CCTP-740-01 Serious Games: Theory and Practice
Offered academic year 2008-2009

"Each world, while it is attended to, is real in its own fashion." William James

How is the practice of autonomous-world building -- "serious games" and simulations -- shaping the contours of education, scientific research, public policy, disaster relief, civil engineering, and warfighting?

For decades, much of the conceptual and theoretical work on simulation has been overwhelmed by impossibly broad, metaphysical questions. While philosophical questions are not bad things in-themselves, where "serious games" and simulations are concerned, these unwieldy reveries have tended to forestall further consideration, and have prevented us from attending to simulations in context: To the specific technologies that underwrite any given simulation, and to the specific communities that engage with those technologies.

Grounded in philosophical pragmatism, as well as ethnographic and media ecological perspectives, this seminar will survey the contemporary literature on simulations and "serious games" across a variety of disciplines and professions. We will spend time "in the field," immersing ourselves in simulations and synthetic worlds, interacting with the communities that depend upon them, and experimenting with the technologies that make them possible.

In addition to developing a first-hand understanding of the issues surrounding knowledge, solidarity, and freedom raised by our engagement with simulations and synthetic worlds, students taking this course will devote a portion of the semester to developing a simulative framework particular to their own research interests.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

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Spring '17: LeMasters G (description)
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