4. FIFA and Music


Nick and Jay explore FIFA by EA Sports. FIFA is an interactive soccer game simulation. Because FIFA is one of the famous games around the globe, its soundtracks attract people’s attention from a wide array of backgrounds. Though FIFA’s soundtracks make users elated and pumped to play the game, they mean more than that. Ian Bogost believes music in video games no longer carry themes and messages with them, however, FIFA is the perfect counter example. Let’s find out why.

Background Music: Wavin Flag by K’nann (recorded from the game)
Works Cited
Quill, Greg. “The Story behind K’naan’s ‘Wavin’ Flag.’” Thestar.com. N.p., 27 Sept, 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.
Goble, Corban. “FIFA 14’s Steve Schnure on Compiling ‘the Only Annual Soundtrack for the World’” Pitchfork. N.p., 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

Unpacking Manuel’s Reflection


Once you’ve completed your revisions on the Unpacking Manuel’s assignment, write a reflective blog post of 250-500 words.

Begin your post by stating the controlling idea for your analysis. Then explain how you went about connecting your close reading of the object to your controlling idea. In what ways did you make the revised version stronger than the first draft?

How do you see your work on the Unpacking Manuel’s assignment helping you to achieve the learning outcomes for this course? Link to one or more of the specific learning outcome posts that applied to your work on this assignment, and explain how you met that outcome with your work on this assignment.

Make sure you address the sets of questions above and then also consider some of the questions below and address them in your reflection (you definitely won’t be able to answer all of these, so go through the list and pick some that seem to be most of interest for you and write about them):

  • Were the strategies, skills and procedures you used effective for this assignment?
  • Do you see any patterns in how you approached your work on this assignment? How was your writing on this assignment similar to or different from writing more traditional essays?
  • What have you learned about your strengths and areas in need of improvement?
  • How are you progressing as a learner?
  • How can you apply the skills you used in crafting this analysis to future writing projects, in this class, other classes, or in other arenas? Where can you use these skills again?
  • What are you most proud of about the project?
  • How does the close reading analysis of your one object fit into the larger project of Unpacking Manuel’s, or at least of the readings of the Main North Wall that you and your classmates have produced?

Doing Video Games with Reverence

binding of isaac header

Stephen Black and Max Faass explore The Binding of Isaac by Edmund McMillan. The Binding of Isaac is a 2011 Indie 2D dungeon crawler that portrays a modified version of the the biblical story of the same name. After Isaac’s mother hears a message from God commanding her to sacrifice her son as proof of her faith, Isaac flees into the horror-ridden basement to survive.

Background Music: The Binding of Isaac Menu Music (recorded by ourselves)

Our Manuel’s Twine Game Draft

Twine screenshot

I quickly fleshed out the Twine game that I started to draft with you all earlier today. Please check it out. Note that once you get to a page that describes a specific artifact, there’s a link at the bottom of that page that goes to the student’s web site; however, I could not (quickly and easily) find a way to have that link open in a new tab or to have a back button, so for now at least those links are dead ends. Once you’ve revised your individual passages, we could reprint your write up inside the game though, with a link to your site as a citation. Anyway, for now I’ve published this here so you can move through it and get some sense of where the dialog outline you’re drafting will go — we need some text in those hubs areas that will link to the artifact spaces.

Does that make sense?

Cibele Podcast

Have you all already listened to the second podcast episode?

Note that if you head over to the episode on the Soundcloud site, you can leave comments. One nifty thing about Soundcloud is that you can key those comments into specific moments, so as you’re playing just hit pause and enter your comment and it will be tagged to that second in the podcast. Please do leave feedback and comments for Billie and Laura, and for Zach and Rohan on the first episode. Let them know your thoughts on their work!

Manuel’s Tavern Revisions


Due: 3/5

I’ve met with each of you individually to discuss your Manuel’s Tavern artifact analyses. I’m also in the process of writing up the “needs work/nice work” feedback for each of you and will be sharing those via Google Drive with you soon. You should begin to work on revising your analyses along the lines that we discussed in our conferences and based on my feedback. What that means above all else is to revise the pieces to make certain that everything in it is focused on articulating, explaining, and supporting the controlling idea of your writing, which is to understand what role your individual piece plays in the rhetorical argument of Manuel’s Tavern about the type of space, the type of people, and the type of activities that should go on there.

As you set about your revisions, please keep the first draft you published the way it is now. Make a new page for the revised version of your analysis and just copy everything from your first page and then revise. (Probably the easiest way to copy all the content of the old page is to switch to the “Text” tab in the top right corner of your text editor window, then select everything in the text editor. Then close the page, create a new page, and then, still in the “Text” tab of the new page text editor, paste everything. You can then switch back to the “Visual” tab and edit the text and images that are there.)

You should add the word “Draft” to the title of the first published version of your page, so that we don’t confuse which one is the revised version and which is the draft.

I will be publishing guidelines for a reflection post to complete once you’ve finished your revisions.

Once it’s all finished

Once your entire Manuel’s Tavern project is finished it will include the following parts:

  • A final, revised analysis of the single object that you’ve analyzed. 500-1000 words. Published as a primary page, linked in the menu on your site.
  • The draft version of your object analysis, also published as a page and linked as a subpage on the menu from your site underneath the revised version.
  • The page that you wrote as you completed the first draft of your object analysis, explaining the process you went through as you researched and thought about the object, linked as a subpage on the menu from your site underneath the revised version.
  • The blog post you already published when you completed the first draft of the assignment. (You don’t need to do anything with this post now, it’s already published and does not need to be added to your menu or anything.)
  • A final reflection, published as a post, linking to your revised page.
  • Whatever game-like overview text we produce as a class, which will probably go up on a page on the course site and will link out to the different final artifact pages. I might ask for another reflective piece of writing connecting that overview text with your individual project.

Citation Guidelines for This Class


Because the publication you are doing for this class is both academic writing and published on the web for a broader audience, you need to be able to fulfill the requirements of both academic citation for your sources and take advantage of the affordances of the medium of web publishing. For most purposes, these dual tasks shouldn’t really be all that complicated — though if you find yourself in a quandary about how to meet them both, please do either ask me for guidance or visit the Writing Center.

MLA Style

Your writing should basically follow the MLA guidelines for formatting and citation. You can ignore the general stylistic guidelines about margins, fonts, headers, and so on because those are really meant to address formatting of the printed sheet. When you are citing sources from print texts, you should follow the MLA in-text citation rules but when you’re citing on-line sources, use internal links instead.


For example, in the course description published on the main page of this site, I quote from the NYT review of Darnielle’s novel:

We will read John Darnielle’s novel Wolf in White Van, which is “about alienation and despair and the search for meaning, which [the protagonist] finds in a postapocalyptic role-playing game he invents, turns into a business and administers in analog fashion, by exchanging letters with its players” (Garner).

And then at the bottom of that page, I’ve got a Work Cited section:

Work Cited

Garner, Dwight. “‘Wolf in White Van,’ John Darnielle’s Novel.The New York Times 25 Sept. 2014. NYTimes.com. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Or, in this post I’ve quoted from Ian Bogost:

In “Empathy,” Bogost focuses on games that operationalize weakness, noting that “Critics might argue that frail situations are not fun. Feeble characters do not wear shoes anyone wants to wear. And that may be true. But when it comes to the world we inhabit today, it is the vulnerable […] who deserve our empathy” (24).


Work Cited
Bogost, Ian. How to Do Things with Videogames. Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2011. Print.

Whenever you are relying on someone else’s words or ideas, you need to indicate such internally and with a works cited list, just like you would with any other class you’re taking.

dys4ia and Depression Quest Response


In “Empathy,” Bogost focuses on games that operationalize weakness, noting that “Critics might argue that frail situations are not fun. Feeble characters do not wear shoes anyone wants to wear. And that may be true. But when it comes to the world we inhabit today, it is the vulnerable […] who deserve our empathy” (24). Luke Winkie included dys4ia and Depression Quest (the games you are playing this week) on his list of “5 video games that could make the world a better place” from a couple of years ago because they build empathy and understanding. Before we meet on Tuesday, play through these games and then write a post in which you discuss some moment in one of the games where you can see the game designers focusing on creating empathy for the vulnerable. Explain what happens in that moment in the game and what happens to foster empathy, or not.

Work Cited

Bogost, Ian. How to Do Things with Videogames. Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2011. Print.

Week Ahead 7

"7" by Flickr user Leo Reynolds published in the One Digit Group.
7 2/23 dys4ia & Depression Quest
2/25 Kentucky Route Zero: Act One
2/26 Podcast Episode 3 due

Warning for the games we’ll be discussing on Tuesday: dys4ia is an autobiographical “playable diary” about 6 months of the author’s life as she undergoes hormone replacement therapy. This game features low-rez pixel nudity and frank discussion of personal issues of sexuality. Depression Quest has the explicit aims “to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people.” dys4ia is a short game. Depression Quest can be short depending on how you play it. Play it long enough that you give it a real shot and feel like you have a pretty clear sense of the lessons it has to impart. Response post assignment.

Play Act One Kentucky Route Zero for Thursday. Take notes on your interactions and choices that you make, as well as your reactions to the interactions you have within the game.

Unpacking Manuel’s Discussion

We’ll spend some time in class on Tuesday, and perhaps also on Thursday, discussing the Manuel’s Tavern assignment some more, specifically how we might pull together all your individual artifact analyses into some sort of a whole. As I’ve been meeting with students individually, I’ve posed the question for them to consider: if we were to make a game — maybe a short, vignette game — set in Manuel’s Tavern against the backdrop of the main north wall that you all have cataloged, what sort of game should that be? What sort of characters are implied by this setting? What kind of narrative should take place in this space, and how would these objects be used in the game in order to structure the character interactions?

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