Analysing Computer Games

Assessment for semester 2 2009-10

There is a list of possible topics for this report here.

Your task is to, either as an individual or as part of a group of up to three students, write an academic paper on one of the above topics, relating directly to video games development, playing, marketing or another aspect of the computer games industry. In each case you should pay particular attention to the following:

  • the background to the aspect, probably relating it from before it was a games-specific area
  • the apparent strengths of the aspect as a part of video gaming
  • the weaknesses of the aspect wrt video gaming
  • how people and society might be affected by this aspect of video gaming

This will require some background reading. A good place to start any research project is Google and Wikipedia. Keep a tight account of your internet searches via both. For example, if you were to research 'virtual heritage reconstructions' to see if games can get more realistic, you'd search Google (there are other search engines - I use Bing these days) using the three-word term, and you'd find the relevant wikipedia page(s). You'd then look for such as writings on the field, major people in the field, recent work in the field, historic work in the field, etc. In the case of Google (or Bing, or ...) look beyond the first page of hits. In the case of wikipedia remember to read the entire page and get the very useful links and sources off the bottom of the page.

You need to gather in around 20 good quality references, covering the four bullets of: background, strengths, weaknesses and people/society. Always keep a copy of all references. Print useful web pagaes as PDFs (this gives you text, picture, URL and date.) All referencing will be in Harvard Style.

The paper will probably be structured as follows:

  • title
  • author(s)
  • abstract
  • introduction
  • strengths
  • weaknesses
  • people & society
  • conclusions
  • references

You will submit a copy of the paper here by Tuesday 30th April (week 9). This will be reviewed over the Easter break. The final copy will be posted electronically here by Tuesday 20th May here. The papers will be presented on Tuesday 27th May in the usual class time to an invited group of academics and listeners. They will also be posted via your e-portfolio page.

Marking Scheme

A (70-100%) - of the standard acceptable at an academic conference
B1 (60-69%) - the content and arguments are sound, but the paper is academically flawed (e.g. poor referencing style)
B2 (50-59%) - the content and arguments are sound, but the academic underpinning is weak (e.g. only 5-10 sound references)
C (40-49%) - there are significant weaknesses in the argument, but there are 5 or more sound references
D (30-39%) - the paper needs further work
E (0-29%) - the work needs entirely redone