CSE 40850 is a Computer Science and Engineering elective course at the University of Notre Dame. Through the use of directed readings, writing assignments, class presentations, and group discussions, this course explores the history of a particular subfield of Computer Science and Engineering and examines its impact on a variety of social, ethical, cultural, and political issues. In addition to discussing these topics, the class also explores the various technical principles and methods behind the historical development of this technology and subfield. Students are expected to apply this technical knowledge in group projects that produce new artifacts related to the course theme.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and impact of the particular subfield on the technology community and the world at large.

  2. Appreciate the major artifacts and milestones produced within this subfield.

  3. Analyze the social, economic, political, and moral ramifications and issues related to the particular subfield.

  4. Construct software artifacts in a collaborative group environment by applying techniques and methods related to the particular subfield.

From Atari to Zelda: A History of Video Games

The focus of this semester will be video games and all its related technologies.

Class Information

T/TH 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
129 DeBartolo Hall
Mailing List (Class)
Planet RSS, Blog List
Project 01, Project 02


Peter Bui (pbui@nd.edu)
Office Hours
M/W/F 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM, and by appointment
Office Location
350 Fitzpatrick Hall

Help Protocol

  1. Think
  2. Slack
  3. Think
  4. Email
  5. Think
  6. Office
Unit Date Topics Assignment
Introduction 01/16 Syllabus, Board Games and Pinball Machines Slides Slides Reading 00
01/18 Board Games
Early History 01/23 Origins Slides Reading 01
01/25 Emulators Slides
Golden Age 01/30 Consoles, Arcades, Atari Slides Reading 02
02/01 Arduino, Cross-compiling Slides Proposal 01
1980s 02/06 Personal Computers, Nintendo Slides Reading 03
02/08 DOS, QBasic Slides
1990s 02/13 Handhelds, Sega, PlayStation Slides Reading 04
02/15 Curses, Tricks Slides
2000s 02/20 Wii, XBox, Rhythm Slides Reading 05
02/22 Peripherals Progress 01
Sprint 1 02/27 Sprint
03/01 Sprint
Project 1 03/06 Presentations
03/08 Presentations Project 01
Spring Break
Computer Graphics 03/20 Computer Graphics, GPU, OpenGL Slides Reading 06
03/22 WebGL, Game Engines
Online Gaming 03/27 LANs, MMORPGs, Subscriptions Slides Reading 07
03/29 Networking Proposal 02
Mobile Gaming 04/03 Android, iOS Reading 08
04/05 Micro-transactions, Mobile Development
Mods, Bots 04/10 Mods, Extensions Reading 09
04/12 AI, Bots
Culture 04/17 Demographics Reading 10
04/19 E-Sports Progress 02
Social Issues 04/24 Addiction Reading 11
04/26 Violence
Sprint 2 05/01 Sprint
Project 2 05/09 Project 02


Component Points
Readings Weekly reading assignments. 10 × 10
Projects Group projects. 2 × 70
Presentations Individual presentations. 2 × 15
Participation Regular class attendation and contribution to course community. 30
Total 300


Grade Points Grade Points Grade Points
A 280-300 A- 270-279
B+ 260-269 B 250-259 B- 240-249
C+ 230-239 C 220-229 C- 210-219
D 195-209 F 0-194


All Readings are due at noon on the Saturday night after it is assigned in the schedule above.

All Projects are due at noon on the Saturday after it is schedule above (unless otherwise specified).



Students are expected to attend and contribute regularly in class. This means answering questions in class, participating in discussions, and helping other students.

Foreseeable absences should be discussed with the instructor ahead of time.


All responses to the Readings should be posted to each student's individual blog. Choice of blog platform is up to each student, but the student must provide a valid RSS or ATOM feed to their blog at the beginning of the semester for easy syndication and monitoring.

Late Work

In the case of a serious illness or other excused absence, as defined by university policies, coursework submissions will be accepted late by the same number of days as the excused absence.

Otherwise, a late penalty, as determined by the instructor, will be assessed to any late submission of an assignment. In general, the late penality is 25% off for less than a week and 50% off for more than a week. The instructor reserves the right to refuse any unexcused late work.

Honor Code

All work that you submit must be your own. Collaboration is encouraged but must be disclosed by all parties. Print or online resources are allowed, but must be disclosed. However, you may not look at solutions from other current or past students, or any other source.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a documented disability and is registered with Disability Services should speak with the professor as soon as possible regarding accommodations. Students who are not registered should contact the Office of Disabilities.

Blogging Services

If you want something turn-key, you can consider one of the following hosted blogging services:

  1. Notre Dame Sites

  2. Wordpress

  3. Blogger

  4. Medium

  5. Weebly

Static Website Generators

If you are a little more adventurous, you can consider statically generating your blog and hosting the files on a web server (such as Github Pages.

  1. Jekyll

  2. Pelican

  3. Hexo

  4. Hugo

Cloud Providers

If you are really adventurous, you can consider managing and hosting your blog on a cloud platform:

  1. Amazon Web Services

  2. Google AppEngine

  3. DigitalOcean

  4. Microsoft Azure