Texts for “Video Game Culture and Theory” (January 2012)

Required Books

Recommended: buy Amazon’s Kindle versions, available via the iPad Kindle App. (You are, however, free to purchase a paper version instead, and if you want an ebook but prefer a different ebook reader, you are welcome to seek out other editions.)

The AISN is for Amazon’s Kindle edition; the ISBN will help you find other copies from other sellers.

  • Koster, Raph. A Theory of Fun. (AISN: B004D4YI52 or ISBN: 1932111972)
  • McGonigal, Jane. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (AISN: B004G8Q1Q4 or  ISBN: 0143120611)
  • Bogost, Ian. How to Do Things With Games (AISN: B005IQ682U or ISBN: 081667647X)
Koster’s book is an easy read, but if you are a slow reader, or if you have a busy schedule during January, you might want to start on McGonigal and Bogost now. (They are not written to be skimmed and absorbed in a single sitting, so saving time to keep up with the readings is crucial.)

Required iPad Apps

  • Frotz (free tool for playing interactive fiction games, dating from the late 70s through the 80s)
  • Atari Greatest Hits (free; comes with one or two classic (1980s) games that we will play in class; for 99 cents, you will also purchase a set of three or four additional games of your choice, in order to help you complete an assignment)
  • Meanwhile ($4.99; a game, a graphic novel, and/or a hypertext; if you prefer, you may instead purchase a print version — ISBN: 0810984237 )
  • Some other iPad game of your choice (from a short list assembled as a class activity)

Recommended iPad Apps

  • Kindle eBook Reader (the reader is free; the texts I’m asking you to buy are available inexpensively)
  • Pac Man Lite (free version; after two games you have to use real money to buy tokens, so don’t waste your lives!)