Over 120 games are available as academic resources on campus. These are located in Sawyer and Schow (some on reserve), and in the Graphics Lab by special appointment. These are a combination of my personal collection and the College's collection. Please dive deeply into this resource! Please also respect these works as academic materials. Preserve their quality, approach them in a scholarly manner, and give appropriate and unambiguous attribution when discussing them.

I recommend the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 ("PS3") in Jesup B04 (available 24/7) and the meeting rooms in Schow as gaming locations easily accessible to everyone in the class. I also recommend e-mailing the class list beforehand so that you can group up. Most of the board games require at least three players. Studying even single-player video games as a team is very effective--often you can learn more about the game by watching someone else play. If you have your own game console you are welcome to play these games on that as well. Note that some of the games below are PS2 and Wii games, which will not work with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. You can play those by appointment with me in the Graphics lab or on your own console.

Schow Library Reserved Games

The following games are on 4-hour reserve for you in Schow library. Many are assigned throughout the semester.

Because we have only one copy of most games, I often let you choose between multiple games that are similar for the purpose of the assignment. For example, Borderlands, Okami, and Valkyria Chronicles are all strong examples of painterly art direction in games. Stone Age and Agricola are both canonical worker-placement games. You can expect to study four of these in depth and experience about one quarter of the total list.

These games will form the core of your critical gaming vocabulary because each is exemplary in some way...but not necessarily necessarily a positive way. Some are good examples of bad designs.

  1. Citadels, Fantasy Flight Games, card game, 4+, 2006. 2-7 players (4-5 recommended), 20-60 min. with Dark City expansion.
  2. Agricola, U. Rosenberg, Z-Man Games, board, 12+, 2008. 1-5 players (3-4 recommended), 30 min./player
  3. Carcassonne, Klaus-Juergen Wrede, Rio Grande Games, board game, 2008. 2-5 players, 45 min./player
  4. Puerto Rico, A. Seyfarth / Ravensburger Spieleverlag, Rio Grande Games, board game, 12+, 2002. 3-5 players, 90-150 minutes. with Expansion pack.
  5. Dominion, D. X. Vaccarino, Rio Grande Games, card game, 8+, 2009. 2-4 players, 30 minutes. (The Intrigue and Cornucopia expansions are available in the library as well)
  6. The Settlers of Catan, K. Teuber, Mayfair Games, board game, 12+, 1996. 3-4 players, 1-2 hours.
  7. Cathedral, Mattel, board game, 10+, 1986. 2 players, 15 min.
  8. Tipover, ThinkFun, board game, 8+, 2004. 1 player, 10 min.
  9. Pandemic, M. Leacock, Z-Man Games, board game, 10+, 2007. 2-4 cooperative players, 45 min.
  10. Robo Rally, R. Garfield, Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast, board game, 12+, 2005. 2-8 players, 30+ min.
  11. Battlestar Galactica, C. Konieczka, Fantasy Flight Games / Sci-Fi, board game, 10+, 2008. 3-6 cooperative players. 2-3 hours
  12. Power Grid, F. Friese, Rio Grande Games, board game, 12+, 2004. 2-6 players, 2 hours
  13. Equate, M. K. Beavers, Conceptual Math Media, board game, 8+, 1996. 2-4 players, 45 min.
  14. Yinsh, K. Burm, Don & Co NV, board game, 2003. 2 players, 30 min.
  15. Odin's Ravens, T. Gimmler, Kosmos/Rio Grande Games, board game, 10+, 2002. 2 players, 30-40 min.
  16. Pit, Hasbro, Winning Moves Games, card game, 7+, 1972. 3-8 players, 30 min.
  17. Stone Age, B. Brunnhofer, 999 Games, board game, 10+, 2008. 2-4 players (4 recommended), 60 min.
  18. Apples to Apples, M. Kirby and M. A. Osterhaus, Mattel, card game, 12+, 1999. 4-10 players (5-8 recommended), 30 min.
  19. Shadows Over Camelot, B. Cathala and S. Laget, Days of Wonder, board game, 10+, 2005. with expansion. 3-8 cooperative players (5-8 recommended), 90 min.
  20. Through the Desert, Reiner Knizia, Kosmos/Fantasy Flight Games, board game, 8+, 1998. 2-5 players, 45 min
  21. Munchkin Bites!, Steve Jackson, Steve Jackson Games, card, 2004. 3-6 players, 60 min
  22. Dante's Inferno, Visceral Games, EA, Xbox 360 and PS, ESRB: M, 2010.
  23. Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft, Xbox360, PS3, and PC, ESRB: M, 2009
  24. Burnout Paradise, Criterion Games, Electronic Arts, PS3, Xbox360, and PC, ESRB: E10+, 2008
  25. Left 4 Dead 2, Valve Corporation, Xbox360 and PC, ESRB: M, 2009
  26. No More Heroes 2, Grasshopper Manufacture, Ubisoft, Wii, ESRB: M, 2010
  27. Okami, Clover Studio, Capcom/Activision, PS2 and Wii, ESRB: T, 2009
  28. Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar San Diego and Rockstar North, Rockstar Games, PS3 and Xbox360, ESRB: M, 2010
  29. You Are Microscopic, Edward Packard, Bantam Books, CYOA, 1992
  30. Race Forever, R. A. Montgomery, Chooseco, CYOA, 1983
  31. The Third Planet from Altair, Edward Packard, Bantam, CYOA, 1979
  32. The Mystery of Ura Senke, Shannon Gilligan, Chooseco, CYOA, 1985
  33. The Cave of Time, Edward Packard, Bantam, CYOA, 1979
  34. Dead Space 2, Visceral Games, Electronic Arts, PS3, ESRB: M, 2011
  35. Wasabi!, Joshua Cappel and Adam Gertzbein, Z-Man Games, Board, 10+, 2-4 players, 30-45 min, 2008
  36. Resident Evil 5, Capcom, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, ESRB: M, 2009
  37. Skate 2, EA Black Box, Electronic Arts, PS3 and Xbox360, ESRB: T, 2009
  38. Super Mario Galaxy 2, Nintendo EAD Tokyo, Nintendo, Wii, ESRB: E, 2010
  39. God of War III, Santa Monica Studio, Sony Computer Entertainment, PS3, ESRB: M, 2010
  40. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Capcom, Wii, ESRB: E, 2007
  41. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Infinity Ward, Activision, PC, PS3, and Xbox360, ESRB: M, 2009
  42. Valkyria Chronicles, Sega WOW, Sega, PS3, ESRB: T, 2008
  43. Rachet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Insomniac Games, Sony Computer Entertainment, PS3, ESRB: E10+, 2009
  44. Borderlands, Gearbox Software, 2K Games, PC, Xbox360, and PS3, ESRB: M, 2009
  45. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Naughty Dog, Sony Computer Entertainment, PS3, ESRB: T, 2009
  46. Little Big Planet, Media Molecule, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, PS3, ESRB: E, 2008
  47. Fable III, Lionhead Studios, Microsoft Game Studios, Xbox360 and PC, ESRB: M, 2010
  48. Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady Studios, Eidos Interactive, PS3, PC, and Xbox360, ESRB: T, 2009
  49. Fallout 3, Bethesda Game Studios, Methesda Softworks, PC, PS3, and Xbox360, ESRB: M, 2008
  50. BioShock 2, 2K Marin, 2K Games, PC, Xbox360, and PS3, ESRB: M, 2010
  51. Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment, PS3, ESRB: M, 2010
  52. Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy, Quantic Dream, Atari, Xbox, PS2, and PC, ESRB: M / AO, 2005


Some loose categorizations of exemplary games in certain dimensions are below. These particular games will be used repeatedly as examples in class. The ones in brackets are not on reserve, but most are available by appointment with me. These might be good games to focus on or reference in your critical essays and to measure your designs against. My categorization is subjective, of course.

  • "Painterly": [Bastion], Borderlands, Okami, Valkyria, [Limbo], [Braid], [No More Heroes 2]
  • Games with Gross Flaws (but not necessarily "bad"): Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Equate, Dante's Inferno, [Skyrim], [Indigo Prophecy], [Minecraft], Wasabi!
  • Abstract Strategy: [Go], Othello, YINSH, Chinese Checkers, Chess, Uno. Effectively abstract strategy
  • Cooperative: Pandemic, Space Alert, Shadows Over Camelot, Battlestar Galactica, [Arkham Horror], [Left 4 Dead 2], [Counter-Strike], [Natural Selection 1 and 2], [Portal 2], [Alien Swarm]
  • Worker Placement: Agricola, Stone Age, [Konisburg]
  • Real-Time Board Game: Pit, Apples-to-Apples, [Creationary], Galaxy Trucker, Space Alert
  • Turn-Based Computer Game: [Civilization], [HeroAcademy], [X-Com]
  • Drafting: Citadels, 7 Wonders
  • Economy: Settlers of Catan, Agricola, Puerto Rico, 7 Wonders, [Age of Empires (any)]
  • Bidding: [Ra], [Princes of Florence], [Fairy Tale], [Modern Art]
  • Artistically Effective/Important (in some dimension): Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophecy, [Bastion], [Limbo], [Portal/Portal 2], Agricola, [TRAUMA], [Flash Duel], Uncharted 2, [Space Alert], [Risk: Legacy], [World of Goo], [Space Invaders Infinity Gene], [Guitar Hero and Rock Band (any)], Dominion, 7 Wonders, Rush Hour, [Catherine], [Osmosis], [Minecraft], [Brutal Legend], [Grim Fandango], [Quake 3], [Doom 2], [Wing Commander 3], The Cave of Time, Dominion

Sawyer Library

The following video games are available in Sawyer library. They are not assigned.