Week 1

4/2 - Course planning

4/4 - Discuss Elements of Game Design by Rob Zubek.

Week 2

4/9 - Cyril (one slot) crit. (Jazz and Devi distribute. Yasheng and Dorothy check in.) Plan what we will play in future weeks. In-class writing exercise (Oulipian larding).

4/11 - Discuss readings on fiction construction. Excerpts from: Break Every Rule by Carole Maso, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, The Art of Fiction by John Gardner, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee, and Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. These are available in the class readings location.

Week 3

4/16 - Jazz (one slot) crit. (Yasheng and Dorothy distribute. Alex and James check in.) Play Dread in three groups (questionnaires due Monday).

4/18 - Read hypertext theorists: excerpts from "No More Teachers' Dirty Looks" (1970) and Computer Lib / Dream Machines (1974) by Ted Nelson (one file), excerpt from Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology (1992) by George Landow, "The End of Books" (1992) by Robert Coover, "Luddism, SF, and the Aesthetics of Electronic Fiction" (1994) by John McDaid, "The Lyrical Quality of Links" (1999) by Susana Tosca, and "A Pragmatics of Links" (2000) by Susana Tosca. Read the artist's statement and watch at least part one of of both the author and readers' traversals for Patchwork Girl (1995) on the Pathfinders site. Read/play hypertexts: "Even Cowgirls Bleed" (2013) by Christina Love and "Queers in Love at the End of the World" (2013) by anna anthropy. 

Week 4

4/23 - Yasheng and Dorothy (Apple) crit. (Alex and James distribute. Rehaf and Mirek check in.)

4/25 - Read excerpts from Brenda Laurel's dissertation (1986) and chapters 2, 3, and 4 (also skim chapter 7, if time allows) from Computers as Theater (1993 edition). Dissertation excerpts available on readings page. Reflect on Dread (2005) in-class play experience. Play through the demo of Torchlight II (2012), which should take about an hour.

Week 5

4/30 - Alex and James crit. (Rehaf and Mirek distribute. Devi checks in.)

5/2 - Optional class meeting (due to faculty illness). Please bring something (on the class topic) to share. Opportunity to experience Mirek's project.

Week 6

5/7 - Rehaf and Mirek crit. (Devi distributes. Beth & Evie (collaboration) and Marjan check in.) Make a plan for next Tuesday.

5/9 - Read excerpts from Janet Murray's Hamlet on the Holodeck (updated edition): 2016 preface and chapters 4, 5, and 6, including updates. (If you have the earlier edition, preface and updates are available in readings folder.) If you haven't already, install a z-machine interpreter (it can open modern Inform les, and also the "DAT" les from Infocom releases). If you're not familiar with parser-based interactive fiction, read Emily Short's introduction. Play 10-20 minutes of Zork I (1980) by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling. Play The Space Under the Window (1997) by Andrew Plotkin for at least 10 minutes. Play Aisle (1999) by Sam Barlow for at least 5 minutes. Play through to at least two endings of Galatea (2000) by Emily Short. Play You Find Yourself in a Room (2010) by Eli Piilonen for at least 10 minutes.

Week 7

5/14 - Devi (one slot) crit. (Beth & Evie (collaboration) and Marjan distribute. Adil and Lee check in.) Tabletop role-playing facilitated by Devi, Mirek, Yasheng, and Jasmine.

5/16 - Read excerpts from Espen Aarseth's Cybertext: chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6. Play Secret of Monkey Island and Kentucky Route Zero. Aim to complete the first act of each, but may stop either if not complete after an hour of play. We'll discuss options for accessing original Secret of Monkey Island.

Week 8

5/21 - Beth & Evie (collaboration) and Marjan crit. (Adil and Lee distribute. Jawad check in.)

5/23 - Read the sections titled "Cyberdrama" (essays by Murray, Perlin, and Mateas, plus responses) and "Ludology" (essays by Eskelinen, Aarseth, and Moulthrop, plus responses) from First Person, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. Play Fa├žade by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern (2006) at least twice (or watch at least two online playthroughs) and at least an hour of Heaven's Vault by Jon Ingold/Inkle (2019) (there's also a Scholars Play stream).

Week 9

5/28 - Adil and Lee crit. (Jawad distributes.)

5/30 - Readings on agency: "Agency Play: Dimensions of Agency for Interactive Narrative Design" by D. Fox Harrell and Jichen Zhu (2009), "Agency Reconsidered" by Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas, Steven Dow, and Serdar Sali (2009), "Achieving the Illusion of Agency" by Matthew William Fendt, Brent Harrison, Stephen G. Ware, Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera, and David L. Roberts (2012), "On games and links: Extending the vocabulary of agency and immersion in interactive narratives" by Stacey Mason (2013), and "Ergodic Agency: How Play Manifests Understanding" by Isaac Karth (2014). These are available in the class readings locations. Play 80 Days by Meg Jayanth/Inkle (2014) and The Sims 4 by Maxis/EA (2014).

Week 10

6/4 - Jawad crit. Group play of a Telltale game (TBD).

6/6 - Reading TBD. Play Dwarf Fortress by Tarn and Zach Adams (2006), 18 Cadence by Aaron Reed (2013), and Restless by Emily Short (2018). Lee will distribute Dwarf Fortress information.