Just a followup on my earlier post about Roger Ebert and videogames. Here’s a video response that’s worth watching.
Author Archives: Professor Sample
Roger Ebert on Videogames and Art
Roger Ebert has long maintained that videogames should not be considered art, and he’s recently posted an elaboration of this argument on his blog. Video Games Can Never Be Art is worth the read, especially given our discussion on that subject. It’s also worth looking at the 500 or so comments he’s gotten (some of the comments are actually thoughtful).
Killology in the News
You’ve no doubt heard about the horrific video of American soldiers firing on unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2007. In an article today in the New York Times, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is interviewed about the incident. Grossman, you may remember, is the “killology” expert quoted in the Simon Penny article on simulation and enaction. The NYT article is definitely worth reading.
Collaborative Writing Followup to Mapping/Modeling Videogames
Here’s what I want you to do after you’ve read the chapter on “Gamic Action, Four Moments” in Gaming. Cite one passage (give the page number and a key phrase or two from the passage) that totally confuses you and describe your confusion on the blog.
Snowpocalypse Induced Changes to the Calendar
The university has extended the semester by a few days, allowing us to make up the classes missed during the blizzards in early February. Please look over our updated syllabus!
Approaches to Game Studies
Here is the collection of various articles that HNRS 353 students studied for Inquiry #1: Approaches to Game Studies:
- Advance Wars by Noah Falstein
- Befriending Ogres and Wood-Elves: Relationship Formation and The Social Architecture of Norrath by Nick Yee
- Blacks Deserve Bodies too!: Design and Discussion about Diversity and Race in a Tween Virtual World by Y.B. Kafai, M.S. Cook, and D.A. Fields
- Cheesers, Pullers, and Glitchers: The Rhetoric of Sportsmanship and Discourse of Online Sports Gamers by Steven Conway, Bruce Esplin, and Ryan Moeller
- Each Link in the Chain is a Journey: An analysis of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time by Seth Sivak
- Everything I Know About Game Design I Learned from Super Mario Bros by Patrick Curry
- The Games Economists Play – Implications of Economic Game Theory for the Study of Computer Games by Jonas Heide Smith
- Gaming (Ad)diction: Discourse, Identity, Time and Play in the Production of the Gamer Addiction Myth by Rob Cover
- Guitar Hero: “Not Like Playing Guitar At All”? by Dominic Arsenault
- The Impact of Nintendo’s “For Men” Advertising Campaign on a Potential Female Market by G. Schott and S. Thomas
- Just Like the Qing Empire: Internet Addiction, MMOGs and Moral Crisis in Contemporary China by Alex Golub Kate Lingley
- Loading the Dice: The Challenge of Serious Videogames by Stewart Woods
- Ludonarrative Dissonance in Bioshock by Clink Hocking
- The Meaning of Race and Violence in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas by Ben DeVane and Kurt Squire
- Me, the Other by Torill Elvira Mortenson
- Moral Decision Making in Fallout by Marcus Schulzke
- Passionate Digital Play-Based Learning(Re)Learning in computer games like Shadow of the Colossus by Konstantin Mitgutsch
- Putting the Gay in Games: Cultural Production and GLBT Content in Video Games by Adrienne Shaw
- Self Portrayal in a Simulated Life: Projecting Personality and Values in The Sims 2 by Thaddeus Gribel
- Solitaire by Helen Thorington
- “You Are Dead. Continue?”: Conflicts and Complements in Game Rules and Fiction by Jason Tocci
Using Stella to emulate the Atari VCS
Here are a few tips on using Stella, the Atari 2600 emulator you need to install on your computer in order to play a few of the required games this semester.
- First you need to get Stella (it’s open-source and free). You can find Stella for Windows, Macs, or Linux operating systems from the project’s download page.
- Once the file is downloaded, open the installer just like you would to install any other program.
- Accept all the default settings.
- Once Stella is installed, you’ll need a game “ROM” — this is essentially a tiny piece of software code that mirrors the code on the original game cartridge. There are plenty of places online to find ROMs. Atari Age is the premier Atari site, and in addition to scans of the original packaging and instruction manuals of different games, you can find many ROMs there. Go to individual game pages and look for the “Download ROM” icon (it looks like a white Pac Man in a blue circle). Experiment with different games, but definitely try to download and play the following classic Atari games: Combat, Pac-Man, Air-Sea Battle, Yar’s Revenge, Asteroids, Demon Attack, Space Invaders, and Frogger
- The ROMs at Atariage are often compressed as .zip files to speed up downloading (even though they are already extremely small files). Once the game is downloaded, you’ll have to “unzip” the file to extract the .bin file inside. This .bin file is the actual ROM. Most Macs and PCs can uncompress the games without any problem. Remember where you’ve placed the unzipped .bin file that is the game ROM, and you’re ready to load it up in Stella.
- Run Stella. When you first open the program you’ll see a DOS-like directory. Navigate through here to find where you saved the various .bin files you’ve downloaded.
- You might have to experiment with the different controls and functions keys. In general, press F2 to begin the game.
The Military and Games
We’ll be talking throughout the semester about the ongoing relationship between videogames and the military. Here’s a Defense Department announcement from Monday, in fact, that describes one reason the military continues to invest in gaming technology: According to the Office of Naval Research, “video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players.”
Yes, playing games can make you a better soldier. But what are the implications for the non-soldier players out there?
Welcome to HNRS 353
Welcome to the course website and blog for HNRS 353:004, an Honors College seminar focusing on the cultural impact and analysis of videogames. Here you’ll find all the course documents, including the most up-to-date version of the schedule as well as the requirements for the course.
If you are a student in HNRS 353, you can go ahead and register for the blog. After I approve your registration, you’ll be able to post here, something we’ll be doing almost every week. Don’t delay: you’ll need to start posting almost right away!