Digital Studies 101

A common resource for Digital Studies at UMW.


— WOPR / Joshua, Wargames (1983)

Do you play video games? Of course you do!

Video games are an interactive medium capable of engaging their players with beautiful imagery, actively involving players in the creation of epic stories, or demonstrating complex ideas or philosophies. Games can also be massive wasters of time, they may promulgate sexist tropes and imagery, and game culture is poisoned by misogyny and sexism.

For good or ill, video games are ubiquitous digital media, and the tools for creating and sharing video games are getting easier and easier to use. In this module, explore the processes and tools of game design and game programming and produce your own game by the end of the two-week module.


  • Learn about game genres and platforms
  • Learn how background connects to key characteristics in games now
  • Learn fundamental concepts of game design
  • Work with game making tools
  • Produce and share a complete (short) video game



Suggested Tasks

  • Experiment with and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the many free tools for creating video games.
  • Learn about the history of key video game genres, their formal characteristics, and their applications
  • Learn about the video game industry and the current climate
  • Play and talk about video games which claim to have “a point” — art games, persuasive games, newsgames, etc.
  • Create a “mod” for a popular board game, changing its rules or “re-skinning” its look. Play your mod with your team.
  • Describe your game from the point of view of someone playing it, and sketch out the interface and/or structure of the game’s content.
  • Remake one of your old games. Use a different game maker or make it a different genre. Or, simply, fix it using the knowledge you have now as opposed to when you first made it.
  • Build your game iteratively: share your work in progress with your team, and tweak it based on their feedback.

Slack Channel: gaming