ETC Publications

Well Played Journal


Well Playeda journal on video games, value and meaning

What makes a game good? or bad? or better?

The Well Played Journal is a forum for in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. It is a reviewed journal open to submissions that will be released on a regular basis with high-quality essays.

Contributors are encouraged to analyze sequences in a game in detail in order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium. Through contributors, the journal will provide a variety of perspectives on the value of games.

As with the three Well Played books (1.0 | 2.0 3.0), the term “well played” is being used in two senses. On the one hand, well played is to games as well read is to books. So, a person who reads books a lot is “well read” and a person who plays games a lot is “well played.” On the other hand, well played as in well done. So, a hand of poker can be “well played” by a person, and a game can be “well played” by the development team.

Contributors are encouraged looking at video games through both senses of “well played.” So, with well played as in well read, contributors are looking closely at the experience of playing a game. And with well played as in well done, contributors are looking at a game in terms of how well it is designed and developed.

The goal of the journal is to continue developing and defining a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Contributors are invited to also discuss games in general (ranging from tabletop, to big games and more) and how they are often designed for different fields (education, entertainment, etc) as we more fully develop a literacy around games and play. Contributors are encouraged to consider using screenshots and video of their gameplay in order to help illustrate their ideas. And we’re open to suggestions on themed issues around a specific game or a topic across games.

Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By inviting contributors to look closely at video games and the experience of playing them, we hope to expand the discussion, and show how games are well played in a variety of ways.

Well Played session tracks are also being held at academic and industry conferences. There are sessions at Games, Learning and Society, DiGRA and IndieCade with other events being planned.

All submissions and questions should be sent to:
etcpress-info ( at ) lists ( dot ) andrew ( dot ) cmu ( dot ) edu
For formatting guidelines, see WellPlayed-Guidelines-New.doc.

The Well Played Journal will be published regularly. We won’t develop a set schedule until we have a good sense of the amount of quality submissions. Our goal is to publish as often as we have great essays. There won’t be a subscription, although as with all ETC Press publications, all issues will be available for download for free, and we’ll offer print versions for sale through

Follow Well Played on Twitter

ISSN 2164-344X (Print)
ISSN 2164-3458 (Online)

Drew Davidson

Associate Editors
Jane Pinckard
John Sharp

Assistant Editors
Ira Fay
Clara Fernandez

Well Played Editorial Advisory Board

N’Gai Croal
Sean Duncan
Mary Flanagan
Tracy Fullerton
James Paul Gee
Lisi Gopin Geffen
Katherine Isbister
Stephen Jacobs
Shawna Kelly
Richard Lemarchand
Stone Librande
Brian Magerko
Matt McClean
Eli Neiburger
Celia Pearce
Jane Pinckard
Arthur Protasio
Gabriela Richard
Sam Roberts
Doris Rusch
Matthew Sakey
Jesse Schell
John Sharp
Lee Sheldon
David Simkins
Mark Sivak
Francisco Souki
Kurt Squire
Constance Steinkeuhler
Josh Tanenbaum
Alice Taylor
Greg Trefry
Jason VandenBerghe
Caro Williams
Jose P Zagal