Game Studies and Cultural Analysis
Why game studies? For whom?
What is the cultural and social role of computer games? This minor uses interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches to answer that question. Literature and film have often been seen as media that offer critical reflections on our times. Do video games also contribute to such a reflection? And if so, in what ways?
Computer games speak to the condition of our 21st society in ways no other media can. This minor will explore the many ways in which they address and shape society. First, computer games shape our relation to technology and digitalization, while also inviting a critical reflection on the effects of digitalization, for example new forms of political control (informatic control, Galloway). Second, on another level, gamification has transformed didactical methods and communication strategies; and while games, on the one hand, use the conventions of film, television, comics, literature, etc., on the other hand we can also see that the visual arts, films, and television series have changed under the influence of games. Computer games are at the heart of fundamental changes in art, culture, society and politics. We will explore these issues through a discussion of an extensive range of mainstream and indie games (from Half-Life to The Sims and Fortnite, from The Elder Scrolls to The Witcher and The Walking Dead).
The emergence of games went hand in hand with a paradigm shift in the humanities that had hitherto focused on questions of representation. Game studies now work with key-concepts such as interactivity, performativity, and play. In addition, games should be understood as part of a broad intermedial “convergence culture” (Jenkins) in which the difference between producers and consumers begins to fade. As game making is a part of game culture, and as designing a game contributes a lot to understanding the nature of the medium, this minor also offers different opportunities to obtain skills in game making. Students of the Humanities, Social Sciences and (Computer) Sciences can collectively create either a game prototype, or a working computer game. Non-science students will be able to follow a course in game making first; science students will be able to start by learning about story-telling. They will put their new-won insights at work during a 5 ec hands-on course (game prototype), or during a week-long hackaton (working computer game).
Design your own minor
All students can now design their own 30 ec-minor, by selecting courses from the 50 ec-programme.
Prospectus number: 5000MGSCAN
Class number: 1376