CMS.300 | Fall 2011 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Videogame Studies


Written Assignment 2

The core assignments of the course require demonstrating that you can analyze a videogame (or group of videogames) in the light of the theories covered in class, providing insight about the game or games which you are focusing on. Assignment 2 is a first approach to the game, where you have to introduce what makes the game worth of your study, what sets it apart, why they are worth studying. In Assignment 3, you have to expand the previous assignment, analyze the game in depth, and provide insight on it.

Assignment 2 Requirements

The goal of assignment 2 is to provide context to why the game stands out, what is it that makes it worth of study. In this essay, you’ll identify what areas of the game are salient—it can be an area we have covered, or a forthcoming one. Look at the syllabus for a list of topics that will be discussed in class. Consult with the instructor if you don’t know what discussion would be the most productive with respect to a game or games. If your analysis is comparative, outline what the points of comparison are.

This initial game analysis has to argue persuasively what makes the game relevant to study. Include a brief contextual overview, which should help situate the game as well as support your main argument. For example, if you were talking about how Zork constructs storytelling through the space and its descriptions, rather than providing a strong story during the player’s gameplay, it would be important to highlight when the game was made, and the influence of Adventure, Dungeons and Dragons, and MIT culture in order to understand how the game pioneered environmental storytelling in games.

You must have started playing the game, to start providing some concrete examples of what you want to talk about. You’ll evaluate and expand on those arguments after you finish the game for assignment 3.

Your analysis should be between 1200–1500 words, double spaced in 12 point standard fonts (Times, Arial, etc.), and submitted in one of the following standard formats: .doc, .pdf or .rtf.

The grade of the assignment is broken down as follows:

  • Relevance (20%) - Providing a thesis statement which aims at generating insight on the game, and expanding on it. Superfluous retellings of plot, mere context descriptions, or disconnected pieces of data on the game usually indicate that you’re not analyzing the game but just rambling about it.
  • Organization (20%) - Your assignment should be well structured. Again, having an introductory paragraph and thesis statement and a conclusion are basic expectations in an assignment of this sort.
  • Discussion (20%) - How well you construct and support the argument that you want to make about the game. This usually entails (among other things): defining your terms (particularly when you’re borrowing them from the readings), including specific examples from the game(s), using the theories covered in class as support or contrast to your argument, and using counter-arguments to strengthen your discussion.
  • Clarity (20%) - How well you write your paper. Be concise and intelligible, with proper grammar and spelling. Please proofread your paper before handing it in.
  • References (20%) - Include your references at the end, including in-text citations. Use whichever citation format you prefer, just make it possible for your reader to find your sources. Include the URLs of webpages you may cite. The references must also include the game(s) you talk about, following the following model: Developer, Game Title. Publisher, Platform (Year).

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2011
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments