History of video games and interactive media

Your final submission is a 1500-2000 word analytical/reflective essay (not a review!) on a

subject of your choosing, and on a video game of your choosing (given some minor

constraints). Your critique will answer a question that you’ve posed about your chosen

game—think of it as a longer version of your individual response. Your answer will include

evidence in support of your position drawn directly from your chosen game, and will be

supported by critical/reflective sources (note the plural).

The research question you intend to answer should be motivated by your own experience

playing your chosen game: Ask something that is of interest to you in relation to your game,

but that has some amount of analytical depth. That is, you should strive to find question that

you can talk about at some length, without needlessly repeating yourself or obviously


I want to stress that the focus of this essay is the discourse between the game and your

motivating question. This is not a review. While it is perfectly acceptable for you to discuss

the game’s merits or its execution in relation to your question, the majority of your paper

should explore the relationship between the game and your question. You should also

attempt to answer your question, even if your answer, in the end, is that there is no answer.

I recommend that near the beginning of your paper, shortly after you have introduced your

question, that you write a variation of the following sentence: “In this essay, I

argue/suggest/propose that [the answer to your question].” This will give you direction, and

steer you away from reviewing.

I expect that:

1. Whatever video game you choose, you’ll put in the order of ten hours of play into the game.

2. That you’ll draw on specific examples from the game to help you answer your question,

much as you have done in your weekly journals (in fact, it is completely reasonable for you

to make the subject of your critique an expanded version of one of your journal entries).

3. That you’ll use at least two authoritative academic and/or critical sources to help answer

your question, (think: what has been posted, or the sites listed in the Brightspace resource),

but ideally three or more—it actually becomes easier, the more sources you use.

Since this is a final essay worth a large percentage of your final grade I also expect:

1. That you will write with great care—that is, your essay will be written clearly and

coherently, and will display professionalism in language and in presentation.

2. To see evidence of proofreading and editing, and proper citations and works cited used for

all material referenced—including games and other media. Although I’ve been checking for

these things in other assignments throughout the semester, I’ll be a lot pickier about your

citation style and presentation in your final game critique.

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