Ryan Banfi

PhD Candidate

Cinema Studies PhD candidate Ryan Banfi


Title: American Pinball: Game, Gambling, Licensing, and Community

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 The Martin Scorsese 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 (forthcoming), The International Journal of James Bond Studies (forthcoming), Television & New Media, Games and Culture, Game Studies, Mediapolis, Flow Online Journal, Studies in European Cinema, and In Media Res. Ryan is on the editorial board of Games and Culture.

Selected Publications:

"Disco Pinball: Declining Games and Depression in Disco Elysium." (2024.) Games and Culture.

Unplayable: Why Video Games Can’t and Won’t be Played.” (2024.) Television & New Media.

"Genesis in Lincoln, MA: The Creation of Bill and Frank in 'Long, Long Time'” in Theology and The Last of Us: Violence, Ethics, Redemption? (To be published in Rowman & Littlefield Press, June 2024).

“Pinball Playfields: Maps of Play” in Navigating Imaginary Worlds: Wayfinding and Subcreation. Edited by Mark J. P. Wolf. Routledge. (Spring, 2025).

"Becoming Bond: The Player’s Perspective in 007 Electronic Games." The International Journal of James Bond Studies. (To be published May 2024). https://jamesbondstudies.ac.uk/

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

"Gaming I, II, and III: Arcades, Video Game Systems, and Modern Game Streaming Services." (2023). Games and Culture.

“‘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