Foundations of Simulations and Games

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Kürşat ÇAĞILTAY


There is a significant amount of research based on the technical issues of gaming. While technical issues are explored deeply, non-technical issues are not explored in much detail. Understanding why people play games, why they like some games to others, how the game players interact with each other in gaming environment, what cognitive processes take place in game playing, how gaming approaches can be applied to formal learning environments, societal impacts of games and gender issues are only some of the issues that need to be explored by researchers. It is obvious that understanding these processes is central to designing new media and tools that will support human use, augment human learning and enhance communication at both the individual and social levels.  

This course will provide students with a sound introduction to the theories of gaming/simulations and examine cognitive/social factors and the design of computer games/simulations. So, the course will have a more psychological and social focus rather than a technical one. It will be organized around a collection of readings and real-world exercises. The format of this course based on reflective thinking. The lectures, presentations, discussion and other resources will be used to support the problems that students are working on throughout the semester.  

Objectives of the Course
One of the main purposes of this course is to fertilize the discussion on what computer games are actually about, how they can be used for teaching/learning, how gaming affects gamers, how games affect our society, and how they can be used for more productive purposes. This course will help students to build a solid foundation that helps them understand the major issues of computer games and simulations. Objectives of this course include: 

  • To develop a theoretical understanding of cognitive, social and cultural aspects of computer games and simulations.
  • To provide an understanding of the social, psychological, cultural and ethical issues associated with game design and use.
  • To understand the origins and philosophy of games and video games in human history.
  • To explain potentials of games on human psychology and learning.
  • To inquire good and bad effects of video games and simulations on players and learners.
  • To discover the areas in which computer games can be used.
  • To understand basic design elements of video games and suggest some design issues by using theoretical foundations.
  • To evaluate the computer games with different perspectives.
  • To understand the trends of video games and simulation research.
  • To conduct a game research by considering the literature and analysis of the data.
  • To offer a set of first-hand experience which augment conceptual understanding of course content.