Photo Credits: Maddie Keating
In the final version of my essay on Wolf In White Van, I felt stuck on what to edit at first. After reading some of my fellow students papers and the review of my paper by the student who read it, I knew I needed more quotes to back up my claims and I needed to assert my thesis earlier in the paper. Through writing this paper I became much more comfortable with writing more of a formal essay. I know that my writing style thrives on a relaxed topics and formats of writing, but I was able to apply the skills I have learned in writing blog posts to an actual essay.
The controlling idea for my essay was that coping mechanisms are a good thing after a traumatic event, but if the person holds onto the coping mechanism compared to fully recovering the coping mechanism is harmful.
I would say in most games, you progress your character through movements in scenes and then cut loading scenes to get to the next level. However in Kentucky Route Zero, you play through each scene and then you are given the choice on how to get to the next scene. It appears to be a tire meant to represent you driving through the city. This also adds some challenge because it means that you must remember where the scenes are on the map and how to arrive at them. For example I had a lot of trouble in the first act trying to get to the old mine. I could not remember the directions on how to get there, nor when I arrived did I realize that I arrived because the scene popped up when I past it and then disappeared when I rolled away from it.
Students normally abhor doing any sort of group project, especially when the project is something so foreign for them. I thought that playing Fiasco would indeed be a fiasco to play. Especially at the start of creating the game trying to read all of the rules and figure out how to pick a play set and objects and relationships was almost overwhelming, but oh was it worth it.
After nearly half an hour of floundering around, we eventually settled on Antartica for our location. I did not think that it would be possible to create a fun story out of such a boring place as Antartica, but we far exceeded any expectations I had for my group. The player sitting to my right was Mady Arles, aka Roberto “The Bitch Ass”, and she elected for the rest of the group to come up with a story and she would then decide the outcome. As this was the first turn in the fiasco, it was not very exciting. My turn was next though and I decided to try to liven the game by setting up my own story and letting my fellow players decide my fate. This kickstarted the game and established that I was partners with Roberto in a tour giving company of Antartica and that Kino, the player to my left, aka Maxwell was my one time fling while on a tour that Roberto and I gave.
Although truly one would have to be participating in the creation of the story to understand what took place, my best description of it would be a drug fueled murdering love story. This experience taught me the art of developing a story, I have attempted writing short stories and books before and I have always failed because I try to think of everything first and then write it down. Fiasco taught me that sometimes it is good to just go with the flow when you have a loose thought on where you want to go. Also that collaboration is a major key to success in any work. Collaboration can sprout new ideas, or can help edit thoughts.
Fiasco reinforced that literature does not have to come from traditional sources. I believe that the feeling that playing role playing games, video games, or reading is what actually defines literature. I feel the same, if not more invested in the Fiasco scenario that my group created than when I write essays or stories. I know that I will employ the experience of playing Fiasco in my future writings. Playing gave me the ability to realize when I took a joke or scenario too far through my partners telling me so, and that will transfer to my writing because I do enjoy spicing up even the most serious essay.
Wolf in White Van is so far a story of a man that had a terrible accident. Through this accident, he begins a new quest in life. His looks and disabilities are like living life on expert mode in a game. Although I do not know the main quest for Sean, and maybe he does not even know, he participates in many side quests “In video games you sometimes run into what they call a side quest, and if you don’t manage to figure it out you can usually just go back into the normal world of the game and continue on toward your objective” (Darnielle 48). However in life you cannot just restart at the main quest. At some side quests Sean fails, for example he cannot go to the grocery store but he does flourish when he goes to the liquor store for candy but ends up running into Kevin and Steve.
Darnielle, John. Wolf in White Van: A Novel. Print.
The controlling idea of my analysis is how Manuel Maloof wanted a European style tavern. Through my Harp Lager sign, I connected the history of beer which occurred during the same time period that Manuel was in Europe fighting World War II. This connection brings a possible reason for why the Harp Lager sign is hanging in the tavern.
In this version of my analysis, I actually knew what I wanted to talk about. In my previous draft I was just writing while searching for anything that could connect. I also edited out some of my humor that honestly was not that humorous.
This analysis especially helped me in the learning outcome of writing as a process. In my process, I realized that most of my papers start out the same way. I never know what I am doing at first, then with some time to think and maybe some guidance from others, I realize what I actually want to talk about.
For the question of have I progressed as a learner, I overwhelmingly say yes. I used to not care enough to go back for a second edition of my essays even if I were required to, but now I have learned that I can and effectively at that, write an even better second version of whatever diarrhea flows from my fingers in my first drafts. In applying this skill to another class, I can improve my general education. With more work that I know I can do, the better I will do. Previously I just did not care enough for it.
To start off this post, I would like to say that I absolutely adore the old Atari/Nintendo/arcade games. Some of my favorites are Galaga, Pacman and Miss Pacman, and Super Mario Bros. As I was growing up, my dad introduced me to his old Nintendo Entertainment System and I was immediately put in a trance. We would play an hour or so a day almost every single day. It got to the point where I could almost play Super Mario Bros, Tetris, or even Kirby without a single death. So when I found out that we were playing an emulator on our laptops of some of my favorite games, its safe to say I was thrilled!
My first game that I played on the emulator was Frogger, and it was something. I have only played a more modern version of Frogger, so it was very difficult playing with the old graphics. I kept jumping when I thought I was in the clear, but it turned out that what I thought was a shadow of my character was actually just an attempt to make the characters and objects look three dimensional.
The second game I played was Pacman, and yet again I realized that I have only played a much more modern version of Pacman. The controls were difficult to use and the graphics were hard to see, if you can even call them graphics. Yet it was still a blast to play because it was so new to me.
The third game I played, and the game we were supposed to play for this blog post, was Space Invaders. At first I had many technical difficulties with the game, maybe not so much technical as personal lack of knowledge of technology. I couldn’t even move my character around. Then with a little bit of fumbling around with mashing buttons on my computer, I was able to change the controls so that I could move around and shoot. I had never played Space Invaders before that so it did not have the same levels of excitement for me, but it was still enjoyable. Although it felt a little slow to me, but maybe I did not put enough work into it to get to tougher levels. Also I did not understand the point to the game, unlike Galaga or Pacman, there was not enough of a reward of killing the flying monsters. Also the “graphics” were not up to speed to keep me invested in the game as far as aesthetics go.
Throughout the entire game, I felt empathy for the character. From the titles of the stages, to the end of the game when the words first said “The End” but switched to “The beginning.” Although I did not feel as if I was the character, I felt a connection to the character through empathy.
In particular, the scene where there is a peg trying to fit in a whole created the most empathy for me. I understand the desire to be able to fit into the shapes that one wants to be, but I also believe that no one is the same and not one person can fit in the same shape as another. I do not want this to sound demeaning towards the characters wishes, if that is what they want then I only want them to be happy. But the character needs to learn to be happy with themselves. Not in the fact that they believe they look like the opposite gender, but in a realization that it may be impossible for them to fit into what they want and to become happy with how far they have come. So I empathize with the characters unhappiness, and their struggle to become happy.
With Beginner’s Guide, I understood from the beginning that there was Coda, and there was Davey. I had an inclining that they might be the same people, but a review of the game into Her Story, I had no idea what to expect. Even throughout most of the gameplay I had no idea what to expect due to the dual narrators. In that aspect, Her Story and Beginner’s Guide are similar. Oh and also in the respect that I consider them both art games. However that is where I draw the line in their similarities.
In Her Story, there seemed to be very little guidance on how to “win.” I am not even sure that it is possible to “win.” With no guiding mechanisms, I was constantly at a standstill in what to search next or watch next. But in Beginner’s Guide, I felt the complete opposite. Because there was so much guidance–possibly cheating– I felt as if I was not playing the game that I should be playing. It was too easy, and left me feeling a loss for what should have been there.
The two main characters in Her Story, Eve and Hannah, greatly confused me. At first I thought it was only one character. Then I thought it was one character who had multiple personality disorder. Eventually I figured out the difference between the two, but not solely on my own. I noticed the tattoo on one of their arms, but I did not come to the conclusion about the bruise on one of their faces nor that they attempted to switch places yet again during the interview. I only was able to come to that conclusion after reading a websites review of the game. confirmed that for me. Looking back on the game with this knowledge, it appears to me that Coda may have made the games out of frustration and through Davey he wanted to explain his thoughts about the game. In doing so, I believe that Coda distorted what the true meanings were.
To start with, this was the first podcast in the series
so Rohan Gupta and I had no idea what we were doing. At first we thought we were just going to ramble on about how fun GTA V is and how much we love playing the game. However, after a meeting with our professor, we realized that our idea had been done 100’s of times over. So we started thinking of how we could describe GTA V in a literary sense. Eventually we narrowed it down to a theme of transit, since the game is rooted to transit.
Once Rohan and I decided the basis of our podcast, we both instinctively knew what we wanted to talk about. Rohan was going to inform us about an outsiders view of America with only knowledge of GTA as a reference, and I was going to talk about Ian Bogost’s book, How to do Things with Video games.
Soon we both thought we should spice of the podcast a bit and set ourselves apart from other groups by remixing Justin Bieber’s song “Love Yourself.”
Our primary goal was to keep the listeners interested. We didn’t want to bore anyone with solely literary talk about the game, but we also knew we needed to include as much information as we could. Our song was our best success at entertainment, and our biggest failure was finding time to have our friend Corey Eisner be able to record with us. Fortunately we were able to gather some quotes from Corey to make up for his absence.
I believe that the learning outcome that best applied to the creation of our podcast was the Writing as Process
objective. First we needed to figure out what video game we wanted to cover, then what vocabulary term. Next we needed to create a structure for our podcast and insert information where it was appropriate. Eventually we got to the editing point where we rerecorded multiple portion in order to sound perfect. Then before we submitted our podcast, we reflected heavily on it. We listened to it countless times to make sure we were completely happy with it.
As far as suggestions for my peers future podcasts, I would say set aside much more time than you think it will take you. Not because this assignment is hard– quite the opposite actually– but because it was so much fun being able to create something. I would also suggest planning on more than 5 minutes worth of content. It was difficult to make our episode approximately 12 minutes, I could not imagine including all the information in 5 minutes.
I am most proud of having the ability to create a podcast. At first I thought there was no way it could be possible, but now I have the confidence and know that I can apply the same concepts of making the podcast towards future assignments.