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Welcome to my website Otis’s Game Thoughts! This is a blog used to publish my works in David Morgen’s Play, Write, Think Freshman writing class at Emory University. Please read through my blog posts which chronicle the assignments I engaged with in this class.

I first will address the learning outcomes for this class and how I encountered them through the reading and writing for this course.

Compose texts in multiple genres, using multiple modes (Written, Aural, Nonverbal, Digital)

In this class we engaged in many different genres and modes of writing. An example of this is the podcast episodes we created regarding the rhetoric of games called “Playing Yourself”. I co-created 2 podcast episodes, one about the rhetoric of Red Dead Redemption 2 and the other about Monopoly: Cheaters Edition. To make these podcasts we were forced to compose text through a different genre (podcast) and through a different mode than a traditional essay (aural). In addition, all of our assignments had to be posted on a blog and made us use the medium of a website to compose our text.

Summarize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the ideas of others as you undertake scholarly inquiry in order produce your own arguments.

In this class we read many texts such as Superbetter by Jane McGonigal and An introduction to Critical Play by Mary Flanagan which provided arguments for the benefits and uses of games in our everyday life. During my reading of these texts it was understood that I would analyze these ideas and synthesize them into my opinion in preparation for our class discussion. In class I would present my opinion to the class while also hearing my classmates and professors’ point of view. Through our discussion I evaluated the analysis of my peers in an attempt to undertake scholarly inquiry.

Practice writing as a process, recursively implementing strategies of research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection.

The practice of writing as a process was central to the assignments in this class. For example, the podcast episodes produced weekly were refined through the writing process in many ways. The primary stages of research and analysis of the game were critical in producing a quality podcast with a focused argument. We spent extensive time combing through reputable sources to craft an argument and produce a first draft. Often we would run through our podcast out loud to revise our draft and improve the flow of ideas and phrasing to improve clarity. Once we identified the areas of change there were edits made to the script and we began recording. Following our recording session we edited the episode with background music, refined transitions, and included a pre recorded introduction. When the final product had been finished we completed a reflection assignment to verbalize the issues we had in our writing process as to identify improvements for the future.

Demonstrate visual thinking strategies to analyze and interpret visual information and to experiment, assemble, and arrange visual and written documents of their own.

In this course we both used visual strategies to analyze visual information and also experimented with visuals in our own products. In assignments such as the analyzing and reflection of the game “Gone Home” we interacted with the game and its visual style to interpret its meaning. When it came to the experimentation of visuals, the kickstarter campaign project posed a unique opportunity to use visuals to convey an idea. We produced visuals for our game and also attempted to create a visually appealing website and structure to our campaign.

A visual produced for the Kickstarter:

Employ technology appropriately and engage responsibly in online spaces, be able to explain and practice good digital citizenship, and utilize the concepts of intellectual property (including copyright, fair use, and creative commons licensing).

In this class we engaged with online spaces in a way that I had never experienced before in any classroom. By using the medium of a website to post and present our assignments I had to think about how to practice good digital citizenship in a unique way. Having some sort of digital presence outside of social media is something that was foreign to me before this class. Everyone has been told a thousand times the importance of your digital image, however I had never considered the possibility of publishing my work online and having it be an asset for me as an applicant for a position. Through this course I learned how a web presence can be utilized for showcasing your work in a dynamic way.

Next let me walk you through my blog posts as a progression of my skills as a writer and as a student. I will be focusing on what I see as the most important stepping stones for my learning. My first writing is in the What’s in My Bag? Assignment in which I describe what I carry around in my backpack everyday and what it indicates about my lifestyle. This was the first reflection assignment that I engaged in and was important to me personally because it was about my lifestyle. Looking back on this assignment I feel that if I were to do it again I would be able to give better insight to why the reflection was important to the reader. Secondly, I want to focus on the Whats My Number? Assignment in which I recorded my positive and negative emotions for a week to analyze my self-talk habits. This was an exercise in self reflection and evaluation of data. In the reflection of my data I identify the importance of this assignment and say “I think that this practice helped me internalize the thoughts/feelings I had in a more meaningful way and be able to think about why I may have had a negative emotion during a certain experience.” This I believe is the essence of this assignment and is an example of an insight I got from this class.

The third and final assignment that I want to talk about in the most depth is the Kickstarter Campaign assignment. This assignment gave me new insight into intentional game design and how to create a narrative through website design, digital text, and visuals. In this assignment I was able to apply the practical knowledge gained through the course. This is shown in our introduction to the rhetoric of our game where we say “This game is employing many different strategies. First off, we are gamifying our problem of time management to make it a fun and motivating way to try to fix time management issues. Next, we are using the nudge theory at the beginning of the game by selecting everything as default.” This is a practical application of the theories and strategies we learned about in the readings during the course. In creating our game we strategically planned our design around our previously defined audience, purpose, and genre. We first established that our audience would be college students, our purpose was to decrease procrastination through phone usage, and our genre was a Kart racing game. We used these parameters as tools to focus our game design to accomplish its goals. This strategy was very effective for our game design and it is a method that I will employ in the future to effectively problem solve and create with a critical eye.

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