Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Brackin, Adam
Discipline and Number
ATEC 4373 Section 001
M Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
History and Design of RPGs

Description of Course:

This course is an in-depth discussion and analysis of the history of the RPG genre from its birth to present and explore potential forms for the future in order to better understand the nature of these games and the patterns of interaction among players—as well as their reasons for playing them.

Students will first examine “Interactive Fiction” in all of its forms, including tabletop games ranging from D20, GURPS, Cortex Dice Pool (Serenity RPG), Burning Wheel and other RPGs with an explicit social components to "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style novels and its more traditional author-reader interaction.

Students will then examine computer-based playable structures that are designed for solo interaction, as well as those which explore the intersection of the social spaces of play and the real world, considering, among other topics, the virtual communities of MMORPGs and other less conventional uses of digital gaming and role-playing techniques such as Alternate Reality Games.

Students will learn to think critically about RPG games and RPG gaming issues and gain exposure to the major writers and researchers in the genre. Students will familiarize themselves with RPG elements and will learn how to critique historical and contemporary RPG games and the ideas of others. Through a variety of assignments, students will create characters, critically analyze various games, and write their own original working RPG system and present that idea in a concise, coherent format.

ATEC 4373 may be repeated for credit as topics vary (9 hours maximum). Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Students must be actively enrolled in this class (ATEC 4373) in order to attend it due to UTD policy. (No lurkers!)

Required Texts:

Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives [ILLUSTRATED] by Jeff Howard (Paperback) A K Peters Ltd (February 26, 2008) 1568813473

Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-playing Games [ILLUSTRATED] by Matt Barton (Hardcover) A K Peters Ltd (March 3, 2008) 1568814119

Shared Fantasy: Role Playing Games as Social Worlds by Gary Alan Fine (Paperback) University Of Chicago Press (August 14, 2002) 0226249441

Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media by Pat Harrigan (Editor), Noah Wardrip-Fruin (Editor), (Hardcover) The MIT Press (February 28, 2007) 0262083566

Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition by Wizards RPG Team (Hardcover) Wizards of the Coast (June 6, 2008) 0786948671

Serenity Role Playing Game by Jamie Chambers (Author), Margaret Weis (Contributor) [Hardcover] Margaret Weis Productions (September 19, 2005) 1931567506

The Burning Wheel (Two Volumes) Revised Edition: Character Burner and Fantasy Roleplaying System by (Author) Luke Crane and Dan Abram (Paperback) Cushing-Malloy, Inc. (October 18, 2005) 0975888900

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:


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