Stefano Gualeni




Institutional affiliation

Institute of Digital Games – University of Malta


Senior Lecturer

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 – his 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.

My book, 'Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools' (Palgrave, 2015), recognizes computers as instruments to (re)design ourselves and our worlds, as gateways to experience alternative possibilities of being. Put somewhat more simply, he recognizes virtual worlds as the contexts where a new, projectual humanism has already begun to arise.

Publications and presentations relevant to game philosophy

– 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, Animal Computer Interaction, Heidegger, Plessner, Foucault, Technologies of the self, Digital Hammer, Hammer, Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools


Stefano Gualeni


Architecture, Game Design, Philosophy of Technology, Existentialism