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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Postgraduate Course: Playing East Asia (ASST11121)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryGames are ubiquitous. They are in our living rooms and offices; we play them on buses and in the downtime between meetings. Games introduce us to new worlds and forms of storytelling; they promise experience beyond traditional media forms and help us take on new perspectives. Yet, games and gaming as objects of study are often ignored or downplayed. After all, they're just games, aren't they?
Playing East Asia seeks to challenge they view of games as just games by introducing students to the phenomenon of games about and from East Asia. We will take an inter-disciplinary perspective anchored in Area Studies to study games both traditional and digital that use East Asia as a setting, inspiration, and a market. We will analyse games as a cultural phenomenon that is played, followed, produced, marketed, and consumed. Students will learn through a combination of classroom-based teaching, playing games, and engagement with the scholarly literature on play and games.
Course description Playing East Asia will introduce students to the phenomenon of games about and from East Asia from an inter-disciplinary perspective anchored in Area Studies. The development, production, and marketing of games is now an industry with global reach and impact, and which is worth billions of pounds annually, generates media coverage, and has fan cultures equivalent to the film or music industry. Games also go further in terms of their fan engagement, with esports and community events forming a fundamental part of a game's life cycle.
Within this global industry East Asia plays a significant part as both an inspiration for the games produced in the West, a source of game development and production, a site for gaming communities, and increasingly the source of finance for new game development. Understanding the role that East Asia has both as a source of inspiration and as a venue within which different communities of gamers consume and support games is important both from an academic and commercial perspective.
Academically, games studies is now well established, but due to its inter-disciplinary nature still has enormous potential for new research to be carried out; especially with regards to how regions outside the West fit into the discipline. Commercially, understanding the place East Asia has in gaming is now critical to understanding the nature of games as a global industry because games are not just developed for this market but also because they are developed locally and the financial power of certain developers now has global reach. This leads to interesting and exiting contrasts in the East Asian gaming landscape. Japan has long been the leader in terms of games development and cultural influence; since the early 2010s China has increasingly become the financial powerhouse of the global games industry as well as being home for a growing base of consumers; and in contrast Korea established and then professionalised games as sport.
In Playing East Asia we focus in particular on, but do not limit ourselves, to studying China, Japan, and Korea. Students will study games both traditional and digital as a cultural phenomenon which are played, followed, produced, and marketed. These games all relate to East Asia as a setting, inspiration, and a market within which they are consumed. Students will learn through a combination of classroom-based teaching, structured playing of example games, and engagement with the scholarly literature on play and games.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recall and summarise key debates and findings from the academic research on games and games related phenomena in East Asia.
  2. Evaluate selected academic studies on play, gaming, and gaming culture (games studies).
  3. Formulate arguments based on the academic literature and source material.
  4. Critically assess and use appropriate methodologies for the analysis of games and games related phenomena in East Asia.
  5. Create and deliver a research project based on the study of games and games related phenomena in East Asia.
Reading List
Consalvo, M. Atari to Zelda: Japan's Videogames in Global Contexts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2019
Jin, Dal Yong. Korea¿s Online Gaming Empire. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010.
Szablewicz, M. Mapping Digital Game Culture in China: From Internet Addicts to Esports Athletes. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Aarseth, Espen J. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1997.
Avedon, Elliott M., and Brian Sutton-Smith. The Study of Games. New York: Wiley, 1971.
Chan, Dean. ¿Negotiating Intra-Asian Games Networks: On Cultural Proximity, East Asian Games Design, and Chinese Farmers.¿ Fibreculture 8 (2006).
Mäyrä, Frans. An Introduction to Game Studies: Games in Culture. London: SAGE, 2008.
Newman, James. Playing with Videogames. London: Routledge, 2008.
Patterson, C. Open World Empire: Race, Erotics, and the Global Rise of Video Games. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2020.
Raessens, Joost, and Jeffrey Goldstein, eds. Handbook of Computer Game Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry: Problem solving; analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity.
Personal and intellectual autonomy: Self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.
Personal effectiveness: Planning, organising and time management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.
Communication: Interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication, presentation.
KeywordsGames,digital,East Asia,China,Japan,Korea
Course organiserDr Daniel Hammond
Course secretaryMr Callum Lennie
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