This course will examine video games from a cultural and social perspective. Rather than focusing on game design, it will explore the ways culture, socialization, and values are a part of gaming. Using a variety of theoretical & methodological approaches a range of topics will be discussed in an attempt to understand not only the internal workings and social dynamics of computer games, but their place in the broader culture. Topics include: community management and maintenance in games; social processes and interaction; games as communication spaces and virtual worlds; intellectual property and commodification in games, players as producers of game content, political/ideological analysis of games; gender and race in gaming; and design & values.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Analyze the social impacts of video games including the historical and cultural influence video gaming has had on society.
- Identify approaches to understanding the social and technical components within a video game in regards to design, production, marketing, and play.
- Deconstruct the video game playing experience in such a way as to convey both the social assumptions within video game design and the cultural reconfigurations performed by players as they adapt games to meet their goals.
- Synthesize arguments related to issues of gender, race, class, desire, pleasure and play when viewing video games as artifacts.
- Apply skills of persuasion, argument and effective written communication in relation to the social impacts of video games.