What is it about?

Both Children’s Literature Studies and Games Studies exist at the margins of traditional Literary Studies. This article argues that since both disciplines have been relegated to the kid’s table, they may as well get to know one another. It encourages interdisciplinary crossover and suggests that the threshold between Children’s Literature Studies and Games Studies may in fact be a particularly strong strategic location from which to challenge hegemonic conceptions of art and literature.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

‘The child’ and ‘the videogame’ didn’t get off on the right foot. In fact, the corralling of children and gaming has been a serious stumbling block for Games Studies on its journey towards artistic legitimacy and academic credibility. In light of this, it is understandable that games scholars might be reluctant to engage with the figure of ‘the child’; however, in responding defensively to accusations of childishness, games studies actually affirms and reinforces the unfavourable collocation of ‘children’, ‘play’, and ‘low culture’. Instead, this paper encourages games studies to embrace ‘the child’ - to take charge of the narrative of infantilisation and author their own relationship to this powerful cultural symbol.


As a games scholar working within children’s literature studies, this article reflects a lot of my personal experience of prejudice, ignorance, and frustration on both sides of the disciplinary divide. My research documents the figure of the child in videogames, and has found a rich, complex diversity of representations. I hope this article encourages more scholars from both fields to take an interest in this particular intersection.

Emma Reay
University of Cambridge

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Kideogames: Reimagining the Fringe of Literary Studies as the Forefront, Games and Culture, April 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1555412019841476.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page