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Online Games

Literature, New Media, and Narrative

Intended for both newcomers who are curious about video games and experienced gamers who want to reflect on their passion, this course will explore what happens to stories, paintings, and films when they become the basis of massively multiplayer online games. The Lord of the Rings trilogy—the novels, films, and video game—are our central example of how “remediation” transforms familiar stories as they move across media. The course is designed as a university-level English literature class—a multi-genre, multimedia tour of how literature, film, and games engage in the basic human activity of storytelling. Our journey will enable us to learn something about narrative theory, introduce us to some key topics in media studies and cover some of the history and theory of video games. It will also take us to some landmarks of romance literature, the neverending story that lies behind most fantasy games: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, a bit of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, and poems by Keats, Tennyson, Browning, and others. Drawing on centuries of romance narrative conventions, the twenty-first century gaming industry has become a creative and economic powerhouse. It engages the talents of some of our brightest writers, artists, composers, computer engineers, game theorists, video producers, and marketing professionals, and in 2012, it generated an estimated $64 billion in revenue. Anyone interested in today’s culture needs to be conversant with the ways this new medium is altering our understanding of stories. Join me as we set out on an intellectual adventure, the quest to discover the cultural heritage of online games.

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Vanderbilt University

Rating 4.7 based on 31 ratings
Length 7 weeks
Starts Feb 18 (tomorrow)
Cost $49
From Vanderbilt University via Coursera
Instructor Jay Clayton
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Art & Design Humanities Languages
Tags Arts And Humanities Music And Art Language Learning Learning English

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What people are saying

We analyzed reviews for this course to surface learners' thoughts about it

course for in 4 reviews

A fascinating course for those who love games, digital narrative, and literature.The course materials are done with love and it shows: the videos are fantastic, clear, entertaining and well paced.The course revolves around Lord of the Rings (in its iterations of books, films and videogame), but discussion about art, literature, gaming and narrative in general is encouraged.The community is supportive, helpful and very friendly, in the forums and in the game, so those who are new to gaming but are interested in the course have no reason to shy off!

This was just a life-changing perspective-changing course for me.

interesting course in 3 reviews

Quite an interesting course for those interested in the literature of Tolkien, especially for understanding how it was and can be translated to other mediums.

An interesting course for anyone who likes lord of the rings online, fantasy (modern and presents), literature, video games, and/or movies!

very interesting in 2 reviews

I loved the fusion of literature, movies, and games It was very interesting and fun.

I liked the literature and examples of the workshop, it was very interesting and It did awaken a much slept passion for poetry and romance.

This was a very interesting course that brings together different and unexpected sources and ties them with Tolkien's classic narrative in ways that help you gain new perspectives on LOTR, but also on modern and classic works of art, books, games.


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