Monday, 5 November 2012

Weekly assignment 1: Introduction to games and game studies

Jesper Juul: Half-Real
Jesper Juul is one of the heavy-hitters in the field of Game Studies. In his seminal book Half-Real Juul jotted down a proposal for a basic theory of video games. The book deals with what digital games are, what their relation to games in general is, and how the whole process of playing a game works. The book is an excellent introduction to the study of games, both analog and digital alike, as well as an interesting window into the particularities of researching digital culture.

If you're at all interested in games, I heartily recommend reading the whole book. But for our purposes the introduction will suffice.

ASSIGNMENT: Read the introduction [PDF] to Juul's book Half-Real to get acquainted with the topic of games and their study. After reading the introduction, write a small piece of personal reflection on your own gaming history. You can concentrate on just one recollection, or create a larger set of reflections.

Here are some (entirely optional) questions you can use to get started:
  • Do you have fond memories of a particular game?
  • How have your gaming habits changed over the years? What did you play as a child vs. what are you playing now, if anything?
  • Are you currently engaged with a game you feel passionately about and if you are, how does it compare to games you've played before?
  • Have you played board games?
  • Did you ever figure out the rules to Minesweeper or Hearts – the two classic games that have come bundled with the Windows operating system since forever? Or better yet, have you ever played them in any capacity?
Also, do keep in mind that gaming and playing are very much in the same semantic domain, so feel free to discuss any forms of games-related or game-like play you can think of, be it with digital games or at, for example, a playground.

Keep your word count somewhere around 500 words (roughly one page), and email your answer to me by 12.11. I accept any common file formats but .doc and .rtf are preferred.

Happy reminiscing!

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