Jerz: New Media Projects (EL405)

Are Games Art?

I thought this was timely, given what we talked about in this class last week.

gamepolitics: Are Video Games Art?

Beyond the shrill, politicized rhetoric heard in some state capitols, where, in 2006, we've been treated to such gems as "This video game is not even speech. It is a device" and "yes, games are speech, but worthless, disgusting speech", a quiet debate has been emerging on a related front.

Can video games be considered art?

Permalink | 11 Sep 2006 | Comments (2)

Hidden Agenda Contest

The timing for this couldn't be more perfect.

If your Project 2 is designed to be fun for middle schoolers, and it tries to teach something, then you could win $25,000 in the Hidden Agenda contest.

If you enter your game concept by Dec 15, I'd be happy to support you (or a group) in an independent study geared towards producing the full game by next May.

(I'd enter this contest myself, but it's only open to undergrads. Drat.)

Permalink | 14 Sep 2006 | Comments (0)

Serious Games -- Context for Project 1

New generation of video games takes on serious subjects

No longer just entertainment, advanced technology is being used in games that do everything from teach children about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to help war veterans cope with post-traumatic stress syndrome. For lack of a better descriptor, they've been dubbed "serious games." Like "Re-Mission," they're designed to entertain players, but they're also meant to teach, train and inform them.

"(Video games) are a little bit like documentary films were in say the '60s or '70s," says Suzanne Seggerman, co-founder of Games for Change, a support organization in New York for makers of video games dealing with social issues. "Film had been a popular medium for a long, long time, (but) it took quite a while for it to mature enough to sustain real-world content. Games are at the same place now. They're being used for more serious purposes."

Permalink | 26 Sep 2006 | Comments (1)

No class

I'll be attending a conference here at SHU.

You are welcome to use class time to work on Project 1.

Permalink | 7 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)

Final Presentation Gallery

"New Media Projects" introduces students to Inform 7, The Games Factory 2, Flash, Blender 3D, and Hammer. All students completed short projects in each medium, and selected a tool to use for a midterm and a final project.

Students kept a development journal on their weblogs, and often helped each other get past rough spots. Since few of my students had any programming experience, there were some rough spots and tense times, but there were also grand "aha!" events that accumulated as the semester progressed. I'm pleased with what my students accomplished.

See the list of final project postings.

The course demanded versatility and nimbleness. Inform 7, Flash, and Hammer proved the most popular tools. The students who chose Flash quickly outgrew the Flash Journalism textbook that I assigned. While I was impressed with the progress students made in The Games Factory 2, nobody chose it for a major project. (The fact that the 30-day trial period had expired may have had something to do with that.)

Students were often learning one tool in the classroom while working on a project in a different tool outside of the classroom. Then during open workshop days, I found myself shifting gears from one interface to another as I went around the room helping individual students working in different environments. (We were holding class in a PC lab, but two students brought their personal Mac laptops, which was often a humbling experience for me, since I heard myself saying stuff like "Now click the thing and go back to that thing we just clicked... how do I get the context menu? ... woah, what just happened?"

Usually students are sick to death of their final projects by the time the end of a course rolls around. But the tone of this class was different. Several students mentioned that they felt their skills really started coming together just at the end of the course, and at least half mentioned serious plans for how they planned to continue developing their project and/or skills. One mentioned an internship, one mentioned an independent study, one is talking about getting her project published in web-based version of the school paper, one is talking about how her project (an online portfolio) will develop next semester.

When I left the room after the last final presentation, one student was still sitting there, making an eyeball with Blender 3D.

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

The Escape (Chris Ulicne)

Take on the role of a prisoner in the depths of a dungeon and explore your environment for clues and useful tools in this interactive fiction game.

When you see a black box (it may take a minute or so to load) you should see the opening screen of the game.
Click in the black space and press the space bar.
This page features Matthew Russoto's ZPlet.

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

The Playground (Leslie Rodriguez)

Recess is a time for children to grow socially and learn ethics first hand. It presents a learning opportunity for lessons that will carry with them throughout their lives. It's time for recess at Stoney Ridge Elementary School, and you're one curious 3rd grader! You are Earl, and just like any youngster at school your favorite time of the day is recess. Get ready to encounter a whole new world!

When you see a black box (it may take a minute or so to load) you should see the opening screen of the game.
Click in the black space and press the space bar.
This page features Matthew Russoto's ZPlet.

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

Evan's Folk Podcast (Evan Reynolds)

An original folk podcast played through a flash interface. Songs are written and performed by (but not copyright (: ) Evan Reynolds. Recorded in a half an hour, edited with audacity, and displayed with flash. You can find a transcript of the lyrics here.

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

Seton Hill and Catholicism (Amanda Cochran )

Having faith and living it are two different things. In "Catholicism and Seton Hill," a Flash presentation by Amanda Cochran, view the journey of Seton Hill University through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching. The articles and photos tell the story of Seton Hill's journey toward living out the Catholic faith, and a seek-and-find game offers the official teachings of the Vatican.


Seton Hill and Catholicism

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

CST Project 1 (Lori Rupert)

The whole point of this game is to experience life in another person's shoes. Hopefully, by doing this, the player can generate a sense of what it is like to be a completely different person and will hopefully be less judgeful to those they meet after playing a game where they can experience something like this.

When you see a black box (it may take a minute or so to load) you should see the opening screen of the game.
Click in the black space and press the space bar.
This page features Matthew Russoto's ZPlet.

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

Dodge Intrepid: Overdue (Mike Rubino)

Get ready for adventure! You play as Dodge Intrepid, the world's most famous librarian and adventurer, as he searches through time for rare books and manuscripts. It's the best librarian-time-traveling-platforming-action-game you'll play this year. Created by Mike Rubino and based off of the popular podcast serial "Dodge Intrepid and the Pages of Time."

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

Patchwork Canvas: The Stitches of a Liberal Arts Education (Karissa Kilgore)


Here is the final product for my second project in EL405. My Flash portfolio, which is organized by both the University objectives and the English major objectives, links to pdf files of a number of my papers and other work that I did during my years at Seton Hill.

Patchwork Canvas: The Stitches of a Liberal Arts Education

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)

Video Game Portfolio: Cultural Games (Stephan Puff)


This semester I had the honor of speaking at a conference here at Seton Hill for Holocaust education. I spoke about video games as a tool and a cultural device for the coming generations. The speech was mostly to help scholars come into communication with Video game makers and the cultural impact of video games. No, not the violence that is blamed on video games, but the metaphor and story skills that video games teach the younger generations. Yes, metaphor is not just a literary device, but moves to all form of language, propositional and non propostional experiences.

Video Game Portfolio: Cultural Games

Permalink | 13 Dec 2006 | Comments (0)