Critical Review Presentation


To gain a better understanding about the current state of scholarship surrounding gaming and narrative, partners will present a critical review of a single article from the scholarly journal, Game Studies:

Our Mission – To explore the rich cultural genre of games; to give scholars a peer-reviewed forum for their ideas and theories; to provide an academic channel for the ongoing discussions on games and gaming.

Game Studies is a non-profit, open-access, crossdisciplinary journal dedicated to games research, web-published several times a year at

Our primary focus is aesthetic, cultural and communicative aspects of computer games, but any previously unpublished article focused on games and gaming is welcome. Proposed articles should be jargon-free, and should attempt to shed new light on games, rather than simply use games as metaphor or illustration of some other theory or phenomenon. (About, Game Studies)

Having published its first issue in July 2001 and with the latest issue having been published in December 2014, Game Studies offers an opportunity to delve into the role of games in culture from the perspective of a scholar.

A critical review is often a written essay. We are instead working on our presentation skills with this assignment. To help with this assignment, check out the following tips to help you navigate the summary, analysis, and evaluation of your article:

The article itself will require some time to read and reflect. Partners will need to meet (virtually or otherwise) to discuss the elements of the article’s arguments and choose who will be speaker and who will be respondent. Spend time on coordinating your presentation efforts. (It’s always very apparent when partners don’t collaborate.) Rehearse the presentation together (f2f/IRL or virtually).

Selecting Your Teammate (by Fri, 9/2, 2pm)

Each student created an About page to provide some background about interests, scholarly endeavors, and gaming. Read through a few of these About pages before selecting your partner. Since we are doing this selection process outside of class, contact your partner via email. (Visit our Blog Roll for blog links and email addresses.) You might first peruse Game Studies for interesting articles and then email a potential partner. (Don’t be afraid to email someone even if you don’t know him/her!) Indicate your choice of partner on our Critical Review Google spreadsheet by Friday, Sept 2, 2pm

Choose wisely, not randomly. Partners will both read through, discuss, and analyze this article before setting up the presentation itself. Work together. There are many opportunities for working virtually instead of in person (which is problematic due to busy schedules). A virtual gathering can be done by using Skype or Google Hangouts (even without video) or an old-fashioned phone call. If there’s an issue with a partner, bring it to me immediately. Don’t wait until the day before your presentation to declare an impasse with your partner. If there are issues, we will resolve them immediately and together.

Selecting the Article (by Fri, 9/2, 2pm)

Typically, each article comes with an Abstract that explains the broad overview of the article. Do not simply rely on this abstract to demonstrate the complexity of scholarly argument. Instead, skim the Abstract to see if the article is interesting to you and your partner. In addition, look over the Keywords (at the conclusion of each Abstract) to briefly determine if the article is of interest to you and your partner.

Only one team may present an article. Once it is input to the spreadsheet, the article is no longer available to any other team. To solidify your selection of an article, fill out the appropriate columns in the Critical Review Google spreadsheet by Friday, Sept 2, 2pm.

Important: No one may choose “A Too Coherent World: Game Studies and the ‘Myth’ of Narrative Media” (Wesp, Game Studies) from the 140:2: (Dec 2014) issue. We will read that article together.

Signing up for a Presentation Slot

On the 2nd sheet/page of our Critical Review Google spreadsheet is the list of available presentation slots. Fill out the appropriate slot for your team by Friday, Sept 2, 2pm.

The Presentation

The presentation will be equally divided between a speaker and a respondent. 7-10 mins in total for both presenters.

  • The speaker assumes the role of proponent to articulate the complex argument(s) and evidence presented in the article: summary and analysis. The speaker is responsible for understanding the theorists and theories provided as the foundation of the article’s argument. For instance, if the author(s) delves into Michel Foucault’s theories of discipline or heteronormativity and the male gaze, it’s the speakers duty to explain these foundational theories to the audience (as long as the theory is relevant to the primary arguments represented in the article).
  • The respondent will focus on evaluation and respond to the validity of the argument(s) and either refute or take them further using the foundational theories that were demonstrated by the speaker. It’s the respondent’s job to understand the complexities of the argument and then either debunk or build on them using evidence from the article and beyond.

At no point should either the speaker or respondent simply dismiss the article’s argument. The purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate your ability to comprehend and articulate complex scholarly work.


  • No tech is allowed for this presentation. You may use the white board, but be aware of your time constraints.
  • Do not involve the audience in this presentation.
  • Use note cards for reference, but do not read from them for your presentation. The purpose of a presentation is to make a connection with your audience. Sweep the room and make eye contact with several audience members.
  • Slow down in your speech to allow your audience to understand your points. Speak clearly and loudly. It’s a big room.
  • Rehearse with your partner.
  • Most importantly, it’s okay to disagree with your partner!


The grade for this assignment is based exclusively on performance during the presentation. The speaker and respondent will be graded individually for his/her contributions to the presentation. The presentation grade will be based on the Team Presentation Rubric (pdf) – minus the criteria about visual aids. Visit the rubric to determine how you can do well on this assignment.

If you miss your presentation date or are late to class that day and miss your slot, you will receive a zero on this assignment. No exceptions. (There are too many students to shuffle around presentation dates once they are set.)

Note: This assignment is based on the readers and responders roles for Mark Sample’s “Blogging Guidelines,” Introduction to Digital Studies (Fall 2014).

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