Video Gaming (EL 250)

9 Jan 2006

Laurel; Close Playing; Etc.

A reading-heavy day. The pace will slow down tomorrow, so we can focus on reading Juul's book, and so you can start thinking about your final paper. Today would be a great day to try out initial ideas for the term paper.

Discussion Prompt:

In high school English, being able to summarize the plot an describe your emotional reaction to the situation faced by the protagonist was enough to get you an A+. In a similar way, being able to describe how a game works and describe whether it is enjoyable was enough to make a successful game review.

Laurel presents herself as a story-teller. She doesn't spend much time describing the interface or the scoring system of her Purple Moon games. We actually get a much better idea of how the website works than we understand any individual game.

Laurel pretty much skips over the act of summarizing her games, and spends far more time discussing what she was trying to accomplish.

Now that you have written your first "close playing," consider your chosen game as the work of a utopian entrepreneur. That is, consider the values system inherent in that game, and speculate on how the world might change if the values system inherent in the game became more prevalent in the real world.

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Tsk, tsk, tsk! You're slacking, Dr. Jerz! We're only number 8 on the Yahoo! search query "video game class."

Oh, well. This comment only shows how big a Geek I am! :c}

Anyway, I've exhausted Half-Life 2. Are there any other genres that could be options (like IF, hypertext adventure, etc)? It's probably too late for RPG, but if not let me know.

Posted by: Evan at January 9, 2006 04:20 PM

You're welcome to pick another game. I'd agree that an RPG might be hard to get into at this stage. Yes, you're welcome to pick more IF. The games that were submitted for the annual interactive fiction competition are designed to be played in about 2 hours. I thought the 2005 winner, Vespers, was very well done -- you'd probably find much to say about it.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 9, 2006 04:38 PM

The game Fallout and Fallout 2 might be hard to find, but there is a fury of social commentary to talk about in the two games. Ultima might be an easy download offline, a quick beat with a walkthrough guide, and then a good topic since the creator developed his own written language for the game.(I am pretty sure) Just suggestions. Good luck.

Posted by: Stephan Puff at January 9, 2006 08:00 PM

After doing my close playing on “September 1" and “Madrid” I came away from the experience with a better understanding of what Kabul Kaboom was trying to say about war and violence. Acting in the role of a utopian entrepreneur, Kaboom tried to make us (the auidence & players) understand that for every action there is indeed a consequence. If the value system in these games became more prevalent in the real world I’m sure we would see things a lot differently.

Posted by: Leslie Rodriguez at January 10, 2006 04:47 PM

I feel that doing the close readings on September 12 and Madrid definitely has an impact on me personally. It opened my eyes to how games can be impacted by the world around us. I never occured to me that game designers took history into consideration. I know that they make games based on actual wars but I never made the connection on how detailed they get into the outcome and events that occur in history.

As for the game I chose for my close reading I feel that if the values system of Tomb Raider were inherent into the real world, nothing would slip into the wrong hands and society would open up to taking more risks to save the world.

Posted by: Kayla Lukacs at January 13, 2006 12:36 AM
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