Case Study Dossier

The case study dossier is a portfolio of historical and critical material related to one of the case study games. You will work in groups (state your preferences here) to assemble the dossiers, and you will share the dossier at the outset of our discussion of that game. My expectation is that you and your group become the classroom experts on the case study game (which is not the same as experts of the game). The case study dossier is worth 25% of your final grade.

Every dossier must have the following material: an annotated bibliography, PDFs of the selected readings, possible discussion topics, a classroom activity designed to help the class better understand the game and its influence, and your own critical take on the game. The annotated bibliography, PDFs, and possible discussion topics will be uploaded to Blackboard for everyone in the class to read.

Here are more details about each component of the dossier:

The annotated bibliography contains at least four scholarly sources (you need one source per person in your group). Your sources could include journal articles, book chapters, and even entire books. Avail yourself of the various research databases George Mason has access to: the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, the MLA International Bibliography, JStor, Project Muse, etc. Also try out Mason’s new inPrimo comprehensive research engine. You can also look directly at academic journals dedicated exclusively to videogames, such as Eludamos, Loading…, Game Studies, Games and Culture, and Well Played (1, 2, 3).

Each annotation should address the following questions, in approximately 2-3 double-spaced pages:

  1. Who are the author(s) of the text? What disciplinary perspective are they coming from?
  2. Who is the intended audience of the text? That is, to whom is it addressed?
  3. How does the text situate itself in relationship to other critics or texts? How does the text signal its participation in a larger conversation about videogames?
  4. What is the central claim or argument of the text?
  5. What’s at stake with this claim? Why does it matter?
  6. What methodology do the author(s) use? What critical approaches are relied upon, and what kind of evidence is used?
  7. What is your own—or your group’s own—response to the argument? Do you find it persuasive, unpersuasive, interesting, uninteresting? Explain your response.

In addition to the annotations, each group member will complete his or her own 3-4 page (1,000 words) critical take on the game. The idea behind this short paper is that you have became intimately familiar with both the game itself and the existing scholarship around the game, and now it is your turn to share your own informed, analytical perspective of the game. You can approach this task from a number of angles: you can focus on the game’s contribution to a specific genre, the game’s impact upon culture outside of the world of videogames, its influence upon other games, the innovation of certain mechanics or other formal attributes (graphics, audio, etc.) in the game, its development history, or any other relevant topic.

More details about the possible discussion topics and the classroom activity will be available shortly.