780.223 (18W) Representation and Configuration in Games: The British Videogame

Wintersemester 2018/19

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Erster Termin der LV
05.10.2018 10:00 - 12:00 N.0.27 On Campus
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LV-Titel englisch Representation and Configuration in Games: The British Videogame
LV-Art Seminar (prüfungsimmanente LV )
Semesterstunde/n 2.0
ECTS-Anrechnungspunkte 8.0
Anmeldungen 12 (20 max.)
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
LV-Beginn 05.10.2018
eLearning zum Moodle-Kurs

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Intendierte Lernergebnisse

Find out what makes a British video game British – and question the ideology of Britishness in contemporary videogame studies and production. Learn about the topic from a top-down perspective of theoretical and governmental approaches, from a bottom-up perspective of fandom and community, and from an immersive, in-depth look at the British developer studio The Chinese Room.

At the end of the semester, you will have gained a general understanding of the term culture, its complexity, and its importance to videogame production, play, and understanding, with a focus on Britishness.

Lehrmethodik inkl. Einsatz von eLearning-Tools

The course combines traditional and modern teaching methods such as moderated discussions, independent research and critical analysis, team-based digital content creation and edu-LARPing (Live Action Role Play).


The course is split into an introductory session, three content blocks, and a summary session.

Introductory Session:

Giving out a syllabus, presenting precise course contents, discussing the course methodology and answering student questions.

Block 1 – Focus on Britishness:

This block focuses on defining British games, exploring the question ‘What is a British game?’ and considering how and by whom such decisions are made, touching on issues of creative work, intermediation and cultural policy. It includes a workshop in which students use the framework of the ‘Cultural Test for Video Games’ to identify some British games, and the implications and weaknesses of this tool are discussed and critiqued. Students will then mock up an unambiguously British game, in response to the context of the block.

Block 2 – Focus on Fan-Culture:

This block will focus on theories of fandom and fan communities. It features a workshop involving directed live research into online fan communities, and the ethics of ethnography based in online spaces. Students will be set a two-stage task, to find and identify a fan community, and then to find and identify a relevant games fan community (i.e. including engagement with British games), and report back to the group on one of these spaces.

Block 3 – Focus on The Chinese Room Games:

This block sets a spotlight on one distinct British developer team: The Chinese Room. Drawing from the insights of block 1 and 2, students will critically discuss the Britishness of their first release, Dear Esther, including impressions from their own playthrough. Afterwards, the course is going to retrace the videogame’s narration in an outdoor edu-LARP that combines Dear Esther’s game content with theoretical insights on Britishness as present through the island metaphor, through the exploration of culture in walking simulators, and through a reflection on the ludic application of philosophical strolls in Chinese Room Games.

Summary Session:

A round-up discussion, followed by a presentation of the course’s mode of exam and a brainstorming/pitching of ideas for the collective assessment.


Shorter texts and secondary sources are provided on Moodle as necessary.

If possible, students are recommended to conclude at least one playthrough of Dear Esther (The Chinese Room, 2012) between the introductory session and content block 3.


Im Fall von online durchgeführten Prüfungen sind die Standards zu beachten, die die technischen Geräte der Studierenden erfüllen müssen, um an diesen Prüfungen teilnehmen zu können.


The course features a twofold final assessment. Given that cultural identity is collectively and discursively produced, students participate in the creation of an initial piece of collective assessment (worth 40% of the mark), and then respond to this through a written piece of individual assessment (worth 50% of the mark). The final 10% of the grade are shaped by student participation.


Collective assessment (50%):

In teams of at least three people, the course participants must create a cultural artefact that is graded. It is supposed to be a piece of video-graphic work which discusses Britishness and which makes an argument about what British videogames are. Students are free to select any mode of expression, such as a media (A/V) product, an art installation, a commentary, a short film, a multi-media blog, or an actual videogame.

The exact nature of the collective assessment will be decided upon in the summary session of the seminar by its participants.

Individual assessment (40%):

The individual assessment is a critical essay (1800 words). It ought to be a reflective exploration of the ideas touched upon in the group product, articulating an individual response to the question: How are British games British?

Participation (10%)


Criteria relevant for the grading of the collective assessment:

  • The provision of an evidence-based definition of Britishness, as the team understands them
  • An essential description of the character of “the British videogame,” as the team understands it
  • The usage of examples from existing games, if relevant (screenshots, filmed scenes…)
  • The artistic reworking of these criteria
  • A proper bibliographical listing of sources considered
  • Moreover, all course participants must individually hand in an informal 300-word statement concerning their respective participation in the collective assessment. These statements must be handed in as one collected document/team-contract that has been signed by all participants of a group

Criteria relevant for the grading of the individual assessment:

  • Content references to the collective assessment
  • The demonstration of reflection and critical thinking regarding the Britishness of British videogames, again in relation to the collective assessment
  • The ability to construct an argument in a coherent, structured, and logical fashion
  • Reliance on additional resources (preferably of academic tone, but also from relevant web communities etc.) besides those used in the collective assessment
  • Upholding proper standards regarding the formal features and citations of the AAU Department of English

Criteria relevant for the grading of student participation:

  • Attendance
  • Contributions to discussions
  • A demonstration of will to support pedagogic experiments


Note Benotungsschema

Position im Curriculum

  • Masterstudium Game Studies and Engineering (SKZ: 992, Version: 17W.2)
    • Fach: Game Studies (Pflichtfach)
      • Representation and Configuration in Games ( 0.0h SE / 8.0 ECTS)
        • 780.223 Representation and Configuration in Games: The British Videogame (2.0h SE / 8.0 ECTS)
          Absolvierung im 2. Semester empfohlen

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