This course provides an introduction to the critical study of video games in the context of American culture. We will first approach the topic from a broader perspective on play and games and their ... read more
This course provides an introduction to the critical study of video games in the context of American culture. We will first approach the topic from a broader perspective on play and games and their relation to culture. As we then move on to the realm of video games, we will learn about their cultural history and study their formal characteristics from a variety of perspectives, always illuminating theory through concrete game examples. Formative issues of the field of Game Studies, such as the so-called ‘ludology vs. narratology debate,’ will be discussed, as will a number of essential texts by leading scholars in the field. During the second half of the course, we will examine the relationship between video games and American culture through various topical lenses. Preliminary topics include American politics, (neoliberal) capitalism, social identities, privacy and the algorithmic age, and the societies of control. We will interrogate how these are negotiated in video games on various levels, ranging from game mechanics to themes to the games industry itself.
----- Whether newcomer to the subject or more seasoned player, everybody interested in the topic is welcome. Prior experience in playing video games is not necessary; we will, however, occasionally play games for and in class, so curiosity and a playful attitude are expected. ----- Please register via Campus Management and Blackboard. Registration will open during the first half of April. All course materials will be distributed via Blackboard.
PLEASE NOTE: This class will take place from 08:30 to 10:00 a.m. sharp.close