Welcome to the course page for the ongoing Video Game Studies class available on Outschool.

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Undertale walkthrough, Pacifist guide and tips for Switch, PS4 ...

Recommended readings and resources will be updated each week, as will the course slideshow, so check back here regularly–

Undertale and EarthBound

Week 1 – play (or replay) Undertale and EarthBound if you have time; in a pinch, you can read a walkthrough or watch a playthrough (spoilers, naturally!)

Week 2 – read a little about the making of Undertale (including the original kickstarter) and EarthBound

Week 3 – take a shot at video game analysis and design via the fan communities springing up around these games

Bonus: My review of Deltarune ch 1+2

Final Fantasy IV, V, VI

Week 4 – There are many versions of these games out there! Here’s a good overview of the options for playing them. Let’s Plays can be helpful to review specific scenes, but nothing beats playing Final Fantasy for yourself

Week 5 – Clyde Mandelin’s translation comparisons of FFIV and FFVI are a great resource, especially if you’re working on your Japanese, and Chris Kohler’s FFV book doubles as a nice general history of the series

Week 6 – Dive into FF fandom, if you dare. For the official scoop, though, you can consult the massive Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive

Final Fantasy VII original and Remake

Week 7 – For digging into the original FFVII, I recommend

Week 8 – Bullet Points’ analysis of the Remake looks excellent. For more historical perspective, see FFVII: An Oral History on Polygon

Preview of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Week 9 – The playable demo is out on the Switch for free, or you can watch the playthroughs out there

Week 10 – Read into the series of trailers, teasers, and other tidbits for clues about Breath of the Wild 2

Mario 35th Anniversary Celebration

Week 11 – Overview of the Mario 35 release blitz

Week 12 – Focus on Mario 35 and the ethics of modding communities, from this NPR piece and IGN review, plus the level maps from the original game

Week 13 – Retrospective of the course so far, projects for the coming year

Xenogears Part #148 - Episode CXLV (Part 1): The Last Days of Zeboim
Happy Holidays from the Rockefeller Square of Xenogears (LP Archive)

Semester 2: Roots of the JRPG

We’re back in 2021 with a look at more key players in the history of Japanese Role Playing Games. Here’s the slideshow, updated weekly.

January: Dragon Quest/ Dragon Warrior

Week 1 – Dragon Quest I-IV
Week 2 – Dragon Quest V-VII
Week 3 – Dragon Quest VIII-XI
Week 4 – Spinoffs and related media

A good historical overview of the series (up to IX) and interview with Yuji Horii should be enough to get you started, but which game to play first?

February: Xeno Series

Week 1 – Xenogears
Week 2 – Xenosaga series
Week 3 – Xenoblade Chronicles (original and Definitive Edition)
Week 4 – Xenoblade X and 2

A history of the developer, an interview with one of the creators, and a deep dive into the original game will keep you busy. The Xenoblade games are wildly popular nowadays, but we all know disc 2 of Xenogears is where it’s at!

March: Chrono Trigger

  • Week 1 – Opening thru the Trial
  • Week 2 – The Future to the End of Time
  • Week 3 -The Village of Magic thru Magus’ Castle
  • Week 4 – The Kingdom of Zeal thru Death Peak
  • Week 5 – Side quests and Endgame

This month, we’re going to try a playthrough of just one game, widely considered to be the pinnacle of the genre: Chrono Trigger. Play along in your free time or watch one of the many let’s plays available out there–I suggest watching one without commentary, but with game audio. Along with Xenogears, the Chrono Trigger soundtrack is a gem.

April-May: Hiatus to complete student teaching program :/

We hope to resume the course in June

To be continued…