Digital Games as Communication Written Assignment #1

In the first part of the course, we have begun to discuss games and their broader social and cultural significance. This brief, written assignment asks you to investigate this significance more closely. Your assignment is as follows:
Select a game that was NOT discussed as part of week 2’s discussion posts or lecture. As with that discussion post, your chosen game can be a video game, board game, sport, etc. You are to use Geertz’s methodology and McLuhan’s arguments about games to begin developing an explanation of what your chosen game means at a broad social and cultural level. You might also begin to consider Davidson’s and Konzack’s ideas (week 4) in this paper as well, but it is fine if you choose not to use them at this point.
You might start from two different places. It might be useful to start from the game itself and then see how a few of McLuhan’s ideas apply to that game. Alternatively, it might be helpful to start from a few of McLuhan’s ideas and apply them to the game under discussion. No matter where you start, you will likely bounce back and forth from your game to McLuhan and vice-versa. As part of your essay, you might ask the following questions:
a) What kinds of the things does the game ask players to do? What are the game’s rules?
b) How do these game choices and rules fit with some of the things McLuhan discusses in his chapter on games?
c) How might the chosen game connect to larger cultural and/or philosophical ideas?
This assignment will serve as something of a practice run for the larger second written assignment.
Your papers should:
— have a thesis, a central point or argument they wish to make (remember you are taking a position about what your game means and its significance for culture)
–consider potential counter-arguments
— be proofread (If you don’t, I will)
— avoid sentence fragments and other grammatical diseases
– italicize all game titles as these are proper names
— be compact and concise (No need for foreshadowing in a 3-4 page paper!)
— go through several drafts as nothing comes out right the first time
— have evidence to substantiate your points, whether quoted, paraphrased, or simply mentioned (this evidence will likely come from the game itself and/or course readings)

— argue rather than simply assert. An argument gives reasons and evidence; an assertion just states something without any backing
–be creative and imaginative
Your papers should not:
–duplicate ideas from another student’s post in week 2’s discussion
–duplicate your ideas from your own post in week 2’s discussion
–duplicate ideas from lectures
Any paper that does this duplicating work will not be accepted and will be assigned a 0.
Length: 750-1000 words (I won’t read beyond roughly 1000 words), double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font (no bigger, no smaller!), default margins, with page numbers. 10 points will be deducted for each of the preceding criteria that are not met. Citations: None are needed for this assignment (I know where you will have found information from course material) unless you have chosen to use sources from outside the course. However, please use page numbers when you directly quote from source(s). A bibliography will be required if outside sources are cited. Note that this bibliography does not count toward the page length requirement (you still need 750-1000 words of your own ideas).

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