Plan for the evening
Realism in Video Games
Before we get to tonight’s reading, let’s think back to hyperreality and “realism” in video games. Just before Fall Break, you had a prompt about Colishaw’s “Playing War.” Let’s try to connect that discussion with tonight’s discussion on games as simulations.
You’ll notice there are any quotations from Ch. 8 below…that’s because your Canvas prompt asks you to quote from the chapter. I want to make sure you’re reading.
As I mentioned in the Canvas prompt, Ch. 8 is more about education than video games. We’ll review the types of games that fall under “serious games,” but we’ll also consider the broader cultural place of video games.
- The Oregon Trail (1985) is one of the most memorable edutainment games. I remember (back in the 1980s…) many girls would talk about how much they loved this game. It’s interesting that I never played the game because I loved history and could easily have been tricked into learning by playing this game. Let’s check out the intro of The Oregon Trail. Yes, we’re going to do a cultural analysis. How does game play (rewards in this case) reflect AMERICAN culture?
- Interestingly, as long as I’m musing about the past, the only other game I remember girls* playing back then was Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? (1985). The game is definitely associated with education because it was used in my elementary and middle school (and used by children after me in both schools). Am I reading too much into the fact that I associate The Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? with girls? Why might more girls play educational games?*These students were well under 18. They were girls. I didn’t know any adults who played video games (except for Leisure Suit Larry …kind of has a Saved by the Bell look).
I don’t think we need to play any of these games in class to do a cultural analysis. Why would these types of games be created? Notice that I’m not asking why would they be popular. The book made it clear that these aren’t the most popular types of games (possible exception America’s Army p. 261).
- What mediates advertainment?
- What economic factors make advertising in general necessary?
- What are the “games” companies create to attract you to their brands?
Let’s get into Introducing Cultural Studies. I don’t have anything formal to present, so lets see if we can apply any theories to video games. It might be best to ask “what’s the goal of cultural studies?”
Read Ch. 9 in Understanding Video Games for next week–last chapter in that book. You should also have Introducing Cultural Studies finished by next week. Remember, you have a workshop for your Video Game Essay next week–10/27–so bring a draft. Not an idea, sketch, or webbing. You need a draft printed out and ready for someone to review.