Games: Studies and Development

The MacOdrum Library is located on the unceded territories of the Algonquin nation. Use this guide to begin your research and consult the appropriate librarian or subject specialist who can help you find materials for your academic work.

Pick a research topic

  • Read your syllabus (assignment instructions).
  • Pick a topic that interests you and meets the assignment instructions.
  • Narrow or broaden the scope of your topic so that it is "doable."
    • What's scope? Scope refers to the "people, places and things" or "who, what, when and where" that you are studying. For example, Canada or another country? Children or adults? Board games or digital games?

Identify key concepts

Do an initial search for academic sources

  • Here are some videos to help you pick the right search engines and sources for your assignment.
  • Use the CRAP test to evaluate the quality of online sources.

Contact your librarian or subject specialist for a one-to-one research consultation

Communications:               Ryan Tucci
Computer Science:             Robert Smith
Film Studies:                       Alana Skwarok
Information Technology:   Scott Turner
Interdisciplinary Studies:   Martha Attridge Bufton

Reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks) can help you find a definition as well as an introductory and simple coverage of a topic. You can find these resources using Omni, the library’s search system.

Try searching using terms such as:

  • dictionar* AND game*
  • encyclopedia* AND game*
  • Handbook AND game*

Note: The asterisk (or star *) broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings (e.g., game or games)

Here’s a sample of what you can find in the library collection:

Popular versus academic sources (what's the difference?) and the peer review process

Test your knowledge:

Play Sources: Level 1 
Play Sources: Level 2 

Searching tips: Truncation and phrase searching

Find peer-reviewed journal articles on a variety of topics

Recommended peer-reviewed journals in our library collection

Some publications are available either only in print or online. Others are available in both formats. Check UlrichsWeb for more information about individual journals.

Find books and ebooks

In the search field on the library home page (Omni), use keywords (i.e., key concepts that describe your topic) to find books and ebooks (i.e., use your key concepts to search for relevant materials). You can limit your results by clicking first on the Books filter in the left-hand navigation and then Available online if you are looking for ebooks. 

Use search terms such as:

  • board games 
  • card games
  • video games
  • digital games

Note: You can also do a phrase search for any of the above terms by putting the terms in quotation marks (e.g., "board games" or "card games")

Here is a sample of books related to games (studies and/or development):

Find industry trends 


Statistics Canada gathers data on a range of topics related to game studies and development such as leisure time, internet use, health and sales:

The Pew Research Centre is an American think tank that does research on a range of topics include the gaming industry.  


The Library collects a variety of games and game-related media.

Our video game collection is extensive and includes games for a variety of gaming consoles. You can search Omni for video games by with:

  • Doing a search for a specific game by title
  • Doing a keyword search and then using (when available) the Video games filter in the left-hand navigation of the results page.

We also have card games (i.e., games that use using playing cards as the primary game play device) and board games (i.e., a tabletop game that involves counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or "board").

To find these games in our collection, do a search in Omni using terms such as:

  • board game
  • card game

Note: You can also do a phrase search for the above terms by putting the terms in quotation marks (e.g., "board game" or "card game")

Here's a sample of some of the card and board games in our collection:

Indigenous games

Free online games

  • Shadowpox: An online game set in an immersive science fiction storyworld and informed by real-world public health challenges. Shadowpox: #StayHome Edition helps players visualize the impact of deciding to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effect on their community if they do not. Read more.

Game design technologies and tools

A number of open source design technologies are available including:

  • ARIS (create and play mobile games using GPS and QR codes)
  • Gameblox (create games with a blocks based programming language)
  • Unity (design 2D and 3D games for multiple platforms; C programming experience a plus 
  • Phaser: HTML5 framework for making desktop and mobile games
  • Scratch (create interactive stories and see other peoples' projects)
  • Stencyl (no coding required)
  • Twine (create non-linear, interactive stories and games)

In addition, The white box a game design workshop in a box is a learning, planning and prototyping tool available in the library.

Game reviews and associations

Content last reviewed: January 15, 2020