Video gaming is the fastest growing form of media: Americans spend twice as much on gaming as on recorded music and it is estimated that young men average over 670 hours a year playing video games. Yet we know relatively little about the broader social and political impact of this new medium. This class will sample the existing literature and explore ways of understanding the political implications (broadly defined) of gaming. Topics will include: the history and political economy of the gaming industry; gender, violence and gaming; the connections between gaming and the military; the potential of video games for enriching democratic life.
Students will be required to contribute daily to an online discussion of the readings on NowComment. There will also be a ten page take-home final examination. As well, working in small groups, students will select games/genres to explore (i.e., PLAY) throughout the class. Each group will create a video presentation connecting the games with the class material.