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Lesson 8: Track B Summaries

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Schedule   ::   Lesson 8   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries

Koster, R., Chapter 9: Games in Context

Reading summary/quotes:

Koster then talks about whether or not video games is a medium that can produce art. He gives a list of attributes that a game might have that is art, which include thought provoking, revelatory, would not dictate, would forgive and even encourage misinformation, and challenge assumptions. Like any other medium, the height of art in video games challenges the mind beyond just mere entertainment.

“The field (of game design) had started to move away from the hit-and-miss shots-in-the-dark approach toward an understanding of what games are and how they work (p. 140).”

Collaborative, competitive, and solo approaches to playing games (p. 140).

“Entertainment provides comforting, simplistic information. And art provides challenging information, stuff that you have to think about in order to absorb (p. 146).”

“The fact that most games are merely entertainment does not mean that this is all they are doomed to be (p. 148).”

“Mere entertainment becomes are when the communicative element in the work is either novel or exceptionally well done (p. 148).”

“The upper reaches of art ... are pieces of work that you can return to again and again and keep learning something new. The analogy for a game would be one you can replay over and over again and keep discovering new things (p. 148).”

“The closer we get to understanding the basic building blocks of games, the things that players and creators alike manipulate in interacting with the medium, the more likely we are to achieve the heights of art (p. 152).”

“The designer who want to use fame design as an expressive medium must be like the painter and the musician and the writer, in that they must learn what the strengths of the medium are, and what massages are best conveyed by it (p. 158).”

Related articles/class discussions:

  • Article name (Lesson # Track A/B)*: Related article/discussion info.
  • Class discussion: Topic.

Discussion points/questions:

  • Does this mean professional sports are an art form?
  • Does the medium of games have art?


Miller, C. H., Chapter 10: Creating a new project: The development process

Miller describes a collaborative design process. He identifies key individuals involved in the process, steps for the process, and key documents that will help the product development by improving communications. Miller is saying that before a project is actually started, it must be developed in a well thought out, extremely detailed way. In order for this to happen, development teams must go through ten steps, and create and maintain design documents. Miller argues that interactive projects are extremely complex, and because of this, teams can suffer from miscommunication, misunderstandings, and mistakes.

“A well-utilized pre-production period can save not only time and money during production, but can also help avert the risk of a product that fails.” (p. 184)

“The tasks that take place during the development period include the conceptualizing of the project; addressing marketing issues; producing design documents and other written materials; making flowcharts, concept sketches, and storyboarding;’ building prototypes; and doing testing.” (p. 184)

Common mistakes: throwing too much into the project; not considering your audience; making product too hard or complicated; making product too simple; not making truly interactive. (p. 185-6)

“Many experienced production executives believe that a team approach produces superior products, thought hey stress that good communications skills are essential for this kind of collaboration to be effective.” (p. 187)

“Many projects require the input of content experts. Projects designed for educational, informational, or training purposes will inevitably require help from the advisors who are experts both on the subject matter and on the target learners. But even when the sole goal of the project is to entertain, it might be necessary.” (p. 190)

10 step development process: (p. 191-2)

  1. Premise
  2. Purpose
  3. Mode of presentation
  4. Audience
  5. Setting, worlds, characters
  6. User’s role
  7. Goal
  8. Opposition and Tension
  9. Rewards and consequences
  10. Structure

Related articles/class discussions:

  • Chapter 9: Tackling projects for children (Lesson 7 Track B)
  • Class discussion: Aligning learning objectives.
  • Class discussion: Being a project manager.
  • Class discussion: Game design.
  • Class discussion: Design documentation.

Discussion points/questions:

  • Are the ten steps linear or do they all happen together to some extent?
  • Shouldn’t “goal” be #1?

Contributors: Tom Caswell, Marion Jensen, Jennifer Jorgensen, Jon Scoresby, and Tim Stowell
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Lesson 8: Track B Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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