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One Okanagan College Communications class brought multi-player action to a whole-new level this week.
The Introduction to Video Game Studies (CMNS 290) class travelled to Scandia Golf and Games Tuesday night, as part of an exploration on the history of video games.
The course explores video games as a cultural phenomenon. While highly popular, they are the least understood, theorized and explored form of media. Scandia posed an opportunity for the class to explore how the phenomenon began.
“Scandia is something of a time capsule,” explains second-year student Scott MacLaren. “It offers a uniquely social experience, representative of the former cultural value of video games from back when arcades facilitated social gathering of like-minded individuals for the sole purpose of play in a shared space.”
Students were asked to play arcade games and post their reflections on the course blog, using multiple perspectives available to researchers in digital game history. These perspectives include art history, software studies, history of technology, social history, history of mentalities or games historiography.
Students also considered the notion that arcade games can be “meme machines,” a term introduced by Steven Poole in his book Trigger Happy – Video Games and the Entertainment Revolution.
While reflecting on concepts like race, class, identity and gender, the course examines the contexts and content of video games and their impact on players, audiences and society.
“Videogames are one of the fastest media industries to grow and develop in complexity. It is fascinating to see students engage with video games, to see them play and reflect on these experiences,” says Raluca Fratiloiu, Communications Department Chair. “It is always nice to take advantage of the opportunities in Kelowna to take the students somewhere to play. This type of experience creates an immediate connection with the class material.”