Our secret Valentine’s Day card goes out, only about five years too late, to the participants in the “Teaching Game Studies Workshop” at the 2015 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference, and to Ben Richmond at Vice, for posting their report and reading list. Thanks to them, here are some thoughts from the professionals about how to get started teaching and studying video games.
Embedded in the report are higher-level questions of methodology and concrete suggestions for assignments and course design, but the immediate takeaway, for this amateur scholar, anyhow, is how differently it seems texts and games have been treated in the academy. The recommended (or, as organizers Consalvo and Paul put it, “popular”) readings are specific, suggesting the outlines of a recognizable canon, albeit with a looseness about how much of each text to read; the section of the report dealing with “gameplay in the classroom,” however, does not cite a single specific game. Instead, there’s a smattering of general ideas about ways to incorporate whatever games the instructors might choose, be they “sites with free games, browser games,” “African traditional board games,” or “Tarot cards to teach narratives”–or even just to “have students pick the games to play.”
There’s a remarkably cavalier approach to the selection and incorporation of games for you, and yet, with the right students, as ever, all will be well.
As for what we could end up with, though, allowing too much input from the class, consider the new Sonic movie and its ordeals with fan resentment as a point of comparison. I haven’t seen it yet myself, and don’t know when I’ll get around to it–there’s so much for a lover of video games to read!