Course Schedule of Readings

PLEASE NOTE: This schedule is not a contract. I may make alterations in class and forget to post them on the site. What I announce in class will always override the written schedule.

Week 1: Play/Action/Interactivity

Jun 25 – Jun 28

Monday: Introductions

Syllabus, questions, gaming

To Read:

  • Jane McGonigal, “Introduction: Reality is Broken” and “What Exactly is a Game?” from Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (1-34)

Suggested Reading:

  • “Defining Play,” “Defining Games,” and “Defining Digital Games” in Salen and Zimmerman, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. (301-11), (71-83), (85-91)

Tuesday: What is…?

To Read:

  • “Gamic Action, Four Moments,” in Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (1-19)

To Play:

Something that you consider a “game.” Prepare to discuss.

Wednesday: Theories of Action

To Read:

  • “Gamic Action, Four Moments,” in Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (20-38)
  • “The Myth of Interactivity,” in Manovich, The Language of New Media (55-61)

To Play:

  • One from each list of emblematic games for Galloway’s four moments.

Thursday: Playful Print

To Read:

  • Selections from the Oulipo
  • Paulson, “The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality: a diagnostic test in two parts”

Week 2: Avatar

Jul 2 – Jul 5

Monday: First Person
To Read:

To Play:

(In Class: Brooks on narrative transference)

Tuesday: Second Person

To Read:

To Play:

  • Square, Final Fantasy 7 (PS2)
  • Sierra, Space Quest or King’s Quest (PC)

Wednesday: Third Person

To Read:

To Play:

  • Tomb Raider

(NO CLASS this day, but we will discuss/adjust schedule as necessary)

Week 3: Narrative

Jul 9 – Jul 12

Monday: Third Person (cont’d)

To Read:

  • Leonard, “Young, Black (& Brown) and Don’t Give a Fuck: Virtual Gangstas in the Era of State Violence” (excerpts) Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies 9.2 (Apr 2009): 248-72.

To Play:

  • Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2/XB/360/PC/PSP)

(In Class: Whitman, “I Hear America Singing” and Hughes, “I, too”)

Tuesday: What is Narrative?

To Read:

  • Abbott, “Narrative and Life,” “Defining Narrative,” and “The Borders of Narrative,” from The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (1-35)

To Play:

Wednesday: Narratology vs. Ludology

To Read:

To Play:

Thursday: Playing Narrative Games

To Read:

  • Juul, “Rules and Fiction” (excerpt), from Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds.

To Play:

  • Heavy Rain (PS3)

Week 4: Space

Jul 16 – Jul 19

Monday: Reading Gamic Narratives

To Read:

  • Atwood, “Happy Endings”
  • Morrison, “Recitatif”

Tuesday: Navigable Space

To Read:

To Play:

Wednesday: Narrative Space

To Read:

  • Jenkins, “Game Design as Narrative Architecture,” from First Person (119-30)
  • Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths”

To Play:

  • Valve, Portal (Mac/PC/360)

Thursday: Literary Space

To Read:

Week 5: Time

Jul 23 – Jul 26

Monday: Material Space

To Read:

  • Gennette, “Introduction to the Paratext,” New Literary History 22.2 (Spring 1991): 261-72.
  • House of Leaves (excerpt)
  • VAS: An Opera in Flatland (excerpts)

Tuesday: Time

To Read:

  • Richardson, “Introduction: Narrative Temporality,” from Narrative Dynamics (9-14)
  • Genette, “Order, Duration, and Frequency,” from Narrative Dynamics (25-34)

To Play:

Wednesday: Space-Time

To Read:

  • Juul, “Introduction to Game Time,” from First Person (131-42)
  • Bakhtin, “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel: Notes toward a Historical Poetics,” from Narrative Dynamics (15-24)
  • Coover, “The Elevator”

To Play:

  • Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64/GC/Wii)

Thursday: Experiments in Time

To Read:

  • Richardson, “Beyond Story and Discourse: Narrative Time in Postmodern and Nonmimetic Fiction,” from Narrative Dynamics. (47-63)
  • Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890)
  • Borges, “The Secret Miracle” (1944)

To Play:

  • Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time (GC/PS2/XB)

Week 6: Wrapping Up

Jul 30 – Aug 2

Monday: Media Specificity

To Read:

  • Hayles, “Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep: The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis.” Poetics Today 25:1 (Spring 2004), pg 1-9


Paper peer Review/Exam Review


Final Exam


Wrap Up/Evals

Add to the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s