The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of video game studies through the lens of control systems and strategies of resistance to the often problematic content and practices of the games industry. The course is part seminar, part workshop that will give students an introduction to the rhetorical devices of video games and virtual spaces and experience in manipulating those devices to create a virtual platform-based persuasive object. Approximately half of the class meetings will engage students in traditional seminar-style lecture and discussion format, with the other half dedicated to guiding student groups in manipulating games to build theoretically-informed projects that will make a persuasive argument about or intervention on a social justice issue of their choice. This will give students experience in connecting theory with praxis, creating collaborative scholarship, working in new modes of literacy, and extending the uses of technology beyond those for which they were originally intended.
After completing this course, students will have worked in groups to produce a concept for a game, game mod, or virtual space, along with a working proof-of-concept demonstration. This course will build teamworking skills, familiarization with new technology, and an understanding of how ideas can be communicated in ways other than writing.