Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Description

An historical examination and analysis of the evolution and development of games and game mechanics. Topics include a large breadth of genres and types of games, including sports, game shows, games of chance, schoolyard games, board games, role playing games, and digital games. Students submit essays documenting research and analysis of a variety of traditional and eclectic games. Project teams required to design, develop, and thoroughly test their original games.

This class aims to give students the tools, references, and historical context to analyze and compare game designs across a variety of different genres. Along with texts, this class will also have students design and modify games in teams to shed light on the interaction and evolution of game rules. Please note that digital games will only be one of the many genres examined in this class.

Class Requirements

The grade of the course will be determined by:

Participation and in-class preparedness 15%
First individual essay 10%
Second individual essay 25%
Two team projects (25% each) 50%


Extensions will only be granted if students request them at least one week in advance.

Regular attendance is required — we may not consider grading your exercises if you miss 10% of sessions without justification.

Required Readings

The textbook for this class will be:

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Salen, K., and E. Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780262240451.