College Course to Include Portal on its Syllabus

24 Aug 2010 | Posted by

GladosOne of the things I remember dreading the most in each college course was the handing out of the syllabus. This loaded piece of paper captures your entire semester in paper form, telling you just how busy you are going to be, and exactly what you’re going to be doing. Add five of these together, and they become a horde of wild beasts. Although perhaps I would have felt differently if I were a student at Wabash College this year.

For the first time, a video game is appearing on a Wabash College syllabus as required “reading” for a course titled Enduring Questions, one that all freshmen must complete in order to move on with their college careers. Here is a little bit of a snippet about the course itself:

Enduring Questions is a required freshman seminar offered during the spring semester. It is devoted to engaging students with fundamental questions of humanity from multiple perspectives and fostering a sense of community. Each section of the course includes a small group (approximately 15) of students who consider together classic and contemporary works from multiple disciplines. In so doing, students confront what it means to be human and how we understand ourselves, our relationships, and our world.

Apparently, one of the faculty members is a gamer, and took the charge to think of unique non-text media examples to a great conclusion: Portal. To him, it addresses questions of individuality and the onstage performance of people versus their backstage identities, which perfectly sums up Aperture’s experiments in a nice, thoughtful and engaging way. He pitched this idea to the rest of the faculty, and they jumped aboard, and began testing distribution and Steam installation on a big level, to ensure that many freshmen could all do it as well.

To me, this is a huge and awesome step towards video games getting cultural and thoughtful recognition. It ranks right up there with the way that Shadow of the Colossus was handled in the movie Reign Over Me, as a man tried to deal with the deaths of his family through playing the game.

What do you guys think of this? If you were putting together a video game course list, what would you include on it? Go!

Source- The Brainy Gamer

6 Comments »

  • Apollo733 said:

    Early 20th Century History Course – Red Dead Redemption
    WW2 History Course – Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (the one with the Normandy landing)
    American Culture – GTA Series
    Greek Mythology – God of War Series
    Physics – Half Life Series
    Renaissance – Assassins Creed 2
    History of Organized Crime – Mafia 2 (Haven’t played yet, I’m just guessing)

  • SkubaPatr0l said:

    I think this shows maturity on the college’s behalf for taking this suggestion into serious consideration.
    As to games I’d put on, Portal and Shadow of the Collosus would be there for sure! Little Big Planet may also be a good choice as it encourages creativity and determination (ie. to finish making a level).

  • Julez said:

    I remember reading somewhere YEARS ago that if you could complete Myst 3 without a walk through in a certain amount of time, you could receive some sort of credit at some college. Of course, I was probably too young to understand sarcasm, sooo it was most likely a joke.

    But that game, wow. Go try it out.

    This article is awesome though. Good for them.

  • Newaythisckesgr8 said:

    Now if we can only get more colleges to do this! Seriously though, there are some courses where I would think games would be applicable. Any art course, or psychology would be great just to see how a person acts as they play a shooter and then then throw them in a sandbox or something like that.

    I’m just mad because I actually considered going to this school but decided against it because I didn’t want to attend a sausage-fest lol (it’s an all guys school). It’s only an hour away from where I live in Indiana.

  • Cossack69 said:

    It’s just because the teachers were promised cake. lol Seriously, though, I’d love to see more games be included as material in classes (and movies; I’ma go find “Reign Over Me”!) because there can really be some thoughtful discussion and education with good games.

    Now, for my list:

    Shadow of the Colossus would definitely be in my philosophy course.
    Oregon Trail is the old classic for Manifest Destiny.
    Gotta get some Total Wars and other RTS’s for History.
    Insurgency (a HL2 mod) for current events; it’s a pretty realistic game set in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

  • Things I Wish I Learned In College | What Eddy Writes said:

    [...] I guess the reason I'm thinking about all this is that I saw a cool article the other day about how Wabash College is including the video game Portal as required reading for one of their courses. It's hard not to consider how cool a college class would be that got to [...]