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Game Studies and Cultural Analysis

Why game studies? For whom?

What is the cultural and social role of computer games? This minor uses interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches to answer that question. Literature and film have often been seen as media that offer critical reflections on our times. Do video games also contribute to such a reflection? And if so, in what ways?

Computer games speak to the condition of our 21st society in ways no other media can. This minor will explore the many ways in which they address and shape society. First, computer games shape our relation to technology and digitalization, while also inviting a critical reflection on the effects of digitalization, for example new forms of political control (informatic control, Galloway). Second, on another level, gamification has transformed didactical methods and communication strategies; and while games, on the one hand, use the conventions of film, television, comics, literature, etc., on the other hand we can also see that the visual arts, films, and television series have changed under the influence of games. Computer games are at the heart of fundamental changes in art, culture, society and politics. We will explore these issues through a discussion of an extensive range of mainstream and indie games (from Half-Life to The Sims and Fortnite, from The Elder Scrolls to The Witcher and The Walking Dead).

The emergence of games went hand in hand with a paradigm shift in the humanities that had hitherto focused on questions of representation. Game studies now work with key-concepts such as interactivity, performativity, and play. In addition, games are understood as part of a broad intermedial “convergence culture” (Jenkins) in which the difference between producers and consumers begins to fade. As game making is a part of game culture, and as designing a game contributes a lot to understanding the nature of the medium, this minor also offers opportunities to obtain skills in game making. Students of the Humanities, Social Sciences and (Computer) Sciences can collectively create digital and non-digital computer game prototypes, after following a course in video game making first, or/and a course in story-telling. They will put their new-won insights at work during a 10 ec hands-on course.

Design your own minor

This minor is offered by an interdisciplinary team of the Humanities and Science Faculties. All students can now design their own 30 (or 15) ec-minor, by selecting courses from the 46 ec-program. Note that the program of the 2019-2020 minor differs from that in 2018-2019: the second semester now offers two 10 ec-courses (Game Analysis and Hands-On).

Prospectus number: 5000MGSCAN

Class number: 1376

Language: English


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1

Introduction Game Studies and Cultural Analysis 10
Games and Transmedia Storytelling 5
Introduction to Video Game Making 6
Introduction Story-Telling for Beginners (Science-students) 5

Semester 2

Game Analysis: Games and Cultural Analysis 10
Hands-On: Reflective Game Development in Action 10

More info

Minor: voor Leidse studenten; geen toestemming examencommissie vereist
Omvang: 30 ec (uit aanbod van 46 ec)
Bedoeld voor: studenten uit alle disciplines
Voertaal: Engels
Webadres: keuzeruimte
Coördinator: mevr. dr. I. Hoving
Informatie: I.Hoving
Aanmelding: via uSis Minors in English
Verantwoordelijke Examencommissie: Literatuur- en Mediawetenschappen

Vakken in de minor:

  • (Interdisciplinary) Introduction Game Studies and Cultural Analysis

  • Games and Transmedia Storytelling

  • Introduction to Video Game Making

  • Introduction Story-Telling for Beginners (Science-students)

  • Game Analysis: Games and Cultural Analysis

  • Hands-On: Reflective Game Development in Action