GDD301 Critical game studies
Digital games and gameplay are not generative of, reflective of, or just culture. Rather, they are intensely intertwined with socioloy, anthropology, political science and history. It is the job of the analyst to explore and deconstruct those connections. This unit builds on GDC201 Game Culture, Theory and Player Psychology and explores concepts necessary for the critical evaluation of digital game design, game technology, and their cultural significance. It will provide a critical examination of the design and development of digital games and their context within contemporary art and interactive entertainment culture. Concepts of game design, mechanics, narrative and character will be explored with reference to both traditional and new media. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical analysis and evaluation skills specifically in relation to game design and the place of games within broader society.
Appropriate case studies will be analysed to extract and critique the core elements within them. In these case studies, students will analyse different ways in which digital games reflect and contribute to the history of media and cultural transformation and critically evaluate major aesthetic, cultural and theoretical developments in game design. The focus of game studies will be the use and construction of mechanics, visual aesthetic, narrative and character design elements in digital games. Presentations illustrating key concepts in digital game design will be followed by group discussion. To develop advanced analytical and evaluation skills, students are expected to critique game design examples, including their own.
By writing essays through self-directed learning activities, students will develop advanced analytical and evaluation skills and will learn to provide constructive feedback to their peers in a professional manner and reflect upon and document their own ideas. After completing this unit of study, students will be able to critique game design examples, including their own, critically analyse and evaluate the digital game as a cultural and sociological medium.