ENGL378E - Special Topics in English; Videogames and Game Studies
Some have called videogames “the art form of the 21st century”; others have denied that they could ever be art at all. Whatever one's view on their aesthetic possibilities, though, videogames have become ubiquitous, filling our spare moments, providing new and alternate identities, and sparking cultural divides. This course surveys and studies the medium of the videogame, with an emphasis on developing skills in critical and cultural analysis as well as rudimentary game design. This inquiry stretches from the beginnings of the genre in analog (board or card) games and pinball, through the era of early computing and cartridge-based consoles, through to the highly sophisticated always-online formats of the present day.
No prior technical knowledge or coding experience is assumed or required. Access to a Mac or PC laptop is strongly recommended though, as is access to a smartphone or tablet capable of getting on the Mac or Android App Store; however, as many game texts as possible will be made available through a library or lab computer. Assignments will include one analog and several digital games, recorded commentary on a gaming session, one essay on gaming cultures, one essay reflecting a semester’s worth of engagement with one longer game, and regular entries into a play log.