Analysing Computer Games


This will be taught *not* using powerpoint slides, but as an interactive discussion. the aim is to get you to think about the truth and relevance of information you come across re games. The keyword in the module is: THINKING.

  • WoSGamers group page
  • papers topics
  • exemplar paper (Sutherland JN, Phelps A & Rajnovitch J (2002), Some Reflections on Creating the New Academic Field of Computer Games, Proc of Soc for Res into Higher Education (SRHE) Annual Conference, Glasgow:University of Glasgow.)


  • for week 3 - this is more homework, combining issues of data sources, information and understanding together with our need to cover ethical issues. The issue this week is the hot coffee mod in GTA San Andreas. Your task is to add a meaningful comment to Dr J's blog on WoSGamers here. I suggest you take one aspect of the scandal, e.g. 'what was Hilary Clinton up to', 'assuming someone at Rock Star wrote the code how did they do this unobserved', 'why did the British government do nothing', 'why were the graphics so poor (are males so easily aroused that bad pixels and up-arrow/down-arrow keys will do the biz?', etc. Take this one aspect and follow it through by reference to around 5-10 web references you uncover. In your reply to the blog entry do cite the pieces as author, date and the article name with an embedded URL (e.g. 'BBC (2005), Clinton wades into GTA sex storm ')

  • week 3 -
    • a test - acg-test
    • Winter, January, February, Lent & the sun in my living room yesterday evening;
    • can you follow instructions precisely? (no this does not drip with sarcasm) ((no that did not drip with sarcasm either)) (((no, ...
    • have you registered on WoSGamers (generally) and the Analysing Games group?
    • why did you (not) comment on Hot Coffee?
    • what will you do for the assessment? (tell me what & why next week);
    • where are you focussed right now?
    • Creative Choices Festival
    • TuDocs, Skillset, employment, projects and start-ups.

  • for week 4 -
    • please join TuDocs and get your e-portfolio started
    • do the references bit properly for the Hot Coffee Blog
    • pick 2 topics and do some digging around via such as Google and Wikipedia

  • week 4 -
    • attendance
    • did you do all of the above 'for week 4'?
    • re(creating) the (creative) economy, Creative Choices Festival & TuDocs
    • anaglyph glasses literature search
    • your topics
    • spend £43k - iMacs (5=>£8k), iPhones (5=>£2k), big monitors (20@40"=>£20k), graphics cards (40=>£4k), sounds cards (40=>£2k), Pandoras? (10=>£4k), MIDI kbs and sw? (10=>£3k), AKG44 h/p (40=.£1k)
    • topics
      • augmented reality in immersive game worlds - weird Adidas trainer game, phones, interesting apps, wikipedia paper from Presence, google 'augmented reality' search 'top 10' ...
      • natal style mo-cap - difficult to find the roots of this, but try virtual reality gloves (etc.), Sony, Wii, ...; commercial research is often unpublished, IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and
        Gesture Recognition, ...
      • immersive worlds - is virtual reality bad for you, are hobbies bad for you, is it a gender thing, is it just socialising, is it avoiding reality, is it avoiding gooder reality, ...
      • ...
  • for week 5 -
    • your topic - do some digging, google scholar, google, find a good paper (makes some kind of sense to you, cited by others, got useful references)
  • week 5 -
    • attendance
    • assessment
    • one good paper
    • who is doing what
    • Martin's futurist discussion
    • predicting the future
      • strong predictions-
        • graduates will find job hunting difficult for some years
        • 'When I heard of the bombing of Pearl harbour, I quietly rejoiced, because I knew we had won the War' - Winston Churchill
        • computer power will double every 2 years and halve in price - Moore's Law
        • computer technology will continue to advance
      • weak predictions -
        • the Apple iPad will flop
        • the Google Nexus will be a great success
        • data projectors will replace flat screens
        • Nintendo will continue to dominate the gaming market
      • useless predictions
        • the Android o/s will be a flop
        • UWS will be a great university
        • no-one will ever need more than 512kB of RAM - Bill Gates
        • project natal will change the games industry
        • OnLive will be a huge success
        • The Creative Choices Festival will continue to get better every year
        • which current game will be seen in the future as the best game of the decade
      • effective predictions
        • Martin will get his PhD
        • I will launch my first game this year
        • I will learn Japanese
        • If I continue to increasingly drink so much Jack Daniels I may/will eventually die earlier
    • predicting requires
      • strong data
      • clear meanings
      • recognisable trends
      • relevance
      • outing of bias
  • week 6
    • Creative Choices Festival
  • for week 7
    • 10 good references
  • week 7
    • Korean infantacide - here
      • true? - foreign countries are strange, Korea and MMORPGs go together, insular societies more prone?, who said this?, seems to be an escapism story, premature babies die, yes: S Korean official news agency report, found by CNN, with quote from impressive sounding academic
      • false? - its a 'good' story, coincidence?, which Korea?, is it all just one report re-reported/exaggerated, is this a meaningful case?, source of one story is an idiot, why no sueing of Prius?
      • so what? - story is basically true, implications that game caused baby's death unlikely, premature babies die, babies need fed every 4 hours, bad parenting? / education?, major social change?, therefore what do we do?, what might politicians do?, can you ban 'bad' things?, money/jobs/taxes is involved, speculate?!, is UK different?
    • what is truth?
      • conversation, blogs, tweets, facebook
        • true? - unmediated, small amounts, absolutely true if you were there
        • false? - unprovable, biased opinion, dubious
        • problems? - very rich data
      • academic paper
        • true? - believable, good journal, lots of references(?)
        • false? - citations in and out, their/your fields of expertise?,
        • problems? - boring,
      • news media
        • true? - Guardian / Herald / BBC / ... , if not they might get sued,
        • false? - bias against games?, non-UK news is regularly reported wrongly in the UK,
        • problems? - out of date, they get obsessed, we tend to quote websites (is Guardian OnLine = The Guardian), catching and referencing live broadcasts, they rebroadcast rebundled chunks, disguised advertising
      • specialist websites (e.g. gamasutra, develop, ign, wired, escapist magazine, ...)
        • good? - focussed readership, accurate, searchable, your field, information focus, trusted
        • poor? - bias (but not necessarily bad), reputable v BBC/CNN, press releases rebundled, too narrow a readership, narrow range of journalists?, bias is a huge thing in games & tech, not reflective thought - fairly shallow, who pays for the sites?,
      • unusable data / unequal power balances? - lecturers, me, friends, relatives, that guy you talk to a lot on facebook, undisguised propaganda, games companies (except as saying they said it), dreams, foreign language quotes (do not use babelfish), ...
  • for week 8
    • everyone posts a couple of academic papers through the Analysing Games group on WoSGamers (and brings along on memory stick too, just in case ...)
    • John's book chapter
      • 8,000-9,000 words
      • topic - Teaching in The Cloud(s)
      • specific issues - spelling, Skype, mac, deadline, accuracy (100% not required/possible), make it a story(?)
      • general issues - why?, whom?, style of writing, layout
      • structure
        • the research question - what am I trying to answer?
        • why? - needs some background, general spiel, specific examples, so what?!
        • for whom? - me, twitterers, parents, employer, game developer, gamers, other students, John (hard), publishers; what's their focus?
        • in what order - why I am writing this?, what I did?, what worked?, what didn't work, background/intro, conclusions, abstract, tidy it all up
        • submit, get feedback, make changes, run out of time, possibility/probability of fail/success
      • what & what not to put in - boundaries
      • deadlines
    • your papers
      • no papers? -"free to play", looked on the Internet (google scholar, browser), good search term
      • old papers? - nothing from 20th century?, mebbes due to not being electronically available
      • books? - easily overlooked
      • library? - UWS one is not very good, Glasgow/Strathclyde/Edinburgh/St Andrews/NLOS
      • online papers? - 15 max, 200 Google Scholar hit=>4 papers; how do you select the ones you are going to use?
      • other stuff? - articles, blogs, YouTube, twitter-feeds,
      • mainly papers - YES-ish, or good stuff
      • difficulties - dull, long, irrelevant content, other fields
      • strengths - you know your own field, writing?, abstraction, organisation?, populate the headings, got time, get it in early
    • when? - draft next week, read over Easter break, feedback before week 10

  • week 9
    • submit draft here
    • discuss some drafts


  • week 11
    • discussed drafts
    • stuck for words?
      • quotes from papers
      • examples/cases from Internet news stories
      • structure paper and write words
      • only draw conclusions that can be reasonably drawn from your previous writing
      • don't go into another area


  • week 12 - Wednesday
    • those with almost done papers ... get them finished
    • others ... come along and we'll pick them apart


  • week 13 - submit final paper here and on your e-portfolio page at TuDocs by 5pm Tuesday 4th May.