OC Communications students de-stress with games before the final boss round: exams
Absorbing and retaining what you’ve studied isn’t always as easy as popular video game character Kirby absorbing abilities, but that is why every year, Intro to Video Game Studies students at Okanagan College are treated to a Games Night before closing out their semester.
Communications Professor Raluca Fratiloiu said the setup looks different every year: one time, she took a class to Skandia for arcade games and mini golf. Another year, the class played virtual reality games. This fall, it was a games night on campus where students could bring their own games and play with their peers.
“I frame game-playing as a research method because it’s important to play games and play them with a purpose,” Fratiloiu says. “It’s about the players of games and the culture that video games create.”
With classes back in person this year, Fratiloiu said she was thrilled to host a video and board games night on campus on Nov. 24 to provide students a chance to have fun while applying what they’ve learned throughout the semester.
“I’ve done different activities with students of this class throughout the years, but the goal is always the same,” she says, “to understand gameplay and how it can affect the players and our society.”
Students brought boardgames, card games, as well as video game consoles including a Switch and a Wii. The students also played online games like Jackbox Games. They were then given worksheets to fill out as they played, which had specific questions to help analyze game mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics.
Fratiloiu says the point is to provide students with an experiential way to learn that is flexible and accessible, helping them to deconstruct the games they’re playing to see how they work. Armed with guided questions, the students are then able to see how elements interact with each other and how these games can affect the players as they play and by extension, the culture and society around the players.
She says the reason understanding gameplay is important is because it allows us to understand much of everything else.
“If we are involved in any particular media that we consume or engage with, we need to be able to understand it, deconstruct it and understand its effects on society and culture,” she says.
“Overall, deconstructing games helps with understanding other types of media. Deconstructing a game analytically is an ability that students can apply to other tasks moving forward. It translates beyond game design.”
Fratiloiu says students who participate in Games Nights tend to be passionate about playing games and talking about games.
“The feedback throughout the years is that students have an enhanced understanding of games and how they affect our culture,” she says.
Tags: Communications, Inside OC, Arts University Studies
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