The popular history of video games is based around a logic of upgrades and improvement: a modern understanding of evolution, from the first generation Magnavox Odyssey to the current 8th generation Microsoft Xbox One, Sony PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii U. In this class, we will begin with this popular, “industry history” of video games before broadening our scope to look at different histories ranging from gendered marketing to centuries of tabletop games. Students will get a broad understanding of the history of video games, and they will critically approach how different interpretations lead to different futures of video games as a medium, industry, and cultural form. Readings will include academic and popular accounts, and playing and writing about various games is required. While experienced gamers are welcome, previous experience as a game player is unnecessary for participating in the class.
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