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EN397 Game Theory: Interactive and Video Game Narratives

Convenors: Tim Leach, Gonzalo Garcia

Overview:

The module will focus on studying the narrative traditions of video games, making narrative connections between their basic origins in the 1970s to their contemporary presentations, taking into account the impact these narratives now have (with over 2.2 billion gamers worldwide).

The module will aim to provide students with an understanding of how these narratives fit into the wider scope of contemporary narrative productions (for example, understanding counter-culture elements in independent games publishing, or examining the way in which the internet has transformed the impact of gaming narratives), as well as the practice of said narratives, taking into account unique characteristics in the medium, such as player choice, gameplay mechanics, linear storylines, limited interactions and cheat codes. Along with the primary materials, the module will engage with theoretical concerns involved in digital spaces – reflect on the evolution of various discourses presented in contemporary digital spaces, and their interplay with real life, their responses to current politics, as well as the way they have been presented in contemporary fiction (both in writing about games as popular culture, as well as novel adaptations of games) and criticism in journals such as Game Studies or the archives of Nightmare Mode.

This is a 15 CAT module, and will run in Term 2.

´╗┐This module is for 3rd years only.´╗┐

Assessment:

Non-assessed YouTube Channel Presentation and Broadcasts

Assessed 5000 words either of a) Gaming Narrative (playable story) or b) a script for a Broadcasted Essay and critical analysis of topics related to games narrative or c) a Written Essay and critical analysis about topics related to games narrative

Seminars:

Week 1: Assessing Narrative Tropes in Gaming Worlds

Week 2: Creating a Compelling Character: A Critical Analysis of Agency

Week 3: Methodology of Plot Structure

Week 4: Consistent and Persistent Digital Spaces

Week 5: Politics, Violence and Participation in Digital Mediums

Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: Indie Games and the Art of Interactive Personal Narratives

Week 8: The Uncanny, Horror, and Death

Week 9: Writing Fiction About Video Games

Week 10: From Novel to Video Game Script: A Critical Analysis of Narrative Adaptation