Production 7: Critical Game Analysis

Production 7:

For this 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 well as related ‘paratextual’ artefacts like game wikis/videos and resources created by player communities, game advertising created by developers, etc., and/or films and other journalistic texts based on the game).

As explored in the readings, considering different methods and modes of inquiry (research and data collection methods, including screen capture or in-game images, [machinima if you wish*] etc): 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 sociotechnical & 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.  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 Рjust an ideation 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!
  • * if you want to do machinima-based project, feel free, and let me know if i can help with ideas or technical support there…