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Semester 1

Design, Play and Games (DESI10140)







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Visiting student eligibility will be assessed (including any required Design background) on a case-by-case basis. **Please note that Design courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any Design course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the Design department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

In 'Man, Play and Games,' Roger Callois outlines a paradox: games are deeply important catalysts for personal and social growth, but also "an occasion of pure waste: time, energy, ingenuity, skill and often of money" (1958:5-6). What, then, are we to make of the largest entertainment medium on the planet - a field of design equally at home in The Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection, and the deep bunkers of the Pentagon's war planners? This course will explore 'play' as both our oldest form of culture, and our most bleeding-edge field of design. Exploring videogames in-depth, you are asked to critically analyse their meanings and affects, in order to understand how games both reflect and shape modern society.

Course Description

As Eric Zimmerman argues, we have entered the 'ludic century' (2009) - the age of games. Videogames are in the ascendant, dwarfing all other entertainment industries, grossing more than the film and music markets combined. As an arena for design, games constitute a meta-medium, drawing together a dizzying array of disciplines: from graphic design to costume, from animation to interior design, and from philosophy to economics. However, at the same time as they offer new creative and educational possibilities, 'gamification' also heralds a new, intensified wave of late capitalism. What are we to make of a cultural art form which descends from military technologies, one internationally recognised simultaneously as a Sport, a Fine Art and an 'addiction'? This course explores the forms and functions of analogue and digital games, and asks you to question the distinctions between playfulness and seriousness; leisure and labour; immersion and escapism; art and weapon. We will contextualise and deconstruct games with a view to understanding what games 'mean', and what games 'do' - emotionally, intellectually, phenomenally and culturally. Through lectures, seminars and game-prototyping workshops you will gain a fuller understanding of game mechanics, aesthetics and dynamics, and develop a capacity to critique ludic representations and design practices. Focusing on games as its object of study, this course will also reflect on the design implications of 'play' more broadly, and ask how you might adopt a playful attitude to your discipline.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer