Game Studies: Theory and Design

Pages: 22 (563 words) Published: November 24, 2014
IAT 210 – Week 1
Summer 2014

From Plato
If you would read a man’s Disposition,
see him Game:
You will then learn more of him in one
hour, than in seven Years

and little Wagers will try him as soon as
great Stakes, for then he is off his

A Bit About Me…

In digital media since ’95

Started companies in NYC, YYZ and

Worked in mobile, online, televised,
social media, casual and console games.
Everything from the N-Gage to MMA.

A Bit About Me…

Started the VFS game design program

Visiting prof in grad program at CDM

Taught at SIAT in 2006 and 2007

A Bit About Me…

I’m teaching this class because I get
curious about the state of games & play

Not really an academic, so my
approach might be a little bit different

TAs will keep us all in-line when it
comes to SFU methodology &

A Bit About You…

Mainly second or third year students

WIDE range of disciplines

Even WIDER range of languages

A Bit About You…

Mainly PC users

Not especially technical, which is fine

Not many gamers, but plenty of
smartphone users

A Bit About You…

Interesting blend of casual and hard-core

Broad preference of game genres:
board, shooters, strategy, puzzles,
arcade, etc

A lot of time wasters : only one

A Bit About You…

Want to learn how to make games (31%)

The future of games (19%)

Games and popular culture (17%)

The business of games (15%)

A Bit About Us…
Course topics will include:

cultural fit

traditional games

digital games





A Bit About Us…
Course activities will include:

readings, old and new

in-class exercises

submitted analysis

comparative media

game-based assignments

A Bit About Us…
Course outcomes will include:

thinking critically about games

provide analysis of game designs

understand the user experience

exposure to a range of games

seeing the cultural fit

forecasting trends in games

A Bit About Us…
You will be evaluated as follows:

short game projects (25%)

traditional game analysis (10%)

digital game analysis (15%)

term paper (20%)

final (30%)

A Bit About Us…

The text will be Rules of Play by Salen
and Zimmerman. It’s a monster but worth
it. I still refer to it.

Other readings will be assigned as
necessary. I tend to like online sources,
as they are more current.

A Bit About Us…
Policies / best practices are as follows:

Attendance counts

Build networks

Do the work - it’s fun!

Late assignments not marked

Take advantage of us!

All other SFU rules are in full effect

From Sid Meier

A game is a series of interesting and
meaningful choices in pursuit of

a clear and compelling goal.

Within entertainment
How does this differ from:

A film?
A television series?
A graphic novel?
A toy?

Consider the case of:

Break into groups and discuss how it works
as an immersive experience for these

graphic novels

Core Principles
Games will be considered through these filters:

rules vs. play
casual vs. hardcore
challenge vs. flow
ludology vs. storytelling
uniqueness as a medium
understanding the mechanics!

For next week, please:

read Rules of Play, Chapter 9
read Garneau’s 14 Forms of Fun
Dust off one of your favourite old
games and play it with some

That’s It!

Have a good night - any questions, please
come find me at the front or send a message
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