The Imitation Game: Artificial Intelligence in Analogue and Digital Games

Funded PhD Scholarship


North West Collaborative Doctoral Training PartnershipT‌he Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Met, in collaboration with the AHRC NWCDTP National Productivity Investment Fund, has three doctoral awards in Artificial Intelligence and Data Driven Research in the Arts and Humanities. We're advertising projects on:

The Imitation Game: Artificial Intelligence in Analogue and Digital Games

Taking its title from Alan Turing’s ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, this project approaches Artificial Intelligence (AI) from the perspective of the analogue (non-digital), taking instances of AI in analogue games as a point of entry into understanding the issues relating to the everyday dialogues between the human and the mechanical.

Responding to an analogue turn within the games industry, this PhD studentship is designed to initiate new research into AI as it takes an analogue form within contemporary table top games (e.g., board, card and roleplaying games). In order to examine the differing behavioural, experiential, and design aspects as they relate to the materiality of AI across a wide range of often intersecting platforms, the research on analogue AI will take place alongside an investigation of AI in digital games. In this regard, the student will have the opportunity to work with industry experts in both digital and analogue gaming from Sony Interactive Entertainment and Steamforged Games Ltd.

Aims and objectives

While candidates are encouraged to develop and pursue their own lines of critical enquiry, the supervisory team is keen to support research around one or more of the following questions:

Candidates should describe their proposed research project in detail on the application form, indicating its academic aims and objectives in relation to the one or more of the research questions above.

Studying at Manchester Met

You will be joining a lively research community within our Faculty of Arts and Humanities. You will be a member of the Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC) which offers a three-year training and research programme for the next generation of leaders in research, design and development. You will have the opportunity to work with industry partners and a multidisciplinary cross-Faculty supervisory team to support your research.

Specific requirements of the project

The successful candidate will be working on games and with members of the games industry and as such a knowledge of, and interest in, analogue and digital games is essential. While the specifics of the project will vary, we expect that candidates will have an understanding of literary/narrative theory, Artificial Intelligence, and games theory/design. Depending on the specifics of the project, experience of conducting qualitative research might also be required. Candidates will be expected to work alongside industry partners, thus experience of partnership working and relationship building is also critical. The project will involve some travel around Manchester and some occasional national travel for conferences and meetings.

Academic eligibility

Candidates must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second class level, from a UK academic institution and a Masters level qualification in a subject relevant to the research area.

Residential eligibility

Candidates must have a relevant connection with the UK in order to qualify for a full award. This includes candidates who have been ordinarily resident in the UK throughout the 3-year period preceding the date of application and resident for this 3-year period for reasons other than education. Candidates from EU countries other than the UK are eligible for full awards maintenance and tuition fees if they have been resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of their programme. Candidates from EU countries who have not resided in the UK for three years prior to the start of their programme will be eligible for a fees-only award. 


To apply, click the 'Apply online' button below. Please ensure you complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application.


Informal enquiries can be made to:

Dr Paul Wake, email:

How to Apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online

Please quote the reference: ArtsHum-MSARC-NPIF-2018-1.

Please complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application. This collects important information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Before you apply, we recommend that you:

Next Stages of Your Application

We will contact you to let you know the initial outcome of your application, and invite you to attend an interview where appropriate.

Once the university is satisfied with the following, we will send you an offer letter informing you that you have been offered a place of study:

Some offers may be conditional upon achieving certain grades in your examinations, or successfully completing a particular programme. You must satisfy these conditions before we can confirm your unconditional place.

Closing date

6 July 2018


Mid-late July 2018

Research Study