History of Games
Schedule and Readings

Introduction History and Games
3/31 Introduction to the course. Syllabus and requirements. Why study games? Why study history of games? Aims of the class.
  Reading for 4/2:
  • Salen, K. and Zimmerman, E. Chapter 3 "Meaningful Play," and Chapter 7 “Defining Games,” in Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press, 2004. DePaul Library on-line. Login to the collection, and then search for "Rules of Play"
  • Parlett, D. Chapter 1 “Welcome Aboard,” in The Oxford History of Board Games, Course On-Line
4/2 History and Games. Historical methods. Games as primary sources. What is a game?
4/7 Gameplay Leader Session. In-class exercise for learning your designated game.
Unit 1 Death and Religion in Ancient Egypt
  Reading for 4/9:
  •  Spodek, H. "River Valley Civilizations" Chapter 3 in The World's History. (Handout.)
4/9 History: Ancient Egypt. Religion and dynasticism in the New Kingdom. Records, inscriptions, art, artifacts and other archeological evidence.
  Reading for 4/14:
4/14 Game: Race Games. Senet. Descendants of Senet including Backgammon. Design principles of race games.
4/16 Play: Senet
  Reading for 4/21:
  • Piccione, Peter A. “In Search of the Meaning of Senet”, Online
  • Queen Nefertari Playing Senet, Online
4/21 Sources: Senet and Egyptian Religion. Reconstructing Senet.
Unit 2 Royalty and Society in Medieval Europe
  Reading for 4/23:
  • Greaves, R. et al. Chapter 14 "Life and Culture in Medieval Europe," in Cvilizations of the World. HarperCollins, 1993. (Handout)
4/23 History: Society and Culture in the Late Middle Ages. Social structure and hierarchy. Medieval Spain and the Muslim world.
  Reading for 4/28:
  • Yalom, M. Chapter 7 “Chess and the Cult of the Virgin Mary,” and Chapter 8 “Chess and the Cult of Love,” in Birth of the Chess Queen. HarperCollins. 2005. (Handout)
  • Parlett, Ch. 16 “Conquering Kings”, 204-211 only, Course On-Line (pages 276-286 in the hardcopy)
4/28 Game: Strategy Games. History of Chess. Asian variants of chess. Go. Emergent properties in strategy games.
4/30 Play: Medieval Chess.
  Reading for 5/5:
  • Yalom, Chapter 11 “New Chess and Isabella of Castile", (Handout)
5/5 Sources: The Transformation of Chess.
Unit 3 People of Chance: America in the 19th Century
  Reading for 5/7:
  • Boyer, P. S. et al. "Immigration, Expansion, and Sectional Conflict 1840-1848" Chapter 13 in The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. (Handout). Read: p. 399-402 up to “The Germans”, p.405 Labor Protest to end of p. 407, p. 408 "Mexican Government in the Far West" up to p. 412 “American Settlements”, p. 414 “The Politics of Expansion” up to p.418 “Polk and Oregon”, p. 419 “The Origins of the Mexican War” up to p.425 “The Wilmot Proviso”, p.427/428 Conclusion and Chronology
5/7 History: Risk and tradition in 19th Century America.
  Reading for 5/12:
  • Reith, G. Chapter 2 “The Pursuit of Chance” in The Age of Chance: Gambling in western culture. Routledge, 1999. (Handout)
5/12 Game: Gambling Games. The history of gambling. Divination, probability and risk. Typologies of gambling games. The boundary issues between gambling and play. The rise of professional gambling.
5/14 Play: Blackjack
  Reading for 5/19:
  • Green, J. H. An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling. Philadelphia, 1847. Online, only the following parts:
    • The Evil Consequences of Gambling, pages 11-20,
    • Affray with the Gamblers in Vicksburg, pages 150/151
    • Vingt-Un, or Twenty-One, 165-169
    • A Discourse on the Evils of Gambling. By Rev. E. H. Chapin, pages 296-314.
5/19 Sources: Confessions and Exhortations
Unit 4  Children's Games as Global Mass Culture
  Reading for 5/21:
  • Ebrey, P.B., Walthall, A., Palais, J.B. "Contemporary Japan (1965 to the Present)" in East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Houhgton-Mifflin. (Handout)
5/21 History: The Globalization of Japanese Culture.
5/26 Memorial Day, no lecture
  Reading for 5/28:
  • Kent, S. L. Chapter 28 “The Mainstream and All its Perils” and Chapter 29 “And the Cycle Continues” in The Ultimate History of Video Games. Three Rivers Press, 2001. (Handout)
5/28 Game: Video Games. The first 25 years of video game history. Video games in Japan. The rise of Nintendo.
6/2 Play: Pokemon Trading Card Game
  Reading for 6/4:
  • Tobin, J.. Chapter 13 “The Rise and Fall of Pokemon: Pikachu's global adventure”. (Handout). Only read the following parts:
    • Intro, Japan's Mouse, Glocalization, pages 257-268
    • Pokemon's Pleases and Meanings, Pokemon Epistemology and Pedagogy, Gender, Picachu's Golden Years, pages 281-291
6/4 Sources: Games and Meta-Games/Conclusion: The changing role of games and leisure
6/11 Final paper due


Marcus Schaefer
Last updated: March 31st, 2008.