Here is the class syllabus if you don’t have it yet or having trouble accessing it through Blackboard!
Playing World: Introduction to Global Videogames Cultures
1 pm – 4 pm
Location: Meliora 209
Instructor: Iskandar Zulkarnain
Office Hours: By appointment
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND REQUIRED MATERIALS
This course explores the production, distribution, and consumption of video games as a global phenomenon. Through case studies and hands-on approach, we will consider how local, national, regional, and transnational perspectives can add to or challenge the experiences of playing video games. We will also study the historical, geographic, spatial, linguistic, racial, ethnic, and domestic contexts that influence video game designs and their hardware/software production. Focusing on a combination between regions not usually examined by video game studies and mainstream video game market, this course will introduce students to a nuanced and fluid picture of video games as a medium and as a culture.
REQUIREMENTS, REMINDERS, ASSIGNMENTS
There are no prerequisites to enroll in this course, but previous exposure to video games and/or digital cultures will be really helpful. The class will be conducted as a combination of short lecture, short analysis, and discussion and requires full participation and careful preparation, including completion of the assigned readings.
Assignment must be handed in on time. Unless you have verifiable reason for missing a deadline, your grade for the assignment will be docked a full letter grade for each week it is late.
More than three absences will reduce your participation grade significantly.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Please see the University guidelines for academic honesty. If you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism or academic honesty, please speak with your adviser or consult me for particular questions related to this course. See: http://www.rochester.edu/College/honesty.
DISABILITIES OR OTHER CONCERNS
If you have a documented medical condition or learning disability, please speak with me regarding special considerations or accommodations that you require.
A (90-100)—Excellent. Student exhibits originality and creativity in media, cultural, and critical analysis. Writing and argumentation are clear and concise and grammatically flawless.
B (80-89)—Good. Student offers critical analysis with reference to relevant course materials, but relies on information and analysis presented in lectures and class discussions. Writing and argumentation are clear, with minimal mistakes.
C (70-79)—Satisfactory. Student makes adequate reference to course material but offers little critical analysis. Argumentation and writing are unclear or off-topic, lacking in relevance to the assignment and the course concerns.
D (60-69)—Poor. Student fails to engage with the material and does not attempt any critical analysis. Writing and argumentation are weak and/or illogical.
E (59 and below)—Fail. Student does not hand in assignment and/or work is very poor that and cannot be graded.
ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING
Class Attendance and Participation (35%)
Class attendance is required. It is expected that you will arrive on time and engage in respectful and open discussion. Use of cell phone is prohibited during class time, but use of laptop and/or tablet devices may be permitted under certain conditions.
Weekly blog entries (20%)
Student is required to post at least one blog post at https://playingworld2014.wordpress.com/ every week starting on the second week. The blog post will be due every Monday at 12pm. The blog post can be reading notes, further comments, and questions about the materials discussed in the previous week to promote ongoing discussion and brainstorming. Treat the blog posts as a digital version of response papers. There will also be extra credit for commenting on your classmate’s blog posts.
Final assignment draft presentation (10%)
This presentation is designed to prepare your final project. You will present the topic for your final project to the class and use the feedback that you get to finish your project.
Final assignment (35%)
The final paper (5 – 8 pages) can either be a research paper on one aspect of video game cultures that interest you or a proposal to develop an imaginary game in a non-mainstream market region. Students should contact the instructor if the topic of the final paper is different from the one that was presented previously.
All the required texts will be available as links or via Blackboard. Some texts can be found in the Art and Music Library as reserved materials and sometimes online as well. Except in special circumstances, all video game titles will either be available in the Art and Music Library game room or be available for free online. The syllabus may be adjusted as the course progresses.
**ALWAYS REFER TO THE ONLINE SYLLABUS FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE ASSIGNMENTS**
Monday May 19: Introduction – Why Study Video Games Globally
- Review of syllabus and course requirements.
- Introduction to the course.
- Why study video games globally?
- Visit to the game room in the Art and Music Library
Tuesday May 20: Global History of Video Games
- Philip Tan and Konstantin Mitgutsch, “Heterogeneity in Game Histories” in Huntemann and Aslinger (eds.), Gaming Globally, pp 91-99 (Bb Reserve).
- Ted Trautman, “Excavating the Video-Game Industry’s Past,” April 29, 2014, The New Yorker.
- Check out video game history timeline from the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) at: http://www.icheg.org/icheg-game-history/timeline/
- Visit the Strong Museum of Play and play at least three games from their eGameRevolution collections.
Wednesday May 21: The Hybrid Structure of Video Games Industry
- Mia Consalvo, “Console Video Games and Global Corporations: Creating a Hybrid Culture,” New Media & Society, Vol. 8(1), 2006: 117-137 (Access via UR network).
- Erik Kain, “Why the Video Game Industry Needs Nintendo to Succeed,” February 6, 2014, Forbes.
- Play Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Xbox).
Watch either Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) or Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005).
Thursday May 22: Global Virtual Worlds
- Celia Pearce, “Communities of Play and the Global Playground” in Pearce, Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds (2009), pp. 3-16 (Bb Reserve).
- Arienne Cohen, “The Second Life of Second Life,” October 2008, Fast Company.
Play Second Life (Online).
- Play Xulu Universe (Online).
Monday May 26: NO CLASS (MEMORIAL DAY)
Tuesday May 27: Video Games as Electronic Sports
- T. L. Taylor, “Playing for Keeps” in Taylor, Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (2012), pp. 1-33 (Bb Reserve).
- Play: Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (PC), Warcraft III: Frozen Thrones (PC), StarCraft (PC)
Wednesday May 28: Addictive Culture
- Alex Golub and Kate Lingley, “‘Just Like the Qing empire’: Internet Addiction, MMOGs, and Moral Crisis in Contemporary China,” Games and Culture (3)1, 2008: 59-75 (Access via UR network).
- Ian Bogost, “The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird,” February 3, 2014, The Atlantic.
- Play three of your favorite games or three games you are interested in playing from the Art and Music Library collection.
Thursday May 29: Casual Revolution
- Aubrey Anable, “Casual Games, Time Management, and the Work of Affect,” Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, No. 2, 2013.
- Sam Anderson, “Just One More Game…: Angry Birds, Farmville and Other Hyperaddictive ‘Stupid Games,’” The New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2012.
- Play Diner Dash (iOS/Android) and at least two of these games:
- Flower Shop (Facebook)
- Farmville (Facebook)
- Angry Birds (iOS/Android)
- Candy Crush Saga (Facebook/iOS/Android)
- Cafe Land (Facebook)
Monday June 2: Video Games as Algorithmic Culture
- Alexander Galloway, “Allegories of Control,” in Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (2006), pp. 85-106 (Bb Reserve).
- Play Sid Meier’s Civilization: Revolution (Xbox) and The Sims (Xbox)
Tuesday June 3: Participatory Culture or Piracy?
- Tom Apperley, “Chapter Seven – Blockages: Censorship, Piracy and Participatory Culture,” in Apperley, Gaming Rhythms: Play and Counterplay from the Situated to the Global (2010), pp. 117-131 (Bb Reserve).
- Notch, “How Piracy Works,” September 14, 2010, The Word of Notch.
- Play Minecraft (Xbox), Escape from Woomera (PC), Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Xbox), Lego Star Wars: The Video Game (Xbox),
Wednesday June 4: Race in Video Game Culture
- Lisa Nakamura, “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft,” Critical Studies in Media Communication (26) 2, 2009, pp. 128-144 (Access via UR network).
- Dex Digital/Dexter Thomas, “Freud, Nintendo, and why there is no privacy for black people,” 14 April 2014, Medium.com.
- Play World of Warcraft starter pack edition (online)
Thursday June 5: The Culture of Platform and the Social Life of Games
- Steven E. Jones and George K. Thiruvathukal, “‘Power Isn’t Everything’: The Wii Console,” in Jones and Thiruvathukal, Codename: Revolution: The Nintendo Wii Platform (2012), pp. 25-52 (Bb Reserve).
- Sjors Houkes, “Play as Intended: A Case for Preferring Local Multiplayer,” Gamasutra, May 16, 2014.
- Play Wii Sports Resorts (Wii), The Last Story (Wii), and Red Steel 2 (Wii)
Students final project presentation
Monday June 9: Counterplay, Tactical, or Radical Gaming
- Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter, “Games of Multitude,” in Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter, Games of Empire (2009), pp. 185-214 (Bb Reserve).
- Play two games by Molleindustria (Online), Gonzalo Frasca’s September 12 (Google Chrome browser, Adobe Shockwave Player required), and A Closed World (Online)
Tuesday June 10: Cultural Gamespace
- Ge Zhang, “The Stroller in the Virtual City: Spatial Practice of Hong Kong Players in Sleeping Dogs,” GAME: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, No. 3, Vol. 1, 2014, pp. 23-36.
- Michael Nitsche, “Virtual Places,” in Nitsche, Video Game Spaces (2008), pp. 191-201 (Bb Reserve).
- Play Sleeping Dogs (Xbox), Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox), and Stranded in Singapore (Online)
Wednesday June 11: National Identity and Video Games
- Iskandar Zulkarnain, “‘Playable’ Nationalism: Nusantara Online and the Gamic Reconstructions of National History,” SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia (29)1, 2014, pp. 31-62 (Access via UR network).
- Catherine Goodfellow, “Kremlin Games: When Programming Meets Politics,” April 1, 2013, Open Democracy.
- Play Men of War series (PC) and Red Orchestra (PC)
Thursday June 12: Mobile Video Games and Surveillance Culture
- Larissa Hjorth, “Mobile@game Cultures: The Place of Urban Mobile Gaming,” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 17(4), 2011, pp. 357-371 (Access via UR network).
- Rita J. King, “The Future of Surveillance Will Turn Society Into a Massive Online Game,” April 3, 2013, Fast Company.
- Play either Shadow Cities (iOS) or Ingress (Android)
FINAL PAPER DUE ON JUNE 17 AT 6 PM