Throughout my first semester of college, I got to experience so many new things in an overwhelming environment such as: the people, the rigor of advanced courses, and a new perspective of the english language. My perspective was changed during my first English class which was entitled English 101 Section 5 – Play Make Write Think. This course dealt with the idea and thoughts of how videogames interact with the player instead of the more conventional thoughts of how the player entertains themselves with videogames. We focused our studies on how “games are dense objects, deeply layered with multiple meanings and hidden histories that reveal much about our cultural values, hopes and anxieties, and assumptions about the world. In this class, we’ll play games, read and write about games, discuss games, design games, and create and build our own games.” This quote from my teacher’s course description was expressed through more than just papers and quoting articles. In this class, we used oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal forms of communication. Which is where I was confused at first because I was not used to such free form assignments. These categories of assignments that helped me build upon my writing were broken down into a couple sections which I call nonlinear comprehension, podcasts, and the side quests.
This course my way of thinking was challenged. I was engaged by having to often reverse engineer assignments. This would entail me having an end goal and instead working towards it, often I would have the goal and work backwards or have to skip from topic to topic. The best example I could give from the semester was when we were assigned to make a video game on an application called Twine. Most people when they make a game just need a concept with a thought out story, but in my case I had to start further behind. These developers already have people that make their thoughts become reality. I needed to learn how to code the game in Twine before a story could flourish. Then, this concept of Storyboarding was completely foreign to me, but as you can see below I think I did alright.
“Intro story: Sam is a heart surgeon at the New York Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. He wakes up at his usual 9 AM time. Today, he will head straight to the hospital where he will perform an open heart operation.
Story 1) Sam takes the subway to get to work.
Option 1a: Sam stops by his favorite pizza joint on the way to work.
Option 1b: Sam gets a quick deli sandwich on the way to work..
Option 1c: Sam doesn’t eat anything because he wants to watch those carbs.”
Above, we can see that for a student that has no understanding of this software or even how to make a video game. I was able to produce something that may get enough playtime to put a smile on my face. This ability to not work from point a to point b, has allowed my writing process to become more efficient.
Throughout this course, I had to make two podcast episodes in our class series entitled “The Longest Rainy Sunday”. The podcasts discuss dozens of videogames and how they mold the player into something more than just someone who completed a list of tasks. For instance, my group’s first podcast was about the puzzle game Portal. I was glad with the topic as it allowed me to deep dive into one of my favorite games. Instead of saying just how the game is played and cool glitches and things you can do, we took my teacher’s preferred route and chose a social topic that benefits the player. In our case, we learned that this game is a platform for many young and impressionable players to learn about making choices in life or death situations. A way for a child to make the correct choice with lots of stress and distractions, something that is impossible to train for. Besides the ability to produce academics from nothing, the podcasts helped me, by building upon many workplace skills such as teamwork, communication, analysis, and video/audio production. I had most of these skills beforehand, but now I honed them much like the ability to bring a narrative together.
Throughout this semester we have been given weekly assignments called Side Quests. These brief and well executed assignments were a way for me to build my knowledge of expression as we were given tasks to complete. These quests normally had us tell a narrative with minimal amounts of text. I thought this was absurd at first because it was an English class and in my mind that meant prompt with an essay. However, in the picture on the above it is clear that my audience can identify me as a student that keeps a light bag for classes. This was my interpretation of the most effective side quest that was assigned to me over the course of the semester. I found it most effective after reading the description that was given by my professor, which states, “This too is a type of autobiographical composition… If you would like to assume a certain kind of persona then you might consider including items in your catalog that might be less than fully true.” Here my professor gave me an understanding that allowed me to open my mind about taking a photo of my stuff. This is how my modern understanding of showing off my belongings or “flexing” turned into something more literature based. Here, I could write a narrative with items in the frame instead of boring the audience with blurbs of text. This is one of the many side quests that had me step outside the traditional norm of traditional writing and allowed me to expand my thoughts and ideas with more abstract forms of interpretation.
This course was designed for me, a student who had basic knowledge english platforms, to take my writing to another level. With all of the skills that I collected, I was able to apply this outside of class in an application for an exclusive food seminar offered in the spring semester with only a single essay that had me talk about my favorite meal in a couple of hundred words. In the application I stated, “The first appetizer was a Mango Sphere, rosemary biscuit; it was my first time trying anything related to molecular gastronomy. It allowed me to have a puff of mango air that was so chilled and condensed that my frozen tastebuds were smiling by the end of the warm biscuit. The balance of Cold/Warmth and the Sweet/Savory was executed to a tee.” Here I execute the skills found throughout this course, as I allow the reader to experience my knowledge gaps in the beginning of experiencing the dish to end this portion with an in depth analysis of the flavors and textures that were experienced. I incorporate the reverse thinking learned in this course, as I had to figure out which meal I would describe before writing. For reference, choosing something basic as my favorite meal may be easy for most, for me it is difficult to complete such a task quickly. Being able to complete a task quickly allowed me to move onto the actual writing faster, which allowed me more time to work. The narrative expression about odd perspectives from the Side Quests allowed me to boost this essay’s depth. I was able to immerse the reader in the scene instead of saying what the scene was. This visualization is what many great writers ultize to enhance their writing, but up until this course I was not capable of such things. I want to continue improving these skills that were gained throughout this course, but looking back I can confidently say my assignments even though not all papers, improved my ability to deep dive into an unknown topic and present to an audience which I hope to utilize in the near future as I join research teams on campus.
Below I have attached all the links to the assignments that I refer to in this Summation of my class experience.
Twine Reflection – Sams Word Den (wordpress.com)
Portal Podcast Reflection – Sams Word Den (wordpress.com)