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THE GAME CENTER @ New York University
Thinking About Games

Course Description
An introduction to critical and analytical approaches to the subject of games. Though the history of videogames spans roughly fifty years, and although humans have played for millennia, games have only recently emerged as a field of popular study. This class introduces students to the theory of play, and it answers questions such as: How are games structured? What types of experiences do games give? Who plays games, when, and why?

Learning Outcomes
Understand and discuss games from a theoretical perspective.
Assess and discuss game concepts and the use of games in various contexts.
Overview the history of play theory and game studies.
Apply new theories and evaluate them critically.

Main Topics
game genres and game history
games as a medium; games vs. videogames
theories about players and player psychology
game reviewing, analysis, and criticism
games and storytelling
politics, ethics, and ideology of games
games development as art, craft, and industry

Required Texts:
Murray, Janet. Hamlet on the Holodeck. MIT Press (1998).
Sutton-Smith, Brian. The Ambiguity of Play. Harvard University Press (2001).
All other readings will be available online.
Most games will be available online.