Observing a player

The goal of this essay is to do qualitative games research. You will “analyze” someone “playing” a game. You will need to put together a report based on watching someone (or more than one person) play and then asking questions/gathering data. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to sit next to someone as she plays and take notes/ask questions. We will discuss models for how to gather/what to gather in class, but the goal is to come out of your observation with a wealth of data to then go analyze as you write your essay. Bear in mind you are not writing a report about the game; you are writing about the player/what came from the player’s interactions. If more than a page of your paper is descriptive about the game itself, you’re doing it wrong. The specific requirements are: 1) You must be looking at a player or players playing SOME THING (meaning one thing– one game, for example) 2) You must understand what they are playing. That’s a key to doing this sort of research. 3) You need to capture data of the player(s) playing, and your project should include references to this data in the analysis 4) You must use at least ONE scholar (meaning references to a thinker) to frame your analysis. You will likely want to pull from something we read in class. 5) You need to tell us, your audience, something new and interesting. Your analysis should create some sort of new knowledge. This might be a confirmation of something we believed, it might be something brand new, or it might be a different way of seeing something we’ve already known. 6) You need to have approximately 8 written pages of material. You must cite references in MLA or APA format, and you must account for the data you gathered. But keep the six things above in mind. They are also the grading criteria. 1/6th of your grade depends on each of them.

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