Course Title: Interactive Storytelling and Worldmaking
Course Code: ENG218: | Lecture WF 11-12, 11-1 [Fall 2022]
Instructor: Siobhan O'Flynn
This course examines the deep history and extraordinary diversity of interactive storytelling. We will focus on narrative art in digital games, transmedia/cross-platform projects, alternate reality and pervasive games, theme parks, and immersive performances, as well as literary texts and films. We will consider forms (e.g., riddles, parables, metafiction, branching narratives) that require participatory agency, choice-based and emergent storytelling, as well as genres (e.g., creation myths, planetary romances, travelogues, adventure fiction, Expressionist cinema) that discover or assemble a narrative by traversing a world. We will also explore the contexts and theoretical grounds of reader- and player-centric approaches.
Course Title: Play and Games
Course Code: ENG263 | Lecture MW 3-4 [Winter 2022]
Instructor: Lawrence Switzky
Why do we play? Game designers, authors, philosophers, and sociologists have long argued that play can tell us about our development as children and adults, our search for freedom, why we enjoy art, our relationship to animals, and our pursuit of social justice. This course introduces students to Play Studies and Game Studies in the humanities by considering the reasons we play in relationship to the objects we play with, including things that are more normally thought of as games—card and board games, sports, toys, video games—as well as other sites of playful thought and action, like paintings, films, fashion, and short stories. Students in this course will play and design story-rich games and will discuss effective narrative design in a wide variety of tabletop and digital games. Students will also consider problems in play and games like cheating, addiction, and gamification.
Course Title: Special Topic: Dungeons & Dragons and Roleplaying Games
Course Code: ENG316 | Lecture W-F 1-2, 1-3 [Fall 2022]
Instructor: Chris Koenig-Woodyard
Role-Playing Games (RPGs) are more popular than ever because they band together people in a powerful and shared social, emotional, and intellectual experience during a time when we have been isolated, distanced, and quarantined. A form of immersive entertainment that requires players to co-create the game, in this course we will study RPGs by playing games. We will critically investigate (and immerse ourselves) in the dynamics of how players actively make, improvise, and author the narrative of RPGs broadly and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) in particular. This is a hands-on and experiential course: we will play D&D in small breakout groups as we discuss the history and design of RPGs. In doing so, we will balance theory and practice, exploring games studies and theories of play, gaming, and role-playing as we examine the literary, gaming, and cultural influences that shaped D&D. RPGs and D&D thus become vehicles for framing discussions about race, gender, politics, ideology, culture, game theory and design, and about the vital social impact that games play in shaping humanity.