Fall Game-Related Classes & CVGA Services During the Fall Term

Student learning on laptop

Image attributed to algogenius.

Looking for a video game-related class to take in the Fall? Here are the classes that still have open spots.

AMCULT 204/DIGITAL 258 - Games, Narratives, Cultures (Fall 2020) 
This course explores the ways in which video and board games reflect the cultures that produced them and the various lenses one may use to critique modern games. We will discuss recent games that feature themes of colonialism, capitalism, and how “serious” games can be used to teach players new information or ways of seeing the world through one’s play experience. We will discuss, critique, (and yes, play) various games throughout the semester, and in the final project, students will have the opportunity to create a prototype of a “serious” game that deals with a contemporary problem in their community, occupation, or scholarly discipline.

ARCH/DIGITAL 411 - Becoming Digital (Fall 2020) 
Becoming Digital serves as an introduction to the pressing concerns sparked by the embeddedness of architecture and design in ubiquitous networks of digital technology that have reshaped our surroundings and ourselves. The course teaches students digital literacy - characterized by a broad understanding of how technology works, its inherent biases and ethical implications, and its transformative effect on people's lives - with an emphasis on a more healthful, equitable, and just world. Weekly topics include software, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, virtual reality, games, and 'smart cities'.

COMM 159, sec. 001 - An Introduction to Hackers, Pranksters and Whistleblowers (Fall 2020) 

This course offers a three-part framework for thoughtfully understanding and situating issues and challenges surrounding global “hacktivism”—the subversive use of computers and networks to protect and promote freedom and democracy. In addition to course readings, students will have an opportunity to engage with course concepts through the mediums of movies, novels and games.

DIGITAL 368 - The Internet of Genders: From Geek to Cute and Beyond (Fall 2020) 
This class will examine both representations of gender identity and the lived experiences of gender identity online. During the early history of the Internet, gender play and experimentation were practiced in many ways, from games to seemingly non-fictional self-representations. By using gender as a lens, this course will seek to understand how gender and identity are performed together, whether to play a role or to function in society.

EDUC/MENAS 462 - Web Based Mentorship: Learning Through Character Play (Fall 2020) 

This seminar revolves around Place Out Of Time (POOT), a web-based character-playing simulation involving college, high school, and middle school students. You will have a dual role in the simulation: you will play a character yourself, and you will also act as a project leader and mentor to the younger participants. It is often said that the best way to learn something is to teach it. To that, one might add that the next best way to learn something is to play a game with it. This class tries to combine both of those methods.

EECS 494 - Computer Game Design and Development (Fall 2020) 

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.

ENGLISH 362 - The American Novel (Fall 2020) 
This class will focus on varied experiments with the novel as a form uniquely suited to explore America’s animating myths and ideals. Rather than move chronologically, we’ll work with pairings that emphasize writers’ interests in rethinking the history of their form to register—and even shape—the life of the nation. We’ll also work with other materials—films, visual images, and VR games/environments—that will help us account for the life of the novel in the US.

FTVM 304, sec. 001 - Virtual Reality: Building Immersive Experiences (Fall 2020) 
We will examine VR within the framework of creative media arts, paying particular attention to immersive world-building, spatial storytelling, and interactive real-time experience design. Alongside our production work, we will critically examine an array of VR/immersive works by artists, filmmakers, and critical game designers in order to gain an overview of the historical landscape of the field.

FTVM 368, sec. 001 - The Internet of Genders: From Geek to Cute and Beyond (Fall 2020) 
This class will examine both representations of gender identity and the lived experiences of gender identity online. During the early history of the Internet, gender play and experimentation were practiced in many ways, from games to seemingly non-fictional self-representations. This course takes a media studies approach that is informed by cultural studies, material history, and cultural ethnography.

FTVM 441 sec. 3 - Global Animation History (Fall 2020) 
This course provides a chronological overview of the history of global animation, from nineteenth-century experiments to contemporary expanded animation practices. The course explores topics such as animated realism, animation and performance, experimental animation, anime and its global impact, video games and animation, race, gender, and sexuality in animated media, animation and politics, and animation viewership and fan communities.

PSYCH 401 - Addictive Behaviors (Fall 2020) 
The topic of addiction is often a controversial one. Can you be addicted to chocolate? Porn? Video games? This course will explore: The historical and societal understanding of what is considered addictive, The public health consequences and policy approaches to addiction, The biological, psychological and social mechanisms underlying addiction, The current debates about what is or is not considered addictive (e.g., food), and Treatment for addiction.

SI 301 - Models of Social Information Processing (Fall 2020) 
This course focuses on how social groups form, interact, and change. We look at the technical structures of social networks and explore how individual actions are combined to produce collective effects. This course introduces two conceptual models for how information flows is used in multi-person settings -- networks and games.

CVGA Services During the Fall Semester

The Computer & Video Game Archive will be closed to the public during the Fall semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Individuals needing to use the collection for research use may contact us at video.games@umich.edu to talk about potential options.

Any updates regarding our services can be found in the following places:

We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more detailed updates.

How to Contact Us

Our staff will be working remotely and won't be answering our phone or returning calls, but feel free to reach out to us via email at video.games@umich.edu with questions or requests for remote consultations related to video game studies. We're happy to help.

Remote Services

Our physical collection may be inaccessible at present, but we encourage you to visit the Online Games page on our research guide for ideas on how to play classic games online for free, how to play board games online with your friends, and more.

You can also check out some of our other blog posts for ideas for online resources related to video game studies.

Take Care of Yourself

The gamer community is a tight-knit group, and we're thinking about you during this time of social distancing. We hope you stay safe, and hope you're able to visit us once we're able to reopen to the public. For now, we hope you'll engage with us on social media and let us know how you're doing.