Invisible Histories of Video Games
Invisible Histories of Videogames
This project-based course presents an alternative approach to videogame history, identifying the limitations of mainstream histories oriented by commercial and technological events and milestones, pursuing instead more game-centric genealogies of paradigmatic play experiences. As a supplement to market-genre histories or generalized accounts of movements in videogame design, students will research and produce multimedia genealogies mapping the inspirations and enabling conditions for a specific self-selected game that has either been formative in their personal gaming histories or a current catalyst of interest in game media.
The course will incorporate as a central text the Seattle EMP Museum's Indie Game Revolution special exhibit, which features video interviews with over 40 independent designers (some local to Seattle), playable examples, and well researched information about the contemporary game industry. Students will also be exposed to some conventional histories of video games (from the mainframe and coin-op age to the current age of home console and cloud gaming) and engage readings in game studies that provide conceptual resources for rethinking game history. Finally, students will collaborate on projects using Knight Lab’s (Northwestern University) “Timeline JS3” tool, a web-based history visualization application. Sessions will involve short lectures, discussion of readings/viewings, and project workshopping. The course will make use of a private Mediawiki website to facilitate student collaboration, resource sharing, and data archiving.