Peter McDonald


Research Interests: 

20th and 21st century American literature; media theory; game studies; leisure studies; 20th century avant-gardes; heremeneutics; feminist theory.


  • "The Impossible Reversal: George Brecht's Playfulness in Deck" Analog Game Studies 4.4 (2017): NP
  • “For Every to There is a fro: Interpreting Time, Rhythm, and Gesture in Play.” Games and Culture 9.6 (2014): 480-490.
  • “On Couches and Controllers: Identification in the Video Game Apparatus.” Ctrl-Alt-Play: Essays on Control in Video Gaming. ed. Matthew Wysocki. Jefferson, NC: Mcfarland, 2013. 108-120.
  • “Playing Attention: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Game Mechanics in Ico.” Loading... 6.9 (2012): 36-52.
  • with Christina Lupton. “Reflexivity as Entertainment: Early Novels and Recent Video Games.” Mosaic 43.4 (2010): 157-173.


Peter McDonald works on the hermeneutics and aesthetics of playfulness across the latter half of the 20th century, ranging from the avant-garde art games of Fluxus and Happenings, to mass market video games. Peter brings interdisciplinary theories of play, especially those of postmodern literary criticism, to bear on the development of new leisure activities and ideologies. In addition to his research, Peter continues to build games for educational purposes, most recently as a fellow at the Game Changer Chicago design lab. He received his MA from Simon Fraser University and his BA from the University of British Columbia.

Teaching Experience: 

Instructor at the University of Chicago: Nonsense Literature
Course assistant at the University of Chicago: Introduction to Drama, New and Emerging Genres, Theories of Gender and Sexuality.
Instructor at Okanagan College: University Writing, House of the Short Story
Teaching assistant at Simon Fraser University: Literature of Rock and Roll, Prose Genres: Everybody's Autobiography, Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature, Nuclear Literature