780.223 (21S) Representation and Configuration in Games

Sommersemester 2021

Ende der Anmeldefrist
03.03.2021 23:59

Erster Termin der LV
15.04.2021 15:30 - 18:30 online Off Campus
Nächster Termin:
16.04.2021 15:30 - 17:30 online Off Campus


Bedingt durch die COVID-19-Pandemie können kurzfristige Änderungen bei Lehrveranstaltungen und Prüfungen (z.B. Absage von Präsenz-Lehreveranstaltungen und Umstellung auf Online-Prüfungen) erforderlich sein.

Weitere Informationen zum Lehrbetrieb vor Ort finden Sie unter: https://www.aau.at/corona.
LV-Titel englisch
Representation and Configuration in Games
Seminar (prüfungsimmanente LV )
21 (20 max.)

Zeit und Ort

Beachten Sie bitte, dass sich aufgrund von COVID-19-Maßnahmen die derzeit angezeigten Termine noch ändern können.
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Intendierte Lernergebnisse

Learn to critically approach contemporary game experience from a philosophical point of view. Understand the concept of Philosophical Practice. Delve into the philosophical consequences of how videogames transpose physical world into a digital environment (representation) and how narration and meaning is established in gaming experience (configuration). Approach one of the last phases of videogame development, its multilingual localization, through a critical discourse on language. Learn about the possibility to establish videogames as Multimedia Interactive Artworks and approach their key features from a philosophical perspective, with the help of first-hand experience in gaming.

Final scope is to provide philosophical and phenomenological framework for a critical approach to videogames and gaming as philosophical practice.

Lehrmethodik inkl. Einsatz von eLearning-Tools

This seminar will be taught in online frontal lectures, which will be complemented by a personal research and gaming experience.


The course is split into an introductory session, four content blocks, and a restitution session.

Introductory Session:

The first session will briefly summarize course contents, present the methodology, and answer students’ questions in dialogue with all attendants. Course’s mode of exam will also be presented.

Block 1 – Philosophical background:

The first block will present the philosophical background of the course’s perspective. It will introduce the students to philosophical analysis, establish a lexicon, and provide base phenomenological and theoretical concepts. Aesthetics, Ethics, Theoretical Philosophy, Semiology, and Phenomenology will be focus of this block. A working definition of Multimedia Interactive Artwork will be presented. It will then briefly present an example of interdisciplinary approach: Huizinga’s anthropology, Moltmann’s theology, and Indian līlayā on the experience of gaming.

Block 2 – Gaming as Philosophical Practice:

The second block will present the basis of Philosophical Practice and how it can be tied to the experience of gaming and narration. It will then build the ground from which the idea of videogames as a method of philosophical practice (both gaming and game-design) can be a valid philosophical proposal. Students will be invited to choose a title to play during the next weeks according to the proposed methodology.


Block 3 – Representation:

Second block will examine the topic of representation in videogames from a philosophical perspective according to three topics: World, Self, and Society. Lectures will expand concepts presented in Block 1 in the three topics, thus presenting a possible approach to a critical gaming experience thanks to di Letizia’s phenomenology of gameplay experience. Dedicated focus will be given to how the concept of spirituality can be represented in videogames from two different perspectives: representation of real-world religion and creation of world-specific religions. Students will be then invited to do a quick report on the status of their gameplay, approaching the gameplay critically, and to report their experience and notes.

Block 4 – Configuration:

This block will approach the subject of narration and meaning in videogames. The frontal lectures will delve into the concepts of Direct Narration and Indirect Narration and their peculiarities. Next, the concept of meaning will be analysed through the lens of gameplay and game-design of a selected range of videogames titles. A dedicate focus will be given to the issues related to localization and how Philosophy of Language can help an analysis of localization issues in videogames. Finally, some first-hand experiences of game design will be presented to further guide the proposed critical approach. At the end of this block, the questionary will be shared.

Restitution session:

Students will present their gaming experience to the class through the answers they gave in the questionary. A final round-up dialogical session will be held on the themes that will emerge from this personal experience. Each student will then propose their argument for the individual assessment.


Suggested literature include, but is not limited to:

- Huizinga, J. (1955). Homo ludens. Boston: Beacon Press.

- Johnson, S. (1997). Interface culture. San Francisco: Harper.

- Mukherjee, S. (2015). Video Games and Storytelling, New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

- Keogh, B. (2018). A Play of Bodies. How we perceive videogames, Cambridge: MIT Press.

- Bosman, F. (2019). Gaming and the Divine, London: Routledge.

Additional references will be made available during the course.

Previous experience of the following videogames is encouraged: Alan Wake, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, BioShock (any chapter), Dark Souls (any chapter), Nier: Automata, Deus Ex (any chapter), Firewatch, L. A. Noir, Life is Strange, No Man’s Sky, The Stanley Parable, Rusty Lake Hotel, the Myst saga, Cyberpunk 2077.


Geänderte Prüfungsinformationen (COVID-19 Ausnahmeregelung)

The course features a twofold assessment. 


The course features a twofold assessment. The first assessment (worth 20% of the mark) will consist in a questionary (open questions) on the gaming experience from Block 02. The main assessment will see students produce a philosophical essay on the course topics (worth 70% of the mark). The final 10% of the grade are shaped by student participation.


Questionary and collective restitution session (20%): 

Students will play a title of their choosing and fill an online questionary (open questions), which will then form the basis of the collective restitution session.

Individual assessment (70%):

The individual assessment is a philosophical essay (3000 words). Students will put forth an argument about representation or configuration in videogames, select a specific game or part of said game to play (could be the same from the questionary) and, by using the philosophical concepts learned in the course and their own individual branch of knowledge, analyse their gameplay to prove or disprove their argument.

Participation (10%)


Criteria relevant for the grading of the questionary and restitution session:

  • Understanding of questions proposed
  • Suitability of answers given according to the themes of the seminar
  • Soundness of the argument presented in the answers
  • Adequate grasp of the philosophical concepts and theories presented in the seminar

Criteria relevant for the grading of the individual assessment:

  • An adequate grasp of the philosophical concepts and theories presented in the seminar
  • The demonstration of reflection and critical thinking in respect to both videogames and individual branch of knowledge
  • Soundness of the argument presented
  • The usage of examples from existing games (screenshots, filmed scenes…)
  • The ability to construct an argument in a coherent, structured, and logical fashion
  • Reliance on additional academic resources besides those presented in the course
  • Upholding proper standards regarding the formal features and citations of the AAU Department of English
  • A proper bibliographical listing of sources considered

Criteria relevant for the grading of student participation:

  • Attendance
  • Contributions to discussions
  • Openness to interdisciplinary perspectives


Note Benotungsschema

Position im Curriculum

  • Masterstudium Game Studies and Engineering (SKZ: 992, Version: 17W.2)
    • Fach: Game Studies (Pflichtfach)
      • Representation and Configuration in Games ( 0.0h SE / 8.0 ECTS)
        • 780.223 Representation and Configuration in Games (2.0h SE / 8.0 ECTS)
          Absolvierung im 2. Semester empfohlen

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