Syllabus for Deep Games

Deep games

  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5SD308
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Game Design A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2019-10-30
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-11-04
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 01, 2021
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits. Proficiency in English equivalent to the general entry requirements for first-cycle (Bachelor's level) studies.
  • Responsible department: Department of Game Design

Decisions and guidelines

The course is part of the Master's Programme in Game Design, 120 Credits.

The course is a freestanding course.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course students will be able to:

  • Identify and apply theories and methods from a range of disciplines outside game design for the deliberate design of games about the human experience,
  • Drawing on theories e g from cognitive linguistics, psychology, phenomenology and existentialism, systematically analyse and understand the structures of experiences to model them in games,
  • Clearly identify a vision for a "deep game" and iteratively design with intent and purpose,
  • Use metaphors deliberately and coherently to grasp and model abstract ideas in order to make games about the human experience.


This course combines seminars with game design workshops in order to explore -theoretically and practically- how to design games that can illuminate the human condition and contribute to a meaningful life. We will look to personal experiences as inspiration sources for game ideas and use metaphor and analogy to create games on complex, abstract concepts, such as loyalty, dignity, courage or trust. We are further going to draw on a range of theories and methods from relevant disciplines outside game design to expand our conception of what games can be and how they can impact players profoundly. Theoretical frameworks are then tested through application to practical game design. This course provides opportunities to incubate a topic for a future degree project.


The course has an emphasis on workshops, but also includes mandatory lectures and seminars.

The course is taught in English.


The course is graded on the basis of "Pass with Distinction", "Pass", or "Fail". The basis for assessment is the students' performance during seminars, their participation in in-class playtesting and peer-critique sessions, and the rigor with which they engage in the iterative process of game design.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Vice-Chancellor, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a certain period.

Other directives

This course cannot be used in a master's degree if the course is used in the Bachelor's degree.

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.