Video Gaming (EL 250)

3 January 2006

Ex 1a: Game Review (Draft) 10pts

Three phases (1a & 1b, both due on Tuesday; 1c, due on Wednesday). Submit this phase by J-Web. Write a 300-word review of a game that you have recently found important. If you can, you are welcome to collect screen captures for use with your final draft. Due by 11am, Jan 3.

Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

A Rape in Cyberspace

Julian Dibbell's essay on how an online society in a text-based MUD ("Multiple User Dungeon") reacted to a disruptive influence.

As with all assigned readings, I'm asking you to post a brief "agenda item" that includes a quotation (or transcript, or a screenshot if you can manage one) and a brief statement of what you think is worth talking about. Then, I'm asking you to post responses to 2-4 peer "agenda items" on this topic, and then after you have done so, return to your own blog, and post a reflective entry that demonstrates how your reading of peer blog entries has affected your understanding of the assigned text.

For additional context, here's an article that compares text-based gaming worlds with 3-D graphical worlds: "Keyboard is Mightier than Sword"

Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

New Games Journalism

Read Amer Ajami's GameSpot review of Jedi Outcast (three parts), and compare it to Ian "Always Black" Shanahan's "Bow, N*gger." This article, State of Play, will help you pin down the differences. I am far more interested in the issues raised by Shanahan's piece than the precise, technical analysis presented by Ajami. Ajami's review is perfectly good for what it is -- an assessment of a commercial product, useful for those who are considering buying it. On the other hand, Shanahan's piece opens up a huge array of emotional and intellecutal possibilities.

Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Storytelling in Videogames

A conference panel I put together about 5 years ago. The featured speaker was Scott Adams, the creator of the first commercial computer game sold for home PCs. The full audio of the 2-hr panel is available for download, and a full transcript is available as well.

Storytelling in Video Games

Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Interactive Fiction

To understand what Adams was talking about, you'll have to look more closely at the genre of interactive fiction.

Read Game. There are about 7 or 8 pages to this article. An excellent introduction to the genre.

Read this introduction to interactive fiction.

Play this annotated version of "Colossal Cave Adventure".

Play along with the annotation, and try to get across the crystal bridge. (Gameplay tips: You'll need to get past the snake, first! Playing IF absolutely requires you to create a map. (Here be hints and tips for Adventure.)

Once you've crossed the crystal bridge, keep playing for as long as the game holds your interest. (I've learned that some people get addicted to this kind of game, while others simply can't stand it.)

Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)


What issues are raised by this short film?


Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

J-Web: Studying Video Games

J-Web Questions.

Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Ex 1-b: Game Review (Peer Review) 10pts

Trade drafts with two classmates, and write a short paragraph for each peer, containing both positive feedback (what you liked) and constructive criticism (specific advice for improvement). Send a copy of your comments to your peer, and also post them on J-Web by 5pm Tuesday.

Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Class Discussion

I will post discussion questions to the course blog, based on issues that come up on the work that you have done so far. If possible there is any interest, I'd like be willing to hold this discussion in the J-Web chatroom. (What do you think? Would a chat session be helpful?)

Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

RRRR (Read, React, Respond, Reflect)

For every assigned text in EL250, including an article, a section from a book, a game, or a video, I am asking every student to contribute to an online discussion.

First we will start out simply posting a comment to the appropriate page on the EL 250 website.

But once everyone has had some time to experiment with the SHU weblog system, I'm asking for everyone to employ this four-step process, designed to prepare for a productive online discussion.

Read the assigned text (or play the game, or watch the video clip, etc.), react by posting an "agenda item" (see FAQ) to your weblog, respond to 2-4 items posted by your peers, and once a day I am asking you to reflect on your experiences in a 200-word informal essay (see "reflection paper" in the glossary).

But rather than counting the number of words on your blog, I'm interested in seeing you engage intellectually with the course content and your peers, whether you do that on your own blogs, on the course blog, or in the comments you leave on peer blogs.

Continue reading...

Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Rights and Freedoms in Virtual Worlds

The online community described in "A Rape in Cyberspace" is home-grown, and an important philosophy there is the libertarian self-governance that has been the key to internet culture for decades now. A commercial game company, whose chief interest is to keep paying customers happy, can make rules and boot off uncooperative users.

In responding to A Rape in Cyberspace, Leslie wrote, "I personally don't see why these users were so incredibly offended." But Puff writes, "I hope as the internet grows, unchecked by the arguement of freedom of speech, that someone will realize that there is still a basic humanity that can be violated, even without our senses."

Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

And They're Off... Discussion Effort and Virtual Freedom

We've had some good, meaty blog entries already. Before I get into them, and before I link to the discussion questions for today's update -- I've marked your first J-Web workbook and also returned feedback on the drafts of your game review. I won't get Ex 1b (your peer reviews) until later tonight, so I'm extending the deadline by a few hours.

I'd like to thank Stephen Puff for catching, and taking time to explain, problems he's encountered with the online work. I'll continue to do my best to help keep the technology under control.

Continue reading...

Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Preview of Jan 4's Class

In addition to the peer review of Ex 1, which I've extended to 10pm tonight, tomorrow you have the following work due:

  • Koster, A Theory of Fun (Foreward to Chapter 4) (Read, React, Respond... but you don't need a 200-word reflection for every separate assigned text.)
  • J-Web: A Theory of Fun 1 (Obviously the multiple choice questions are designed to get you to look closely at the readings, but you should think of the essay prompts as discussion questions, not right-or-wrong quiz questions.)
    Update: If your Koster book hasn't arrived yet, then read the short articles by Aarseth, Hayward and Wong. I don't yet have a J-Web unit for those works, but I'll try to get something up. I do think that Koster is a better introduction to the subject, but we'll work with what we've got.

  • Game Review (Final) Upload your revised game review. Since I delayed the due date for the reviews, I realize you might not get your reviews back from a peer until late Tuesday night, so I've extended this deadline slightly. It's due at 12:30pm Wednesday.
  • Replayability in Movies. If you picked one or two of the movies on the "Replayability" list, then leave a comment on the course website. You're also welcome to post on your own blog. (If you didn't choose any movies from this list, that's okay -- you're welcome to join in the discussion after others start it up.)
  • Koster and New Games Journalism -- this is a holding spot for where I'll post discussion questions based on what I learned after marking your J-Web assignments.

Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Effort: Work and Fun with ''Adventure''

The discussion of Thy Dungeonman (a game which Puff correctly noted satirizes the text-adventure genre) and of Adventure are useful to help us consider how the games that went before us have shaped the games that we play now.

Continue reading...

Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 02 03 04 05 06 7
8 09 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31