Papers by Me

[Jump to List of Papers]

Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. I have a vague memory of taking out my board books before I knew how to read and copying the text on my mother’s typewriter. I also remember telling my mother when I was nine that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, and wrote my very first (terrible) short story (“Secret Lake”).  As I grew up, I started writing as many stories, poems and novels as I started making games. When I got to college, I helped found my first college’s creative writing club (and was president for much of its existence).  Then I went to the “big university” finally studying creative writing and something happened.

I really began to hate being taught creative writing. This was something I’d spent my whole life honing, and all I really got out of classes was more practice. The instructors wanted to push my writing towards social inquiry (being a witness) but I wanted to write what and how I wanted to write (and I still did, despite my instructors).

Something else happened at the big university. One day while I was on campus and had gotten all my classes together, I strolled through the bookshelves of the university bookstore. I whiled and wended my way through the English class shelves, just idly seeing what books other classes were teaching, when my eyes came across the book Rules of Play, by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman.  There were other books about games too.  I checked to see what class it was for: a graduate level class being taught by one Alice Robison (she is now Alice Daer).  In a frantic, almost soul-driven rush, I went around asking various officials if I, an undergraduate, could take a graduate level class.  I got conflicting answers but one prevailed: if the system lets you do it, then you can do it.  So I went in, swapped out some random class I didn’t care about for this one. And the system let me.

This class, along with another I took the same semester (Experimental Narrative by Dan Gilfillan) changed my life. People say that a lot, “[This thing] changed my life.” For me it is true. Never before had I thought that I could research and study games at school and be accepted for what I was doing. But there it was, in those two classes, the introduction to this life that I now lead.

This area is for my writing journey. Now that I am in my master’s program writing about games and designing some, I’ve decided to give away a number of things I have written.  For now, it will just be my academic writing, but if there is any interest I may put up some of my creative writing.

Papers I Have Written




  • From Narrative to Game [Text]
    • An update to the 2008 paper which looks instead at game forms with varying levels of  narrative. This was my admissions essay and I feel it is trumped by my more recent work.


  • Using Components to Describe Videogames and their Players
    • Book chapter that contains the initial description of the Player-Game Descriptive Index.
    • Pages on this site are more up to date versions of the model.
    • Thomét, Michael. “Using Components to Describe Videogames and their Players.” In Terms of Play: Essays on Words That Matter in Videogame Theory, edited by Zach Waggoner. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2013.
  • Literacy for Video Games from Three Perspectives [View]
    • Compares the usefulness of genre systems to PGDI as tools for literacy for video games, looking at the perspectives of the player, the researcher, and the designer.
  • Building My Own Home: Working Between English and Game Design [View]
    • Details the idea of negotiating coursework to fit one’s education goals, while describing the whole of M. A. project.
    • Applied Project for completing M.A. in English.


  • Look What Just Happened: Communicating Play in Online Communities
    • Book chapter that looks at online communities surrounding Minecraft and analyzes them for how players describe the ways in which they play.
    • Thomét, Michael. “Look What Just Happened: Communicating Play in Online Communities.” In Understanding Minecraft: Critical Essays, edited by Nate Garrelts. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014.



  • Hiding in the Tall Grass: Searching for Queer Stories in Pokémon
    • Essay applying queer theory to depictions of characters in the Pokémon franchise, focusing on Bianca and N in Pokémon Black.
    • Thomét, Michael. “Hiding in the Tall Grass: Searching for Queer Stories in Pokémon.” Well-played: A Journal on Video Games, Value and Meaning, 4 (2). 2015.

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