TSCT English Department

Video Games as Literature

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Ann Reading

Office Hours

To meet with me, you can schedule a time on the link below. Schedule time with your instructor

My Discord name is: AnnReading13#3157

Email: Reading@stevenscollege.edu

Catalog Description

Course explores the role of video game in storytelling and culture. Students will play and analyze several games, while learning key terms in critical gaming and current trends in the gaming industry. Students will also create their own game using Twine technology.

Throughout this course we will play, analyze, and discuss several games that have a popular appeal and/or been a focal point critical discourses.
The focus of this class will be on story-focused games as we will explore the genre with a focus on literary techniques; however, we will also question the role of literature in video games and vice versa. Using story-based games have other functions as well. Those in the computer program can gain more experience in coding; graphics majors can practice utilizing the use of graphics within a narrative. We will use software like Twine, and everyone in the class will have a game they are able to publish and have their friends play. You will learn what makes an interesting story/game, and the role video games play in our society culturally and politically.

Required Textbooks and tools

The course does not have a textbook you have to purchase. Instead, the material is open-source, online.

You will need a computer or tablet and internet access.

Access to Netflix.

You will also need a notebook and an active Stevens email account

You will need access to the internet to complete many of the assignments of the class. As a Steven's student, you can use Microsoft 365 with your Steven's log-in, including the apps available on smart phones. Please contact me if you have difficulty getting access as soon as possible. The school can help you if you fill out a tech ticket on the portal.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

1. Identify, compare, contrast, and evaluate the way stories are told and designed in video games.
2. Learn and apply significant critical concepts and vocabulary specific to video games.
3. Critically analyze and contextualize storytelling video games with the help of recognized authorities in the field, both academic and popular.
4. Understand major movements and discourse communities within critical gaming like #Gamergate.
5. Play, think, speak, and write in a more effective, thoughtful, critical, and informed fashion.
6. Develop stronger analytical skills.
7. Develop ethical research skills.
8. Learn how to create a game online using a Twine application (Twinery.org).
9. Develop stronger reading, researching, and writing skills.

Grading Scale

A 94 - 100
A- 90 - 93
B+ 87 - 89
B 84 - 86
B- 80 - 83
C+ 77 - 79
C 74 - 76
C- 70 - 73
D+ 67 - 69
D 64 - 66
D- 60 - 63
F 59 - 0

I Incompletes must be approved
W Withdrawal must be before the deadline


Each week you will have one or two assignments that extend the lectures and readings. You will get a weekly grade in the first three weeks of each unit. Then you will complete a final project.

Grade breakdown:

Unit 1:

Week 1 assignments: 50

Week 2 assignments: 50

Week 3 assignments: 50

Week 4 assignments: 50

Week 5 assignments: 50

Week 6 assignmemnts: 50

Essay exam: 150

Unit Total= 450

Unit 2:

Week 8 assignments: 50

Week 9 assignments: 50

Presentation: 150

Unit Total= 250

Unit 3:

Week 11 assignments: 50

Week 12 assignments: 50

Twine Game: 200

Unit Total= 300

Course Total: 1000 points


All projects must be original for this particular course. You will have specific descriptions on the

You can choose how you will present your research and analysis depending on the unit. There are three major projects in this course: essay exam, theory presentation, and the Twine game.


Professionalism is expected throughout this course, this includes proper netiquette, which is a word for courteous online communications. In other words, let's be polite; ask questions instead of making accusations. Inappropriate behavior can impact your grade and/or result in withdrawal from the course. This covers all communications including working with your peers in peer-review, direct messages and emails to both instructors and students, and discussion boards.

Netiquette in an English class also means that grammar rules should be followed. An occasional typo happens, but constant ones are off-putting in discussions.


Discussion boards are one important way for a writing class to create a community. In this course, they can act as a way to discuss lectures and readings, display parts of your work, and share other activities. They are the best way to develop relationships with your peers despite the distance that can happen. Professionalism and focus is expected. If the conversation gets too off topic, you can request an off-topic channel.

Late and Makeup Policy

While the policy differs from teacher to teacher, online classes require check-ins and have the same type of deadlines as face-to-face courses. If you do not complete two consecutive weeks or three weeks of assignments, you will be withdrawn from this class, so it is very important that you reach out to me as soon as possible if life happens. I am willing to work with students that communicate with me.

The English Lab

The English Lab is located in the Learning Resource Center (LRC), second floor. It is open to all students who need or want extra help on their assignments. If you receive a failing grade on an assignment (quiz or paper), you may be required to see the English tutor per the instructor's request.

Academic Honesty

Recognizing the importance of academic integrity to the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology community, the College Academic Policies; Standards Committee adopted a new Academic Integrity policy, Spring 2007. The shared conviction, represented in the procedures that follow, is that academic integrity is best taught and reinforced by faculty as an element of the teaching and learning process. Only in the limited instances in which faculty believe that disciplinary, as well as academic, sanctions are called for should the process move to the Vice President of Academic Affairs

Definition and expectations: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, and all members of the College community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, College’s Code of Conduct demands that students conduct themselves in a responsible manner that corresponds to acceptable and mature adult standards of behavior and comply with all College regulations and directives. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts

Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the College community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

To protect the rights and maintain the trust of honest students and support appropriate behavior, faculty and administrators should regularly communicate high standards of integrity and reinforce them by taking reasonable steps to anticipate and deter acts of dishonesty in all assignments. At the beginning of each course, it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide students with a statement clarifying the application of
College academic integrity policies to that course.

Academic Honesty: Section 7324 of the Crimes Code of Pennsylvania makes it a misdemeanor of the 3rd degree to sell or offer for distribution any dissertation, thesis, term paper, essay, report, or other written assignment, or to sell or offer for distribution any assistance in the preparation of such assignments, for submission to an educational institution to meet the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or course of study. (Assignment is defined as a written, recorded, pictorial, artistic, or other academic task. To prepare is defined as to create, write, or in any way produce in whole or substantial part any such assignment.)

The law does not prohibit an educational institution or members of its faculty and staff from offering instruction or instructional services as part of its curricula or programs. Neither does the law apply to the sale of certain copyrighted materials described in Section 7324(f).

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is defined as
Submitting an assignment claiming to be original work but which has been wholly or partially created by someone else.
Allowing your work to be submitted by another student as if it were that student's own original work.
Presenting as one's own the ideas (i.e., paraphrases or summaries of research), organization, or the wording (i.e., direct quotations) of another work without appropriate acknowledgement of the sources within the text of your work and a works cited page per the standards of an accepted academic documentation system (i.e., CBE, Chicago Manual of Style, APA, or MLA).
Inaccurate, sloppy, or faulty documentation of sources.

Disciplinary Sanctions: Penalties that may be imposed include but are not limited to the following:
Faculty may lower the grade or fail that particular assignment, lower the course grade, give a failing course grade and/or dismiss that student from the course. Additionally, Faculty may recommend further involvement from the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs may impose harsher measures within the context of the College.

Students with Disabilities

Students with Disabilities requesting Accommodations: The Americans with Disabilities Act, and Amendment Act of 2009 states students may be eligible for accommodations that do not alter the essential skills required for a course or program of study. Students must meet with the Disabilities Coordinator to discuss their challenges and provide documentation from a qualified professional to be approved. For further information see, Debra Schuch, Counselor/Disabilities Coordinator, Hartzel 101 between 8:30- 4:30 weekdays. Phone 717-299-7408 or email schuch@stevenscollege.edu to schedule an appointment.