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Assignment 2 How to analyze a game Part 1 Reviewing a game.

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1 Assignment 2 How to analyze a game Part 1 Reviewing a game

2 Analysis  Analysis – Separating the parts to make (a) sense of the whole.  Examples include, rhetorical analysis, argumentative analysis or a review.  How do we analyze movies?  How do we analyze books?  How do we analyze games?

3 Critical analysis O Critical = criteria-based. In other words, a list of “things” that you will use to judge a “Text” by. O Critical thinking – judging a situation or choice based on set of criteria. The more experience you have, the more criteria that you can consider. O The more experience we have taking things apart, the better we are at seeing what parts fit together. O Criteria (singular criterion) become your framework for analyzing your work. O Rhetorical – evaluating how a text persuades O Argumentative – evaluating the claims and evidence of a text O Review– evaluating based on criteria an audience would also evaluate a text’s worth by.

4 Criteria > Framework O The criteria used for an audience is assembled into a frame or framework for “seeing” the game. This framework helps us focus an audience’s attention on a limited amount in the game. O Contemporary game reviewers writing for other gamers tend to use something like the following: O The Good / The Bad / Score or Grade O A few years ago, the criteria were a bit more stringent O Graphics / Sound / Story / Gameplay

5 Other frameworks Will Brooker: institution, authorship, character and narrative, genre and socio-political connotations and remakes Lars Konzak: hardware, program code, functionality, gameplay, meaning, referentiality and socio-culture Mia Consalvo and Nathan Dutton: object inventory, interface study, interaction map and gameplay log

6 Consider Audience O What does an audience want to know? O IGN website O DU Clarion college newspaper O Game Developer magazine O CNET website O Seventeen magazine

7 Step One: Select a Game O Pick a game that your publication has not reviewed. O It has to be a game you have played most of or have completed. O It can be a mobile (iOS/Android) game, indie game, AAA console or PC game. O It has to be a game that the publication’s audience will come across or might be interested in. O American Rifleman -> Weaphones Firearms Simulator OR Super Mario 3D? O Seventeen -> Dark Souls OR Just Dance 2014?

8 Step Two: Analyze your Audience O If the publication normally has reviews, read a few reviews to see what the pattern of argument is. O Are there criteria that every reviewer uses? O If there are no pre-determined criteria, what are the patterns of argument? What types of evidence do the reviewers use? O If the publication does not have reviews, consider what criteria a publication’s audience might be interested in. O Research using the Internet (Wikipedia, the “About” pages on the publication) about who the publication is for. O Write a short blurb about the audience of the publication. Who generally reads the publication? What appeals to them? What are they interested in? What sorts of criteria might they evaluate a game?

9 Step Two: Analyze your Audience [cont.] O What types of evidence do writers in this publication most use to support their claims. O Does the reviewer anticipate a reader’s skepticism or disagreement? O Does the reviewer qualify his/her arguments? O What assumptions do they make about their audience? In other words, what are the warrants of a claim or the evidence?

10 Step Three (the hard one): Craft If the publication has reviews with pre- determined criteria: O Determine how the game meets the criteria the publication normally uses. If the publication doesn’t have pre-determined criteria: O Craft your criteria you want to use based on the interest of your audience. O In a 2-4 page argument, this usually involves 3-4 criteria.

11 Step Four: Argue O Thesis question. Is this a “good” game for the audience? O Before you get out of your introduction graf, the reader needs to know what you are doing in this paper. Your thesis should clearly state what that is and provide some sense of the criteria/framework: O Princess Makeup Artist is a fun time for 3 – 6 year olds who are interested in dress-up, and offers a good introduction to color matching and style. O Princess Makeup Artist is not a good game. The graphics are laughably bad, with sound effects consisting of only a few beeps and bops looped, and the gameplay is almost nonexistent. O Princess Makeup Artist is a game that further entrenches negative gender roles. Every girl presented in the game is shaped as if she were a size 00, to say nothing of the premise that striving to be a princess means excessive makeup, an impractical outfit, and an eventual trip down a heteronormative aisle.

12 Step Five: Organize and Support O Organize your notes and criteria. O Begin drafting your paper. Remember, introduce your criteria and the game before you analyze. O Introduction: what are you doing? What are your criteria? O Summary of game O Criteria 1: Claim and evidence from game O Criteria 2: Claim and evidence from game O [criteria 3, criteria 4] O Counterargument: “Some might enjoy Princess Makeup Artist’s simplicity. However…” O Conclusion

13 …and one more thing O Have fun with this assignment, but be authentic. That means that you should NOT be bombastic or over-the-top, but that you SHOULD use the style, vocabulary and the appeals that an audience reading the publication would want or be familiar with. O Format the review like it would appear in the publication. O Use images from the game O Be better than what is—in other words, don’t just copy the lowest common denominator of your publication. Elevate your writing and argument to be the best that the magazine represents.

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