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Videogame Theory and Analysis (Fall 2007)

by 1
  • 1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This course will serve as an introduction to the interdisciplinary academic study of videogames, examining their cultural, educational, and social functions in contemporary settings.

Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the interdisciplinary academic study of videogames, examining their cultural, educational, and social functions in contemporary settings. By playing, analyzing, and reading and writing about videogames, we will examine debates surrounding how they function within socially situated contexts in order to better understand games' influence on and reflections of society. Readings will include contemporary videogame theory and the completion of a contemporary commercial videogame chosen in consultation with the instructor.

Writing, reading, and playing will be heavy, but students will also be required to present game analyses at each class meeting, providing other students with the opportunity to observe a wide variety of game genres, play styles, and designed rule systems. By examining games together in class, we will discuss how various theories of game design and play are applied to games as texts. Students will be invited to present out-of-game learning and literacy activities as data that show how games are used and played in their organic settings; we will study the implications of these data as well.

While this course serves as an introduction to the emerging field of game studies, students are free to bring their own disciplinary expertise to the classroom setting. Perspectives from computer science, architecture, media studies, literature, engineering, physics, etc. are all welcome and will add a healthy intellectual rigor to the course. Likewise, students without experience playing or observing videogames are highly encouraged to enroll, as their perspectives and points of view help others see what they're missing, so to speak.

Note: Though the course subject matter is videogame theory and analysis, we will not be producing games in this class. Instead, we will analyze games as interactive media, as rule-based systems, as cultural and social texts, and as designed learning spaces. We will concentrate heavily on games' potential impact on society, their cultural influence, and their phenomenology and ontology. Students will not be expected to create, design, or produce games or simulations for this course.

Course Goals

  • To introduce students to the emerging field of videogame studies and its foundational academic research and publications.
  • To explore videogames' impact as contemporary cultural texts, each with their own social communities and significance as media.
  • To connect and compare videogames to other contemporary digital (and nondigital) media.
  • To be introduced to a variety of games-related careers and studies through discussions with professionals working in videogames and interactive media.

Videogames

Theory

Analysis

Publisher:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

{
  • author = {Alice Robison},
  • title = {Videogame Theory and Analysis (Fall 2007)},
  • publisher = {Massachusetts Institute of Technology},
}
Alice Robison Videogame Theory and Analysis (Fall 2007) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
goals game goals
rules gameplay rules
Cognitive, intellectual and knowledge skills Information and communication technology skills
Personal skills Design, preparation, anticipation, collaboration, hypothesis and assembly of simulations
Awareness skills Social awareness skills

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