08 Jan 2008 [ Prev | Next ]

Ex 2: Game Analysis 1

A single assignemnt, in a single word processor file (uploaded to Turnitin.com).  The assignment has two parts, each worth 20. For each part, write an essay (200 words) based on a "close playing" of the game.
For more help with the assignment, see this brief paragraph, from an article by Janet Murray, that efficiently analyzes another game by the same author, Kabul Kaboom.
Frasca's game focuses on the situation of an Afghani child, presented as a figure from Picasso's Guernica , a painting that is emblematic of the horrors of civilian bombardment. The child is positioned in a game screen similar to Space Invaders , in which bombs and hamburgers, rather than space ships, fall from the skies. The game is a political cartoon on the irony of a "humanitarian" war, in which the U.S. is dropping both food and bombs on an already war-ravaged and famine-threatened country. The irony of the game is that you cannot move the figure so that the screamingly opened mouth can receive the food instead of the bombs. Like a child caught in the horrors of war, you are helpless to determine which is your fate. And like a civilian under a bombardment campaign, you cannot shoot back - or even choose when to end the game, since it begins again as soon as it is over. "Kabul Kaboom" works because it subverts our expectations of a game. It immobilizes us where we expect to have power, forcing us to experience the dramatic situation that is the focus of the expression.

In literature, a "close reading" is an essay that looks in detail at the specific words that make up a work. Take a look at the following website, which explains the concept of a "close reading" in detail; it gives a sample paragraph from a literary work. This assignment asks you to do the same thing with even a very simple game.

For more examples of "close playing," see pages 123-130 in Half Real, or the treatment of "Shadow of Colossus" in the opening paragraphs of the interactive fiction dissertation from which you read a selection about "Shade".


Derek Tickle said:

Dr. Jerz,
Do you want us to combine the two games in one 200 word paper for turnitin.com? Or do you want separate papers? And how would you like us to upload it to turnitin.com? As separate documents or combined?
Thank you!

Derek, I've rephrased the opening so that it's clear I'm asking for a single file with two separate brief essays. Thanks for asking.

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Dennis G. Jerz on Ex 2: Game Analysis 1: Derek, I've rephrased the opening so that it's cle
Derek Tickle on Ex 2: Game Analysis 1: Dr. Jerz, Do you want us to combine the two games
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