Module 1: Atari and the Introduction to Video Games

Have you ever asked your parents or grandparents about video games that they played? They might mention to you iconic games like Pong, Space Invaders, or Pacman. During this module, students will learn about the development of the first video games and systems. They will gain an understanding of how they were created and developed. From there, the transition from arcade style games to being able to play games at home will be explained. Students will learn about the early successes and failures of the first video games.

Module 2: Nintendo and Game Boy

In 1985, Mario became everyone’s favorite super hero. He could jump 4 times his height and break bricks with his head. During this module, students will learn about Nintendo, the first real breakthrough that made video games a commonplace in your home. From here, they will discover the additional creation from Nintendo, the Gameboy with Tetris, which allowed you to take your video games where ever you went. They will be able to identify the impact that the Game Boy has had on the future of mobile gaming. Students will also learn about intellectual property and copyrights.

Module 3: Super Nintendo, Sega, and Computer Games

Through the evolution of gaming, different technologies were integrated with each new system. Students will learn about the key technologies used in the Super NES and Sega along with the rivalry between the two companies. Students will be able to identify the various game genres (racing, RPG, sports, and action). They will then learn about computer-based games and how these compared to console-based games.

Module 4: Playstation

The style of gaming has changed over time from being strictly 2D to 3D. With rapidly improving technology to support them, Sony created a new generation of consoles with the Playstation, with games that allow you to go every direction, not just the forward/backwards, up/down that was previously available. This opened a whole new world of possibilities with first-person shooter games such as Halo, as well as groundbreaking RPGs like Final Fantasy VII. In this module, students will learn about the technologies that made these games possible. They will examine the business decisions that Sony made to enter the video game market and compete with Nintendo’s N64. They will also explore the reasons behind the creation of ESRB ratings and their impact on video games.

Module 5: Xbox

After seeing the tremendous success of Sony and Nintendo in the video game console market, Microsoft, the giant software company behind Windows decided to get in on the action. In 2001, Microsoft released its first console, Xbox, which was designed to compete head-to-head with Sony for the hearts and wallets of gamers. This module will examine the contributions and developments of the Xbox. Students will evaluate the emergence of network gaming. They will evaluate the business model of using a console and cartridges. Finally, students will explore career opportunities in video game programming.

Module 6: Wii, Kinect and Active Gaming

When you think of your ‘average gamer’ what comes to mind? Someone sitting on their couch eating cheese puffs and drinking energy drinks? While this is a largely misplaced stereotype, video gaming for many decades was a sedentary activity, except for maybe your thumbs. However, with the advent of new accessories, games, and even consoles, a new wave of active gaming was created. In this module, students will explore products such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect, as well as titles designed to get players moving! Students will also discuss the importance of physical activity and the health risks of being a couch potato.

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Course Description:
In this course, students will learn about the technologies and design principles that have been the foundation of the development of video game technology over the last 50 years. Students will examine and discuss the impact of video games on culture and the economy. Students will learn about the current gaming and e-sports landscape, including strategies and techniques of top teams and individuals. This course will also discuss the risks and dangers of video games and understand how to set appropriate time and content parameters. Finally, the course will identify career paths and opportunities for those who are passionate about gaming.

Module 7: Mobile Games

While most of this course has been focused on console and computer games, a colossal shift took place in 2017. For the first time, smartphone games overtook console games in terms of global industry revenue! With the advent of smartphones like Blackberries, iPhones and Android devices, gaming platforms were now in the pockets, and hands, of billions of people worldwide. This module discusses the impact of mobile games over the last decade. Students will explore what makes a good mobile game and explore principles of gamification. Finally, students will be able to learn about careers in mobile gaming app development.

Module 8: Augmented and Virtual Reality Gaming

Over the decades, many noble attempts were made to bring virtual reality to gaming, but the technology and quality user experience were never there. In 2015, with the introduction of the VR gaming systems Occulus Rift, HTC Vive, and Playstation VR, a new generation of gaming possibilities was born. No longer will players be separated by a screen but can be totally immersed in a new environment. In this module, students will be able to evaluate both virtual and augmented reality gaming systems. The module will also discuss the risks and dangers of this new gaming medium.

Module 9: History and Current State of E-sports

From humble beginnings in 1980 with Atari’s National Space Invaders Championship (which drew 10,000 contestants) to today’s global E-sports tournaments which draw thousands of spectators and millions of views online, E-sports has become a global phenomenon. This module takes students through the origin and early history of video game tournaments and describes how they grew in participation as interest skyrocketed and technology made it possible to play and watch on a world-wide scale. Students will learn about the current landscape of E-sports. And while it may not be possible for us all to make a living as a world-class gamer or you-tuber, there are many opportunities to career paths in E-sports for those who are passionate and hard-working.

Module 10: E-sports Contemporary Issues

This module takes a closer look at some of the interesting and, in some cases, most controversial topics in E-sports today. Students will learn about what it takes to become a successful E-sports athlete. This includes not only dedication in terms of hours dedicated to practice, but also mindsets and behaviors that allow the best players to succeed. The module also describes the most prominent current E-sport titles. Finally, students will have the chance to evaluate and discuss issues around the legitimacy of E-sports, community, and gender balance.

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