Fall Classes Involving Video Games

Still trying to figure out your Fall class schedule? We may not have a fully devoted video games studies program at present, but there are a number of classes available to study video games this Fall. Try one of them to round out your schedule! Use the links below to see a full class description of each class listed here.

AMCULT/COMM/SAC 334: Race, U.S. Culture and Digital Games
This course will avoid categorizing games as having positive or negative social effects, instead focusing on how race and gender have been expressed in a variety of types and styles of video games; how video games function as a window into U.S. cultural politics and aesthetic forms. We will look at the history, theory, and practice of video games in the U.S. with particular attention to racial stereotyping, user demographics, racial conflict in shared world and social games.
Course professor: Lisa Nakamura

COMM 365 - Visual Culture and Visual Literacy
This course examines contemporary media, imaging technologies, and viewing practices through the lens of visual culture studies. A wide range of media including television, film, photography, graphic design, advertising, video games, virtual reality, computer interfaces, and websites will be critically analyzed using approaches that draw from semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminist theory, and cultural studies.
Course professor: Megan Ankerson

COMM 404: Special Topics in Mass Media & Mass Communication
Through analysis of media directed at men, such as Westerns, action movies, and first-person shooting video games, as well as representations of men in media that don’t target them, such as romantic comedies, this class will explore how media and masculinities interact and mutually constitute each other. We will also address masculinity as an intersectional concept, paying attention to the varying forms of masculinity available across race, sexuality, and other identity markers.
Course professor: Amanda Cote

COMPLIT 122 - Writing World Literatures
In this course we will take for our primary sources world literature and cinema, mapping and interrogating the role influence plays in their creation. Writing assignments will encourage students to explore how the idea of influence pertains to the artistic media that they find most consumes their interest. This can include, but is certainly not limited to: literature, film, painting, dance, music, video games, etc.
Course professor: David Martin

EDUC 333 - Video Games and Learning
Why are videogames fun? The answer isn't as obvious as you might think. Good games draw you in, teach you how to succeed, and keep you engaged with a "just right" level of challenge. Most importantly, players *learn* while playing a well-designed game. Why isn't school like that? This class takes a hard look at videogames, a hard look at education, and considers ways that each can be improved to maximize learning.
Course professor: Christopher Lee Quintana

EECS 494 - Computer Game Design & Development
Concepts and methods for the design and development of computer games. Topics include: history of games, 2D graphics and animation, sprites, 3D animation, binary space partition trees, software engineering, game design, interactive fiction, user interfaces, artificial intelligence, game SDK’s, networking, multi-player games, game development environments, commercialization of software.
Course professor: Austin David Yarger

ENGLISH 125 - Writing and Academic Inquiry
We all have aspects of culture to which we are enthusiastically devoted: shows we marathon watch, video games we play a dozen times through, sports teams we ardently cheer for every season, celebrities we follow faithfully. In this class, we will be exploring writing and academic inquiry through critical engagement with fan cultures. We’ll investigate what particular literacy skills and expertise fan practices require, how to critically analyze objects of our fandom, how fandom operates as a constellation of rhetorical sites, and how to engage with fandom through academic research.
Course Professor: Livia A. Woods, Michael J. Hoffman

ENGLISH 314: Gender and Sexuality Studies in Literature
Contemporary culture isn't sure how to deal with trans people. Are trans people threats to society? Postmodern gender-hackers? Something in between? Just as unstable as the concept of gender, it seems, is the idea of “literature”: do novels cause moral corruption, or ethical empathy? Should students in the United States all read The Great Gatsby, or is lesbian graphic novel Fun Home an acceptable substitute? For that matter, do comic books count as literature? What about video games?
Course professor: Cassius Adair

HISTORY 195 sec. 002: Simulation, Sex(ism), and Violence: What's the Matter with Video Games?
This course will develop student writing and thinking about the ways that video games represent the world. It is not a history of video games, but rather a writing course that will stimulate critical analysis of how historical and present-day social identities (race, gender, sexuality, etc) are brought out in certain video games, and how these representations may have effects beyond the game. 
Course professor: Adam Johnson

HISTORY 197 sec.001: Samurai and their Women in War and Peace
Samurai are popular figures in manga, stories, films, anime, and games... In order to appreciate the complex history of real and imaginary samurai, we will view films, read war tales, examine documentary sources in translation, and study scholars’ and philosophers’ interpretations of historical developments. 
Course professor: Hitomi Tonomura

HONORS 135 sec. 006: The Politics of Dystopia: From 1984 to the Hunger Games
From young adult series such as The Hunger Games and Divergent to popular television shows like Westworld and Black Mirror to video game series like Fallout, dystopia is arguably more popular than ever. This course will focus on two central questions that arise from this phenomenon – first, why is the genre so popular in the current political climate? Second, how has the genre evolved or stayed the same since the middle of the 20th century?
Course professor: Brett Graham

HONORS 240: The Games We Play
Games — real and metaphorical, formal and informal — are everywhere where humans are: Games are a metaphor for politics, romance, and much in between. There are children's games, war games, and the Olympic Games. In the world of fiction, there are games of thrones and hunger games. People watch and play football; others play it on their XBox and Playstation consoles. Some games seem to have a gender, while some gamers want to exclude one gender from their world. Language is a game. There’s the game of life, and college is an important part of it. This Honors Core course introduces students to the social sciences through the concept of games.
Course professor: Mika LaVaque-Manty

SAC 368 - Topics in Digital Media Studies Section 001: Mobile Media Cultures
This class develops a deeper understanding and critique of mobile media cultures by investigating how mobility is defined and represented in the contemporary moment, and how it has changed over time. We’ll focus on themes of mobility, tactility and haptics, visuality, sound, and ubiquity.
Course professor: Sarah Murray

SI 301: Models of Social Information Processing
This course focuses on how social groups form, interact, and change. This course introduces two conceptual models, networks and games, for how information flows and is used in multi-person settings. Game representations describe, in situations of interdependence, the actions available to different people and how each person’s outcomes are contingent on the choices of other people.
Course professor: Daniel M. Romero