DJ Beckage

Archive for January, 2012

Participation Portfolio 3

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Uncategorized

Well, the third time’s the charm.

With that being said, I think being able to look back on the work that I did in this class, I feel pretty good about the semester. I think the biggest challenge for me was taking the class day-by-day and really being able to get not just reading assignments completed but the papers and presentations done so quickly. Even right now, I’m a bit burnt out but it was worth it…

Depth – I think the blog that sticks out for me is the New Games Journalism entry I did for the game Zen Bound 2. I really enjoyed bein able to sit down and show my mom a video game that didn’t involve someone being stabbed/shot/run over to death.

Interaction – I think the portion of interaction I enjoyed the most was my presentation for the class. I felt the Prezi presentation combined effectively the video portions with the written work.

Discussion – I have to say that I liked the Moodle conversations that went on in the class. Whether giving my two cents on Jessica’s presentation or just sighing in chorus with my classmates, it was great to see each of coming together. I also enjoyed my discussion with Jessica because of some of the similarities we had between our presentations.

Timeliness – As far as timeliness, I know I was spot on with turning my papers in on TurnItIn but this last leg did a good job at kicking my butt BECAUSE of the papers and presentations.

via Participation Portfolio 3.

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Sample, What Comes Before the Platform: The Refuse of Videogames

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Uncategorized

I think what shocked me the most about this article was how much it didn’t. Does that make sense? No, I’m no psycho but I remember “The Daily Show” talking about Foxconn, about how the factory made the plant like a city within a city for workers and that everything they did there actually seemed like the factory was isolating these workers more and more. It was quite disturbing to see the suicide nets on t.v. and try and muster up a laugh at a joke that Jon Stewart just said. Mind you, he wasn’t making fun of the workers that died but it’s still difficult when the nets are on the screen as a reminder of those who died before they went up.

What I found especially odd was Apple’s unwillingness to address the Phone Story game head on and instead deny it on iTunes but allow Android users access to it. I really don’t know…

via Sample, What Comes Before the Platform: The Refuse of Videogames.

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Bogost 1

by on Jan.11, 2012, under Uncategorized


So you think you’re a funny guy? Well, I think I’m a funny guy. Moreover, I like to think that I pass that humor on whenever possible. What I have not been privy to have been the “Easter Egg” in a game, with the exception of one.

If you play, I believe, the second dungeon (World 4, level 2) in Super Mario Bros., there is a way for you to jump above the brick at the top of the screen. You’ll then race to past the exit tunnel and let you skip ahead to level 5. While it’s not a prank, it was the best example of an egg in the system and I think that is more what chapter five is about. Bogost even states, “by mocking the rules we don’t otherwise question, they possess carnivalesque qualities; they allow us to suspend our ordinary lives and to look at them from a different perspective,” which I think is part of the gaming process. Gamers enjoy the possibilities the game provides them and being able to then mock or challenge these rules by finding an “egg,” it allows for a bit of comic relief and separation from the game and its rules, much like office pranks.

via Bogost 1.

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iPad Game (chosen by class)

by on Jan.11, 2012, under Uncategorized

“So what is this game?” my mother asked me, after I mentioned the two games available to play.

“Let me show you. It’s called ‘Zen Bound 2’. It’s that rope game that I played…well, let me show you. It’s much easier to explain.”

I proceed to maneuver and manipulate the wooden figure on the screen, twisting the rope around the screen while still trying to keep the screen facing my mother as well.

“See? As the rope touches the wood, the wood appears to get covered in paint. On the bottom left of the screen, you can see the percentage of the wood block you’ve covered,” I say as I twist the rope around the figure.

“Oh, ok. How do you know you ‘won’?” my mother stares at the screen as I continue to turn the wood block.

“Once you get to a certain percentage, the second nail lights up. I think it’s 60%? No. 70%. See? There we go. But the goal is to get 100% of the wood block covered in paint. And you have to keep in mind that you have a finite length of rope, too.”

While showing my mother Zen Bound 2, I thought about what Koster said about games in Chapter 10, “The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its semantic freight.” Earlier in the chapter, Koster states, “We all know that there is a difference in experience caused by presentation. If we consider the art of the dance to be the sum of choreography plus direction plus costuming and so on, then we must consider the art of the game to be the ludemes plus direction plus artwork and so on.”  I enjoyed the thought that, while Zen Bound 2 is a simple game, the game design is just the same as more violent games, such as Grand Theft Auto.

The goal is to get a perfect score by completing all the tasks, while using the best tools available to complete said task.

So which game did I just describe?

If you said Zen Bound 2, you would be correct. You use the iPad and your fingers to get the rope around the wood block and cover it completely in paint to achieve a perfect score. Pretty simple.

If you said Grand Theft Auto, you would be correct. While the game has a story with sub-tasks, you still have to try and get a perfect score. That may mean robbing a bank while only using a flamethrower AND not being arrested by the police, but you use the best tools available to complete the task.

The only difference between the two games is their premise/story.

via iPad Game (chosen by class).

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Participation Portfolio 2

by on Jan.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

Here we are with the second Participation Portfolio. It seems like only yesterday I was…ok, the joke is already old (and a bit obnoxious). As far as my participation in the class goes, I’ve slacked off a bit and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my annoyance with the IF games. The games just flat out annoy me. They have this “we’re an interactive story / we’re a video game” split personality that just drives me insane because they’re really neither. They’re almost a book but they don’t give you any details until you ask for them, which stymies the “story” portion. They’re not a game because the entire game has a beginning, middle, and end, much the same as the “Meanwhile” game, even when the game designs tell you, “Oh no. You can do whatever you like in this game. It’s an open-world format,” when in fact it’s not. Have I beat this horse enough? I think so.

As far as everything else, I think that I’ve been able to develop a better understanding the video gaming culture and it’s working mechanics in the real world. Also, the Pac-Man Dossier was just fun to read.


Depth – Well, I have to bring up the Get Lamp simply because the “game/story/adventure” just annoys me so much. While I’m positive there are people that love these games (I mean that was proven in the video), I am not one of them nor will I ever be one of them. I enjoy my creativity coming from myself and not having a “forced freedom” applied upon me.

Interaction – Besides my interaction with Dr. Jerz on the Get Lamp blog, I’ve enjoyed the moodle commenting that’s been happening between all the students in the class. It’s been entertaining to say the least. Whether I’m talking to Jennifer about the use of honesty in a post or telling Dylin that I’m never talking to him again (in jest, of course), it’s been fun.

Discussion – Well, I think one of the more interesting points of discussion for me was when Jessica asked why I didn’t think the iPad app “Meanwhile” was a game. I proceeded to explain my position.

Timeliness – Besides this post? Hmmmm. Ok, well, here’s my post on the Pac-Man Dossier or my blog in regards to Exercise 3? I think that’ll work.

via Participation Portfolio 2.

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Review of McGonigcal

by on Jan.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

Well, I have to say that Andrew Klavan’s review of Jane McGonigal’s book “Reality is Broken” was pretty spot on. One of the things that struck me was McGonigal’s notion that society can (and should) turn our work/life to mirror that of a game because it would be more entertaining just shows how out of touch she really is with society. Her thoughts that, “Compared to games, reality is depressing. Games focus our energy, with relentless optimism, on something we’re good at and enjoy” may be a nice thought but the fact of the matter is, life ends. As Klavan states, “the conflicting goals and desires of individuals, the problem of evil, and the presence of death all guarantee that life will remain its old tragic self no matter how many copies “Call of Duty” sells” is true.

I also really enjoyed Klavan’s “Mary Poppins” reference but I have to say that I found it much more amusing that McGonigal shares a similar moniker with a certain wizard, asking us to live in a fantasy world.

via Review of McGonigcal.

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by on Jan.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

While I was involved with the app “Meanwhile,” I ended up going through time (twice) and killing myself and the world. The interesting thing about “Meanwhile” was that it reminded me of the “Chose Your Own Adventure” books that I used to read when I was growing up. While there is decision making involved, I don’t think of “Meanwhile” as a game. It is very entertaining to try and “out think” your own choices in hopes that what you choice will be the best outcome.

It was fun to have take this trip. Even if the chocolate ice cream DID make me sick.

via Meanwhile.

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Get Lamp

by on Jan.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

I think one of the biggest ideas that I came away with while watching this video is the realization that, while the IF game community will take a stance that these games are open-world sort of adventure games, they then contradict themselves by stating that these same games are like books. I’m not at all saying that these games don’t/can’t elicit some form of stimuli to the imagination of some gamers, much like books do, but books have a beginning, middle, and end. For the gamer to say that it is an open-world adventure where the gamer can make whatever choices they want, is in fact a falsehood. Games, for the most part, have the same sort of storytelling as books do (with a few exceptions like Pac-Man, Tetris, Tic-Tac-Toe, etc.) and the game designer is setting the gamer on a quest to complete the story. There is a beginning, middle, and end. When a gamer is playing a game such as “Call of Duty” or “Guitar Hero,” they are following pre-set paths created by the game designer to its conclusion. Sure, there are variations to outcomes in the game but for the most part, the ending of the game is where the game designer wanted the gamer to end up at, much like the author of a novel.

But let’s touch on the point of sensory stimuli for a second. One of the things that you, Dr. Jerz, stated in the documentary was that students would complain that they had to “think too hard” and that was their reasoning for not enjoying the game. While that may be true for some students, I find that these games eliminate the use of all of my senses and then gives me a quick slap of the ass and says, “Have fun.” Being deaf, blind, dumb, and mute and being told, “You are in the center of a room. The obvious exits are north, south, and west. There is a flask in the room. What do you want to do?” and I type, “Pick up the flask” and I get a reply back, “You can not pick up the flask,” to me, that’s not entertaining. It would be like taking a person, telling them they need to get to Seton Hill’s Admin building from downtown Greensburg, but before you release them into the world, you duct tape their eyes shut, gag their mouth, and put ear plugs into their ears. If that poor person makes it to the school, it will simply be a miracle that he or she wasn’t hit by a car, robbed, assaulted, or otherwise injured. While video games such as “Call of Duty” and “Guitar Hero” ask a gamer to look a screen, they are also engaging their memory for upcoming patterns or assaulting enemies, listening to the sound effects to better process the virtual world they are involved in, and even feeling the “explosions” through the rumbling controller. And I know, the british gentleman made the point of saying that gamers are limited because they can never feel all those senses 100% while playing a video game but in their mind they can imagine it all and I agree. But that’s why I read books. I don’t want my “imagination” tied down because some programmer made a maze and I have to spend an hour trying to figure out why I can’t pick up the flask.

Just pick up the damn flask so I can move on already.

via Get Lamp.

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Ex 3: Gaming Culture Presentation

by on Jan.09, 2012, under Uncategorized

Writing about squad-based movements, as compared between the game Medal of Honor and both my brother’s and my own military experience, was an interesting paper to write about. I wasn’t quite sure where the paper would actually go and that was rather concerning considering it was the topic I had decided to focus on.

One of the aspects of the paper that worried me the most was interviewing my brother about his deployment because of the “uglier” side of war that he saw first hand. It was a difficult balancing act: part of me wants to be still be a “big brother” and not dredge up old wounds while the other part wanted to get an accurate account of what is called “breaching,” where a squad enters a building. While I had practiced these movements, my brother actually performed them within his unit. There is a big different between practice and application. Anyways, I think for the most part I was able to get the information I needed for this paper.

via Ex 3: Gaming Culture Presentation.

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