world map journal

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This first assignment requires you to think critically about the deployment of maps in interactive media, based on your assessment of any one of the three following digital games. You can either play these (based on interest/access) or watch the set-up videos that are uploaded for you. That is, assume the position of a player or a buyer of games for an entertainment store.

Pandemic [iOS / Android]

Ticket to Ride [iOS / Android]

Instructions:

Select your digital game.

Play the game or view the set-up video at least twice.

Write a report on how the game presents a playable model of the world.

The report should be around 1000 words (4 pages double-spaced). You should address the following: a description of the game in your own words; summarize of your playing experience of the game or viewing the video; and spend the major part of the paper analyzing how the world becomes navigable/trackable/playable in this game. The analysis should evaluate how the game conveys ideals about the following:

Space. How is the world represented in the game? What geographical features are emphasized (cities, states, nations)? What kind of perception of the world does the game privilege by foregrounding certain connections between locations?

Movement. How can are players expected to move through the space? What kind of actions are allowed and restricted? What are the infrastructures that enable movement (e.g. what “things” do you need to collect before moving, what pieces need to be on the board to allow for movement)?

Agency. What are players allowed to do? How are their actions restricted by the game design? Which types of actions are rewarded and which are penalized? What do these design choices imply about the values inherent in the game?

Relationality. Is the game cooperative or competitive? How does cooperation occur? In a competitive game, what are some immediate effects of one player’s actions on the progress of another? How does the setup promote certain ideals about how agents in the world should or should not organize?

  • Your goal is to evaluate the implications of these creative decisions for how the game portrays the world. As you play, pay close attention to what the game’s design, instructions, and narrative end up emphasizing or ignoring. Consider whose perspectives are modeled in this interactive map. In short, within this game, what does the world look like and how do people act within it? 

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