An Introduction

Videogames are all around us — in your living room, on your computer, in your pocket right now. From Solitaire to Skyrim, videogames are a daily part of life for many of us, and they are an ever more common experience we can share. Accordingly, videogames are part of the ecology of media woven into the broader tapestry of cultural values, and videogames, in turn, are ideological microcosms of the cultures in which they are situated.

Given their pervasive and compelling qualities, it is no surprise, therefore, that humanist scholars have been investigating and thinking about videogames for some time. For example, in the inaugural issue of the scholarly journal, “Game Studies,” editor Espen Aarseth wrote that 2001 was “year one” of computer game studies, but people have had interesting things to say about the cultural role of videogames since their origins in the 1960s.

This class, “Games and Culture”, is an investigation of these cultures and conversations. In the weeks that follow, we’ll play some videogames, read about their history and the ways they come to portray cultural values, and engage with some critical and creative works in other media that reflect on videogames in interesting ways.

It is my hope that, in doing so, we can form a vibrant scholarly community, anchored by our class blog. Through this website, we have an opportunity to converse with broader audiences, and share our insights and discoveries with both a local and a global community of readers.

If you’re a student in this class, your first step should be to add yourself as a user. First, log in to your umwblogs.org account, then look at the widget at the bottom right of this page. You should see an “Add me!” button. Click it!

You should also make sure you’ve carefully read the syllabus if you haven’t already.

Welcome.

[Image credit: “1-up” photo by Flickr user spoony mushroom. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.]