IT-Universitetet i København
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Kursusnavn (dansk):Foundations of Play and Games 
Kursusnavn (engelsk):Foundations of Play and Games 
Semester:Efterår 2016 
Udbydes, spil (games) 
Omfang i ECTS:15,00 
Min. antal deltagere:
Forventet antal deltagere:50 
Maks. antal deltagere:52 
Formelle forudsætninger:There are no formal prerequisites, but a broad familiarity with games (both digital and analog) will be useful. It is suggested to spend the summer brushing up on game knowledge, i.e. researching and getting first-hand experiences of a wide variety of genres and classics*. The course is theoretical in nature so an interest in theoretical and analytical issues will help. You are expected to actively participate in the lectures, which are dialogic in form, with ample room for discussion.

* An absolutely non-comprehensive list of 'canonic' games/game series/genres you should have more than heard about:

  • Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Tetris

  • Text Adventures (

  • Super Mario Bros.

  • Elite

  • SimCity

  • Myst

  • Doom, Quake

  • Diablo

  • Tomb Raider

  • Half-Life 1+2, System Shock, Deus Ex, Bioshock

  • Grand Theft Auto III

  • The Sims

  • Different CRPGs (Final Fantasy, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, KOTOR/Mass Effect/Dragon Age)

  • Adventures (esp. the LucasArts school: Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, Sam & Max)

  • Survival Horror (Resident Evil, Silent Hill)

  • RTS (esp. the Blizzard school: Warcraft, Starcraft)

  • MOBA (DotA, LoL)

Læringsmål:After successful completion of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • Discuss games and play from various theoretical, cultural and critical perspectives.

  • Recognize common cultural biases towards play and games.

  • Problematize game definitions and categorizations, and formulate models that expose the problematic distinctions between work and play, and between games and “the real world”.

  • Analyze games and identify game genres, using a variety of analysis methods.

  • Apply new theories and evaluate them critically.

  • Assess and discuss game concepts and the use of games in various contexts.

Fagligt indhold:Games and Play are fundamental phenomena found in every society throughout history. They are forms of entertainment, and also part of many cultural discourses, as well as modes of behavior and communication. Lately they have evolved, through computer technology, into the most prominent form of digital culture and expression.

This course offers a broad overview of the fundamental concepts, theories and approaches to games and play. We will discuss a selection of the main critical and research approaches, with the relation between games and narratives as one central element. Although much recent research will be included in the curriculum, we will deal intensively with the foundational texts of theorists such as Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Bateson, Caillois, Huizinga, Sutton-Smith.

The main topics of the course are as follows:

  • Game and play history

  • Game ontology and typologies

  • Games and representation

  • Games, play and fiction

  • Games and stories

  • Narrative theory applied to games

  • Games, ethics and ideology

  • Games as art, art as play

  • Game addiction

Læringsaktiviteter:14 ugers undervisning bestående af forelæsninger og øvelser

Lectures give an overview of theories, discourses, and historical developments. They contextualize the readings in the course syllabus and thus facilitate critical engagement. Students are encouraged to discuss concepts, definitions, and categorizations in the lectures. This analytic approach to existing research is deepened and applied in the exercises through e.g. discussions of example, formulations and evaluations of alternative concepts. These predominantly oral forms of engagement with the subject matter are direct preparations for the mandatory hand-ins, which successively test the learning progress through tasks that require the application of core competencies. 

Obligatoriske aktivititer:Students will be required to hand in three compulsory exercises which build towards the skills and knowledge required for the term paper. Timely hand-in of exercises will be a prerequisite for the final exam. 
Eksamensform og -beskrivelse:C: Skriftlige arbejder uden mundtlig eksamen., (7-scale, external exam)

The course will be assessed and graded based on a term paper. As the paper is the sole basis for grading, it cannot be done in groups. The topic is chosen by the student (in consultation with course manager and TAs) based on the course content, i.e. it must relate thematically to at least one of the topics covered in class and incorporate at least one of the texts on the reading list. The term paper has to be academic in style, approach, and execution, and include botha bibliography and a ludography (preferably in APA style). The length should be roughly (+/-10%) 15 standard pages or 36.000 characters including spaces.  

Litteratur udover forskningsartikler:TBA