G.A.M.E.R. lab offers new research route for students

by Katt Carter–

Blacksburg, Va., April 2– A Virginia Tech student plays a life simulator game, a popular genre that can impact players differently. Photo: Katt Carter

Communication majors at Virginia Tech are required to take a Capstone course in order to graduate, one of these courses focuses on research with media and video games.

The course was started by Dr. James Ivory, an associate professor at Virginia Tech who wanted to look at video games in terms of their social dimensions.  The research he headed made way for the G.A.M.E.R. lab at Virginia Tech, researching content in video games, as well as the effect on players.

The lab also focuses on television research, looking into how topics in media are handled and how that impacts viewers’ perceptions of the world.

Visibility at such a large research-oriented university can be difficult to achieve, and the G.A.M.E.R lab is significantly smaller than other operations at Virginia Tech.

James Zogran-Werness is a senior in multimedia journalism who took the course in hopes to have an interesting capstone and further his insight on gaming and if genre impacts levels of violence in players. He said he feels that “Virginia Tech doesn’t have a prominent focus on this type of research and that may be due to how new it is as a field.”

The Guardian published an article last year discussing how despite the popularity of video games, they get little media attention or coverage.  The article went on to mention that this may be due to the stereotype of gamers being lonely teenage boys which could lead people to ignore the social impact that games can make.

While video game research is still considered young by industry standards, Virginia Tech is making headway by incorporating it as a capstone course to encourage interest. In the years to come the lab is hoping to expand and grow as student interest increases.


Blacksburg, Va., April 2- Dr. James Ivory discussing a research topic during class. Photo: Katt Carter
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