Game Studies Classes for the Summer and Fall Terms

Person playing Pac-Man

Photo by Ryan Quick

The University of Michigan is offering a rich variety of game-related courses during the Summer and Fall 2021 terms, so we thought we'd highlight them here as well as on our research guide as you're choosing courses.  If you're looking for ideas on how to play games online, we'd recommend taking a look at the Online Games page on our research guide.

COMM 404, section 202 - Video Games, Communication, and Culture (Summer 2021)
This course introduces the communicative and cultural dimensions of video games as a form of popular culture and entertainment. We will cover game history, the game industries, video game cultures, representation in games, and representations of gaming in order to better understand how video games constitute a major mode of communication and culture in the present moment.

AMCULT 204, section 004 - Games, Narratives, Cultures (Fall 2021)
In this course, we will play, watch, and analyze a number of video games and board games that will pique your curiosity, pull on your heartstrings, and make you question the boundaries of what a “game” even is! Whether you’re a top-ranked Apex Legends competitor or the only game you’ve ever played is Candy Crush Saga on your phone, this course is a great fit for anyone who is curious about the role games play in our lives.

AMCULT 355 - Modern Board Games and Crowdfunding (Fall 2021)
In this course, we will explore how the design of modern board games differs from the classic family games with which many of us grew up (Monopoly, Risk, etc.), as well as the role that technical writing performs in facilitating this unique form of play. In small design groups, students will create their own unique board game prototype, perform playtesting data collection and analysis as part of an iterative design process, and produce multimedia materials to pitch their game on a draft Kickstarter page.

ARCH 411 - Becoming Digital (Fall 2021)
This 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'.

ARTDES 178 - Animation for non-Majors (Fall 2021)
Animation as an art form has become increasingly prominent in such fields as film and video special effects, games, identity branding, scientific visualization, virtual reality training, and courtroom presentations. This course is designed for students in any major who desire to improve their sense of observation, timing, and motion through the process of making animations.

COMM 307, section 001 - Communicating Science, Health and Environment (Fall 2021)
From advertisements to individual conversations with doctors, from academic journals to comics to video games, from lab notes to Instagram to TikTok, communication plays a fundamental role. This course is devoted to developing an understanding of the prevalence, challenges, significance, and applications of communication in science, health, and environment.

COMM 490, section 004 - How to Study Popular Culture (Fall 2021)
From television and film to comics and video games to music, apps, and websites, popular culture includes many formats and genres; everyone has a favorite. But what is the difference between liking (or disliking) a piece of popular culture and studying it? This course is a survey of theories, methods, and sites used in the scholarly analysis of popular culture objects and texts.

DIGITAL 333 - Video Games and Learning (Fall 2021)
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.

DIGITAL/FTVM 368, section 001 - The Internet of Identities (Fall 2021)
In this seminar-style course, we will endeavor to understand how Internet users and cultures express, represent, and gives us an opportunity to consider how identities are made. Two key questions will guide us: How are online selves worn and performed? How do social forces like platforms and communities shape our understanding of online identities?

DIGITAL/FTVM 394 - Intro to Virtual Reality (Fall 2021)
This studio production course introduces students to the technical and conceptual foundations of Virtual Reality and immersive media production. We will examine VR within the framework of creative media arts and 3D animation, paying particular attention to the fundamentals of immersive world-building using the Unity3D engine. 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.

EDUC/MENAS 462 - Web Based Mentorship: Learning Through Character Play (Fall 2021)
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.

EDUC 602 - Videogames, Learning and School Design (Fall 2021)
Introduces students to the theory and practice of simulation, metaphorical, and literal games; provides extensive exposure to gaming used as a vehicle of instruction in various parts of school curricula; provides opportunities to design games for classroom use, with some attention to problems of evaluation.

EECS 494 - Computer Game Design and Development (Fall 2021)
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 124 - section 002 - Literature and the Arts (Fall 2021)
In this section of English 124, we will examine literature through the lens of the arts (broadly conceived as painting, sculpture, photography, music, film, dance, design, websites, games, and other media and entertainment).

ENGLISH 340 - section 002 - Poetry Moves Off the Page (Fall 2021)
Starting with the printed page itself—artist’s books, stitched books, hand-erased works—we’ll chart a novel history of experimental poetry that has located its object somewhere between page and screen, material and immaterial. We’ll also watch films and play games to see how experiments in other mediums can influence the forms and structures of poetry.

FTVM 150 - Introduction to Film, Television, and Media (Fall 2021)
FTVM 150 is designed to enhance your critical literacy in film, television, and digital media, and your ability to create well-supported analyses and arguments about media and other cultural forms.

FTVM 441 - section 001 - Global Media (Fall 2021)
In this course, we will critically examine the role that film, television, video games, and other media play in shaping our sense of global, national, and local cultures and identities.

RCCORE 100 - section 002 - Representing Islam (Fall 2021)
In this first-year seminar, which satisfies the First-Year Writing Requirement, we will examine representations of Islam by Muslims and individuals from the Islamic world across diverse forms of contemporary cultural expression and consider the impact that more diverse representation can have on a local and global scale.

SI 301 - Models of Social Information Processing (Fall 2021)
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.

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