Ryan Banfi

PhD Candidate

Cinema Studies PhD candidate Ryan Banfi


Title: Pinball: Game, Gambling, Media, and Culture

Supervisor: Dana Polan

Drawing on ludology, gambling theory, narratology, and reception studies, my dissertation investigates pinball’s past by tracking and analyzing the game’s stages in the context of U.S. history.


Ryan Banfi is a PhD Candidate in Cinema Studies at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He is a Corrigan Fellow at NYU, and he is a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar. Ryan holds a BA from the Claremont Colleges in Literature and Media Studies, a MA in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Southern California, and a MPhil from NYU in Cinema Studies. He has been published in New Review of Film and Television Studies, Games and Culture, Game Studies, Flow Online Journal, Studies in European Cinema, and In Media Res. Ryan will be teaching video game studies courses at Emerson College in Fall 2023 and at NYU in Spring 2024. His research interests include game studies, television studies, James Bond, and American cinema.

Selected Publications:

“Guilty of Being a Dwarf: Peter Dinklage and American Fantasy Television.” New Review of Film and Television Studies. (To be published in Spring 2024).

“‘Authentic’ Cityscapes and Violence in The Last of Us Part II.” (2022). Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture 7(3).

“Ellie’s Journal: Para-Narratives in The Last of Us Part II.” (2022). Game Studies, 22(3)

“Toward a Study of Pinball.” (2022). Games and Culture, vol. 17, no. 7-8, 931–953.

“Unplayable: Why Games Can’t and Won’t be Played.” (2022). Making Sense of Games. April 14th

Ryan's ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ryan-Banfi