Schedule of Work for Spring 2018

7I. Beginning to Spring Break (3/12)       II. March 19th to End           III. Exams


wk unit Readings / Lectures / Discussions demos Notes
1/22 welcome! Platform and possibility: Breakout + Pong

First person vs. third person perspective: Frogger + MarioKart 8

Can’t find something? Check the course archive on Moodle.


1/29 Platform & Interface Platform Studies readings (Ian Bogost & Nick Montfort) exploration

Redshift & Portalmetal, micha cárdenas


Ohmygod are you alright?, Anna Anthropy

Cat Simulator 3000, Emma Winston

2/5 Critical



 “Introduction to Critical Play,” Mary Flanagan, Critical Play: Radical Game Design

“No Fun: The Queer Potential of Video Games that Annoy, Anger, Disappoint, Sadden, and Hurt,” Bonnie Ruberg

Run, Lola, Run, dir. Tom Twyker (film)


“Playing Outside,” Leigh Alexander

“Persuasive Games: Exploitationware,” Ian Bogost

2/12 Worldmaking Papers Please, Lucas Pope [iOS, Steam]

Grayscale, ICE Lab @ MIT [browser]

Choose one from “Class Readings” at Values at Play dot org

Queers in Love at the End of the World, Anna Anthropy

Killing Me Softly, Fobazi M. Ettarh


“Games That Heal,” Soha Kareem

Layoff [browser]

{Begin Twine projects}
2/19 Forks “Garden of the Forking Paths,” Jorge Luis Borges

“The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges

Begin one “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel (TBA)

Choose one: The Stanley Parable [Mac/PC]

 Undertale [Mac/PC, PS4]    or   The Last of Us [PS4, PS3]

Exam 1



Library of Babel, Jonathan Basile

“Virtual Library of Babel Makes Borges’s…”, Allison Flood

2/26 Platform II: Mediation Edge of Tomorrow, dir. Liman (film)

All You Need is Kill, Vols. I & II, adapted by Ryosuke Takeuchi

Excerpt from All You Need is Kill, Hiroshi Sakurazaka (in class)

Twine projects due  2/27

view drafts

3/5 Narrative vs. Story Choose one:


Blackbar [google play/apple store]

Gone Home

Your Lover Has Turned into a Flock of Birds, Mira Simon

Braiding, Braiding, Nontsikelelo Mutiti

Exam 2


3/12 Digital Humanities / Media Studies Gaming, Essays on Algorithmic Culture, Alexander Galloway (chapters 1 & 2)

The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike,” Nasser Hussain

“Dead Reckoning: Aerial Perception and the Social Construction of Targets,” Caren Kaplan w/ design by Raegan Kelly

“Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games,” Amanda Phillips

Spring Break!
{Begin playing with Stencyl}

John Cayley, “The Listener’s” + Alexa Skill


Twine Evaluations due 3/20


II. March 19th to End
wk unit Readings / Lectures / Discussions demos Notes
3/19 (non) Universal Designs “QueerOS: A User’s Manual,” Fiona Barnett, Zach Blas, Micha Cárdenas, Jacob Gaboury, Jessica Marie Johnson, Margaret Rhee

“The Intersectional Interface,” Miriam E. Sweeney

Gameworld interfaces, Kristine Jørgensen, Ch’s. 1 & 2


Pac-Txt, Richard Moore




The Interface Effect, Alexander R. Galloway, ch 1

{Begin interface development}
3/26 Mediation   II: Art, Lit, Games The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man Club, Michael Koloch

“Are Video Games Art?” Kellee Santiago

“Video Games Can Never Be Art,” Roger Ebert


“Reimagining the Avatar Dream:  Modeling Social Identity in Digital Media,” D. Fox Harrell &  Chong-U Lim + video

Mario Maker  [Wii U]

4/2 Representation “On Not Becoming Gamers: Moving Beyond the Constructed Audience,” Adrienne Shaw

“Self-Saving Princess: Feminism and Post-Play Narrative Modding,” Alex Layne & Samantha Blackmon

“Live in Your World, Play in Ours”: Race, Video Games, and Consuming the Other,” David Leonard

Phantasmal Media, Fox Harrell (pages TBA)

Tomb Raider (iOS + Android/GooglePlay)

Super Mario Brothers

The Grandma Gamer


“Game analysis: Developing a methodological toolkit for the qualitative study of games,”

Mia Consalvo & Nathan Dutton

4/9 AAA Paradoxes Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation

Selections from The Critical Is

“Video Games Are Better Without Characters,” Ian Bogost

Interface projects due 4/10

Exam 4


Interactivity, Indigeneity, and the Digital Imaginary, Cassandra Hradil

4/16 Platform III Never Alone {Begin developing spatial games}

Interface trial reports due 4/17

4/23 Playing in Space Pokemon Go

World Brush

The Walk

“Is Pokémon Go racist? How the app may be redlining communities of color,” Allana Akhtar

“Pokémon GO is changing how cities use public space, but could it be more inclusive?”  Shiva Kooragayala & Tanaya Srini

“Artist’s Locative Games,” Mary Flanagan in Critical Play: Radical Game Design

“How’s the Weather: Simulating Weather in Virtual Environments,” Matt Barton

Exam 5 4/29
Final Work due 5/12

Spatial Games due 4/30


III. Exams
Exam Schedule



Practice Exam Breaksout, Pippin Barr [browser]

“Pippin Barr Alludes to the Creative Possibilities of Games by Breaking Breakout,” Chris Priestman  Burnt Matches, Pippin Barr [browser]

“Pippin Barr’s New Game Brings Concrete Poetry to Life,” Chris Priestman




Narrative?! “Game Design as Narrative Architecture,” Henry Jenkins

“Casual Games, Time Management, and the Work of Affect,” Aubrey Anable,

“Casual Threats: The Feminization of Casual Video Games,” John Vanderhoef

Two Dots [demo video]

Thomas Was Alone [iOS, PS3, PS4]

LIM [browser]




Not Playing “Do Gamers Make Better Drone Operators Than Pilots”

“Drone Pilots Say Their Job Is Not Like a Video Game”

Killbox [browser]

midterm Developer Spotlight: Beth LaPensee Thunderbird Strike [browser]

Invaders [browser]

Comic History of Video Games, Jonathan Hennessey

“Contests for Meaning: Playing King Philip’s War in the Twenty-First Century,” Matthew Kirschenbaum

“Disrupting ‘all the familiar geometry’: Drones, Settler Colonialism, and Nasser Hussain’s Difficult Questions,” Jill Stauffer




Becoming Games Quadrilateral Cowboy, Blendo Games

Game after: a cultural study of video game afterlife, Raiford Guins (pages TBA)

The Black Box Society, Frank Pasquale (pages TBA)

“You had to be there” & “Future Historians Probably Won’t Understand Our Internet, and That’s Okay,” Alexis Madrigal




Representational Limits “Dystopian Blackness and the Limits of Racial Empathy in The Walking Dead and The Last of Us,” TreaAndrea Russworm

The Walking Dead: Michonne

Final Revisions and Reviews 5/12