This module analyses the fastest growing and most profitable sector in media entertainment today, video games. It will give students the necessary overview to comprehend the rapid changes taking place not only in video games, but in the way mediated reality is challenging its non-mediated counterpart. It will examine the literature, language, history, theories and practices of video gaming from its inception through to the present. Beginning with a study of the genesis of gaming’s mechanical instruments through its development within literature as science-ﬁction. In particular, it will focus upon the trends and shifts in gaming technology and narratives from the 1970s, through the early Internet days of MOOs (Multi-user Object Oriented), MUSHs (Multi-User Shared Hallucination), and MUDs (Multi-User Domain), to present day 3D, FPS (First Person Shooter), RPGs (Role-Playing Games), and the various platforms that encourage role-playing interactivity. The module will also combine social data available and students' own histories of gaming in order to analyse different gaming practices.
A Identify and critically interpret the overall history of gaming and its contexts
B Explicitly analyse video gaming from mechanical formats, literature and early forms of video games through to virtual, computer-based formats, including role-playing forums from the 1990s through to the present.
C Detect and evaluate the interconnectivity between gaming development gaming theory
D Critically discuss issues of gender, nationality and ethnicity in gaming
E Differentiate and critique social and cultural constructions in relation to video gaming such as the perceived dangers of gaming.
The module will incorporate readings of relevant theoretical texts; teaching will also include the interaction with video games and visual materials; it will feature seminar discussions and guest lectures from practitioners in the field; student writing will focus on theoretical material vis-à-vis gaming products; students' oral presentations will analyse individual games; and a research paper will ask students to demonstrate their mastery of critical assessment of the video gaming industry