Production 7: Critical Game Analysis

Production 7:

For this week’s production, and based on the last several readings readings, take the role of ‘cultural studies theorist’ and critically analyze a (series of) videogame(s) – and/or some kind of comparative video game analysis that addresses a critical theme across different gaming artefacts.

As explored in the readings, considering different methods and modes of inquiry: situated game play; interface and mechanics and rules systems; identity and avatar construction variables; systems of representation; the function of narrative or procedural rhetoric; game aesthetics; analyzing the game as a soicotechnical/historical ‘product’ reflecting contemporary social relations; discourse analysis (within the game and/or in game ‘paratexts’: marketing, discussion forums, etc).

Consider selectively addressing critical issues and examples of representation in games and media culture: gender, race/ethnicity/culture, sexuality and class (economics); technocapitalist relations, etc etc. Please integrate key quotes from readings (or do your own research) to help frame issues. Consider, too, possible [game] interventions (counter-games, critical games, art games) that might disrupt normative ideologies, systems of representation and forces contributing to the reproduction of inequalities.

Consider the following checklist (not a rubric – just an framework to think with and through). In particular, look at the section at the bottom of the checklist:  Critical Media Issues & Critical Game Design. The checklist articulates some aspects of the What of Representation, the How of Representation, and the Who: Who has the power to Represent oneself or others.

  • Ensure this analysis is detailed, connecting the particulars of games (artefacts, experiences, paratexts) to theoretical frames (postcolonial theory, feminism, cultural studies, etc) and modes of inquiry (game play, discourse analysis, visual critical analysis).
  • Have fun!