reflection on wolf in white van draft

My first draft is driving me to dead end because I allow my thoughts flow during writing, lacking of concrete support and analysis to my controlling idea. Having reviewed peer’s draft and Mike’s poignant commentary on mine, I did a lot of modifications on my draft.You could find it here…

Wolf in White Van not only make me feel empathy but also give me a sense of recovery. Bombarding by tons of information in a contemporary digitalized world, humans are trapped into the ultimate anxiety and fickleness. We seldom have time to reflect ourselves and examine our heart on whether we did wrong or not, for completing the task is our only goal. Constructing a quite island in our heart like Sean can liberate us from the stressful life for a while. However, we should always differentiate the reality and illusion and did not allow it to impact our own life.


Wolf in White Van essay

Despite observing his past self as an onlooker, Sean does not generate a dichotomy between his previous and present life. He continues to separate himself from worldly errands and developing intimate relationships. Attempting to escape from the surroundings and consolidates the control over his own world, Sean shoots himself with his father’s rifle. In my opinion, Sean commits to the self-destructive behavior under clear sense and, after the trauma, explores ways to recover through a series of paradoxical actions.

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Podcast reflection


“Hi everyone, I am…” hearing the podcast created by Lucy and me, a sense of reward haunted me. The process of creating the episode was not a smooth path when looking back, but I did learn a lot from it.

Deciding the choice of the game is our first challenge. We both want to find a game, which is both entertaining and educational. Coincidently, we read a brief introduction about Sims, which attracted us at first sight. Sims is a life simulation game that allows players to create and control people in a virtual world, which shares similarities to other RPGs we played during the beginning of the semester. After playing the game, Lucy and I put forward all the ideas and points as many as we could think of. Brainstorming did give us some clues, but they are disorganized and trivial that we cannot find a thesis to focus on. Fortunately, meeting with Prof. Morgen inspired us with an explicit outline of the draft. He suggested us to draw the comparison between American culture and Chinese (my hometown) culture and why this RPG is special from others we played earlier. The cultures remind me of my freshman year experience with my American roommate. Thus, we narrowed down our concentrates to cultural connection and unique empathy property of the game. We divided our task; I am in charge of the culture part and she tries to tie Ian Bogost idea with our game and previously played RPG. Because our podcast was made during the Spring break that is hard to find some interviewers, we determined our podcast to be conversational with tons of interaction, as achieving our primary goal, which guides our listeners ponder our questions and feel empathy with my own experience.

From this experience, I learned critical thinking and reading resulting in writing and collaboration. In our first draft script of our episode, we were both popping up with the flow of ideas, by listening to other’s ideas, more fantastic ideas were coming out. Despite the draft is less organized and some of the minor ideas are meaningless, I did integrate other’ s thoughts with mine, develop my own statement and think critically. I realized that I could use the tool as I write the traditional essay in the future. Prior to this point, I only write the statement that I thought to be significant and relevant to the thesis on my draft before writing the essay, but more innovations can be made by the flow of collision ideas. Although some of the ideas are irrelevant, they could motivate me to present with new ones. Luckily, my co-producer is Lucy, who has open-minded and often some up with poignant points. We meet often brainstorm fresh approaches, compare our progress, and exchange the difficulties we met.

My suggestion for my peers is to plan deliberately. Writing a script beforehand is indispensable, and tried to put the time limit on separate part need to address. Because recording is very different from writing the essay, improvisation is inevitable. If not manage properly; it is easy to run out of time. I talked too much about my own experience and squeezed the time about empathy. In order to state out each point prepared, limit the time that conveys your respective ideas.

Fiasco reflection

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I got frightened when I first saw the Fiasco instructions with 130 pages, worrying about how I can play the game with such complex rules. But the things turns out pretty nicely, despite I felt confused at the beginning of the game, I played my character throughout the game and did enjoy the time. There is no “Game Master” or “Dungeon Master” of the game, which is the unique part of Fiasco as an RPG.

Feeling awkwardly at first, we took about 40 minutes to set up the settings. We choose out the location to be the Suburban community. The settings are abnormal: skewed relationship, eccentric objects, and creepy needs. Despite we can choose the character and needs we want to, the choices are limited.

Tannis is the name of my character, which is a guy. The experience is unforgettable because I felt like I really stood on the perspective of the opposite sex. Unlike other RPG, the sex and role already created for you, Fiasco allows the players to fully development the personalities of the character. I had a criminal relationship, thieves, with my right partner, Bob (Billie), and a rivalry relationship with my left partner, Chad (Ian). Bob and Chad were distant relatives. The connection between players tightly bonds us, in order to grow the web among these relationships. I want to get even with Chad because my dreamboat, Chad’s ex-girl friend, killed herself when Chad broke up with her in high school. I premeditate cautiously but none of my plan threatened his life. I own a supermarket in Apple Valley with Bob, under the cover; we are accomplice in smuggling arms and diamond with corrupted police. Our story is kind of driving to a dead end at the end of Act 1. After infusing two new elements in our existing scenes, the story had surprising moved towards the climax. Chad was killed by her ex-girl friend, who was thought to be dead but not. As our black business exposed, I was arrested and Bob was waiting for a trail on the drug scandal.

As went along the process of set up and resolve scenes, I strongly felt I was writing a fiction collaborately instead of individually. For the property of the game, the relationship web tied every player together, so each role should be in the story, not necessarily in every scene. Despite only all character in one scene, we also should take them into account to set up the scene, considering the impact on them. Every move for each role could cause directly or indirectly influence to other character, so we need to discuss and alter our scene before change it to a real plot in our story, which is very similar to writing as process. We were revising, editing and drawing reflection in every step when writing our own stories.

We employed climax and conflict to our story subconsciously. As I mentioned above, our story was hard to proceed before tilt, we then added Chad’s ex-girlfriend was not dead and she came back for revenge with Chad to the storyline. Tannis (the character I played) suffered from a dilemma, for the only reason that he avenged Chad is not real. The back of ex-girlfriend turned not only Chad’s life, but also the life of Tannis as well, thus pushing the story to climax.

I really like the end of act 2, aftermath. Due to the color and points on our dices, there is an outcome for our characters throughout the whole story. We need to create the story built on the conditions offer by aftermath. In traditional writing, the last paragraph is often reiteration or expectation, which we already conceived in draft, no new ideas pupping out. Aftermath did restrict us in certain way in developing the role, but it guide us to give a decent type outcome, instead of an out ended one.

Wolf in White Van


We are assigned to read Wolf in White Van by Jon Darnielle this week. The novel portrayed a character Sean Phillips who shot himself in head, causing disfigurement on his face. The first person narration makes me feel empathy with the character, same scenes happen when I played the Depression Quest. The narration jumps between the reflection of his past life, imagination of the real world and the role-playing game back and forth, taking me some time to strengthen out his ideas.

After reading the first 75 pages of the book, I learned that Sean experience unfamiliar with the world. People look upon him with special respect, which caused Sean feel derailed from his normal life track. He saw everything with his wild imagination, aiming to convert the scenery or feature to something he can understand himself. Trace Italian, a role-playing game he made, is the only vent connects Sean to the real world. In my personal view, the game represents a paradox attitude of Sean towards the society. On one side, he attempts to build a bridge between himself and the world, reading the letter from players and guide them how to play in next step, inspiring with a spot name on a dermatologist’s’ visit. On the other hand, he complicates the game, no player ever walk through the game. Eventually, Sean locks himself in a small cabin and glance little at the outside world. I am impressed by his words “If you are a person whose authority is generally limited to his own small life and to a series of imaginary choices that exist on a vast but comprehensible grid, it’s odd when you hear someone, across the impersonal distance of the page, pleading for your permission.”(44) Sean’s world is so-called inclusive because of the correspondences with players, but he still restricted in his little chamber and detached himself from the society.


Work cited

Darnielle, John. Wolf in White Van. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014. Print.

n.p. John Darnielle. Oct. 1  2007. Flickr. Web. Mar. 15 2016

Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern Final Reflection

I began my analysis by querying why to put the picture of Great Wall on the wall. Manuel’s Tavern and the Great Wall have no similarities from the surface, so I attempt to figure out on their historical aspects. Following the hint, I dig into the global and long lasting nature of Manuel’s Tavern. The subsequently two paragraphs support my thesis respectively. In my last draft, I did not state specifically what aspects I am going to explain between Manuel’s Tavern and the Great Wall, making my whole analysis loosely connected and not backing my central idea firmly. The new version points out the controlling idea explicitly in the first paragraph. I also extend the inclusion principle of the tavern to diversity and tolerance of various culture and people, emphasizing the global nature of Manuel’s Tavern. Furthermore, I combine the last two paragraphs, concluding my argument briefly and expecting future outlook.

From the assignment, I learned critical thinking and reading resulting in writing and digital citizenship/ digital identity. Previously, I made a structural draft before writing the essay. I had trouble making a draft for this assignment, because nobody wants to know the history of the Great Wall in a short essay. In order to find connection behind Manuel’s Tavern and the Great Wall, I did some research and found images, texts, people’s words. The material I found inspired me and I integrate them, deciding to focus on the two aspects of the Manuel’s Tavern and the Great Wall. From the individual meeting, Prof. Morgen pointed out that I misuse one of the online pictures because there is no CC-license for the picture. I did not pay much attention to the copyright and license to images and videos when I used them in the past.

Doing some research before drafting is an efficiency tool for developing the thesis statement. Gleaning information from multiple resources can broaden my view to the question and infuse fresh air to my idea. I have no idea of which facets I would concentrate on before I did the research on Tavern. Due to this assignment, I realized I am good at integrating and concluding scattered information. I combined the useful fragments of information and my own idea and summarize as two similar characteristics. Besides, I need to pay more attention to the proper and responsible use of the technical resource. I will examine the license of the sources carefully, making sure I can put them on complementary items in my essay.

Atari Games

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We were assigned to play old Atari game the space invader this week. Unfortunately, I stuck by technical issues that I cannot move and shoot in the game. I played the space invader online. The rules of the game are simple: move right and left to evade the attack and shoot invaders to protect our home, which lets me played for several turns in half an hour. Even though the low pixel of the image and poor graphics, I did not get bored. The game not only reminds me of my childhood time but also intrigues my eagerness to get the high score.

The game evokes the memory of my computer science class in primary school. After teacher addressed the material, he will let us play games for the last 10 minutes of class. I did not play Atari games, but the mechanics and images of the game are similar with the Atari’s. Playing games and comparing scores with friends is one of the unforgettable moments in my childhood.

As we discuss in the class about the difference between games and novels, I think the real games are those created in the late 80s’ and 90s’ such as the Atari games. In earlier of this semester, we were asked to play gone home, the Dear Ether and her story. I played each of these games more than one hour for just one turn, figuring out the purpose of the game and completing the task in the game, which is time-consuming and brain-burning. The advanced games I just mentioned provide me perfect graphics, complex mechanics, and explicit narration. Playing the games allow me to put myself in character’s shoe and start a new journey. I classify the characteristic of the game to novels because authors aim to make the reader feel empathy with the character in the book. I always need some rest after reading novels, which happens when I play those games. Oppositely, Atari’s games can make me relax because of the simplicity of the rules. In space invader, moving left, right and shooting are the only things I need worried about. I don’t need to glean information from narrative and consider the next step decisions in Atari’s games.

Dys4ia and Depression Quest

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Dys4ia did not make sense to me as I first played it. After played it for several times, I was moved by the story the developer delivered via the game. I think the developer let us focus on the story rather than the game. The mechanics of the game is simple, because it use typical games tricks such as the crazy snake and Tetris, aiming that majority can play through the game. The most impressive part of the game is when the character is walking on the street; people call him sir instead of ma’am. Whenever this situation happens, I always can hear a sigh from the character, which makes me feel upset with the character’s problem.

Depression Quest is different from the game I played before because it mainly let you read instead of “play”. What motivated me to play through is the game authorized me to act on my own, deciding the choice for the character. Moreover, the game uses the second person, putting me into other people’s shoe. Maybe my decisions are weird that I played for a really long time. As the story goes along, I felt I am the character and Alex is my most important person. The game portrayed the vulnerable in an authentic way that I don’t want to finish my homework just after I played it.

Her Story and the Beginner’s Guide

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I was captivating during the whole game period when playing her story and the Beginner’s guide. After playing them, I felt depressed, helpless, but get something valuable.

“My name is Hannah, H-A-N-N-A-H.” The story began. Each time, I gleaned information from the limited five videos and typed the keywords, in order to find out more information about a man, Simon Smith. In the game, I first thought the character I acted was a policeman and my task was to figure out who murdered Simon. Intrigued by the feeling of unraveling the truth, I made notes from each recording and searched for useful information. The part I got most impressed was when Hannah used Morse code to deliver message “SOS” when she was alone, which gave me a sense that she was hiding something. The narrative in this game began to have the loophole with the inconsistency of the testimony given by Hannah in consecutive days. When I finally found out the truth concealed hardly by the twins, I felt astonished and upset. How could Hannah and Eve pretend to be one people for half of life? It is the deception that caused the tragedy to happen. I finally found out I was the daughter of Eve and Simon’s and my mother was in the coffee shop next the street. I felt a way to live my own life with hope and truth.

Unlike her story, the narration in Beginner’s guide was clear and tenable. Davey Wreden, the narrator, portrayed himself as a friend of Coda, a mysterious game developer, at first and stated clearly that the purpose of him making the guide is help Coda to create the game again. In every step of the game, he kept asking one question, “What does the game mean?” and attempting to understand Coda’s mind from every landmark, such as the way of unlocking the door, three dots, and the lamp. When the game began acting weird, for example I need to wait one hour for the prison’s door to open, Davey always jumped out and guide me through the game by cutting the part off. Due to Davey’s narrative, I found out Coda was trying to exclude himself from other people. Coda loved to make prison games at first and his games turned to be desperate and self-depressed. I felt empathy along with the narration. However, the ending part turned the whole story around. I realized I was being controlled by Davey’s opinion through the whole game and he was imposed his own idea. He changed Coda’s game based on his preferences.

Both games were filled with depressed, but they all gave me a sense of hope at the very last. In her story, the game described an inconceivable story but I got a sense of living my life with hope and honesty. From the Beginner’s guide, I realized that the art was created based on the artist’s mind and I cannot judge the art based on my own preferences.

Intro to Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern

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The picture seems no special at first glance, but it appears to have significance connection with Chinese culture. My writing class at Emory University is cooperating with a distinctive bar–Manuel’s Tavern to design a path that visitors can virtually travel through the Tavern. The assignment is to choose an item from the North Wall and figure out the significance and connection with Tavern in historical scale.

Above is the picture I choose, delved into the historical level gave me unexpected results.

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