Semester(s) Offered: Spring
Credits: 4
Course Call Number: GAMES-UT 112, GAMES-GT 115, OART-UT 1618
Prerequisite(s): None
Taught By: mattie brice

What does it mean to represent someone in a game? In the contemporary landscape of the games industry, how people are depicted in games is a topic and challenge no one can afford to avoid. Critics have described the past 5 years in games discourse as ‘culture wars’ for how games are made and who gets to be in them. However, representation is not simply acknowledging that certain identities exist and always including them. Representation is playing with power, argument, and culture along with making statements about identity. This course is a survey of foundational texts about representation where students embark on their own research projects to engage with current issues in games.

Understanding how representation works is not a matter of checking off a list of acceptable practices, rather having a research process that allows creators to investigate the particular contexts applicable to their objects of study. This isn’t a class in being right or wrong, rather supplying tools and frameworks that allow creators to understand the messy, complicated nature of representation.

Upon the completion of this course, the student is expected to cultivate:
1) Basic knowledge and vocabulary of major critical disciplines related to representation.
2) Comfort with an iterative researching process.
3) Awareness of representations of marginalized people in games and media at large.
4) Analytical skills to argue both pernicious and compelling representations in games.
5) Presentation savvy when it comes to communicating your ideas about design and culture.

Graduate students will also gain:
1) Design research skills as applied to game design.
2) Practice-as-research processes.
3) An iterative critical making practice.