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.


Podcast Reflection

Scene from Battlefield 4

Kino Maravillas and I chose Battlefield 4 as the game to focus our podcast on. Battlefield 4 came out in 2013 and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Battlefield 4 was created by Swedish developers DICE under Electronic Arts. The game is a first person shooter game, so the mechanics of it consist of controlling a character as he or she completes tasks in battle. Unlike other first person shooter games, Battlefield 4 focuses on creating as realistic battle situations as it can. This objective translates to every part of the game from sound and visual effects to the actual game play. In contrast with a game like Call of Duty where your main objective is to kill as many of your opponents as possible, Battlefield consists of more team oriented goals such as capturing command posts, diffusing bombs, and attacking the enemy as a unit.

We decided to use the terms Drill and Empathy from Bogost’s How to Do Things with Video Games. In Bogost’s book he says that games are better at teaching us things than other mediums like video and written text are. In this same way, an individual is engrossed in Battlefield 4 far more than they would be if they were reading war novels or a film on battle. This creates a more realistic atmosphere if the game is done right. We argued that the creators of Battlefield 4 did a wonderful job in creating this realistic atmosphere. Battlefield 4 also fits with another Bogost term, empathy. The game puts the player in a situation far different from their everyday life and allows them to play another role. The real life visual and audio effects make the player feel like they are actually experiencing the situations they are. This makes them empathize with a soldier or someone who would be in this role in their occupation.

In terms of the nuts and bolts of creating the podcast, it was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. Kino and I put in a lot of work analyzing the chapters and connecting them to Battlefield, and we thought that we would be able to talk freely without a script. After several takes did not turn out the way we wanted, we transitioned into typing out a loose script to help determine who would talk when and which ideas we would talk about. The editing process was time consuming, but not very difficult to figure out how to work. Kino had the idea of adding the Battlefield theme music in the background, which turned out great.

The creation of our podcast was very similar to writing an essay, except we were obviously speaking the thoughts instead of writing them. The assignment helped me to satisfy the “Critical Thinking and Reading Resulting in Writing” learning outcome for the class. Kino and I had to work together to analyze Bogost’s chapters, while also analyzing Battlefield 4 as we played. We then had to synthesize all of the thoughts we had into an argument and articulate them. The podcast assignment also encouraged the “Collaboration” learning outcome for the class, because Kino and I had to rely on each other and would not have been able to get the assignment done without each other’s help.

Photo: Battlefield 4 (13) by Videogame Photography

Podcast Reflection: Battlefield 4


Battlefield 4 (13)

Battlefield 4 (13) by Videogame Photography


The whole process of podcasting seemed much easier on paper than it was to actually execute. Daniel Sperling and I did our episode on Battlefield 4, a first-person shooter game developed by DICE known for its high quality graphics, audio, and realistic gunplay elements. We figured that two terms in Bogost’s How to Do Things with Video Games were particularly relevant to this game: Drill and Empathy. Being immersed into an alternate reality where the player controls a soldier fighting for a specified faction in large scale battles evokes a strong sense of empathy. These battles not only consist of infantry but also vehicles such as tanks, boats, fighter planes, and amphibious assault vehicles. The environment also plays a critical role as it can be altered significantly at any time during a match whether it be through horrible weather conditions, breaking a dam and causing a flood, or collapsing an entire skyscraper. All these factors combine to create an immersive experience that the player can easily associate with. The accessibility of this alternate reality however promotes routine behavior and the implementation of certain tactics in order to make victory more achievable. For experienced players, a match becomes routine and drill-like the more hours one dedicates to the game. For some it is also a viable, engaging medium to learn about the ins and outs of warfare without resorting to a traditional training manual.

Initially Daniel and I tried to improvise the dialogue but in the end it simply wasn’t practical. Just “talking” about the game seemed easy at first but ultimately ended up consisting of long pauses and choppy thoughts. Writing a script made our podcast flow much better from idea to idea. Editing through Audacity also proved to be quite easy yet also time consuming since I decided to incorporate the main theme throughout the episode as well as the “sound of the battlefield” in the audio segment.

Wolf in White Van Reflection

RAGE QUIT by Corrupted-Mooch
Rage Quit” by Corrupted-Mooch


Writing this essay was a painful process. The source of this pain was my fundamental disagreement with the prompt. The message I got from Wolf in White Van was essentially that there is no answer to the prompt. I struggled with trying to fake my way to an answer that I didn’t believe for about an hour. Then I compromised to trying to point out that interpretations depended on starting assumptions. Then, after several hours of very slow writing, I ragequit the prompt and started  writing what I actually thought. I came back later and stitched the essay back together and I got a result that I considered acceptable. After a few more cycles of editing, the essay evolved into its current form which I am very happy with.

In this essay I tried to bring in symbolism from the book and branch into not-quite-prose. This was a risky maneuver for an analysis essay, but I think it payed off.

Podcast reflection

As many people who play Dark Souls do, I came into this project with very strong opinions on the lore, mechanics, difficulty, and art of Dark Souls.

I initially wanted to focus on the lore: how players are tricked into think they’re the hero, and will almost certainly complete entire playthroughs without ever realizing that they have been fooled into martyrdom for the gain of small group. I wanted to highlight the narrative structure of Dark Souls, which I would argue is truly unique.

These subjects, however, are not the material for a 5-10 minute podcast. I firmly believe that Dark Souls is a great work of literature, and as such, to try and analyze its story in its entirety in such a short time could not do the game justice (not to mention that it wouldn’t have anything to do with Bogost).

David initially wanted to do the podcast focusing primarily on the mechanics of Dark Souls, which I thought missed the most interesting parts of the game.

But what we each wanted to do had a common feature that led to the proposed term. My strong feelings are Dark Souls lore are not at all unique, and David’s strong feelings on the mechanics aren’t either. It became apparent to both of us that “strong feelings” pretty much characterize the Dark Souls community. From there we converged on the topic that almost every aspect of Dark Souls was built to create opinions and alignments that would foster the development of a community within and outside the game.

After that, there was almost no work to be done. We quickly created a list of evidence and talking points, each only about 3 words long. From there we started talking and recording, working our way through the points as the conversation progressed. I wouldn’t call our conversation planned, but we knew what we wanted to prove and we each had our own ideas how we wanted to prove it, so the conversation wasn’t much more than a normal conversation. Ten minutes later we had everything we need for our podcast.

We cut a few bits that we thought were less relevant or where someone misspoke, but we kept the vast majority of the recording.

At the onset, I wasn’t sure how to go about writing a podcast; now I realize that it really isn’t fundamentally different then writing on paper: Prove your point with words in a manner befitting the audience. It’s just free form writing on the spot.

Given more time (honestly, we started later than we should have) we probably would have brought in more points (we didn’t hit all of them on the list) and we would have brought in evidence from a closer reading of Dark Souls, rather than the overview that we did.

Wolf in White Van Reflection

I found the writing process for my Wolf in White Van essay to be difficult, but helpful. Darnielle’s novel was a complicated one that was difficult to dissect. Through the writing process, I learned more about Sean and Lance and how Darnielle attempted to portray them. I also learned some about where I am as a writer. I found it extremely helpful to not only have someone read and make suggestions on my draft, but also to do this for one of my classmate’s essays. Through reading someone else’s essay on the same prompt it opened up my mind to new ways of thinking about the same story. If you want to read my final draft of my essay click here.

Wolf in White Van Analysis: A Reflection

I found Wolf in White Van a particularly difficult novel to dissect and analyze effectively due to its jumbled, non-linear narrative and frequent use of anecdotes. What Darnielle’s book conveyed well however was the everyday life of a trauma victim and the hardships and immense struggles associated with coping. Having gone through an episode of depression a few years ago I could really resonate with Sean at some points. His tendency to meticulously analyze every scenario while also appreciating the beauty in the mundane and ordinary struck a chord in me. Sean yearns for a connection in his world of chaos, and Trace Italian is his means of communication; it is his own language. Analyzing Wolf in White Van was definitely a challenging yet rewarding process.

I incorporated Mady’s feedback into my final draft here.

WiWV Final Reflection

I found the process of writing this essay to be very reflective and difficult at the same time, mostly because the essence of this book is extremely vague, with lots of grey area for personal interpretation. Sean even alludes to this difficulty himself: his narration of his life directly after the accident describes how enigmatic his inner thoughts were when creating the Trace. However, after developing my thoughts, I realized there was a nice structure I could organize my paper into: proclaim my thesis, propose both aspects or my argument, have a synthesis of these two contrasting ideas, and then an antithesis suggesting a counterargument.

Overall, I was very pleased with the final results. The idea of drawing the line between reality and the inner creations of the mind may not even be accurate: perhaps the line doesn’t need to exist.

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.

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.


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