Course Spotlight: Monsters, Gaming, and More

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English majors: consider registering for one of these fascinating courses taught by Professor Paul Booth in Media and Cinema Studies!

Intersession
MCS 364: Monsters in Pop Culture
In this course, students will examine monsters, spooks, scares, and–above all–fear. Through informed viewing of television, film, radio, literature, and graphic novels, we will explore the evolution of some of the most well-known monsters, including vampires, zombies, and aliens, as well as less-known varieties, like the Golem, the cyborg, and even the human being. Screenings will be paired with discussion and class activities. The concept of the monster itself will be interrogated, and we will explore how the monster reflects humanity’s fears as well as its desires. This is the one class that proves college is scary as hell.

Winter Quarter
MCS 260: Introduction to Transmedia Storytelling
Transmedia storytelling, or the distribution of narrative content across multiple technologies and media, is rapidly becoming a common trend in contemporary media making. Whether it’s television series sharing content with video games, films’ narratives continued (or begun) in graphic novels, or media systems in which no one medium takes precedence in telling the story, transmediation can take many forms. This class will introduce the concept of transmedia from a media studies viewpoint, will examine transmedia’s history, contemporary usage, and creation, and will have students work together to construct a transmediated narrative. Transmedia storytelling is an art form in the 21st century, but in this class we will also explore historical parallels, including very old forms of art and storytelling.

MCS 352: Alternate Reality Games
This course examines how games can make the world a better place. We will discuss games and play as concepts, analyze new types of games, and examine the “gamification” or the world. Students will design a game and learn how to manipulate variables to create a stronger play session. At the end of the course, we will play an Alternate Reality Game, a new form of game that involves multiple mediations and ubiquitous gameplay. We will look at the evolution of games as role-play, from tabletop simulations to MMORPGs and beyond. The concept of “gaming” will be interrogated for both its critical function in today’s society as well as its cultural role in the solution of social problems. Students will create their own ARG and will be encouraged to attend a gaming environment in the process of this class. Collaboration between students, the instructor, and the Chicago community will be encouraged.

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