Sep 1st 2015

Understanding Video Games (Coursera)

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An 11-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of analytical theory pertaining to video game media. Topics covered: play and game, emergence versus progression, game mechanics, story, interpretive theory, the culture of games, violence, sex and race in games, and finally, serious games.

Video games are a globally entrenched entertainment medium that entertains, informs and challenges us. These games are defined by, and define our modern culture. In this course, students will learn how to study games and engage in informed discussions about them. Ultimately, this course is about understanding the literacy of video games.

Understanding Video Games was created with the help of world renowned video game developer, BioWare Corp, located in Edmonton, Alberta.

The three main parts of the course are:

1) developing the terminology that enables us to talk about video games;

2) exploring how these terms are used in theoretical frameworks to interpret games, and;

3) turning these theories toward cultural aspects of games in order to understand how the medium has impacted society. One of the most important insights students will gain from the course will be an understanding of the interplay between video game designers, players and the games themselves.

Course material is delivered in a student-friendly short-form fashion, with numerous formative feedback sections. Students will gain access to a number of special interactive modules designed specifically for this course. These modules will give users the opportunity to design their own video game avatar, as well as explore the short but fascinating history of video game releases. This course's unique lesson delivery, combined with classic quiz structure, will enable students to quickly gain a solid foundational understanding of video games within the context of modern culture.