Computer Game Culture
Fridays, Spring 2004
Instructor: T.L. Taylor (tltaylorATitu.dk), office hours: Mondays 15:00-17:00 and by appointment (room 4.11).
Teaching assistant: Thomas Hansen (trbh75ATitu.dk)
Description: This course will examine computer games from a cultural and sociological perspective. Rather than focusing on tasks like level construction, it will explore the ways culture, socialization, and values are a part of gaming. Using a variety of theoretical & methodological approaches (drawn from the humanities and social sciences) a range of topics will be discussed in an attempt to understand not only the internal workings and social dynamics of computer games, but their place in the broader culture. Potential topics include: community management and maintenance in games; group formation, social processes, and interaction; games as communication spaces and virtual worlds; ethics and gaming; the relationship between game rules and social experience; in-game community governance; political/ideological analysis of games; gender and race in gaming; and design & values.
Format and Grading: Lectures, discussion, groupwork, classroom exercises. Midterm group presentation and final group paper with oral examination. The group presentation will be produced in collaboration with team members in and out of class sessions. Midterm assignment will be graded pass/fail. Final will be given a grade according to the 13-scale.
Groups and Afternoon Exercises -- Exam Info -- ITU course database info -- Additional Online Resources
All readings are available in the course compendium except those noted by [O]. Where possible, online copies of all the articles have also been linked here.
Feb 6 - Intro & Methodology
Feb 13 - Technology & Culture
Winner, "Do Artifacts Have Politics?"Feb 20 - Creating the Self in Game Worlds
Nissenbaum, "How Computer Systems Embody Values"
Lessig, selections from "Code"
McChesney, "So Much for the Magic of Technology and the Free Market"
Turkle, "Aspects of the Self"Feb 27 - Gendered Spaces
Stone, "Will the Real Body Please Stand Up"
Bartle, "Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs"
Avatars Offline documentary (in-class)
Jenkins, "Complete Freedom of Movement"March 5 - Race in Games
Taylor, "Multiple Pleasures"
Bryce and Rutter, "The Gendering of Computer Gaming"
Kerr, "Women Just Want to Have Fun"
Adams, "Not Just Rappers and Athletes: Minorities in Videogames"March 12 - Socialization & Community I
Nakamura, "Race In/For Cyberspace"
Silver, "Margins in the Wires"
Kolko, "Erasing @race"
Jakobsson & Taylor, "Sopranos Meets EQ"March 19 - Mid-Semester Presentations
Stald, "Meeting in the Combat Zone"
Wright, et. al. "Creative Player Actions in FPS Online Video Games"
Squire and Steinkuehler, "The Genesis of `CyberCulture'"
March 26 - Socialization & Community II
Kolko & Reid, "Dissolution and Fragmentation"April 2 - Governance & Design
Heide Smith, "Avatars You Can Trust"
Kim, "Killers Have More Fun"
Lockard, "Progressive Politics, Electronic Individualism, and the Myth of the VC"
Koster, select two pieces from his website (under "Gaming/Essays") [O]April 16 - Productive Players
Talin, "Managing Deviant Behavior in Online Worlds"
Morningstar & Farmer, selection from "The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat"
Taylor, "Intentional Bodies"
Morris, "Co-Creative Media: Online Multiplayer Computer Game Culture" [O]April 23 - Intellectual Property, Commodification, and Culture
Rhody, "/em speaks"
Sun, Lin, and Ho, "Game Tips as Gifts"
Alphaville Herald incident and Terra Nova coverage [O] or Platoni, "There is No War in Blazing Falls" [O]
Castronova handout (in-class)
Taylor, "Whose Game is this Anyway?"April 30 - Political Gaming
Koster, "Declaring the Rights of Players"
Dibbell, "The Unreal Estate Boom"
Oliver, "The Similar Eye"
Guest speaker, Gonzalo Frasca (ITU)
Please read his article "Ideological Videogames." Also, check out his site, Ludology.org, as well as Water Cooler Games, Newsgaming, Persuasive Games, and Serious Games.
Reminder: The CS competition with Espen Aarseth's Game Theory class (as well as game center staff!) will be taking place at 15:00 in room 3.03 : )