Quest 2: Getting Graphic About Ethnos

No bit of technology, wether hardware such as a hammer or computer chip, nor software such as a grading rubric or game, exists context free. These bits of technology are always seen through cultural lenses that inform us as to their meaning. In this Quest-Line you will be developing your skills as an Ethnographer, to help you refine how you see cultures’ influence and relationship to technology through the lens of games.

Mission: “And Then He Got All Cultural…”

Description  Why bother playing games at all? What do they mean, and what can they do for us as a society? This week resident scholar Barab and former presidential advisor Steinkhuler invite us to consider games in their cultural valued contexts.
Challenges
  1. Prepare for class on 9/17 by reading
    1. Barab et al. (2004)
    2. Steinkhuler (2006)
  2. Discuss these readings with fellow adventurers at the weekly gathering.
Boss Battle!  “The Notorious P.I.G.” the Impact Guide (encountered by 9/22):  Each adventurer will prepare a written impact guide for one game selected in consultation with the instructor.

  1. Use this template to create your guide
  2. Use this guide to support your understanding how to approach each part of the guide’s creation.

Mission: “That’s What She Said!”

Description  Games and jokes alike rely on cultural referents to support the sense-making for players. Scholars Cassel, Everett and Watkins will illuminate the critical issues of gender and race for us this week, as we delve deeper into our cultural understandings of games.
Challenges
  1. Prepare for class on 9/23 by reading
    1. Cassel (2002)
    2. Everett & Watkins (2007)
    3. Gee Learning Principles (2004)
  2. Discuss these readings with fellow adventurers at the weekly gathering.
  3. By Saturday 9/27 @ midnight, conduct and post a “think aloud” analysis of one hour of gameplay. This should be a short blog post that describes and analyzes 60 minutes of learning in a game of your choice.
    1. Reflect on how the game is designed to keep the player engaged while teaching them the fundamentals of the underlying game system.
    2. Draw out the underlying cultural vision of the game. What gender depictions are used? What about race presentation? Are there other critical issues at “play”?
    3. View these two examples for an idea of what your post should read like: example 1 , example 2.

Mission: “It’s Not A Fetish, It’s Just An Ideology”

Description  Are games carriers of ideology? The ghost of Langdon Winner returns this week as you review the arguments of scholar-designers DeVane, Squire, and Bogost.
Challenges
  1. Prepare for class on 9/30 by reading
    1. DeVane & Squire (2008)
    2. Bogost (2006)
  2. Discuss these readings with fellow adventurers at the weekly gathering.
  3. Conduct another “think aloud” analysis of one hour of gameplay. This can either be an extension of the last week’s play session, or leverage a new game. the analysis should focus on what ideologies are at play, and how you learn about the ideology through the game. Do Gee’s principles relate?