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Video Games – Analysis

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr Paolo Ruffino (University of Liverpool) introduces us to video game analysis, offering some key strategies to this end. We begin in the first module with an overview of the importance and value of video games, as well as some comments on video game aesthetics. Then, in the second module, we turn to the importance of centring action when analysing video games, as well as the distinction between operator and machine in completing game actions. In the third module, we cover the specific “language” used by video games, before in the fourth module covering the distinction between the diegetic and nondiegetic levels of video games. In the fifth module, we explore the importance of failure to video games, as well as the figure of the “gamer” (and its baggage) and how ideas around target audiences impact video game production. In the sixth module, we explore the subject of representation within video games, before in the seventh module recapping our discussion with some final comments on video game analysis. Illustrative examples drawn from games are used throughout this course, including from Horizon Zero Dawn (2017), SimCity (1989-2013), Fortnite (2017), Space Invaders (1978), Everything (2017), Assassin’s Creed II (2009), Final Fantasy IX (2000), and Grand Theft Auto IV (2008).

About the Lecturer

Dr Paolo Ruffino is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. His research and teaching interests focus on video games, interactive media and digital cultures. His publications include: ‘Future Gaming: Creative Interventions in Video Game Culture’ (2018). He leads a module on Games and Algorithmic Culture at Liverpool.