Analysis 3: Video Games
General Rubric: The general rubric is here. Remember, as always, you are graded on how well you follow the instructions in the prompt.
The Purpose of the Assignment: The purpose of this assignment is to define, analyze, and explain the elements of the game Firewatch. In short you will explain the elements of a video game that the developers use to create meaning (that is, to get across ideas, values, critics, etc). Explain what the game means, i.e., its themes, its message, its central ideas.
Steps to Completing the Assignment
Part 1. Play the Game
Play Firewatch. If you have technical problems, contact me.
Part II: Write an Analysis (of 400 to 500 words) of the Game using in the Following Structure:
Provide background information on the game and explain briefly what you think the game is about.
Include your thesis. Look at the required body paragraphs below to help you compose the thesis that is based on the elements of the game you will analyze.
Paragraph 1. Character Analysis. Analyze the characters (who are they, what motivates them, their personalities, their thoughts/feelings, and struggles). As part of your analysis, explain what you did as the player do to help create the character?
Questions to consider: What influences the characters? What kind of choices exist for the player that shape the character? How do they do so? What motivates them? Does the player choose their motives? How do the player’s choices contribute to creating the character?
Paragraph 2. Plot Analysis. Briefly analyze the plot of Firewatch. This should be no more than 2-3 sentences.
Questions to consider: What are the key moments in the plot that shape the overall meaning of the work? How do the user’s choices affect the plot? Does the central idea, or meaning, change based upon the user’s choices? Does the story change based on the user? How, if at all, do the mechanics of the game contribute to creating the story? Do they contribute any kind of feeling to the player’s experience? Do they contribute any symbolic value? Does the game exhibit ludo-narrative consonance or dissonance?
Paragraph 3. Discuss the world of the game and how it contributes, if it does, to creating the meaning of the game.
Questions to consider: What are the rules of the game? How does the simulation respond to the player and how, if it all, does that contribute to creating the overall meaning of the game? How do you win/complete the game? Can you win? Is that significant for creating the overall experience?
Explain what the game means. Questions to consider: what is/are its central ideas? What message does it send? What is the emotional/conceptual/ideological content of the experience it tries to create? What do the players learn from it, or take away from it?
Professors Note: The questions to consider are provided to help guide your responses. You do not need to answer them all. The goal is for you to analyze the game, focusing on the ludological elements of the game–how they shape characters, stories, and worlds, and ultimately how they contribute to creating meaning.
This paper should be single-spaced except between paragraphs.
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