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25630 : Videogames and Genre Storytelling

Description: Historically, the genre categorization of videogames has been based around what the player does. In place of iconography or thematic content, videogame genres are typically defined in terms of actions: shooting, jumping, pointing, clicking. This course takes a sideways approach to videogame genre, examining the ways in which games have taken inspiration from, and put their own unique mark on, genres borrowed from popular literature and cinema. The aesthetic formulas for popular genres such as horror, romance, comedy, science fiction, and the detective story will be examined using examples in literature and cinema, before turning to games and examining the unique challenges and interactivity brings to these genres' typical plot beats and affective techniques. How does the player-avatar relationship complicate point-of-view and identification in the horror genre? What happens to the literary rules of "fair play" in detective stories as they are adapted into actual game form? Can the performative pain of slapstick be successfully adapted into interactive form? How do dating games re-structure the traditional forms of intimacy of the romance novel and cinematic rom com? This course will take advantage of the resources of the Weston Game Lab of the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center, and will be structured around played examples, in addition to examples from popular literature and film.

Instructor(s): Ian Jones

Offered: Winter 2021

Category: Elective

Cluster(s): Games, Digital Moving Image