Finland, Helsinki

Games and History

when 4 August 2015 - 20 August 2015
duration 3 weeks
credits 5 ECTS
fee EUR 640

This course takes a look at the continuously evolving field of games from a historian’s viewpoint. Working with lectures, workshops and student presentations, it examines games as design, historiography, teaching aids and elements of historical consciousness.

The aims of the course are threefold. First, to provide the participants a basic cultural history of board and video games, as related to concepts found in modern Game Studies. Second, to present and discuss historical culture, images and presence in modern video and tabletop games. And third, to provide participants with ideas and tools for analysing, planning, producing and understanding historical interpretations and representations in the world of games.

The final part of the course consists of a seminar where participants will present a team work paper on some related game or subject for public dissemination.

Course leader

Dr. Derek Fewster

Target group

The course is designed for all interested students with some previous studies in History. It is recommended for students in their third year or beyond.

It also rather requires that the participants have a certain amount of experience from video games, organised role playing and/or board games (such as dealing with rule books, using game interfaces, grids or network providers [e.g. STEAM], and familiarity with basic structures and options of video games.)

Students’ access to one or more games on the STEAM or some other game platform during the course is a necessity. Sufficient digital resources will be arranged for the students to be able to do the course assignments.

Course aim

The students will learn how games have developed in history, the concepts of game studies, how modern game design works, how to assess historicity in games, how to analyse relevant games as a form of historical communication, and how to utilise games in education as a form of historiography.

The course does not as such deal with sports games, children's games, card games or gambling, but rather contemplates the researched historical contents in games, the choices made by the game designers, the possible educational aspects (conscious or not), the style and the ambiance present, and the recent trends in video and tabletop games somehow displaying elements of historical recreation, rendition or education.

Please note that when dealing with video games, the course will focus on the PC platform instead of the world of consoles

Fee info

EUR 640: This course fee applies to degree and PhD students who pay the fee before June 1, 2015.