Stefano Gualeni




Institutional affiliation

Institute of Digital Games – University of Malta


Associate Professor

Research interests relevant to game philosophy

My work takes place in the intersection between continental philosophy and the design of virtual worlds. Given the practical and interdisciplinary focus of my research – and depending on the topics and the resources at hand – my output takes the form of academic texts and/or of interactive digital experiences. Being both a philosopher who designs videogames and a game designer who is passionate about philosophy, I study virtual worlds in their role as mediators of thought: as interactive, artificial environments where philosophical ideas, world-views, and thought-experiments can be explored, manipulated, and communicated objectively.

In my 2015 book, Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools (Palgrave), I recognize computers as gateways to experience alternative possibilities of being and as instruments to (re)design ourselves and our culture. My contributions to the edited volumes Experience Machines: Philosophy in Virtual Worlds (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and Towards a Philosophy of Digital Media (Palgrave, 2018), focus on the existential effects and possibilities disclosed by virtual technologies.

Publications and presentations relevant to game philosophy

– Gualeni, S. (2018) “A Philosophy of ‘DOING’ in the digital”. In Romele, A. and Terrone, E. (eds.), Towards a Philosophy of Digital Media, pp. 225-255. Basingstoke (UK): Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

– Westerlaken, M. & Gualeni, S. 2017. 'A DIALOGUE CONCERNING ‘DOING PHILOSOPHY WITH AND WITHIN COMPUTER GAMES’ – or: Twenty rainy minutes in Krakow.' Proceedings of the 2017 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference

– Gualeni, S. 2017. VIRTUAL WELTSCHMERZ – things to keep in mind while building experience machines and other tragic technologies. Book chapter in Silcox, M. (ed.), Experience Machines: The Philosophy of Virtual Worlds. London (UK): Rowman and Littlefield International.

– Gualeni, S. 2016. The Experience Machine: Existential Reflections of Virtual Worlds. Journal of Virtual World Research, Vol. 9, n. 3. ISSN: 1941-8477

– Gualeni, S. 2016. Self-reflexive videogames: observations and corollaries on virtual worlds as philosophical artifacts. G|A|M|E – The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Vol. 1, n. 5. ISSN: 2280-7705

– Westerlaken, M.; Gualeni, S. 2016. Situated Knowledges through Game Design: A Transformative Exercise with Ants. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Computer Games Conference. Valletta, Malta, November 1-4, 2016.

– Gualeni, S. 2015. Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools: How to Philosophize with a Digital Hammer. Basingstoke (UK): Palgrave Macmillan

– Gualeni, S. 2015. 'Self-transformation through Game Design'. Paper presented at the 2015 Philosophy of Computer Games conference, held at the BTK University of Art and Design of Berlin, Germany, October 14-17, 2015.

– Gualeni, S. 2015. Playing with Puzzling Philosophical Problems. Book chapter in Zagalo, N. and Branco, P. (eds.), Creativity in the Digital Age. Part of the Springer Series on Cultural Computing. XIV. 59-74. London (UK): Springer-Verlag.

– Gualeni, S. The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference 2014, 'Freer Than We Think: Game Design as a Liberation Practice', The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference. Bilgi University of Istanbul, Turkey, November 13-16, 2014.

– Gualeni, S. 2014, "Augmented Ontologies; or, How to Philosophize with a Digital Hammer", Springer's Philosophy of Technology, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 177-199.

– Westerlaken, M. & Gualeni, S. The Philosophy of Computer Games 2014, 'Felino: The Philosophical Practice of Making an Interspecies Video Game', The Philosophy of Computer Games. Bilgi University of Istanbul, Turkey, November 13-16, 2014.

– Gualeni, S. 2011 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, 'What is it Like to Be a (Digital) Bat?', Proceedings of the 2011 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference.


Philosophy of Technology, Heidegger, Existentialism, Virtual Worlds research, Game Design


Stefano Gualeni


Game Design, Philosophy of Technology, Existentialism, Virtual Worlds Research