‘Game’ Changer: IYA Alum Turned PhD Student Explores the Influence of Video Games

IYA alum, Amanda Curtis, on a bridge overlooking a river.

From the bygone era of Pong and Atari to Grand Theft Auto and The Sims, video games have captivated players of all ages all over the world for decades. The growing gaming industry represents a collective phenomenon that, according to 2020 data, has surpassed the profit of movies and music combined. If over 2 billion individuals across the globe are regular gamers, what influence does that have on peoples’ minds and society overall? Amanda Curtis is driven to uncover these effects. A USC Iovine and Young Academy alumnus currently earning her Doctor of Philosophy at University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, her research concentrates on gaming’s imprint, from the way we think to how we make meaning in our lives. 

“It’s no longer a niche thing. We’re doing this as part of our daily lives,” Curtis says of gaming. “What impact does that have on how we see the world and how we interpret and sort of think about ourselves and the people around us?” 

Curtis explores these questions from practice-based sociological, psychological, and educational perspectives. At the Internet Institute, she works as a qualitative researcher, frequently interviewing people about how they interact with video games. 

Read more about Amanda’s story