Topics in Professional Writing course “Writing about Games, Gaming, and Gamers” is changing that completely.
Societally, games are seen as an escape, entertainment, or fund that someone plays to avoid their “real” work, yet that’s mentality ignores an entire world of content for analysis and the thriving industry behind it.
Jen England’s Topics in Professional Writing course isn’t doing that. Instead, it’s putting the spotlight onto the industry behind games and games themselves to look at what they are doing and how students can too.
“The idea of games being pointless, fluffy things you do,” she said with a shrug, “it’s wrong.”
There’s a stigma surrounding games and concepts of play trigger assumptions that things are anti-academic, but England says “it’s not and it shouldn’t be.”
For her, the area is important because it is so often ignored for serious, academic discussion and focus, but also on a personal level because games are interesting and hold so much potential.
For example, so far, games are tackling massive cultural issues. The recent, starting in 2014, hashtag movement of #GamerGate is working to address the issues of sexism within games and game culture. If the industry is behind in respects like gender equality, the class hopes to examine how that can be challenged.
Beyond issues in the gaming industry, the course will address places of success where social advocacy work is being done within and for the gaming world on projects like Able Gamers who are attempting to make games more accessible for those who cannot physically use certain controls or Girls Make Games who are raising money to help get women into the gaming industry, which is largely male dominated.
The class will explore a range of other questions and areas surrounding the gaming industry: How can one study games in a different way and be critical about games themselves? How can one get people to take the work of games and the gaming industry seriously? How does one communicate ideas about games?
As a professional writing elective, it will also answer some concrete questions about what it means to do professional writing within the game industry, specifically what does a professional writer do within that focus and what it means to be a professional writer in gaming.
For anyone looking to write and publish work in any industry, but especially if one has interest in related writing, this course has the potential to offer very helpful experience including how to review games and how a review will change under the different contexts of publishing in different types of realms and how to pitch projects.
Specifically, the class will look at Not Your Mama’s Gamer to practice pitching to a site that is on the border of professional and academic writing.
Of course, in order to do all this work, students will get to play some games too within the coursework, though which titles aren’t yet decided.
For students who game, or those who don’t, the class should be enjoyable. It’s an opportunity to look at an industry that’s often glazed over and the writing that happens within it.
The course offers the Hamline Plan requirement for Writing Intensive and is an Advanced Level Elective for English majors.
The class is set for Wednesday night’s 6:00 – 9:00 p.m in the Bush Memorial Library room 301. It’s required that a registering student have taken ENG 3010 (now 1900) or ENG 1800 to register for this course, unless they have instructor permission. This is a course where, if interested, don’t be scared to get instructor permission because it will be manageable without the background of other courses.
Find the course’s full information here.