There’s a lot of amazing scholarship about games. New ideas, fascinating perspectives, important principles: they’re all out there, in the DiGRA library, in Game Studies, even in good old-fashioned print.
What’s more, this isn’t ivory-tower material. It’s relevant to the day-to-day work of game designers. Thoroughgoing studies of the nature of play help us find new ways to bring fun into games; in-depth discussions of Orientalism in games help us see how everything from art to level design can play into stereotypes. Scholarship informs our processes, and by doing so aids in improving them.
It’s worth tracking down the major works in game studies, and it’s further worth keeping up with the field. The theoretical work in this area is both interesting in its own right and valuable in application.