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The coolest class yo

 
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Emperor Xan



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 4075
Location: A boat.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:03 pm    Post subject: The coolest class you can't take. Reply with quote

None of you go to UCI as students to my knowledge, so I'm thinking it is safe to assume you can't take my class. Yes, you read that correctly my class. I was accepted into my school's UTeach program, which lets undergrads teach their own classes. So, to allow you to drool over the coolness of my course, here's the proposal I submitted.

Beyond Play: Games as cultural, performative, and narrative media

Games are often viewed as a form of amusement, but if one looks beyond the play activity, something else seems to be communicated. The seminar will examine games as texts to uncover any latent cultural values, skills rewarded, and narratives that play conveys to the participants. Students will play games reflecting the week’s theme and then discuss what information the game transmits. Students will then discuss ways of reading games contextually to determine what messages (if any) are contained within the games played for the week.

While fun is co-mingled with discussion, the focus is on serious issues concerning the public and ways in which people engage and view the medium. By reading games contextually, students can examine the concerns that arise over genres of play. Critical looks at such types of games will allow the students to discuss the skills, cultural values, and narratives embedded in games. To this end, the study begins with very basic games and the fundamental concepts they contain and progresses through games of growing complexity from traditional tabletop models to computer and video game.

As the course progresses, students will identify key elements in games that surface time and again with new technological innovations. Some thought questions for the students will include whether games have any influence on technological development, how do games co-opt material from other fields, and the generative force imbued in the categorical collapse the play space enacts.


The topics by week are listed below. Included are the games to be examined in class based on elements that reflect the week’s topics.

1. Introduction, reading games beyond play
Survival Skill Games: Hide & Seek; Tag; Duck, Duck, Goose
2. The play space and voluntary impairment
The “Basic” Games: Tic-tac-toe, Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Memory
3. Practicality and admixture (categorical confusion/collapse)
Skill, Precision, Language & Timing Games: Operation, Hangman, Simon, Scattergories
4. Culture and civility
Social and Puzzle Games: Riddles, Charades, Pictionary, Crossword Puzzels & Scrabble
5. Risk and stress, people in play
Psychological and Chance Games: Poker, Risk, Rock-Paper-Scissors, Battleship
6. Information and systems knowledge
Knowledge Games: Trivial Pursuit, Go, Dominoes, Dungeons & Dragons
7. Resources and their management
Greed/Economy and Strategy Games: Chess, Monopoly, Hungry Hungry Hippos
8. Motions in space, bodies as play (discussion of sports)
Physical Games: Simon Says, Wooden Ships and Iron Men
9. Narrative engines and metagaming
Storytelling Games: Assorted role-playing games, the Game Game, shared stories
10. Everything old is new again
Computer-based Games: Tetris, assorted video games
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Darius



Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 430

PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please tell me you'll be teaching this in two years.
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Emperor Xan



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 4075
Location: A boat.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know about that, but my goal is to not make this a one-shot offering.
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Vertigo21 wrote:
Make...something?

Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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Rexfelum



Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 3897

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is fantastic and needs to happen. I already knew that this school does a bunch of gaming-related stuff; and I do believe I recall you discussing a possible gaming course before; but actually seeing it all laid out like that makes it downright amazing. Good luck.

And I do mean "good luck." Are you intending to get students to play "duck, duck, goose"? Are you prepared for the psychological aspect of managing such a class? Do you, for that matter, know the possible class sizes?

And . . . by the way, let me go to on another subject. Something I did for my fellow teaching folks at my graduate school was proofread their material. Now, this is just a proposal, so I imagine it's not "course catalog text" yet, but I have three suggestions if you need to use it as such:

Emperor Xan wrote:
from traditional tabletop models to computer and video game.

One might argue that "video game" should be singular, but I think it reads better plural.

Emperor Xan wrote:
whether games have any influence on technological development, how do games co-opt material from other fields

Here, I can confidently suggest the removal of "do" from "how do games." Parallel form.

Emperor Xan wrote:
Crossword Puzzels

Spelling error.

Rock on, Xan. Rock on.

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 4075
Location: A boat.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rex, I didn't even bother giving the proposal a read-through after writing it because of time constraints, but thanks for pointing out my editing mistakes. lol

As for making the students play Duck, Duck, Goose; I'm afraid that I cannot do that due to safety reasons and the like. AKA, the school doesn't wanna risk people getting hurt. Rather, for the first class, the students will examine the formal rules of each game and use that as the basis for their group discussion. I'm hoping to get 90 min to 2 hrs for the class so that the students will have time to play the games in-class before the day's lesson. The class is only worth 1 unit of credit for the students and I believe that I will have about 30 students maximum. From what I've garnered from someone who has taught one of these classes, if the professors like the material, they might co-opt it in another quarter and teach it as a 4-unit class. And, yes, that has happened before.

For the hell of it, I'm working on a paper that looks at Tag through an economic lens to explain why the game resurfaces time and again throughout a person's life.
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Vertigo21 wrote:
Make...something?

Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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Emperor Xan



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 4075
Location: A boat.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, one of the things I can do for those of you who aren't taking my class is to post the reading list and the like once its finalized. I can tell you that the textbook will be Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals if you would like to take the class by proxy.
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Vertigo21 wrote:
Make...something?

Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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Bearses



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 1776
Location: in ma bear cave

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tutor wrote:
Teaching is good way to serve every one. You teach the student and increase your knowledge.tutorgrid.com

www.tutorgrid.com


no, tutor! that's a bad tutor!
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Guppy



Joined: 20 Mar 2003
Posts: 5670
Location: bullseye, CA

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

someones hot for teacher
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