James Newman

Personal statement

James Newman, PhD is Research Professor in Media and a University Teaching Fellow. Over the past 20 years, he has written widely on aspects of videogames, players and fans, game sound and music, and media histories and has spoken across the world at events for academics, policy-makers, game developers and players. His books on videogames and gaming cultures include 'Videogames'; 'Playing with Videogames'; and 'Best Before: Videogames, Supersession and Obsolescence' (for Routledge); and '100 Videogames' and 'Teaching Videogames' (for BFI Publishing). In 2018, James co-authored 'A History of Videogames' (Carlton) which is the first volume to explore and draw on the collections of the National Videogame Museum where James also works as Senior Curator.

As outputs of British Academy/Leverhulme and ESRC-funded projects, James has co-authored two White Papers on videogame history and preservation and is a co-founder of the Videogame Heritage Society which is the first Subject Specialist Network (SSN) dedicated to digital media.

James’ work has been supported by numerous international funders including the ESRC, The Wellcome Trust, the EPSRC, the AHRC (Creative Economies and Knowledge Exchange), HEFCE, the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Strong National Museum of Play, the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. He is an international adviser on numerous programmes and networks on videogame studies, history and preservation and has been awarded sabbaticals (for example to Stanford University) and Fellowships (for example ICHEG/Strong National Museum of Play) to develop this work internationally.

James is a regular contributor to public-facing articles on videogames and has been interviewed many times in print, online and in broadcast media on his work (including Radio 4, BBC4 TV, The Guardian, Independent, The New Statesman, as well as specialist gaming press, for example Games TM, The Escapist, Gamasutra, Wireframe).

James is the director of the All Your Bass videogame music festival and is co-founder of the Game Sound Archive which is a collaboration with the British Library. Since its inception in 2006, James has been part of the GameCity international videogame festival team and since 2015, he has been a member of the Research and Curatorial team at the National Videogame Museum.

James is currently contracted to write monographs on videogame spectatorship and the histories of early videogame music and sound. In addition to his scholarly work on ludomusicology (game sound and music), James is also a practicing studio and live musician and is busy in his home studio writing electronic music using a range of old, 'obsolete’ synthesis systems and techniques as well as new and old videogame hardware and software.

  • BA(Hons)
  • PhD.

Recent professional updating

To support research and scholarship in the field of videogames and new media studies, I have attended a number of conferences and events (for example 'Preservation of Complex Digital Objects symposium on game preservation'; JISC Digital Media Seminars; Digital Games Research Association; Clash of Realities; Ludomusicology).

To ensure the maintenance and development of my professional practice, I have attended a number of learning and teaching conferences (for example HEA conference) and have undertaken research degree supervision, interviewing and viva chairing training.

To support research in the use of mobile and rich media in VLEs and onsite in fieldwork (see current research above), I have attended conferences, seminars and symposia on VLEs, intellectual property and the location, use and embedding of audio-visual media in learning and teaching environments (for example 'Finding and Using Audio-Visual Media in Further and Higher Education'; iTunes U at Apple UK' Executive Briefing Centre).

Professional memberships

  • EFGAMP (European Federation of Games Archives and Museum Projects)
  • Society for the Study of Sound and Music in Games (SSSMG)
  • Game Preservation Network
  • Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
  • Videogame Heritage Society
  • FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)
  • MeCCSA (Media Communication and Cultural Studies Association)
  • IGDA Game Preservation Special Interest Group.

External examiners

  • Postgraduate programmes in Digital Games Theory and Design, Brunel University (2017-2021)
  • Undergraduate programmes in Animation, Arts and Product Design subject area, Southampton Solent University (2013-2017)
  • Undergraduate programmes in Media, Journalism and Cultural Studies at Staffordshire University (October 2003 - September 2007)
  • External Advisor for the review of undergraduate Media provision at Trinity and All Saints College (University of Leeds, March 2005).

Other external roles

  • History of Games Steering Group (European representative)
  • Advisory Board for IMLS-funded Game Metadata and Citation Project (GAMECIP)
  • UCSC/Stanford; Board member International Digital Game Preservation Practitioners group (led by RCGS)
  • Strong National Museum of Play World Video Game Hall of Fame Selection Committee
  • Co-Founder ‘The Game Sound Archive’ in collaboration with the British Library and ‘Videogame Heritage Society' Subject Specialist Network (SSN)
  • AHRC Peer Review College member
  • Reviewer for DiGRA and Nordic DiGRA games conference (various tracks)
  • Co-investigator AHRC-funded Creative Economies Knowledge Exchange Project (oral histories and archives project): 2012.
  • Co-founder of The National Videogame Archive (DCMS-funded UK national collection of videogames and gaming culture). Collaboration with National Media Museum and Science Museum.
  • Steering group, programming and production for GameCity festival (2006-present)
  • Review book proposals and manuscripts on aspects of digital media for international academic publishers including Routledge, Sage, BFI Publishing, MIT Press and University of Chicago Press
  • International Editorial Board of Game Studies: the International Journal of Computer Game Studies
  • Commissioned by The Wellcome Trust to produce a literature review on game studies and a strategy document on videogames as part of the Trusts Broadcast Strategy for public engagement (2010)
  • Provided consultancy services for a number of different organisations including Eidos on their Championship Manager series of football simulation games (2005-06)
  • Consultancy for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Flamingo research and JCPR on the European launch strategy for PlayStation 2 and the Mental Wealth campaign (2000-2001)
  • Strategic consultancy for Screenplay games conference and festival (Broadway Arts Cinema, Nottingham. 2005-6)
  • Research funding reviewer for the Veni programme (Government-sponsored Innovational Research Incentives Scheme 2004. Netherlands)
  • Curriculum consultancy for Nottingham Trent University. Designing undergraduate videogames provision for the Creative Media Studies programme (2006-7)
  • Staff development on videogames in learning and teaching, Nottingham Trent University (2006)
  • Consultancy for Nottingham Creative Partnerships on videogames education programmes (2007).

Teaching specialism

Current teaching includes:

  • videogame studies
  • digital media histories
  • media fandom
  • media preservation.

Current scholarship

  • James is currently working on book projects exploring gameplay spectatorship, and the history of early videogame sound and music.
  • He is a member of the research and curatorial group at the National Videogame Museum and is currently working on a range of exhibition, collecting and interpretation projects.

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

Spectate! Watching, recording and streaming videogames
book

Newman, J (2021) Spectate! Watching, recording and streaming videogames. Bloomsbury Academic, New York. ISBN 9781501332432 (Forthcoming)


A history of videogames in 14 consoles, 5 computers, 2 arcade cabinets… and an Ocarina of Time
book

Simons, I and Newman, J (2018) A history of videogames in 14 consoles, 5 computers, 2 arcade cabinets… and an Ocarina of Time. Carlton Books, London. ISBN 9781787390645


Videogames (2nd ed.)
book

Newman, J (2013) Videogames (2nd ed.). Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN 9780415669160


Best Before: videogames, supersession and obsolescence
book

Newman, J (2012) Best Before: videogames, supersession and obsolescence. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780415577915


Playing with Videogames
book

Newman, J (2008) Playing with Videogames. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780415385237


100 videogames
book

Newman, J (2007) 100 videogames. BFI Publishing, London. ISBN 9781844571628


Teaching Videogames
book

Newman, J and Oram, B (2006) Teaching Videogames. BFI Education. ISBN 1844570789


Videogames
book

Newman, J (2005) Videogames. Routledge. ISBN 041528192X


Difficult questions about videogames
book

Newman, J (2004) Difficult questions about videogames. Suppose Partners, Nottingham. ISBN 9780954882501


Before Red Book: early video game music and technology
book_section

Newman, J (2021) 'Before Red Book: early video game music and technology.' In: Fritsch, M and Summers, T, eds. The Cambridge companion to video game music. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 12-32. ISBN 9781108460897


Playing (with) Star Wars
book_section

Newman, J (2017) 'Playing (with) Star Wars.' In: Clash of Realities 2015/16: on the art, technology and theory of digital games. Proceedings of the 6th and 7th conference. Transcript, Bielefeld, pp. 143-157. ISBN 9783837640311


Play, things and playthings: approaches to videogame preservation
book_section

Newman, J (2017) 'Play, things and playthings: approaches to videogame preservation.' In: Clash of Realities 2015/16: on the art, technology and theory of digital games. Proceedings of the 6th and 7th conference. Transcript, Bielefeld, pp. 595-610. ISBN 9783837640311


Glitching, codemining and procedural level creation in Super Mario Bros.
book_section

Newman, J (2017) 'Glitching, codemining and procedural level creation in Super Mario Bros.' In: Swalwell, M, Ndalianis, A and Stuckey, H, eds. Fans and videogames: histories, fandom, archives. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 146-162. ISBN 9781138679672


Walkthrough
book_section

Newman, J (2016) 'Walkthrough.' In: Lowood, H and Guins, R, eds. Debugging game history: a critical lexicon. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 409-417. ISBN 9780262034197


Game preservation
book_section

Newman, J (2015) 'Game preservation.' In: Mansell, R, Ang, P.H, Steinfield, C, van der Graaf, S, Ballon, P, Kerr, A, Ivory, J.D, Braman, S, Kleine, D and Grimshaw, D.J, eds. The international encyclopedia of digital communication and society. Wiley. ISBN 9781118767771


Out of the shadows: Star Wars, videogames and transmedia storytelling
book_section

Newman, J and Simons, I (2014) 'Out of the shadows: Star Wars, videogames and transmedia storytelling.' In: Cook, J and Wright, P, eds. Star Wars: exploring an expanding universe. I.B.Tauris, London. ISBN 9781845118570


It's all about the music: the SID chip and the videogamings noisy revolution
book_section

Newman, J (2013) 'It's all about the music: the SID chip and the videogamings noisy revolution.' In: Revolution in the bedroom, war in the playground: video gaming 1979-1989. The National Centre for Craft and Design.


The great gaming crash of '83'
book_section

Newman, J (2013) 'The great gaming crash of '83'.' In: Blain, L, ed. Guinness world records 2014: gamer's edition. Guinness World Records, London, pp. 82-83. ISBN 9781904994749


Codemining, modding and gamemaking
book_section

Newman, J (2012) 'Codemining, modding and gamemaking.' In: Zagal, Jose P, ed. The videogame ethics reader. Cognella, San Diego, California, pp. 263-286. ISBN 9781609276355


"Tips and tricks to take your game to the next level": expertise and identity in FPS games
book_section

Newman, J and Ashton, D (2012) '"Tips and tricks to take your game to the next level": expertise and identity in FPS games.' In: Voorhees, G, Call, J and Whitlock, K, eds. Guns, grenades and grunts: first-person shooter games. Approaches to digital game studies . Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 225-247. ISBN 9781441193537


Using the Force: Star Wars: the video game, intertextuality, narrative, and play
book_section

Newman, J and Simons, I (2011) 'Using the Force: Star Wars: the video game, intertextuality, narrative, and play.' In: Page, R and Thomas, B, eds. New narratives: stories and storytelling in the digital age. Frontiers of Narrative . University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, pp. 239-253. ISBN 9780803217867


How the elephant forgot its politics
book_section

Newman, J and Molloy, C (2003) 'How the elephant forgot its politics.' In: Shakur, T and D'Souza, K, eds. Picturing South Asian culture in English: textual and visual representations. Open House Press, Liverpool, pp. 176-191. ISBN 9780954446307


Ghanaian Seventh Day Adventists on and offline: problematising the virtual communities discourse
book_section

Newman, J and Ackah, W (2003) 'Ghanaian Seventh Day Adventists on and offline: problematising the virtual communities discourse.' In: Karim, K, ed. The media of diaspora: mapping the globe. Routledge Research in Transnationalism . Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 203-214. ISBN 0415279305


Wrong warping, sequence breaking and running through code: systemic contiguity and narrative architecture in 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time' any% speedrun
article

Newman, J (2019) 'Wrong warping, sequence breaking and running through code: systemic contiguity and narrative architecture in 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time' any% speedrun.' Journal of the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities, 4 (1). pp. 7-36. ISSN 2188-7276


Saving (and re-saving) videogames: rethinking emulation for preservation, exhibition and interpretation
article

Newman, J (2019) 'Saving (and re-saving) videogames: rethinking emulation for preservation, exhibition and interpretation.' The International Journal of Creative Media Research, 1. ISSN 2631-6773


Slower, squashed and six months late: Japanese videogames in the UK, 1991-2019
article

Newman, J (2019) 'Slower, squashed and six months late: Japanese videogames in the UK, 1991-2019.' Replaying Japan, 1. pp. 5-28. ISSN 2433-8060


The music of microswitches: preserving videogame sound — a proposal
article

Newman, J (2018) 'The music of microswitches: preserving videogame sound — a proposal.' The Computer Games Journal, 7. pp. 261-278. ISSN 2052-773X


Kaizo Mario Maker: ROM hacking, abusive game design and Nintendo's Super Mario Maker
article

Newman, J (2018) 'Kaizo Mario Maker: ROM hacking, abusive game design and Nintendo's Super Mario Maker.' Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 24 (4). pp. 339-356. ISSN 1354-8565


The Game Inspector: a case study in gameplay preservation
article

Newman, J (2018) 'The Game Inspector: a case study in gameplay preservation.' Kinephanos: Journal of Media Studies and Popular Culture, Spec. (August). pp. 120-148. ISSN 1916-985X


Driving the SID chip: assembly language, composition and sound design for the C64
article

Newman, J (2017) 'Driving the SID chip: assembly language, composition and sound design for the C64.' GAME: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, 6. ISSN 2280-7705


Mazes, monsters and multicursality. Mastering Pac-Man 1980–2016
article

Newman, J (2016) 'Mazes, monsters and multicursality. Mastering Pac-Man 1980–2016.' Cogent Arts & Humanities, 3 (1). p. 1190439. ISSN 2331-1983


Stampylongnose and the rise of the celebrity videogame player
article

Newman, J (2016) 'Stampylongnose and the rise of the celebrity videogame player.' Celebrity Studies, 7 (2). pp. 285-288. ISSN 1939-2397


Illegal deposit: game preservation and/as software piracy
article

Newman, J (2013) 'Illegal deposit: game preservation and/as software piracy.' Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 19 (1). pp. 45-61. ISSN 1354-8565


Ports and patches: digital games as unstable objects
article

Newman, J (2012) 'Ports and patches: digital games as unstable objects.' Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18 (2). pp. 135-142. ISSN 1354-8565


Slow play strategies: digital games walkthroughs and the perpetual upgrade economy
article

Newman, J and Ashton, D (2011) 'Slow play strategies: digital games walkthroughs and the perpetual upgrade economy.' Transformations, 20. ISSN 1444-3775


(Not) playing games: player-produced walkthroughs as archival documents of digital gameplay
article

Newman, J (2011) '(Not) playing games: player-produced walkthroughs as archival documents of digital gameplay.' International Journal of Digital Curation, 6 (2). pp. 109-127. ISSN 1746-8256


In front of the children
article

Newman, J (2010) 'In front of the children.' Archive (17). pp. 20-27.


Relations of control: walkthroughs and the structuring of player agency
article

Newman, J and Ashton, D (2010) 'Relations of control: walkthroughs and the structuring of player agency.' The Fibreculture Journal, 16. ISSN 1449-1443


Save the videogame! The National Videogame Archive: preservation, supersession and obsolescence
article

Newman, J (2009) 'Save the videogame! The National Videogame Archive: preservation, supersession and obsolescence.' M/C Journal, 12 (3).


Playing the system: videogames/players/characters
article

Newman, J (2009) 'Playing the system: videogames/players/characters.' Semiotica, 173. pp. 509-524. ISSN 0037-1998


e-Learning or a-Gimmick? Evaluating the use of rich media in geography fieldwork
article

Newman, J and Jones, R (2008) 'e-Learning or a-Gimmick? Evaluating the use of rich media in geography fieldwork.' Planet (20). pp. 47-50. ISSN 1473-1835


Video games
article

Newman, J (2006) 'Video games.' The New Statesman. ISSN 1364-7431


Playing (with) Videogames
article

Newman, J (2005) 'Playing (with) Videogames.' Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 11 (1). pp. 48-67. ISSN 13548565


In Search of the Videogame Player: the Lives of Mario
article

Newman, J (2002) 'In Search of the Videogame Player: the Lives of Mario.' New Media and Society, 4 (3). pp. 405-422. ISSN 1461-7315


The myth of the ergodic videogame
article

Newman, J (2002) 'The myth of the ergodic videogame.' Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 2 (1). ISSN 1604-7982


The music of microswitches: archiving videogame sound
conference_item

Newman, J (2018) The music of microswitches: archiving videogame sound. In: Ludomusicology 2018, 13 - 15 April 2018, Zentrum für Musikwissenschaft, Leipzig, Germany.


Game over? The past, present and future of videogame preservation
conference_item

Newman, J (2017) Game over? The past, present and future of videogame preservation. In: Professorial Lecture Series 2016-17, 7 June 2017, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK.


Game changer - a conversation with Hisakazu Hirabayashi
conference_item

Newman, J and Hirabayashi, H (2016) Game changer - a conversation with Hisakazu Hirabayashi. In: The Japan Foundation's Game Series, 24 November 2016, Impact Hub King's Cross, London, UK.


Playing (with) Star Wars
conference_item

Newman, J (2016) Playing (with) Star Wars. In: Clash of Realities: 7th International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games, 14 - 16 November 2016, Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln, Cologne, Germany.


Game(play) preservation: preserving games without playing them?
conference_item

Newman, J (2016) Game(play) preservation: preserving games without playing them? In: Clash of Realities: 7th International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games, 14 - 16 November 2016, Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln, Cologne, Germany.


Let videogames die!
conference_item

Newman, J (2016) Let videogames die! In: Game History Symposium: Preserving / Prolonging / Remixing Play, 28 - 30 June 2016, Montreal, Canada.


Ear candy: the SID chip and the birth of chiptunes
conference_item

Newman, J (2016) Ear candy: the SID chip and the birth of chiptunes. In: Ludo2016: Fifth Anniversary Conference on Video Game Music and Sound, 8 - 10 April 2016, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.


Computer games
conference_item

Newman, J (2016) Computer games. In: New Media Gatekeepers: Ecosystems of Access and Denial Symposium, 22 April 2016, Coventry University, Coventry, UK.


Across sectors and platforms: content partnerships, technology advancements and digital distribution
conference_item

Newman, J (2016) Across sectors and platforms: content partnerships, technology advancements and digital distribution. In: Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar: The UK Video Games Industry - Technology, Policy Priorities and New Avenues for Growth, 25 February 2016, Whitehall, London, UK.


Welcome to the Minus World: you'll never leave! Glitch hunting, codemining and the hidden world of Super Mario Bros.
conference_item

Newman, J (2015) Welcome to the Minus World: you'll never leave! Glitch hunting, codemining and the hidden world of Super Mario Bros. In: Replaying Japan 2015, 21-23 May 2015, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan.


Next generation - mobile gaming, 'connected consoles’ and digital distribution
conference_item

Lovell, N, Croft, P, Bennett, S and Newman, J (2014) Next generation - mobile gaming, 'connected consoles’ and digital distribution. In: Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar: The UK Video Games Industry - Innovation, Commercial Opportunities and Next Steps for Policy, 16 October 2014, Royal Aeronautical Society, London, UK.


Preserving videogames: gameplay as cultural heritage
conference_item

Newman, J and Simons, I (2014) Preserving videogames: gameplay as cultural heritage. In: Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Public Seminar Series, 3 June 2014, Daiwa Foundation, London, UK.


Game(play) preservation
conference_item

Newman, J (2013) Game(play) preservation. In: International Conference for Game Preservation, 18 January 2013, Shigureden, Kyoto.


You’re all going to die! Media preservation
conference_item

Newman, J, Lowood, H and Wisdom, S (2012) You’re all going to die! Media preservation. In: GameCity 7, 29 October 2012, Nottingham.


Dead games: the National Videogame Archive and the preservation of play
conference_item

Newman, J (2012) Dead games: the National Videogame Archive and the preservation of play. In: DIGCULT12: Theory, Context and the Internet, 13-14 June 2012, University of Salford, MediaCity.


Preserving and exhibiting digital games
conference_item

Newman, J and Woolley, T (2009) Preserving and exhibiting digital games. In: JISC Digital Media Seminar 2: The Digital Media Collection +100 Years, 16 September 2009, University of Bristol.


Media under the microscope: how popular culture will change the face of science
conference_item

Newman, J (2009) Media under the microscope: how popular culture will change the face of science. In: Doc/Fest, 4-5 November, Sheffield.


Next gen games and gamers
conference_item

Newman, J (2007) Next gen games and gamers. In: Games Marketing Forum, 22 November 2007, London.


Videogames and public engagement
commissioned_report

Newman, J and Simons, I (2010) Videogames and public engagement.


Modern playing
performance

Newman, J, Simons, I and Kim, S (2013) Modern playing. In: EKC 2013 conference in 'EU Korea Conference on Science and Technology: Open Innovation, Science and Technology Closer to Humanity), Brighton, 24-26 July 2013.


Ear candy
other

Newman, J (2006) Ear candy. 360 Magazine (6). pp. 100-105.


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