Plan for the Day
- Canvas Posts
- Game Sales issue…(from last week)
- Video Game Definitions
- Introduction to Critical Theory
- History of Video Games to the discussion from last week
- Evolution of Sex Documentary on YouTube
WORKSHOP ON “TOWARD A THEORETICAL LENS ESSAY” NEXT WEEK (9/15/2016)
Video Game Definitions
We don’t have to delve into the intricacies of the various definitions of games, but let’s review the authors’ genres and a couple others’ definitions: Marshall McLuhan, Salen & Zimmerman, and Jesper Juul.
Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith, & Tosca
Four genres of video games:
- Action Games
- Adventure Games
- Strategy Games
- Process-Oriented Games
- Simulation games are “a subgroup of process-oriented games [that] try their best to mimic concrete, real-world experiences” (p. 58).
- What’s the fun of simulation?
The authors note that Mark Wolf (2001) “outline[s] 43 distinct genres,” and Gamespot.com has over 30 video game genres (p. 53). Why have so many? Why have just four?
Where have you heard the name Marshall McLuhan before?
p. 40: “Games are popular art, collective, social reactions to the main drive or action of any culture. Games, like institutions, are extensions of social man and the body politic, as technologies are extensions of the animal organism….providing release of particular tension.”
Salen & Zimmerman
p. 47: “A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.”
p. 47: “A game is a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.”
Interesting…what’s Hitman’s codename in the Hitman series?
Introduction to Critical Theory
As I mentioned before, we’re only scratching the surface of critical theory. Introducing Critical Theory: A Graphic Guide isn’t a replacement for reading the original (or translated…) texts of these major theorists. The book is a good beginning (or refresher) and provides a good overview of the major figures and their philosophies on knowledge. Most importantly, though, the book demonstrates how to ask questions based on a particular theory. This isn’t the end of the critical theory discussion; it’s a beginning (notice I didn’t write the beginning).
Let’s start with two theories important to cultural studies:
As always, keep up with the reading and do your Canvas posts–notice the plural. We’ll get back to the Video Game history discussion because Ch. 4 of Understanding Video Games is titled “History.” Also, don’t forget to read pp. 56-111 of Introducing Critical Theory.
Bring in a draft–yes a draft–of your Theoretical Lens Essay. Not having a draft will disappoint me. You should feel free to cite Introducing Critical Theory, but don’t do so in essays for other classes. It’s not as bad as citing wikipedia, but the more appropriate citation would be to go to the primary source. Remember, our theoretical discussions/approaches are introductory. I hope you’re building ways to interpret video games (and other texts).