Podcast Reflection

The podcast is another absurd and novel assignment, but this assignment intrigued me in a way that it allowed me and my partner to discuss about our favorite game. It did not take more than a minute to choose the game, since I already knew that Nick has an interest in the soccer and the virtual soccer videogame, FIFA. We both have played this game ever since we were young, so we both were excited to work on this assignment and delve into FIFA. I have never expected myself to talk or write about FIFA in writing class. Because the subject was so familiar to both of us, we first thought that the process of producing the episode would not be complicated. We both though that we could spontaneously produce the podcast opposing Ian Bogost’s idea about the music in video game. However, it turned out that we could not complete the episode without the script. The content itself was not argumentative and well structured enough that there was no flow, since it was based on what we talked improvisationally.  After unsuccessful recordings, we made the decision to write a solid script that allowed our content to be as argumentative as any other essay. Based on the research on the Internet and the Ian Bogost book, we incorporated ideas from different resources into one solid argument, which is that FIFA is considerate in choosing the soundtracks of the videogame. Through its soundtrack, FIFA supports diversity and acceptance. We both really liked our main thesis, because even though Nick and I are from totally different cultures and countries, we share a common value: the acceptance of each other, which underlies our main argument of Podcast.

Nick and I were good partners in a sense that each of us did not split up tasks, but rather we worked all together from brainstorming to writing script. It was really fruitful and productive to work with Nick. Our collaboration worked really well as a team.


Wolf in White Van Final Essay Reflection

By Andrew Gill on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewggill/4650278591/

In regards of writing an essay about wolf in white van novel, there were so many arguments I wanted to make that even my friends who were watching me writing the essay advised me to write as simple as possible, or otherwise I would be trapped with my own thoughts. With that advice, for the first draft, I just figured out what I need to say, instead of where my controlling idea was going to end up.

Then, we had a great opportunity to peer review each other’s works. This allowed me to gain more insights into my own essay not only from receiving comments from the peer, but also from understanding the expectation of the audience as I read my peer’s essay. The peer review helped me so much that I try to revise my argument in such a way that other people can easily understand.

My final essay can be found here.

Wolf in White Van Essay

By Andrew Gil on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewggill/4650278591/

The novel, Wolf in White Van, features about a character, Sean, who is isolated from the world by the disrespects which he receives from his family and himself. Sean copes his trauma with living in the imaginary world he creates, but he will never find the shelter in the real world, unless he finds it in the world in which he physically resides. You can read the full essay here.

Fiasco Reflection

스크린샷 2016-04-05 오전 2.04.28
Screenshot from rulebook

Fiasco is a role-playing game: not a video game, but a board game. This game is designed to collaborate. I have known some virtual role-playing games, but it was my first time to realize the existence of such board game. At first, I was overwhelmed by an unfamiliar assignment with 60 pages of the rulebook to read; furthermore, my worries did not disappear even after reading the manual, but these worries soon vanished as I learned from playing the game.

As we discussed in the class, breaking down the story and putting details are what the game designers wanted in order for this game to work out. Every player was well engaged in instructing the storyline of the game. As a player, it was interesting to observe and also actively participate in expanding the plot. The plot contained all the extreme elements that could not be easily seen in our real life. In this sense, I think Fiasco reminded me of other types of literatures, such as fiction. To elaborate, our plot contained dramatic details, such as drug problems, romance between the rich and the poor, and unexpected death by accident. For example, my character named John was raised in a very conservative and rich family. He was a son of the mayor of a suburban community; however, he happened to meet another character, named Frank first as a customer in drug business relationship, but later as a lover. Those details are distant from us as college students, but rather can be seen in the fiction. Because the setting and the plot were too distant to us, I noticed that other players in my group, including myself, tended to add more fictional elements into the story line. There was the part where John and his father, the mayor, had to chase Frank all the way to Canada with a chopper driven by his father. However, his father happened to be drunk, so the chopper crashed into the middle of nowhere in Nova Scotia. Also, from my perspective, I think all players had tendency to bring the most optimal ending for their own characters in the given circumstances.

The process of building story together requires collaboration, communication and comprehension. Because fours players had to come up with a single story, there had to be respect and support within the group. In this sense, I think our group united well and came up with the story that satisfies all of us. As I was playing the game, I noticed that my weakness came from the improvisation, making up scenarios and adding details into the story. It took me longer than other people to come up with details. Nonetheless, my group members waited in patience for me to add great fictional details to the story.

It was really awarding experience to deal this assignment in the literature class. Being an audience and writer at the same time is something I did not experience in any of my literature classes before. I had either become a writer or a reader, but not both. But Fiasco enabled me to put myself in both a person who establishes scene or resolves scenes for others and a person who listens to other people establishing the scene. Through negotiation and communication among group members, there seemed to be a balance between expectation as an audience and desire as a writer for each individual. Putting ourselves in both roles will enhance my ability as a writer who can write what I want and at the same time meet the expectation of audience.

Wolf in White Van

스크린샷 2016-03-15 오후 1.40.11
Screenshot from Evil Avatar

At first, I had trouble organizing my thoughts about what was happening in the book. Once I started to realize what was going, I first thought that this book was similar to the games we had played before: Dys4ia and Depression Quest in a sense that the book and the games put readers and users in the shoes of people in social isolation.

Because of disfigured face from the accident, people did not treat Sean as they normally do to other people. I noticed several parts where Sean realized that some people did not want to confront his face. This impacted Sean to start isolating himself further from the society. As I was reading through the book,

Isolation in the hospital drove him to think internally and imagine creatively. Based on these thoughts, Sean wrote down what he thought and made it into the text-based game. Through this game, he was able to communicate with other people and stay connected. However, he never knew the outcome of it: causing a death of an adolescent. What Sean did was to break the isolation made by the society and wrote down his thoughts formed in the period of the isolation, but there was a trial to decide if Sean was responsible for one’s death. However, in this part, I felt odd that the society should be eligible of the death for causing Sean to fill up his internal world.

Atari Games: Back to the past

스크린샷 2016-03-07 오전 10.49.19
Screenshot from Space Invaders

Throughout the course, we have played several modern video games that have high quality of graphics and stories. But, this time, we played more “classical” games using Atari Emulator. With the emulator, I played some old school games, including Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Pac-Man and Space Invaders are simple games that do not require much thinking, compared to the previous games we played, such as Dear Esther and Gone Home. They do not have any stories to build nor require any logic to continue the games. Some might argue that Atari games are too simple, because modern videogames is more complicated with better audio, stories and graphics. Especially, thinking of the cave from “Dear Esther”, the graphics are incomparable. However, we all have to admit that those Atari games have been the foundations of our modern video games. Without Atari games, our modern games would not have been what they are now.

There are levels of stages that ask users to defeat each stage. The way to defeat the stages varies among stages; however, in principle, whether consciously or unconsciously, users identify the patterns of each stage and defeat it. I believe all humans have tendency to find patterns when we are in unfamiliar circumstance. When we confront new environment, we need a period of time for adjustment. I believe that adjusting period is the time to look for pattern of new lifestyle and get familiar with it. Developers have applied this common human psychology into the videogames. So, once users find a pattern for a stage, the game leads them to a higher-level stage with new pattern that is harder to find what than the previous level. In my opinion, this simple and one-dimensional game is more addictive than the modern games that we had played in this course. It does not require much logical thinking as the modern games do. All people can freely enjoy the game.

Reflection on Unpacking Manuel’s

The controlling idea for my analysis of Manuel Maloof at the lectern with MARTA logo is Maloof’s claim regarding the racial issue. He was dissatisfied with the fact that racial issue divided people and counties. I think connecting the snippets of each resource into one controlling idea was more straightforward in my case, compared to finding resources. Unable to do reverse image search as no other image was found, I had any other option but to search using keywords. However, when I first surfed websites to find information related to Maloof and MARTA, I had trouble finding information. But, once my professor gave me some advices on where to start, from that point, I was back on the track. One of the resources that I found clearly indicated that Maloof wanted to expand MARTA service, but it was not possible because of the racial issue. Having that controlling idea, I was able to put supporting arguments from other resources.

When I was writing the revised version, my primary concern was the purpose of putting this image on the wall of Manuel’s Tavern. Manuel’s Tavern was not just a plain tavern we think of, but it was a place for political forum where all people with different backgrounds can voice their opinions and listen to others. Some people might argue that the image is just a picture of the owner, however; just as other people voicing their beliefs and opinions in the Tavern, I think Maloof expressed his belief and opinion via the image.

I think it is clear to see this assignment as guidance to students to learn writing as a process, from researching, editing to reflection. I could clearly visualize the process of my writing and how my analysis got improved as it processed. Besides of writing the analysis, we had to write two reflections based on the process we made. When I wrote the first reflection, I was overwhelmed by the fact I had to write another piece of writing; however, as I started revising my analysis, I then realized how much my thinking got organized through talking about the process. I never thought that writing about the process of my analysis could improve my writing. In addition to that, I also want to emphasize how much I learned in terms of collaboration. In class, we spent some time talking about why each individual object was relevant to others. It was a great opportunity for students not to just think about their own object, but to think things as a whole.

I have to mention that this assignment was different from any writing assignment I had previously received. Because of unfamiliar assignment and its process, I was confused and frustrated. I emailed Professor for help where to start with. From there, I was able to identify the pattern and get adjusted to the new assignment. If I were to get this type of assignment again in the future, I will not be as frustrated as I were before. Once again, it was a great experience to finish this assignment and I look forward to do more unfamiliar assignments in the future.

Dys4ia and Depression Quest

스크린샷 2016-02-25 오전 11.10.23
Screenshot from game Dys4ia

Dys4ia was very speedy and its art and graphics were low-leveled, compared to other games we have played this semester. Because the game was too colorful and the process of going to next scenes was too quick, I barely had time to think about the intention of each scene. And some of scenes were too abstract. In between the different scenarios, there were different short games we could play along, but I could not get the meaning and the intention of the game developers and their relevance to the game.

Depression Quest was like a literature novel, but with more freedom assigned to the readers. Depending on the circumstances, users had options to choose following actions. Indeed, as I was choosing every decision for the character, I felt more personally connected to the game. Since I was making decisions based on thinking what decision would this person make, the messages, Depression Quest trying to make, came to me more powerful and made me to reflected on the issue even after the game.

Even though Dys4ia processed too quickly and the details of it were too abstract, overall, I was able to get the purpose of this game. It tries to show the feelings of ones in sexual issue to those people who do not understand. Indeed, Depression Quest is a very similar game in addressing a social issue, depression.

In that sense, I think both Dys4ia and Depression Quest can be considered as artgames. Both games want users to understand the changes in feeling of ones going through sexual issue or depression issue through the indirect experiences.

But, I wish Dys4ia were less colorful and slower than the way it is now. Those two parts might disturb some users from getting the meaning of the game.




Her Story and Beginner’s Guide

Her Story Screenshot
Screenshot from Her Stroy

Unlike the Beginner’s Guide, Her Story was not a complicated game. Though it was a new type of game and I was puzzled when first encountered it, once I figure out what to do, it is very straightforward: finding out what happened to the missing man, Simon. I thought the setting of this game is brilliant in a sense that as users have access to data that can only be accessed by authorities, like police officers or detectives. Users are unaffectedly placed in the shoe of the authorities to solve the mystery raised in the videos, despite the fact that the shoes were not those of detectives, but those of Eve’s daughter. This really surprised me because I was firmly immersed in the role of a detective. Another reason I was so immersed is that users never get to see the women that she is talking with. Clearly, the women in the videos were being interrogated by whom they were talking to. I am not sure if the game developers intended to design it this way, but I felt as if they were talking to me, which made me to immerse more in the role of a ‘detective’.

Women in the video, Hannah and Eve, were giving out evidences, so our role was to piece them together to unveil what happened to the missing man, Simon, like detectives do. The Beginner’s Guide favors procedural rhetoric in a way that there are reasons for the order of the various games so the users can figure out the purpose or the intention of the game developers. Meanwhile, Her Story threw off nonlinear evidences, and even those evidences were offered freely. Users had to input specific keywords to search for the words-related videos. Going over the videos, users have the responsibilities to link the nonlinear evidences to solve the mystery of the missing man. I really like the game, Her Story, in a sense that users get assigned with more freedom, the freedom to think about keywords and to connect the evidences to build up the story.

Manuel Maloof: Unpacking Manuel’s

Manuel Maloof 2016-02-04 오후 12.30.12
ScreenShot from Unpacking Manuel’s North Wall

I received an assignment, called Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern. Each of students gets assigned an image or a banner without knowing much about that object, and write about the representation of the object. I was assigned an image of Manuel Maloof, the former CEO of Dekalb County and the owner of Manuel’s owner at the lectern with MARTAlogo. I wish I could have done the reverse image, but no other images have been found. So, with the keyword, Manuel Maloof and MARTA, I have done research about it. At first, I could not find relevant information for a while, so I asked my professor for help. With the help of the professor, eventually, I found some great resources and the relationship between Maloof and MARTA. This process seemed to be similar to inductive thinking, as in the aspect of expanding an idea from a small beginning. My write-up can be found here.

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