Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Lab: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of videogames as texts through an examination of their cultural, educational, and social functions in contemporary settings. Students will play and analyze videogames while reading current research and theory from a variety of sources in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and industry. The course requires regular reading, writing, and presentation exercises. It is open to students from all disciplines and levels of experience. Students taking the graduate version will complete additional assignments.
The goal of the course is to foster critical thinking with respect to videogames and their context. Through the discussion of a variety of theoretical approaches, in the context of a variety of videogames, students will gain insight on the properties and potential of the medium and its socio-cultural implications. Another goal is to expose students to games that they may not be familiar with, to extend and challenge their perceptions of what videogames are. The lecture sessions will be devoted to discussion of the assigned readings; the lab sessions will be dedicated to communal game playing and presentations.
Requirements and Grading
The grading for this course is based on discussion of basic concepts, analysis, class participation, presentations and written assignments. Students will be expected to read the corresponding articles and book chapters and play games in preparation for class discussions.
|Class participation and in-class preparedness||15|
|Written Assignment 1||10|
|Written Assignment 2||15|
|Written Assignment 3||30|
There will be a series of assignments that make up 85% of the grade. Please see the Assignments page to learn more about them.
Attendance and Extensions Policy
Regular and timely attendance is required to pass the course—not only does it affect the class participation grade, but the assignments also address issues that will be discussed in class. More than three unjustified absences will result in one letter grade less in the final grade.
Assignments are due on specific dates; extensions will only be granted if requested one week in advance. Late assignments will be discounted a 10% of the total grade. This discount can be the difference between a B and a C; the deadline should not be taken lightly. Assignments submitted 3 days after the deadline without having required an extension will receive an F.
|WEEK #||SES #||TOPICS||LAB||KEY DATES|
|1||Introduction to the Course|
|3||3||Defining Games (cont.)||PLAYGROUND GAMES|
|4||Games as Digital Media|
|4||5||Games as Cybertexts||Early Videogames||Written Assignment 1 due|
|6||The Social Contract of Games|
|5||7||Cheating||Introduction to Game Analysis|
|8||Player Experience: Agency|
|6||9||Games as Narrative||Written Assignment 2 due|
|7||10||Player Experience: Immersion||Interfaces and Immersion|
|11||Types of Players|
|8||12||Hardcore vs Casual Players||Mid-term Exam|
|9||14||Representation||Home Computer Games Review|
|15||Games as Systems|
|10||16||Fictional Worlds||Group Presentations|
|17||Games as Simulations|
|11||18||Game Spaces||Game Spaces|
|19||Games as Performance|
|12||20||Value Systems||Serious Games|
|13||21||Game Aesthetics||La Mulana: Background and Influences|
|22||Criticism and Journalism|
|14||23||Game Culture: Communities||Guest Lecture|
|24||Game Culture: Violence||Written Assignment 3 due|