Course Description:

This course explores the politics of historical and present conceptions of play and gameplay with a particular focus on understanding problems and potentials of contemporary digital game culture. We will discuss a broad range of topics including the centrality of play in Hindu metaphysics, the ancient Greek connection between education and play, the influence of American Puritanism on our valuation of play, Native American use of games as conflict resolution and intergenerational community formation, the South Korean professionalization of digital gaming, the emergence of “games for change” and “serious games,” issues of diversity and cultural difference in the making and reception of video games, first and second wave “indie” game culture, play and cultural evolution, the conceptual separation of “play” from “work,” codifications of sexism, racism, and classicism in videogame design culture, the threats of a “military entertainment complex,” and more.



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