COM 427 -- Games Studies Ruffin Bailey (513-7967)
Winston 209
Email: bailey dot teaching at gmail point com
3 credit hours (email is for final drafts, legitimate emergencies, and to schedule office visits only)
Class Periods: Course Website:
        Sect 1 -- 10:15-11:30 Office hours: Tues 1:30-2:30, Thurs 9-10

Shared Office: Tompkins G116A (beside Film Lab -- knock LOUDLY)

Course Schedule:
Accessible here.

Class Texts:
Please reference the schedule for a full list of class texts.  Many will be provided electronically.

Course Description:
This course is designed to help you to understand the theory and methods of approaching digital games in a scholarly fashion.  To do so, we will be reading works by scholars who propose systems for approach games in general, others who are performing analysis of specific games, game systems, or periods in the development of digital games, and still others who apply the filters of specific cultural lenses to understand characteristics of games.  After the completion of the course, each student should have the background -- theoretical, historical, and cultural -- to produce original research and contribute to the field of game studies directly.

Course Objectives:


Weight Assignment
Presentation and facilitated discussion on assigned readings
Presentation and facilitated discussion on your own readings
Class participation
Research paper and biweekly writings
Gaming Journal

Game Journal

This is a two part assignment.

Gameplay Requirement: For your game journal assignment, you'll need to capture yourself playing an extended, story-based game for approximately ten hours.  One such game, Red Dead Revolver by Rockstar, will be hosted in the library on Wednesdays from 7-9pm.  Attending five of these sessions will satisfy the gameplay portion of the assignment.

If you are unable to attend any of the group sessions, you will need to discuss an alternative way of playing an extended, narrative-based game which you haven't played before with your instructor.  At a minimum, email your instructor:
  1. The name of the game.
  2. Two or three sentences describing why you want to play it.
  3. Links to at least three reviews of the game.
  4. Links to at least one video of the gameplay, if possible.
Insure that your instructor has emailed you approval before beginning.

You will need to create a video of yourself playing and give these videos to your instructor.  The video can be made via webcam, and really should not be edited or need to look particularly professional.  Please bring in the videos on CD or a jump drive you can do without for a week.

If you are unable to attend five of the group sessions, you will need to speech with your instructor to develop a compromise plan between the two options described, above.

Journal Requirement:  For the journal portion of these assignment, you will need to create a file on Google Docs named "Game Journal" and share it with your instructor.  For every two hour session of gameplay -- or, for those who attended the group gaming session, for each weekly session you attend -- you will need to enter a dated journal entry chronicling at least one substantial, interesting observation you made during that session about the game or gaming in general.  Each entry should be at least (not average, but be) 150 words, but feel free to go as long as you'd like.

Presentations:  You will be responsible for two presentations during the course of the schedule.  The first will be a team presentation where you will partner with one other student to review the day's reading and lead discussion.  Presentations should reflect critical engagement/analysis with the topic. It is important that the presentations not simply be a recitation of findings ("here is what we saw") but show some analysis. Think about what is at stake in what you have observed. What is interesting about it? Why does knowing "x" matter? How has what your group found connect to previous research on the subject, including things we have read?

The presentation will be evaluated based on:

All presentations should be turned in in a CD-ROM right after the presentation.

- I recommend getting the APA style guide (the book) to make sure your citations are correct.  Your slides should end with a bibliography of the day's reading and additional sources you may have used.

- Presentation slides and discussion questions must be submitted a week prior to the presentation to the professor.

Your presentation should last approximately 25-35 minutes.  Please leave the class with several research questions, and be prepared to facilitate discussion about those or other questions that the class takes up.  (This facilitation will comprise part of your and your peers' grades, so remember to participate!)

Research Presentation:  Your second presentation will be a research presentation, where you introduce the class to readings you find in for the second week of each unit.  These presentations will be solo presentations, but are otherwise very similar to the presentations described above.  Remember that your peers will very likely not have read your sources.  You'll need to summarize the sources and let us know how they're important.  These presentations should not take more than 40 minutes, and could conceivably take much less time (20-25).

Biweekly writing:  Each unit will be comprised of two weeks of discussion.  We will have one or two presenters each week, who will be responsible for creating slides (or another presentation format: movies, etc) and a presentation on the readings they've been doing outside of class on their individual research projects.

Every student will have weekly writings of two or three pages (500-800 words) for their final research project before the second week of each unit.  You should feel free to use and cite the assigned readings in your biweekly writing, but you are not absolutely required to do so. 

You are required to use what you find most interesting from our readings to find 2-3 more scholarly sources that do inform your writing.  Take notes during your peers' presentations and our class discussion to kickstart your research for the following week.  Ensure that your biweekly writings cite at least two of those sources that you found on your own, and include a "works cited" listing of those two documents in your paper.

Your weekly writings should be uploaded or composed on Google Docs ( and you must give your instructor (bailey point teaching curlyA gmail point com) access to the writings.  These will not be graded per se, but I will be reviewing them from time to time to make sure that you are making solid progress.  If you do not, your final grade may be affected.  That said, if you're having trouble, let me know during class or office hours, and we'll work things out.

Grading Criteria:
(Please review the weighted final grade percentages for each assignment in your student handbook, pp ix and xi)

Grade ranges in percentages (round down to closest integer)
A+ 98-100% C+ 77-79%
A 93-97% C 73-76%
A- 90-92% C- 70-72%
B+ 87-89% D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%

Attendance Policy:
(also see NCSU Policies, Regulations, and Rules 02.20.3)
The Department of Communication values student attendance in courses and expects attendance in all courses from the very first day of class.   You will be allowed 4 absences of any kind during the semester.  After four absences, your final grade will be penalized.

Attendance will be taken by sign-in sheet.  It is your responsibility to ensure your signature is on each day's sheet.  Ask for the sheet if you do not see it.  Tardies will be marked by the instructor. Three tardies (including leaving class early) equal an absence.

If for any reason you exceed four (4) absences and you have excused absences, you will need to provide your instructor excuses for each of your five or more missed days.  At this point, any unexcused absences remaining may immediately cause penalties to be assessed to your final, and even five excused absences may have grade consequences to be determined on a case-by-case basis.  

The university defines excused absences as sanctioned anticipated situations and documented emergency situations.  Anticipated situations (participating in an official university function, court attendance, religious observances, or military duty) must be submitted in writing at least one week prior to the anticipated absence.  Emergency absences (student illness, injury or death of immediate family member) must also be documented. It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate documentation for your instructor on excused absences.

(In other words, if you find you will be forced to miss more than four days (two weeks!) of instruction and participation with your peers, you will need to contact me as soon as is humanly possible.  In even briefer terms, please come to class.)

If, after reviewing the syllabus, you anticipate or know you will miss 6 or more classes (excused or unexcused), I would strongly encourage you to drop this course. Your grade will be lowered by these absences.

Cell Phones, Texting, etc.
Please ensure that you leave cell phones off and out of sight during class. If you receive a call during class or receive (or send) texts or other messages, your instructor reserves the right to confiscate the item for the class period and freely communicate with whomever is on the other end of the line. Your instructor will not be responsible for charges incurred during this communication, nor will the University or its affiliates. You solely will be responsible for those charges.


All assignments must meet the specified project completion time. Whether this is in-class or outside of class will depend on the project. Late or missed projects are unacceptable. Consider these projects as part of your job and not as part of a class. You don’t get poor grades if you perform poorly at your job; you get fired.  For assignments, feel free to consider using NCSU’s free Writing and Speaking Tutorial Services.  Call 515-3162 or visit for more information.

ADA Statement:
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning, and psychiatric disabilities. Please contact me at the beginning of the semester to discuss necessary accommodations. If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations please contact me within the first week of class. In order to take advantage of these accommodations, students must register with Disability Services at 1900 Student Health Center, Campus Box 7509, 515-7653. If you will be participating in a sport or other University sponsored event this semester that may interfere with class attendance you should provide me with documentation so that we can make arrangements for you to make up for any missed class sessions. For more information see:

Academic Integrity:
Strict standards of academic honesty will be enforced according to the University policy and academic integrity. Consult the following web site for further detail:

Departmental Equity Statement:
NC State University provides equality of opportunity in education and employment for all students and employees.  Accordingly, NC State affirms its commitment to maintain a work environment for all employees and an academic environment for all students that is free from all forms of discrimination.  Discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation is a violation of state and federal law and/or NC State University policy and will not be tolerated.  Harassment of any person (either in the form of quid pro quo or creation of a hostile environment) based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation also is a violation of state and federal law and/or NC State University policy and will not be tolerated.  Retaliation against any person who complains about discrimination is also prohibited.  NC State’s policies and regulations covering discrimination, harassment, and retaliation may be accessed at