Here are some of the game-related classes available at Syracuse University for upcoming semesters. To add an SU class to this list, contact Scott Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ETS 410 Forms and Genres: Practices of Games
Faculty: Chris Hanson
This course will explore the evolving form of digital games, tracing their historical roots in traditional board games and other associated cultural modes of play to current and possible future iterations of video games. We will employ a range of critical approaches to gaming; digital games will be “read” and critically interrogated as texts, and the relationships between game, player, design, software, interface, and structures of play will be discussed. As we examine the development of games and their associated genres, we will investigate the historical, social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of individual games, and consider the relationship of games to other media forms and texts. Attendance at weekly screenings is required, which will combine examples from other media along with those of games.
ENG 730: Game Studies
Faculty: Chris Hanson
Johan Huizinga opens his influential work Homo Ludens with the claim that “play is older than culture.” Such a claim is certainly a contentious one, but it points to broader questions about the relationships between play, games, and culture. What are the roles of games and play in contemporary culture and how are these roles shifting? In late 2013, game designer and theorist Eric Zimmerman boldly—and problematically—declared that we now inhabit the dawn of the “Ludic Century.” He argues that while the moving image has become a dominant mode of present-day cultural expression, linear media will increasingly be replaced by modular and participatory experiences facilitated by customizable game-like systems in the coming century. In such a cultural environment, Zimmerman believes that being merely media- and systems-literate will no longer suffice as the ability to analyze, evaluate, and interpret these emergent game-like systems will be far more valuable.
While any number of critiques might be made of Zimmerman’s manifesto, his observations resonate with the recent and ongoing emergence of game studies within the academy and the industry. Just as digital games have grown profoundly more complex in the last fifty years, theoretical and critical approaches to digital games have proliferated and diversified, moving well past early debates between narratology and ludology. Of course, the study of games predates the digital age, and in this course we will engage with the foundational texts which serve as precursors to the contemporary critical approaches which we will also explore. We will trace the historical development of game studies as a discipline, while also examining both traditional and digital games as case studies for our critical consideration. In addition to ergodic texts, we will also study screen-based media texts which explicitly or implicitly engage with the concepts of game studies. Attendance at weekly screenings is a required component of this course.
IST 500 M800 Motivation through Games and Play (online)
Faculty: Scott Nicholson
Gamification is the application of gameful and playful layers to motivate engagement in another context.At the heart of gamification are theories of motivation and what makes games and play engaging. During this class, students will explore reward-based gamification, meaningful gamification, and other ways that games and play are used to motivate engagement. As this is a design and theory class, no programming skills are required, but students will be using different gamification platforms throughout the semester.