ENGLISH 189VG

Although this course does discuss blockbuster games, it’s primarily concerned with indie titles prioritizing discovery over system mastery—asking us to think differently. Drawing on video game scholars—Melissa Kagen, Brendan Keogh, Ian Bogost—we’ll examine the gendered deconstruction of horror-codes in Gone Home (described by Brigid Kennedy as “an explicitly queer videogame with an explicitly queer narrative”); the interplay between the singular and the shareable in the trans micro-narrative, Dys4ia; and consider how Return of the Obra Dinn uses retrospective plotting to query a purely economic view of the world. We’ll also discuss Firewatch, The Stanley Parable, Stray and Stardew Valley among other games, and consider how this art form, better than any other, probes the division identified by Theodor Adorno within capitalist society, separating “work” from leisure, or “play”. At the Bok Center Learning Lab, you’ll sample games on multiple platforms and discover tools for creating game stories (engines like Unity, input devices, and storyboards).