In addition to my commitments as a maker, I also have an interest in theoretical and scholarly approaches to game studies and digital media. 

Peer-Reviewed Monographs

Game Poems: Videogame Design as Lyric Practice


Game Poems: Videogame Design as Lyric Practice (Amherst College Press, 2023) is a deeply interdisciplinary look at the potential convergences between game making and lyric poetry. The book seeks to investigate what I have come to see as an important but neglected perspective on videogames—namely that they can operate as a kind of poetry apart from any reliance on linguistic signs or symbols—in a way that is theoretically and practically rigorous while remaining accessible to a broad audience. As a longtime proponent of open-source and access-for-all within the software space, publishing with an open-access press was important to me, and consequently Game Poems is available in open-access as well as print formats.

Game Poems tells a new story about games—that games can be lyrical, beautiful, emotionally challenging—to inspire creators and critics alike.”

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, author of How Pac-Man Eats

“Magnuson shines a sensitive and incisive light on small, often moving, videogames.” 

D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D., Professor of Digital Media, Computing, and Artificial Intelligence, MIT

“Everyone who loves the true power of games will benefit from the treasure trove of insights in Game Poems.” 

Jesse Schell, author of The Art of Game Design

“A rewarding text for scholars, game designers, poets, and anyone in between.”

Allison Parrish, Interactive Telecommunications Program and Interactive Media Arts, NYU

Game Poems provides unique guidance for those interested in exploring the poetic potential of videogames.” 

Jenova Chen, designer of Flow, Flower, Journey, and Sky: Children of the Light

“With Game Poems, Jordan Magnuson provides a guide to constructing the next generation of personal and incisive games. ”

Gregory Avery-Weir, designer of The Majesty of Colors and Looming