Students at Wabash College this spring will be putting down their textbooks and picking up a controller, according to one teacher.
Michael Abbot, a professor at Wabash and editor of gaming community site The Brainy Gamer, has revealed that “alongside Gilgamesh, Aristotle’s Politics, John Donne’s poetry, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and the Tao Te Ching, freshmen at Wabash will also encounter a video game called Portal.” The game will be played in a new course called “Enduring Questions,” a class “devoted to engaging students with fundamental questions of humanity from multiple perspectives.”
Abbot was selected to help design the course and immediately thought of games that could be added to the “reading” list. Portal was the first game that popped into his head, and will be studied with the Erving Geoffman book Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Abbot believes that both the game and the book explore the topic of the “front stage” we reveal to others and the “back stage” of our desires and motives we want to keep hidden from other people.
Portal‘s short length and accessibility were also cited as grounds for the game’s selection. Other games considered were BioShock and Planescape: Torment.
Abbot says that not all sections of the course will play the game until a few classes this spring try it out to “work out the kinks” of installation, etc., over a whole class of people with different computers and game consoles. However, he points out that his colleagues were quick to accept a game as reading material for a class — which is especially fascinating when you consider that this class is required for Wabash students to graduate.
This is a major step forward in getting people to look at games in the same light as books, movies, and music.
No word yet on whether or not students passing the course will receive cake.
[Via: The Brainy Gamer]