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17887 : The Platformer: History and Theory of a Videogame Genre

Description: This course will provide an introduction to genre history and theory in videogame studies through a focus on the “platformer.” Though not a common name outside of videogame culture, the platformer has introduced or popularized some of the medium’s most recognizable figures (Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong) and gameplay mechanics (running, jumping, avoiding enemies, and collecting items). The genre has also been instrumental in and reflective of changes across the videogame medium. This course will cover two decades (roughly 1990 – 2010), emphasizing both historical details and theoretical questions, such as: How have game genres been defined? How do distinct genres emerge and change over time? How do broader trends (technological, formal, industrial, discursive, experiential, etc.) influence individual genres, and what roles do individual genres play in these broader trends? What resources and methodologies exist for studying videogame genres?

Instructor(s): Chris Carloy

Offered: Winter 2022

Category: History

Cluster(s): Games