Winter Classes Involving Video Games

Still trying to figure out your Winter 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 next term. Try one of them to round out your schedule! Use the links below to see a full class description of each class listed.

AMCULT 202 - Digital Culture
This course will examine how digital technologies and practices have shaped contemporary culture and cultural production. During the past 50 years we have witnessed a dramatic change in how culture operates in terms of its making, its distribution, as well as its reception. In the course we will investigate the workings of digital culture by engaging in a wide range of media texts: video, audio, software, and readings. Our work will be to understand the contemporary digital milieu by relating theory and historical context to recent examples of digital cultural production. Topics we will study include: video games and several others.
Course professor: John Cheney

AMCULT/SI 410 - Ethics and Information Technology
Ethics and Information Technology concerns the ethical dilemmas that exist where human beings, information objects, and social computing technologies interact. Initial examples of issues that the course covers in discrete modules include interpersonal engagement through online games and virtual environments, and the integrity of digital content in a networked world.
Course professor: Paul Conway

COMM 404: Video Games: Culture & Identity
This course offers a broad introduction to various areas of game studies, from gender and race representations to globalization and industrial labor, and provides students with the opportunity to explore their particular interests in greater depth with their final projects. No prior knowledge of gaming required! The course will begin with a brief history of games and major theories in game studies to give students the necessary background for critical analysis.
Course professor: Amanda Cote

COMM 404: War & Popular Culture
We will compare presentations of different wars, such as World War II and the Vietnam War, discuss narratives around pacifism, and critically assess the role of perspective in instances where a viewer or video game player directly takes on the identity of a soldier. Through these and other topics, students will work towards a greater understanding of the relationship between fictional media and real-life questions about war and foreign affairs, including how and why film and video games are seen as a critical part of the overall American military-industrial complex.
Professor: Amanda Cote

COMM 469 - Play and Technology
This capstone seminar investigates competing social scientific and philosophical theories of play, the structure of games, and the consequences of technologically mediated play for both children and adults. It is organized around competing theoretical understandings of play and is illustrated with examples from computer games.
Course professor: Christian Sandvig

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: Barry Fishman

EDUC/MENAS 462 - Web Based Mentorship: Place Out of Time
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. The idea is to help the students to construct a bridge between historical times and the present day, to gain a heightened appreciation for other worldviews, and to wrestle with some (hopefully) interesting questions in a way that will deepen our learning about history…and about ourselves.
Course professor: Michael Fahy

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 Yarger

ENGLISH 140, Sec. 4 - Who Tells Your Story? Media, Race, Gender, and Power in 2018
In this class, we’ll consider how all kinds of media—mainstream and indie, journalistic and fictional, traditional and experimental—determine what kind of stories get told. We’ll explore tweet-storms, blogs, long-form narrative pieces, investigative reporting, infographics, video games, and even poetry. With each work, we’ll ask how marginalized creators break through the mainstream in order to get their voices heard in today’s United States. This class will include historical and theoretical material, but will also respond to contemporary events; come prepared to engage in respectful real-talk about oppression, power, and politics through the lens of feminist and anti-racist media studies. 
Course professor: Cassius Adair

ENGLISH 229, sec. 6 - Aristotle Gets a Job
In this course, we will adapt the teachings from the long and rich tradition of rhetorical studies to contemporary professional writing situations. In order to create a situation for us to explore, the class will design and create a strategy board game complete with all of the writing that surrounds this type of project: the packaging, instructions, press releases, marketing, intergroup communications, and reports. A final version of the game will be presented at a game fair at the end of the semester.
Course professor: Steven Engel

NEAREAST 295, sec. 2 - Mummies, Myth, and Magic: Ancient and Modern Narratives of Egypt 
Drawing from a wide range of material—Egyptian stories, myths, hymns, and love poems (all in translation), as well as TV shows, movies, novels, music videos, and video games—this course juxtaposes ancient writings and modern media in order to understand the literary legacy of ancient Egypt. We will examine the original material that underlies our modern interpretations and investigate why Egypt itself has become such a common and recognizable reference point. 
Course professor: Katherine Davis

RCCORE 334 - Special Topics: Digital Storytelling 
In this class we will explore the experimental, technological, and highly creative world of Digital Storytelling. Digital Storytelling is a genre which contains many forms of multi-media based literature, from hypertext (links within a story/poem that transport you to other connected stories), to merging video, sound, photography, and language in a digital space. Other forms of electronic literature engage the viewer/reader through online textual games, the use of sound to control the words on the screen, and even movements of the body to interact with text.
Course professor: Alexander Weinstein

SAC 368, sec. 2 - Video Games
This course examines computer and video games as a culturally relevant form of moving images, as a growing entertainment industry, and as a technology that presents us with new forms of interactivity and play. We will learn about game aesthetics, genres, and history. We will compare video games to other moving images, especially films and television. We will discuss the role of identity in games and the game industry and the current debates about video game violence. 
Course professor: Sheila Murphy