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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 18/05/2022 12:05:33

Title of Module: Retro-Games Archaeology

Code: COMP07081 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Gavin  Baxter

Summary of Module

This module provides a historical overview and perspective of video games from their initial conception, evolution, and current developments. A core focus of the module will involve examining the aesthetic development of video games in addition to their cultural fruition..

A key component of the module involves reviewing the concept known as retrogaming and whether the principles behind the notion are still applicable and relevant towards current games design. The games industry has evolved at a continuous and rapid rate with game genres such as FPS, RPS, MMOs, console games, arcade games, mobile games and F2P games. In addition to an historical account of the games industry the module will also focus on the aspects of game audio and pixel art and its affiliation towards games development and retro gaming. 

This module adopts a student-centred community driven approach via informal discussions on Aula. Class sessions are run synchronously online and are also recorded with transcriptions provided to address student accessibility and inclusivity. Face-to-Face (F2F) support is also provided with on-campus drop in sessions for feedback and advice to support students in the progression of their coursework. The module provides students with relevant enterprise meta-skills, appropriate for the games industry, such as creativity, critical thinking, planning, written and presentational skills. Physical and digital accessibility is adhered to in the module with access to the module's material via Aula and Microsoft Teams. Students can access and download relevant course material to learn at their own pace and within their own time. 

  • Provide a broad overview of the historical evolution of the games industry by genre.

  • Examine and reflect upon the concept of a game reviewing potential evolution of the term.

  • Explore the notion of retrogaming and its impact upon current aspects of games design.

  • Review the concept of pixel art and its affiliation towards retrogaming.

  • Provide scope to articulate about retro gaming concepts and present a retro game idea.

  • Assess the immersive qualities of early retro games and how they have impacted upon modern game design.

  • This module embeds the key “I am UWS” graduate attributes and in particular: Universal (collaborative, culturally aware), Work Ready (effective communicator, digitally-literate, problem-solver) and Successful (creative, driven, transformational).

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of a game and how this concept has developed over time.

L2. Analyse and gain an understanding of the chronological history of games development in terms of game genres.

L3. Discuss, articulate, document and write about the influence and importance of early retro game gameplay innovations and how they have influenced modern game design.

L4. Present and document the influences of retro games in the context of modern game design and how they have shaped modern gaming.

L5. Produce a retro games design document and provide an oral presentation by outlining a retro game idea based on relevant retro game influences, design decisions and justifications.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 7.

Understanding the concept of what constitutes a game and the salient components that define the principle of a game.

Acknowledging and being able to identify different types of game genre in addition to how the games industry has evolved through the ages.

Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of retro gaming assessing its contemporary principles and relevancy towards modern games design.

Document, present and justify a proposed retro game idea based on a specific game genre of choice.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Utilise knowledge of game genres and aesthetic advances in the games industry towards understanding the core concepts of games design.

Articulate a historical account of the games industry in terms of contrasting genres and aesthetics with regards to visual and technical developments.

To undertake a written piece about retro gaming and how early innovations of gaming have shaped modern game design.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Critically review and consolidate knowledge associated with the concept of retro gaming and the historical evolution of the games industry.

Plan, document, justify and orally present a retro game idea based on researching retro game influences and immersive qualities of retro games.

Demonstrate original thought, research skills and creativity in presenting a retro game idea.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

Present and illustrate knowledge, understanding and interpretations of the evolution of the games industry focusing on specific game genres.

Communicate retro game ideas with peers and articulate the evolution and development of game concepts from prototype to final implementation.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Displaying an ability to work well and collaborate with peers in a professional manner.

Ability to display and illustrate elements of creativity and independent thought in a logical way via game design ideas and documentation.

Illustrate a degree of autonomy when working on tasks and demonstrate independent cognitive and logical skills in organisation, version control and time management.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Intro to Games Development
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module delivery will adopt a predominately student-centered flexible and hybrid learning approach via class sessions utilising the Aula platform to disseminate course material and announcements. Student engagement will be facilitated and supported through the use of social media tools into the curriculum delivery (e.g. YouTube - videos for illustrative purposes on retro gaming). From the student perspective, learning will occur online with an optional on-campus experience provided for student project-based learning support students to constructively share their knowledge and enhance their skill sets with face-to-face feedback and guidance throughout the module.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery10
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity10
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop20
Asynchronous Class Activity40
Independent Study120
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Amos, E. (2018) The Game Console: A History In Photographs. No Starch Press.

Craddock, D. (2019) Arcade Perfect: how Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat and other coin-op classics invaded the living room. Press Start Press.

Horowitz, K. (2020) Beyond Donkey Kong: a history of Nintendo arcade games. Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.

Johnson, J. (2018) From Atari to Nintendo to Sega to the PlayStation: over 100 must play retro video games from the seventies, eighties and nineties. Independently Published.

Lendino, J. (2020) Attract mode: The Rise and Fall of Coin-Op Arcade Games. La Vergne: Jamie Lendino.

Schreier, J. (2017) Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made. Harper Paperbacks.

Stanton, R. (2015) A Brief History Of Video Games: From Atari to Virtual Reality. Robinson.

Silber, D. (2015) Pixel Art for Game Developers. A K Peters/CRC Press.

Simons, I. and Newman, J. (2018) A History of Videogames. Carlton Books Ltd.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Students are academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled on-campus and online teaching sessions, asynchronous online learning activities, course-related learning resources, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure at the following link: Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure.

For the purposes of this module, academic engagement equates to the following:
Students are expected to access course materials and other class materials (e.g., videos, online discussions) through the Aula platform and complete the coursework meeting submission deadlines. Flexibility and support will be provided to students encountering any problems either online or in-person during the on-campus drop-in sessions. Disengagement from the module is defined as not having interacted within a 4-week period. If this happens then contact will be attempted with the student for conversation about their circumstances.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardComputing
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCreative Computing
ModeratorDr Thomas Hainey
External ExaminerN Whitton
Accreditation DetailsThis module is accredited by BCS as part of a number of specified programmes. This module is also TIGA accredited.
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Written assessment 50%
Presentation 50%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Design/ Diagram/ Drawing/ Photograph/ Sketchcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark500

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentation   check markcheck mark500
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
This module is appropriate for any Games Development student and adheres to the UWS Equality and Diversity Policy.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy.
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School).
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.