STS 145.  History of Computer Game Design. Case History Grade Sheet.


NAME:                                                TOPIC:



Identifying the Topic: Introduction and Conclusion.  5 points.

·         Clearly states the subject of the case history within the first two paragraphs.  Reader knows the essential who, what, when, where.  Set the stage for the historical narrative.  (Automatic 2-point penalty if you fail to state subject of case history within first two paragraphs.)

·         The “why” of the case history is clearly stated in the conclusion.  Why is this topic interesting and, in your view, worth writing about?  Yes, you may also state this in other parts of the paper, but be sure to revisit the significance of your topic in the conclusion and hammer the point home. (Automatic 2-point penalty if your paper ends abruptly without a clear conclusion.)

Historical Narrative.  20 points.

·         Your narrative should flow in a logical and readable manner from beginning to end.  In most cases, the organization of the paper will follow chronology, but this is not always the case.  If you are not following chronology, it should be clear why not.

·         Stay on your topic and do not lose the track on tangential issues.

·         The paper should not simply be a review of a game or your impressions of it.

·         Write the entire paper in expository fashion.  Do not use bulleted points, “credit boxes,” or tables to convey important parts of the narrative.  Only use them as sidebars or to collect information together that you cover in your narrative.

·         Bottom line: You told a good history.

Sources and Accuracy.  15 points.

·         Sources are cited appropriately that contribute to your narrative and/or argument.  A good citation makes it clear what you used, whether or not the reader actually digs up the source.

·         Use endnotes.  Find a style you like (MLA, Chicago, etc.) and stick with it. (Automatic 3-point penalty for no notes.  1-point penalty for using footnotes instead of endnotes.)

·         You are not required to use interviews.  However, if you did use them, we will consider that a plus, assuming they add information or “flavor” to your paper, and are integrated well into the narrative.  (Think gymnastics: Try for the extra skill if you can handle it. But don’t add it to your routine if you can’t do it well, or you may lose points for trying.)

·         A Bibliography IS required at the end of your paper, unless you used no sources.  The bibliography should collect the sources you cited and also may included some sources you did not cite, but influenced your general thinking about the topic. Please use a generally accepted style sheet of your choosing for the bibliography.  (Automatic 3-point penalty for not including a bibliography if called for.) 

·         Yes, you may (and should) use class readings and lectures (including the conference), if they are relevant to your paper in a substantial way.  (Not for general attribution, but for specific information or arguments.)

·         Web-based resources listed on the class “library” page are acceptable for citation.  With other sites, exercise due caution.  Websites and discussion groups are, of course, acceptable as primary sources if you wish to document what they said; they are generally suspect as secondary sources of information, that is, as sources of factual information or research.  Example: You could use a discussion list to document player reaction to a game, if players are contributing posts to that list.  You would not use that list to document the publication date or designer of a game, just because one of the posts asserts it.

·         The occasional small inaccuracy will be forgiven if it is not essential to your argument.  Major inaccuracies will mean lost points here, as well as in your argument.  Rule of thumb: If a fact or point is important for your historical narrative or analysis, be sure it is accurate.

·         Bottom line for success here: You as the writer made an effort to find accurate and useful information, and we, as readers are easily able to identify the sources you used.

Analysis. 15 points.    

·         This is your interpretation of the events described in the case history.  Part of this interpretation may, in some cases, be the extension of your focused case history to a more general point in the conclusion of your paper.

·         The analysis does not have to be a separate section of your paper, but it can be.   This depends on your topic, your presentation of the topic etc.  In other words, the analysis can be a distinct section of the paper, or it can be woven into the narrative.

·         Avoid the “why this is the best game/designer/game company” approach.  Tell us something we don’t know about the background or context for this achievement instead. (Automatic 1-point penalty for using the phrase, “is the best game ever” anywhere in your paper!)

·         You are explaining why things happened as they did. The analysis specifies technological, cultural, or business factors that were significant in the case history.  You should explain how these factors determined, influenced or affected the events described in the narrative.  Or means, of course, that 1, 2 or 3 of these factors may be discussed.  Your conclusion may focus on technological factors alone, for example.  You probably are doing a good job if your paper relates one factor to another, say technological to cultural factors.   This part of the paper is a good place to stop digging for a moment and rest on your shovel, asking yourself what you think: Which of these factors shaped what happened in your story? 

·         Make clear why your case history is interesting.  If you need it put bluntly, why should someone want to read it?  (Yes, you can assume an interest in the topic!)  Does your case history raise a new issue?  Does it underscore why something you read about or heard about in class is important?  Does it suggest that your case history can be applied more generally to other cases?

·         Bottom line: Your essay was thoughtful and made it clear why you wrote about your topic.


Henry Lowood, 8 March 2004