English 287 - Fall, 2019

Topics in Literature & Media

Class Information

Instructor: Boluk, Stephanie/LeMieux, Patrick,
CRN: 42263
Time: W 3:10-6/R 5:10-8
Location: 120 V./201 Sprocket



    This courses will combine philosophical and critical readings of games and play with the history and design of videogames. The course will be 6 hours/week split between seminar and play sessions in which, as a group, we work together, play together, think together, and make together in pursuit of what Bernie DeKoven called "the well-played game." Following what Edmond Chang has termed "close playing," each week will pair a historically significant videogame with a more contemporary counterpart. We will explore the rise and fall of different periods game design, from AAA and "indie" games to the circulation of trash games, art games, and queer games. We will explore the history of digital distribution from Valve's early experiments with proto-versions of Steam to the rise of platforms like Itch, Twitch, and Twine. If there is sufficient student interest, we will also spend time learning some introductory game design using engines like Unity, Inform, Twitch, Ren'Py, and Unreal.

    Possible Authors
    Anna Anthropy
    Mattie Brice
    Roger Caillois
    Bernie DeKoven
    Nick Dyer-Witherford and Greig De Peuter
    Mary Flanagan
    Kishonna L. Gray
    N. Katherine Hayles
    Johan Huizinga
    Janet Murray
    Lisa Nakamura
    Celia Pearce
    Bernard Suits
    Alexander Galloway
    Adrienne Shaw
    T.L. Taylor
    McKenzie Wark

    Super Mario Bros. and Braid
    Eliza and Galatea
    Doom and Portal
    Colossal Cave Adventure and Kentucky Route Zero
    Space War! and Videoball
    Tetris and Tetris Effect