "primary focus is aesthetic, cultural and communicative aspects of computer games."

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

"A transdisciplinary journal that engages a wide spectrum of scholarship and welcomes contributions from the many disciplines and approaches that intersect virtual worlds research."


An exhibit on the art, science, and history of video games.

Virtual World (Wikipedia article)


Selected Virtual Worlds

Except where noted, the virtual worlds listed below are primarily for social interaction and have user-created content, although they may include role-play gaming areas.

World of Warcraft

Primarily a game; content is created by the corporation that owns it, Blizzard Entertainment.

Second Life

The largest virtual world with user-created content, developed by Linden Labs.


An open-source virtual world similar to Second Life.

Open Cobalt

A virtual world in alpha stage, to be used as a research and education environment.


An open-source virtual world that intentionally lacks some game-type features but has plug-in extensibility.


A virtual world "focused on education, arts and social change."

Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics

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Todd Gilman
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