ENGLISH 494DI

Course Name: 

Dystopian Games, Comics, Media

Catalog Status: 

Approved

Description: 

In this class, we will study video games, postmodern cultural theory, and (tangentially) comic books as we ask questions about the persistence of dystopian narratives in print and digital visual culture. For example, what do dystopian narratives in comics, video games, and new media productions have in common? What makes "dark," "moody," and outright apocalyptic narratives like The Walking Dead, Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead, Sweet Tooth and the web series Down Twisted popular in this current historical moment? Can postmodern cultural theory help us better understand some of the social and political ramifications of dystopian culture? Further, can the theory make more clear how such stories envision the perils of the future in ways that inadvertently comment on our current times? Is it possible that the cautionary tales of dystopian narratives might, if heeded, make the world a better place? We will compare different game genres in order to make arguments about the types of anxieties, fears, and dreams that get articulated in RPG games like Fallout 3, shooters like BioShock, war games like Metal Gear Solid 4, and in third person action games like Grand Theft Auto IV. Important note: This class will follow a team-based discussion format, meaning all students will be asked to play a leading role in class discussions and will be required to work closely on digital projects and select other assignments with members of a team. Access to an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is not required but it is strongly preferred. Each team of five students will need at least one gaming console to share.  Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-Engl majors.

Requirement Tags: 

Credits: 

3