Game Poems is a new book about making videogames as lyric poetry.

The book is open access, peer reviewed, and published by Amherst College Press. It was written for scholars, artists, poets, game designers, game players, and anyone interested in unusual perspectives on videogames!

How would you like to read? (All FREE except paperback)

Or if you are too busy currently: I can remind you about the book in one month.


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


About the Book

From the publisher: Scholars, critics, and creators describe certain videogames as being “poetic,” yet what that means or why it matters is rarely discussed. In Game Poems: Videogame Design as Lyric Practice, independent game designer Jordan Magnuson explores the convergences between game making and lyric poetry and makes the surprising proposition that videogames can operate as a kind of poetry apart from any reliance on linguistic signs or symbols.

This rigorous and accessible short book first examines characteristics of lyric poetry and explores how certain videogames can be appreciated more fully when read in light of the lyric tradition—that is, when read as “game poems.” Magnuson then lays groundwork for those wishing to make game poems in practice, providing practical tips and pointers along with tools and resources. Rather than propose a monolithic framework or draw a sharp line between videogame poems and poets and their nonpoetic counterparts, Game Poems brings to light new insights for videogames and for poetry by promoting creative dialogue between disparate fields. The result is a lively account of poetic game-making praxis.

About the Author

From the publisher: Jordan Magnuson is an independent game designer and new media scholar whose games explore subjective experiences, difficult topics, and complex emotions. His work has been featured by Wired, PC Gamer, Le Monde, and others, shown at festivals and exhibits around the world, and nominated for awards like the New Media Writing Prize and the IndieCade Grand Jury Award.

You can learn more about Jordan and his games at


“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


Book Tour and Speaking Availability

As part of the Game Poems book launch, I will be giving a series of talks at universities, art spaces, and other venues around the United States during the 2023/2024 academic year. 

If you would be interested in having me speak at your location, please reach out to me via email or on X! I travel frequently, love talking about videogames and poetry, and often have some amount of flexibility in my schedule. International locations may be workable depending on various factors, and remote talks are also a possibility.

If you are an educator who might be interested in using the book in a classroom setting, please get in touch. I'd love to know how the book is being used, and am happy to assist in any ways that I can. With a bit of advance notice I may be able to give a guest lecture or lead a workshop over Zoom.

Help Support Independent, Open Access Scholarship

Game Poems is a work of independent, open access scholarship made available for free for others to access, remix, and build on. As such, it does not have the benefit of a large marketing or promotional budget. If you value independent scholarship and open access publishing please consider helping me spread the word about the book by:

When posting about the book online, if possible please include a link to the book's citable DOI page, which is how the publisher tracks interest: