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Kickstarter Campaign Reflection

For the Empathy game kick starter I was a part of the group who created “Dooley Rider”. As a 4 person team we had many different ideas coming together during our brainstorming sessions. It was difficult to reconcile these differences in vision for myself and my teammates during the preliminary stages. However, we eventually were able to all get on the same page and unify our vision for what we wanted our game to be. Once we had a unified vision of our game we were tasked with the synthesis of our kickstarter campaign. This was obviously the most time intensive part of the project. My main tasks were the creation of the website, writing of text, and revision of text. I spent a large portion of my time getting more familiar with using wordpress. Due to this, I improved my website design skills through this assignment. I also improved my writing skills for a digital setting since the stage of our assignment was a kick starter campaign. A mistake we made was not creating a separate presentation medium for the in class presentation. We did not anticipate the difficulty of presenting the kickstarter as it is not a strong presentation tool. Another difficulty we were faced with during the brainstorming phase was integrating gamification into our game. We have talked extensively about gamification of problems but when it came to applying what we had learned I found it more difficult than anticipated.

Podcast 2 Reflection

For my second podcast, Price and I discussed the rhetoric of Monopoly: Cheaters Edition. This was inspired by the discussions we had in class earlier this semester. I also had just played this variation right after we had finished our previous podcast and knew that I wanted to talk about it. I talked about my experience of the game with Price and we discussed directions we could take with the episode. After deciding on a thesis we transitioned to a research phase where we split up roles and reconvened to plan the episode. We planned a rough outline of our podcast. We liked how our first podcast sounded, the emulation of the audio essay style pop-science was something that we wanted to do again. I feel that this style allows for a more concise and dense final product and can help the episode flow in a more logical manner.

One of our goals of this episode was to have a thorough researched podcast to give adequate background information to anyone who would listen from outside our class. I feel that this is an incredibly important aspect for this episode in particular because the background information sets a stage that is different from the common person’s understanding of Monopoly. A challenge we ran into while doing this was that sometimes we drifted away from our main thesis as we got distracted with information that we found interesting but may not be the most pertinent to our main themes. Another challenge we ran into was again, the time constraints. We were able to produce the podcast at a comfortable pace to meet the deadline but, of course, more time would have allowed us to refine our monologues more and spend more time on the production side of things rather than research and planning.I definitely felt that making this podcast episode helped me come closer to achieving the learning outcomes in this course. For example, like the first episode I produced, this assignment was an excellent instance of the learning outcome “composing texts in multiple genres, using multiple modes”. Through this assignment we exercised digital and verbal modes of communication to produce a final product with a purpose and understanding of the content. I want to also connect this to one of the questions given in the reflection assignment. Which is: “How was producing a podcast similar to or different from writing more traditional essays?”. After completing the first podcast I didn’t have a great perspective on this yet. But, between the two episodes I have written multiple essays for other classes which has allowed me to easily compare the experiences. The main difference between these two mediums is in the structure of arguments and differences in rigidity. When writing an essay you are mainly concerned with making sure everything is written correctly and will be read the way you want it to be communicated. In this way, writing is less intuitive and more difficult to form the physical words of your argument since it is less innate. However, you are able to think longer about the words which makes it easier to be concise. In an audio format it is much easier to choose the right words to communicate your message because the medium is more innatue to humans. On the flip side, it is often much less concise and can lead to ramling or uncoordinated tangents. Overall, these podcast episodes have given me a new perspective on the medium as a whole and writing as not being defined as the written word.

To check out the podcast follow this link!
https://eng101s19.davidmorgen.org/playing-yourself/the-rhetoric-of-monopoly-cheaters-edition/

Podcast #1 Reflection

After finishing my first podcast, I would like to reflect on the process and how I learned from it. Me and my partner spend a long while brainstorming ideas and bouncing them off each other whenever we thought of one. Eventually we settled on Red Dead Redemption 2 after a meeting with Prof X. Once we had agreed on an idea that we both thought was an interesting podcast topic we scheduled a few large blocks of time to formulate a more concrete outline and record. After being a line editor for Alex’s podcast I had a good frame of reference for the process of recording the podcast. I also identified some strategies that I wanted to integrate into our own podcast such as background music and the formatting of ideas.

I had a few primary goals for producing the episode. First, I wanted to produce a quality podcast with good fundamentals of audio recording and transitions. To accomplish this we focused on the recording environment and our editing process. Some aspirational goals we had were to be able to speak and convey our message in a way you might see in a more professional podcast such as Freakonomics or Planet Money. We used a similar approach to these podcasts, formatting our analysis in an audio essay format to improve conciseness.

Some challenges we ran into were with the actual technical process of using the microphone and audacity software since we had never dealt with these things before. This added a considerable amount of time to our production timeline.

This was a unique experience that definitely helped me grow as a learner. The process of conveying a message through audio essay was something I hadn’t done before and I learned a lot from making it. Learning how to plan a monologue type speech gave me a new perspective on communication like presentations and planned talks. These are lessons that I will take with me as I take on new writing/communication projects.

To check out the podcast follow this link!
https://eng101s19.davidmorgen.org/playing-yourself/the-rhetoric-of-red-dead-redemption-2/

“Are Games Bad for Stories? Seeing Interactive Narrative as Its Own Genre”– REFLECTION

Last week I attended Janey Murray’s talk, “Are Games Bad for Stories? Seeing Interactive Narrative as Its Own Genre.” Going in to the presentation I was unsure what to expect as I have never attended a guest speaker event run by the English Department here at Emory. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience that I had and it was especially interesting since the topic of the talk was very closely related to the discussions we have been having in class. An idea from the talk that I felt was particularly interesting was Murray’s explanation for why games are so impactful to us. She says:

“Games grow out of our innate pleasure in shared attention as expressed through synchronized ritualized behaviors, and the manipulation of symbolic representations (tokens) codified in artificial rules. These are characteristics that all games have in common, EX: both chess and hide and seek.”

This is something that we discussed extensively at the beginning of this class as we came up with our own definition of a game. These distinctions of tokens and rules were not brought up during our search for a definition, but, these parameters for what a game is resonated with me.

Another point that Murray made was one that was brought up ion our class discussion which was if games must be fun. In her talk, Murray stated that “Games being described as ‘fun’ is a meaningless aesthetic. Games are merely tokens and rules.” This is congruent with what we agreed on in class but I appreciated the phrasing that she used.

Overall I was very glad that I attended the talk and I definitely gained a new perspective on the power of games.

What’s My Number?

This exercise gave me a insight to the type of self talk that I experience on a daily basis which is not something that I have examined before. Often I find myself moving quickly from experience and emotion to the next experience and emotion without spending the time to reflect on the experience. 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. I do believe that my results were slightly skewed and not necessarily indicative of my normal weekly emotions since this week was a particularly exciting and positive week. However, the overall trend is probably somewhat accurate as I feel that I have many more positive emotions than negative ones. I think that this can be a valuable tool for self analysis and understanding how to improve your self talk and emotional stability on a positive trend.

Fiasco Reflection

Let me preface this reflection with saying that I have never played a role playing game up until playing Fiasco. This experience was entirely new to me and as a result made me incredibly skeptical about the whole thing. I know many people who play in person RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons but I never seriously considered the merits of the game. This being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the game experience that ensued once our group gained momentum.

As I mentioned, I entered the game with an arguably unhealthy skepticism to the concept of a dice based role playing game. I understood that we were supposed to treat this as a sort of writing experiment but it was unclear to me how I would benefit from participating in the game. Regardless of these feelings I tried to immerse myself in the game. We chose the Boontown playset and progressed into the character relationship development. I sat between Alex and Ashley. My relationship to Alex was of an opium dealer to an addict and my relationship to Ashley was co-workers as ranch hands. It was during the final steps of character establishment that I began to realize the importance that these relationships held for the entire storyline.

Our first instincts were to establish and then immediately resolve scenes however that proved to be somewhat of a losing strategy for creativity as a whole. Instead we began to introduce many aspects of the plot without resolving them. This allowed us to come up with more creative twists and developments that intertwined with other characters and plotlines. Our story would probably be characterized as a drama since there were many interpersonal conflicts. Something that surprised me about the nature of a storytelling game is the effect that it has on its players mentality. I found that our group did a great job at becoming their character and immersing themselves in the experience of playing. I think that this has important implications on the value of role playing in the process of creative writing. I would almost equate it to method acting as a strategy for actors to become their characters. This type of play allows the writers to become the characters and thus they take a more realistic but also creative tact on their story.

Overall this was an excellent experience. Fiasco was a simple enough game to allow us to play without much hesitation. But it also was very dynamic and kept things interesting. This brings me to my final point about what I found most interesting about telling a story through a game. What was most illuminating to me was the effect of cooperation and forced improvisation on creativity. I found that Fiasco puts people on the spot to produce something and this pressure almost eliminates “writers block”. Everyone in our group was able to contribute something interesting or creative on a consistent basis throughout the game. I even surprised myself multiple times when I thought I had no interesting ideas. The collaboration within  the game structure allows everyone to contribute and help each other through difficult moments to ultimately create an entertaining and unique story.

Gone Home: a Live blog sesh with Otis

Hey everybody, Otis here. I am about to start playing the widely acclaimed: Gone Home. Follow this live blog to experience this game with me as I share my thoughts throughout.

Opening sequence thoughts:
Based on my initial impression, I predict that Gone Home is going to give me a spook at some point. The beginning art is fairly gloomy and the sounds are minimal but sinister. The art is realistic and mostly intuitive controls. So far I am not enjoying this.

Stay tuned for more updates.
-Otis

Spooked as heck right now the thunder noises are getting to me.

Lots of locked areas, feel like this might take a while.

Tv is on and gave me a good spook.

Finally going upstairs hoping to find something good.

Lonnie and Sam are definitely romantically involved.

Grabbed a crucifix, light turns off, loud swearing, take a break from the game for 10 minutes.

This is the poorest lit house that has ever existed. Looking for someone to blame for this

Forgot to update for a while, my b. Now I’m in the basement. Breakthrough inbound.

Not enjoying the music choice in this game.

Was it ever explained why I am hearing from Sam’s journal? This makes little sense but it is basically the only thing that gives me useful context.

This scene gave me a good spook. Waiting to look at what the picture was made me quite tense. I found that the big reveal of the Uncles face to be thrilling and dramatic. Still confused about why they are trying to summon this guy or something.

We are in the attic. I repeat, we are in the attic.

Lonnie is dropping out of the army. Feeling mad emotions at the moment.

This did not explain why the parents aren’t there I’m confused.

Official Otis rating: 13/22 oats

What is in my bag?

Aerial view of the goods

What be in my bag?

Starting from the top row going right to left we will start with:

  • Multicolored folders:
    • I use these on a daily basis to organize my schoolwork/handouts from each class
  • Notebooks:
    • Used for taking notes. In class.
  • Plato Book:
    • ALWAYS do the reading, even when its a philosophy class
  • Laptop:
    • My trusty steed used to fulfill my internet needs, from making this blog post to playing Gone Home.
  • Water Bottle:
    • Hydration is key
  • Moleskin Planner:
    • State of the art weekly planner that organizes my life and whatnot
  • Stapler:
    • Staples paper together sometimes
  • Assorted pens/pencils:
    • Gotta write things down somehow. That’s what I use these for.
  • Calculator:
    • For calculations or to mess around with in ISOM when I get bored
  • Ice cream umbrella:
    • Stay dry: in style

Reflection

This assignment was an interesting exploration in “autobiographical” storytelling. I do not think that the things in my bag accurately represent my character in a substantial way since the majority of the things I carry around every day are standard for all students. To compose this picture I carefully staged the contents of my bag in an orderly fashion in an attempt to make it take a roughly square shape. I also grouped general categories of items together. I would consider writing about the stuff in your bag as a type of writing, although it is an incredibly specific category. It has almost become its own genre as the prompt of what in my bag becomes a more popular video concept.