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. 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.

Week Ahead 7

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?

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

Why Am I Obsessed With a Cellphone Game About Collecting Cats?

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is a game that appears to be about collecting cats. Only you never really collect the cats — merely your photographs of them, for your Catbook. The cats come, the cats go; maybe you see them, maybe you don’t. The cats do not care. They have other lives, other places to be. What brings you back, again and again, is that these semiwild creatures have decided, temporarily, to share their existence with you. You cannot collect them, merely the memory of them, for existence is fleeting and nothing, save for ourselves, is ever entirely ours.

Is the transistor the key to peace?

Fallout provides a view back but then forward again to some distant point of critical divergence and then its outcome. Which may lead one to ask why, why imagine a future based on something that we … didn’t do? Besides the fact that it looks cool, which may very well be the central reason. But I think we can also find encouragement to understand how and why we didn’t end up in the Fallout universe.

This video is a cool analysis of the shift from nuclear technology to the transistor, using Fallout as the way into the discussion. If you’ve never played Fallout, it gives you enough information to follow along.

Upcoming Event: Georgia Blood and Southern Love

Our friend Charlie Bennett passed along an exciting announcement about a live stage version of his radio show Lost in the Stacks coming up on Tuesday, March 1 at 7:30 pm at Eddie’s Attic, in the Decatur square. I’ll offer extra credit for anyone who attends the show and writes up a brief blog post about the experience.

The Lost in the Stacks crew are putting on a live show in the style of our radio show, i.e. a mix of music and literary talk, with a live band, guests, and some book giveaways. It’s called “Georgia Blood and Southern Love” and I can only hope that we’ll live up to the name.

We’ll be doing live interviews with two authors and a GT professor, interspersed with live music. The authors are Brian Panowich and Hollis Gillespie, and the professor, Monica Miller will be talking about Flannery O’Connor. We’ll be joined by the band Chickens and Pigs. As part of the show, we will give away one copy each of BULL MOUNTAIN, WE WILL BE CRASHING SHORTLY, and A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND.

For all the details, check out the event on the Eddie’s Attic website.

Also of note:

My North Avenue Lounge interview with Brian.

Our Flannery O’Connor episode with Monica.

You can find Lost in the Stacks on Twitter, Facebook, and at the WREK website: FacebookListenTweetPodcast

Week Ahead: 6

6 2/16 Stanley, A Parable & The Beginner’s Guide
2/18 Her Story
2/19 Podcast Episode 2 due: Nina Freeman’s Cibele


The podcast is now live. Please make certain you listen to the first episode before class tomorrow. The link to the first episode has already been retweeted by Michael de Santa.

I’ve also published an additional set of instructions for future episodes and the instructions for the reflection post you should write once you’ve completed your episode.

Beginner’s Guide

We’ll spend most of class on Tuesday discussing Beginner’s Guide. Some questions to think about to kick off discussion: In “Art,” Bogost suggests 5 common properties of art games: procedural rhetoric, introspection, abstraction, subjective representation, and strong authorship. Is Beginner’s Guide an art game? How do you see those 5 properties at play in the game? Are there ways in which those properties fail to get at what is most interesting about the game?

We’ll also compare Beginner’s Guide and its predecessor, Stanley. The website for the latter includes the following: “The Stanley Parable is an exploration of story, games, and choice. Except the story doesn’t matter, it might not even be a game, and if you ever actually do have a choice, well let me know how you did it.” And on its Steam page, we find this epigraph: “The Stanley Parable is a first person exploration game. You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will follow a story, you will not follow a story. You will have a choice, you will have no choice. The game will end, the game will never end.” How are those claims extended, undercut, revised, or how do they otherwise come into play in Beginner’s Guide?

Her Story

For class on Thursday, play through the game for awhile. You might not be able to finish it in the time you’ve got, but play enough to get a strong sense of how it works. It’s a nonlinear crime fiction game, depicted through FMV (full motion video). In many ways, then, Her Story, might be the complete opposite of Beginner’s Guide. Before class on Thursday, write a post on your course subdomain in which you compare Her Story to Beginner’s Guide — is Her Story also an art game? Are there ways in which the two games bear similarities to each other?


First Podcast Episode is Live!

Zach and Rohan submitted their episode on Thursday, but I was still waiting to get the reading of the intro script from Charlie. I went ahead and created a set of logo and banner images for our account while I was waiting — it’s fairly easy to change the images around if y’all have constructive feedback on what I came up with. I got the intro from Charlie this evening, finished up the episode, and published it to Soundcloud. Then I submitted the podcast to iTunes. Once they complete a review of the first episode, the podcast will be live in iTunes and you can start encouraging people to subscribe to it.

In the meantime, you can listen to the first episode now on Soundcloud.

Edited to add:

The podcast is now live in iTunes.

  • Go to your favorite podcasting app (YMMV, but personally I like Overcast, which is available in a free version for iOS or Android devices)
  • Search for “Doing Video Games with” and then subscribe to the podcast.
  • Feel free to post links to individual episodes or to the podcast series on your social media or to send them to people you think might be interested.

Please do make certain to listen to the first episode before class on Tuesday. Zach and Rohan reported that they found it exceedingly difficult to edit their episode down to 5 minutes of content and suggested that we should extend the time out to ten minutes, and I’m inclined to agree with them but speak up if you’ve got issues with that.

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