A week or so ago I was teaching on the Masters programme in Film/Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland. The module is entitled Consumption and my session was on consumption and cyberspace. The students had already had 9 weeks of material spanning Bourdieu, de Certeau and Fiske before my session. I threw together some slides for the students which you can find below in which I charted a brief definition and history of the term before switching the focus around engagement with digital worlds.
I screened a short extract from a BBC short film from the Wonderland series entitled Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love (video is embedded below), in which an unhappily married woman seeks love in the virtual world Second Life.
We also watched an extract from the recent documentary entitled Second Skin which looks at the lives of a number of World of Warcraft gamers. The trailer is below:
The rest of the session revolved around getting the students to play a series of scenarios from a few different games on the Playstation 3 (yes, I lugged my own bulky unit into the University just for the session).
The idea was to get students to consider the success of games in recent years by asking them to play through a series of scenarios from a number of popular or critically acclaimed games. The scenarios were:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - The controversial 'No Russian' level
Heavy Rain - 'Hassan's Shop' and 'The Lizard'
Flower - opening stage
The aim behind the gameplay was to get students to think through their own moral motivations behind their gameplay choice and to reflect on their agency within structured systems