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Video Games as Narrative: Pedagogical Strategies for Using Games as Literature in the Composition Classroom

Volume 2, Issue 1, February 2017    |    PP. 18-30    |PDF (333 K)|    Pub. Date: March 1, 2017
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Dr. John Misak, New York Institute of Technology

Video games have developed into movie-like productions. This paper addresses how modern video games deliver a developed narrative and how such games can be used in the English Composition classroom, much like traditional texts, to help students learn writing craft. Through the exploration of pedagogical strategies for such use, this paper can inform English professors on how they might incorporate video games into their composition courses. The transformation of video games mimics that of movies decades ago; they can now be treated as a viable narrative medium. Games like Mass Effect, Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us tell stories in varying degrees of linearity. Gamers experience this narrative and upon completion, they have experienced enough story to fill several books. Not only do students serve as an audience to narrative, in many games they serve as shapers of the story. The English composition instructor oftentimes struggles to unpack narrative for students, and can use the familiar video game to illustrate the storytelling process. By understanding of how video games form stories, students can learn to do so themselves. Just as the older video games helped develop creative imagination, newer games engage players in narrative that spans many topics, including social commentary, popular culture, and literature traditions. This paper focuses on games with strong narrative backgrounds and delves into the benefits and problems associated with using such games in the classroom.

Video games, composition, narrative, technology and learning, literature, teaching, writing

Cite this paper
Dr. John Misak, Video Games as Narrative: Pedagogical Strategies for Using Games as Literature in the Composition Classroom, SCIREA Journal of Education. Vol. 2 , No. 1 , 2017 , pp. 18 - 30 .


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