Games: Analysis and Theory

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Games: Analysis and Theory

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Media Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Film and Media History, Historiography of Media, Film Analysis and Theory

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The course objectives are:
    I Knowledge and understanding
    1. Has demonstrable knowledge of and insight in historical and current developments in story structured computer games
    2. Has demonstrable knowledge of and insight in research methods and the theoretical framework of story structured computer games;
    3. Has demonstrable knowledge of and insight in the production, distribution and reception of story structured computer games;

    II Applying knowledge and understanding
    4. Is able to critically analyze and interpret story structured computer games; using the appropriate methods and terms;
    5. Is able to research story structured computer games in a comparative setting and situate story structured computer games in Western visual and material culture.
    6. Is able to write a plan of work according to the rules and guidelines of MKDA Media (Media students only).

    Computer and videogames have become a common popular medium in today's society. Despite the fact that games are a relatively young medium, games have been studied from a humanities perspective almost as long as narrative computer games have been around. In this course we will use theory and practical assignments to study narrative elements of computer and video games. The knowledge of narrative, or story-structures games is necessary, both to get a better understanding of the medium of the computer game itself as well as to better understand how the medium differs from other narrative media such as books and film. In addition, media texts are used less and less as individual entities but increasingly function in convergence with other media texts e.g. George Martin's book series The Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted to the successful TV-series A Game of Thrones, which also exists as comic book adaptations as well as a game series. Subjects we will study will include, but not be limited to, game studies, game history & historiography, genre, narrative & character, space, time, sound & music. Although the course focuses on theoretical and analytical aspects, questions relating to production, design, distribution and reception are inherently linked to the study of computer and videogames, especially when compared to film.

    Lectures, response lectures, viewings and weekly bring-your-own laptop practical classes

    Attendance (pass) , weekly assignments (pass), plan of work (media students only 30%) and take home exam (media students 70%, other students 100%), see canvas and study guide.

     Basic computer skills suffice to take part, you do not need any gaming skills. Be aware that the course includes a bring-your-own device gameplay and analysis part, which requires a notebook or laptop. And that apart from the book you will also have to buy a copy of the game (ca. 20 euro).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.