Press Start to Learn: Video Game Studies at TAMUCC

Brody Bush, Production Manager

In a world more influenced by technology every day, it’s no surprise more in-depth, industry-specific classes are becoming available across the country, including Dr. James Fleury’s Topics in Media Arts: Video Game Studies here at TAMUCC. The class is a level four elective available to students of all majors, and may be available in future semesters. The class functions as a deep dive in all factors of the video game industry, including storytelling in video games, video games as art, adaptations of video games into other mediums, the history of video games, and more.

Senior Alyssa Hinojosa, who is “not familiar with video games,” said “this class offers me information over concepts in video games I never knew existed.” The class is “user-friendly,” and covers topics in-depth, analyzing business and development practices from different eras of video games and how they influenced the industry and culture at large. While students do play video games in the class lab, all of the material is conceptual and designed to teach skills not only useful in the video game industry, but the technology industry as a whole.

The class has both a lecture and a lab portion, where students play various video games during the lab, with guidance from Dr. Fleury on the importance of the game regarding every week’s topic. So far, students have played games such as “The Last of Us Remastered,” regarding TV and film adaptations of video games, and “Until Dawn” regarding storytelling in video games. “We have four total writing assignments, a class reading response, scholarly article response, historical response, and journalistic response,” Hinojosa said. The class is also planning to invite guest speakers who work at companies in the industry.

The history of video games goes as far back as the 1960s, and the history of arcades reaches back as far as the 1880s. The study of video games reveals much about modern culture, including prevalent aesthetics from time periods, business practices, and what media texts were influencing culture at the time. Students recently analyzed retro Nintendo Power magazines, marketing practices of the time, and timely aesthetics in the video game industry. While there are many media classes available at TAMUCC, few tackle such a niche aspect of the media industry. Topics in Media Arts: Video Game Studies is laying the groundwork for future classes that will analyze the commercial technology industry in more detail, as well as establishing video games as a worthy scholarly pursuit