Course at UM in Summer 2011: Video Games and Japanese History

This course may be of potential interest to some in the class. Reading the course announcement made me think that our readings and discussion in the class (not unreasonably, for this is a course being taught in a US university) have focused mostly on the US school system and video games popular in US culture. However, other countries (notably Japan) also have a thriving video game culture (which may or may not differ in significant ways from video game culture in the US).

Department of Asian Languages and Culture

ASIAN 255: SimSamurai– Video Games and Japanese History (Summer 2011)

How is experiencing—or creating—history different with video games? Why are big budgets and hours of research poured into designing the characters and settings for Total War: Shôgun 2 or Ôkami? This course will explore the questions surrounding the historical representation of Japan in video games. By exploring how certain concepts of Japanese history emerge in games, we will discover how integral an understanding of history is to enjoying the story and setting. We will also see why and how certain historical concepts, like the ‘way of the warrior’, are connected to important issues of modern identity. This course is designed to meet two audiences: 1) students interested in understanding the connection of fiction and history, and 2) students interested in understanding how they can research and use history to create video games.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria Kramer
    Mar 12, 2011 @ 12:09:27

    Wow! As a fan of Japanese culture, I’d be fascinated by this class. Too bad I won’t be able to take it. 😦

    In any case, it’s interesting that academia is starting to look at video games as legitimate cultural artifacts.


  2. Candra G.
    Mar 12, 2011 @ 14:22:08

    I want to take this, too. I wonder if the professor would be willing to share the syllabus so we can at least see the games and the readings. We should send an email.


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