About the Faculty
I am an associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo where I have taught for five years. My area of specialization is digital rhetoric, which means that I study how emerging digital media and the cultural practices surrounding those technologies shape the ways we communicate, the knowledge we produce, the communities we form, and the goals we set for ourselves. If you are interested, you can learn more about my work on my professional blog, Digital Digs.
The study of video games, the subject of this course, is one part of this larger area of study.
Since the appearance of the Atari 2600 video game console in 1977, video games have become an increasingly common feature of our lives. Today, we play games on our televisions through more advanced consoles, dedicated handheld devices, personal computers, and on our mobile phones. We play games online with millions of co-players, in augmented reality, and with our bodies without controllers. In other words, video games have proliferated and mutated into a vast ecology of media, interactivity, and genre. Over the last 20 years, the interdisciplinary study of video games has developed into a full-blown area of scholarly practice, including many practices with their origins in English and the humanities (as well as other methods from the social sciences, computer science, engineering, and other fields).
This online course will introduce the methods and foundational scholarship in games studies. We will play a number of games ourselves (you will not be required to purchase any specific games or devices, other than what is typically needed to participate in an online class). In addition to developing an ability to analyze and interpret video games, we will also discuss the potential social and cultural uses of video gaming beyond entertainment. Readings will include Ian Bogost’s How To Do Things With Videogames, Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken, and other essays. Course work will include online discussions, reading responses, and a final research project.