Course detail

Game Studies

FaVU-1HS-ZAcad. year: 2019/2020

The course is organized into four-hour classes, which will take place during the semester 7 times, every 14 days. Every four-hour class will include a lecture, followed with a discussion focused on the subject matter.
For each lesson (except for the first one), students will have a task of reading one text (available in electronic form from the study materials), which we later be discussed. For some lessons, some students will also prepare short text (1 to 2 norm pages), which will also serve as a contribution to the discussion.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

In this course students will learn:
- to characterize the historical development of thinking about computer games and describe the stages of the emergence of this medium
- to define and analyze the basic specific elements of computer game media
- to use key concepts created and applied within the field of game studies (eg immersion, flow, procedural rhetoric, etc.)
- to analyze computer game media from several general scientific perspectives (gaming psychology, philosophy, aesthetics, narratology, ideology research).

Prerequisites

An ability to read texts written in English.

Co-requisites

Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Kennedy, H. 2002. Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo. On the Limits of Textual Analysis, in Game Studies 02/2002.
http://www.gamestudies.org/0202/kennedy/ (k dispozici je i český překlad)
Galloway, A. R. 2006. Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press.
Hawisher, G. - Selfe, C. (eds.) Gaming Lives In the Twenty-First Century: Literate Connections,
Fernandéz-Vara, C. 2008. Shaping Players Experience in Adventure Games. (nepublikováno)
Bogost, I. 2006. Unit Operations. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Lowood, H. 2006. A Brief Biography Of Computer Games. In in Vorderer, P. – Bryant, J. (eds.) Playing Video Games:
Motives, Responses, and Consequences. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lee, K. M. – Peng, W. 2006. What Do We Know About Social and Psychological Effects of Computer Games? A
Comprehensive Review of the Current Literature in Vorderer, P. – Jennings, B. (eds.) 2006) Playing Video Games: Motives,
Responses and Consequences. N
Jenkins, H. 2004. Game Design as Narrative Architecture in Wardrip-Fruin, N. – Pat Harrigan (eds.) First Person: New
Media as Story, Performance, Game. Cambridge: MIT Press.
http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/games&narrative.html.
Levy, S. 1984. Hackers. New York: Double Day.
Lakoff, G. - Johnson, M. 2002. Metafory, kterými žijeme. Brno: Host.
Murray, J. 1999. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Nieborg, D. 2009. Political Economy of Video Games. (disertace)
Chaplin, H. – Ruby, A. 2006. Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution.
New York: Algonquin Books.
Bogost, I. 2006. Unit Operations. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Newman, J. 2004. Video Games. London: Routledge.
Bogost, I. 2006. Comparative Video Game Criticism. In Games And Culture 2006 1:41.
Úryvky z knihy Grand Theft Childhood: http://www.grandtheftchildhood.com/GTC/Excerpts/Excerpts.html
Článek o Everquest: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1899420.stm
Eskelinen, M. 2001. The Gaming Situation, in Game Studies 01/2001. www.gamestudies.org/0101/eskelinen.
Huizinga, J. 2000. Homo ludens: o původu kultury ve hře. Praha: Dauphin.
Poole, S. 2004. Trigger Happy. London: Fourth Estate.
Lamoureux, M. 8-Bit Primitive: A Hommage to Atari 2600 in Compton, S. (ed.) 2004. Gamers. New York: Soft Skull Press.
Klevjer, R. 2008. Avatar. (disertace). http://folk.uib.no/smkrk/docs/RuneKlevjer_What%20is%20the
%20Avatar_finalprint.pdf
Juul, J. 2005. Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Williams, D. 2006. A Brief Social History Of Gameplay. In in Vorderer, P. – Bryant, J. (eds.) Playing Video Games: Motives,
Responses, and Consequences. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. dmitriwilliams.com/WilliamsSocHist.doc
Ebert, R. Game vs. Art. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070721/COMMENTARY/70721001
Aarseth, E. 1997. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Frasca, G. 2003. Ludologists love stories, too: notes from a debate that never took place.
Gee, J. P. 2005. Why video games are good for your soul: pleasure and learning. Altona: Common Ground Publishing.
Juul, J. 2007. A Certain Level of Abstraction. In Situated Play: DiGRA 2007 Conference Proceedings, Baba, A., ed. DiGRA Japan
Lowood, H. 2005. High Performance Play: The Making Of Machinima in Clarke, A. – Mitchell, G. (eds.). Videogames and
Art. Bristol: Intellect.
Tolkien, J.R.R. On fairy stories.
Hunicke, M. et al. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research.
Friedman, T. 1999. Semiotics of Sim City. http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_4/friedman/index.html
Rossignol, J. 2008. This Gaming Life. Digital Culture Books.
Caillois, R. 1998. Hry a lidé. Praha: Nakladatelství studia Ypsilon.
Csíkszentmihályi, M. 1991. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper.
Bogost, I. 2008. Persuasive Games. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures combined with discussions on topics discussed and on reading preps. During the course, students are required to read the compulsory literature on a regular basis and to prepare for discussions held within hours.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

The final grade will be based on the evaluation of two texts - a short text (1-2 "normed" pages) that the students will prepare during the semester, and a final text, with a range of 8 to 10 normed pages. This final text may be either a more general reflection on some of the topics discussed during the semester (e.g. feminist analysis of games, history of the RPG genre, etc.), or an analysis of the particular game chosen by student. Assessment criteria of the final text are: the formal aspects (work with resources, style), argumentation (its logic and persuasiveness) and the originality of its own insights. The grade will be the sum of the short text (30%) and the final text (70%).

Language of instruction

Czech

Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

History of Computer Games:
- development of media from the 1950s to the present
- the relationship between computer and classic games
- game genres development
- intertextual and intermedia links and influences
- cultural status and legitimation of games

What is a computer game; game studies emergence:
- definition of games
- game philosophy (Huizinga, Caillois, Sutton-Smith, Sicart, etc.)
- game studies emergence and areas of its interest
- ludology vs. naratology

Game aesthetics - game elements and their effects on players 1:
- game mechanics
- flow
- immersion
- game space
- visuality of games
- game kinaesthetics

Game aesthetics - game elements and their effects on players 2:
- narration
- procedural rhetoric
- self-reflexivity of games
- avatar
- game themes

Technique, production, distribution:
- game economics, gaming industry
- AAA games vs. independent games
- history of game technology
- institutional history

Research (culture and psychology) of players:
- psychology, sociology, (auto) player ethnography
- player typology
- question of dependence
- positive cognitive and therapeutic effects of games
- MMO games as a specific phenomenon
- gaming paratext and player fan practices (letsplaye, cheat, etc.)

Games and society:
- representation of minorities and gender in games
- violence and war games
- games and history representations
- political, educational and generally serious games

Aims

The course aims at familiarizing students with the main areas of computer game studies. Although game studies are a young science field (their emergence dates back to 2001), several steady currents of research were established already that will be introduce through the course (eg game narratology, psychological, feminist and ideological researches, philosophy of games, etc.).

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Compulsory attendance (how many lessons can be missed will be specified in the beginning of the semester).

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme VUB Bachelor's

    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, elective

Type of course unit

 

Lecture

13 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

eLearning