Wolf in White Van Essay Reflection


The final draft of my essay consisted of minor edits to my argument and adding a quote from another classmates paper and using it as part of my argument. Writing this essay gave me a better understanding of the novel because I had to form a coherent argument. In the essay, I argue that the structure reflects Sean’s inability to disconnect himself from past fantasies which keeps him from being able to effectively cope. You can read the full final draft here.


Podcast Reflection: Halo

UNSC Infinity class cruiser.



I was extremely excited to create a podcast in which I would be working with someone else to analyze a game that revolutionized an industry with its art, music and seemingly endless story-line that is set in time periods before the game takes place and after. Going into the project I was unsure how to go about analyzing art in Halo in an in-depth manner. The sound and sky boxes, the characters, cut scenes all deserve their own analysis to be able to fully show that Halo is an art game. In the end, we decided that the weapons and a few ships in both the Human and covenant fleet would be enough to effectively prove our point.

After deciding what to analyze, our next challenge was depth. We could not just briefly explain all the artistic elements each of the objects had because it would have made our argument too simplistic and would not have emphasized the true art behind the objects. Our solution to this was to tie the objects to a theme. This theme was evolution and we looked at the objects and their designs throughout many of the games. We found that many of the weapons and ships kept the same basic designs but were built upon as the series progressed in order to maintain their belonging in the game.

The process of analyzing the art of Halo also helped me to see that most of the covenant weapons, while feeling alien, were not so unlike the weapons we are used to seeing in the UNSC and in the real world. This evolution of art is what makes the game unique and is something that I can’t say any other game I’ve played does.


Kentucky Route Zero Reflection

Out of all the games we have played in this class, I’d have to say that Kentucky Route Zero is my favorite. I like the ambiguity that it comes with. There are many ways that one could look at the game ranging from it being an attempt to depict a journey through life or it being your standard adventure game. The game is set on a secret highway in caves beneath Kentucky. Along this highway you encounter many strange characters that sometimes provide you with certain tasks or drag you on a exploration through old mine shafts. Another interesting elements of the game is that there are two routes, one above ground and one below ground. This leads for the gamer to ask whether or not there is a heaven and hell complex or is it implying internal and external conflicts.

Fiasco Reflection

Fiasco is a tabletop role playing game, that involves creating your own story, developing a plot and deciding your own ending. There is some guidance with story sets and a set amount of choices based on 6 sided die. Other than that, the players are left to develop their own story. Playing this game allowed me to view myself and what I look for in RPG’s because of the story that me and my group created.

My group decided to create a crime based story-line that involved a drug dealer his partner, the drug dealers son and separated spouses. Since we only had three players, some of us had multiple relationships which made for an even more interesting story line. We decided to choose one central conflict since we only had three players and that was that we wanted to get rich quick through robbing our boss, the owner of a super-market. Through just the choice of story, I realized that I myself really enjoy crime stories. From here, we began to develop our story even more by creating the most random scenarios possible. This consisted of drug deals and eventually murder scenes which by the end resulted in everyone being either killed or sentenced to many years in prison. Its safe to say that the plot unfolded into one big disaster centered around a bunch of small disasters that built up. It was interesting to see this because we had control over our own story and we could have made it end in a very ideal and unrealistic way but instead we chose to end it with my character going to jail.

Looking back, I personally am not extremely proud of the Fiasco story I helped create. I think that the story could have been more sophisticated in the sense that we could have developed the plot deeper than we did. It was too basic for what the developers appeared to want. One of the elements that I think made our story too basic was the fact that we kept a similar chain of events through-out. Looking back I think that there was room for small side stories to form but, in the interest of time we decided to keep moving forward. Despite the simplicity I did enjoy the game overall.

The experience of playing a tabletop RPG was completely different from a video-game RPG. One of the major difference that I disliked was the fact that everything was imaginative and there was no visible setting. I like to have images of the setting and characters in front of me, mostly because its what I’m used to in terms of gaming. The other reason is because it’s more fun when you can actually view the actions you choose to take as opposed to simply stating them in words. The time it took to play was also very dis-pleasing because I’m used to being able to play games for a short time and then taking a break. Fiasco takes a while to get used to and creating your own stories takes a lot of thinking.

After all the hard work that was put in to figuring out the rules of the game and developing a somewhat coherent but simple story, I enjoyed experiencing my first tabletop RPG. I don’t think I would play Fiasco again on my own with other friends simply because it is too time consuming and difficult but the experience was worth the time that was put in.

Wolf in White Van Reflection

Wolf in White Van is a novel about a man named Sean, who shot himself in the face when he was 17 years old. Sean continuously struggles between living in the real world and living in his fantasies and this has caused him to be isolated all of his life, leaving him only to communicate with others through his role playing game “Trace Italian”.

After reading the first several chapters of Wolf in White Van, it becomes evident that the novel is different from most others. The reader does not obtain much knowledge other than that Sean had an “accident” and it resulted in him being severely injured. The first few chapters also consist of many flashbacks from Sean’s childhood that contain clues to what caused his accident, but nothing is certain because the narrator switches from one moment to another , preventing the reader from learning anything further. One thing that you do learn is that Sean has always had trouble viewing things in a real world perspective. The sentence “Inside my head I could see how I might have looked to some observer standing at a few paces… and how we might look to another observer, stationed at a slightly great distance…” (10) shows this and I think it is the most important of the first few chapters. It shows the reader that Sean does not observe reality with his own eyes, but rather inside of his head and I think this trait is crucial to understanding the rest of the novel.

The opening paragraphs were also very detailed. Sean’s house is described as if the narrator were creating a map, which created a very visible setting in my mind. This was interesting to me, since I felt that the same level of detail did not keep up through the rest of the chapters and I’m unsure if there is a big significance to it or if the first few paragraphs were mainly serving as an attention grabber and nothing much more.

Manuel’s Tavern Final Reflection

In writing the final draft of my Unpacking Manuel’s assignment, I took the time to do deeper research on the Mill High Life Girl on the Moon sign. I continued to use the Miller Company’s website because it had the the most credible and updated information. I decided to use a few more images as evidence that the Miller Company had launched campaigns directed towards the working class. I decided to keep the first paragraph, because I believe it is necessary to provide a brief history of the brewing company. I also kept the second paragraph, about the sign being up as a marketing tool. I still think it is part of the reason the sign is on the wall. If it wasn’t, there would be no stimulant getting someone to want to purchase a beverage.

Doing further research into the Miller Company was also a good choice. I found more evidence about the values that Miller brewing follows, which allowed me to see additional reasons why my sign is up on the wall at Manuel’s. I found that it was mostly political, centered around the working class, which is unique for a bar but understandable since Manuel’s is labeled as a local Democratic bar. If you want to read more you can here.

List of Sources used:

“Miller High Life | The Champagne of Beers.” Miller High Life. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

Empathy in Depression Quest

“Depression Quest” is an interactive game in which you take on living with depression. The core point of this game is to raise awareness about an illness that effects many people in the world, but often goes unrecognized. The game hit home to say the least. Knowing several people who have suffered and do suffer from depression, it was easy to see all the attempts to create empathy. The music, the bland background, the seemingly endless paragraphs of text and the lack of choice you had were all ways in which the game created an understanding of what depression is like for a person.

In my opinion, the best way the creators went about creating empathy was with the choices of how to deal with certain situations. When playing, it’s easy for one to look at a set of choices and pick the most obvious and helpful one. In the game these choices were crossed out with the hope that the player would begin to understand that a persons mindset is completely different in a state of depression. The next best task was to choose the seemingly next best option. In some cases this option would only make things worse, especially in the case of attending your girlfriends party. It only creates more of a feeling of isolation. As the game progresses this feeling of isolation increases as you try to “force” yourself into happiness. This particular progression can be seen as a way to get the player invested further into the game through forcing them to think about how and why their choices didn’t work. It got to the point where I felt like I was the person in the story at which point I began to further empathy for people that suffer from depression.

As a whole this game was excellent. It did everything I believe the creators wanted it to do which was get people to understand what living with depression is like, and why it’s an issue. I would definitely recommend it to people who are ill-aware of the fact that depression is not a controllable problem and not to treated lightly.

Her Story

“Her Story” is in my opinion, one of the more interesting games we’ve played in class. This is mostly because it is so open ended and you’re never told what really happened. You are instead left to piece everything together on your own, and this is not easy given the confusing story-line. You’re presented with two characters who happen to be twins, instantly forcing you to pay more attention so the story does not get mixed up. We then learn that they seem to swap places with each other throughout their lives. This immediately raised a red flag in my head because at that point the player loses trust in both of the characters.

As the story continues, we learn that Hannah eventually get pregnant after meeting a man named Simon and Eve is unable to match but Hannah eventually loses the baby and becomes supposedly infertile. The cycle then repeats itself except this time it is Eve and she does not lose the baby. At this point the entire story of the game comes in question because both characters experience almost identical events. There is no way to tell which character is being more truthful, if either are.

It is this unreliable narration that made the game so interesting. It leaves the player thinking long after the game ends about what the true story actually was. It could have been completely different from what the game gave us, or it could be exactly what we were told by Eve or Hannah. The open ended nature of the game is what makes it so great and unlike most of the other games it seemed worth while to play.


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