Category: ENG 709

Front-loading My Project

Just thought I would post the link to this at the top (and then plan on not blogging for a while–eek! can I do it? can I refrain? I don’t know…)

IMPORTANT: CLICK ON THE CAUTION TAPE IF YOU WANT THE ACTUAL 709 PROJECT (the ENTER! section is what I did for 691, so feel free to explore that if you want, but it’s not what I created for this class).


(All of the articles/sights mentioned can be found as links and/or commented about and/or both somewhere throughout my blog)

Checking in…

Well, I am about half way done. No fires yet, though I am anticipating one. There is a part of my project where things start to get a bit divergent. They make sense story wise, but are a little kludgy web page wise. I think before I get frustrated, I am going to get re-caffeinated, etc.

But, because I can see the end in sight (though it might be a few hours off still), I am going to keep going until I get absolutely stuck. Besides, no one is in my office now so I can crank up my Kenny Chesney 😉

Off to go get un-crosseyed.

Sarah is anticipating an up-and-running new website later this evening, provided no fires occur (literally or figuratively). Woot!

Check out: to see changes.

I will post later when I am “officially” done. Off to play in Photoshop!

Visual Diagram


Not sure if you can see this very well, but this is the text I will be using for my website. Don’t read it if you don’t want to ruin the full experience for you!

I used a free trial of Inspiartion (an excellent tool for teachers and high school students, I think) to assist in the diagram making/outlining process. Very fun!

Now, I go back to cursing Dreamweaver.

Markus Montola

University of Tampere

Game Research Lab

Mostly this article did exactly what it said it was going to do: define pervasive games. In that sense, it was very dry, so I didn’t get a whole lot of quotes or interesting points which I felt that I could draw from the writing. I did, however, have moments of engaging higher order thinking (which is what graduate school is all about, right? 😉 or was that marketing my writing center work? I forget…).

Montola defines pervasive gaming as “a new form of gaming that eludes easy definitions” (1). Well, THERE is my problem! Here I have been trying to struggle with this idea of “pervasive” gaming, when that isn’t even “officially” the direction in which I want to go, and I am given the first definition as being “elusive”. Thanks, Montola. Just for that, you’re getting tagged.

And then I get the definition of the magic circle, “The metaphorical magic circle of play is a voluntary, contractual structure that is limited in time and space”. Well… yeah?

Mostly, I found I connected to Montola when he likened children’s games such as tag or hide and seek to those spatially expanded reality games. Okay, that I get. Bondaries. The yellow flags. The bells are going off. The light bulb has been lit.

An interesting point to ponder, “It is impossible to unequivocally tell whether Dance Dance Revolution exhibits stronger or weaker social expansion than The A.I. Game, since the two forms of social expansion–implicit audience participation and conscious hiding of gameness–are very different ways of blurring the concept of player” (3).

Also, the discussion of crossmediality games is interesting. And, I think, here is where I connect the most with what we have learned in class. We are not limited to just one medium in which to interact, play, discussion, network, develop professionalism (freedom?). And yet, each medium can only do so much (control). Etc… But, the idea that there is not just one way in which one can interact with a game, or in any environment. I try to push myself like this in my fiction writing, too. And, it is always a good idea to remember when working with indexes or metadata in library science–looking at the big picture is better than taking into account the small road bumps (again, I am having WC meeting flashbacks–good ones, of course!). If one medium is not going to work, experiment with another one.

And, so my final question, I realized while reading this article that these games are “fiction” and so I started playing with the idea of a non-fiction reality game or a creative non-fiction reality game. A memoir reality game? A poetry reality game? Basically, can different types of genres be used within the “story telling” of the game world? And if so, which ones work best? For the ones that do not work well, how can they be manipulated across the various mediums which were previously mentioned?

Lots of questions… and while I don’t have one particular answer, I think that’s okay because I feel as if a clearer idea is coming into what I am working with. The applications are happening. The synopsis are connecting. I am preontological and post-paranoid all at once. So, really, I have made it and there is nothing left for me to do.


Sarah\'s Poetry

More on Chun

I have been thinking a bit more about our readings from Chun, and have decided that I really appreciate her use of the term “light”. Obviously, she uses it to first explore the physical reality of fiber optic networks which connect all of cyberspace. But, then she takes that one step further in the realm of metaphor. In thinking about all of the ways that light can operate as metaphor, I think it is a really excellent term to use when one is “twinning” freedom and control. Light can be both negative and positive. On one hand, if one is performing an amoral (yes, I realize I am probably not arguing effectively by choosing to use the word “amoral” here) act, light would be seen as a bad thing. “To shed light”, as it were. Light becomes something to be feared. Control.

However, light is also good. Biblically speaking, God is light. Light was created by God; God called light good. Light can be used for protection–so one does not trip or fall or lose his or her way. More light=more freedom because then one is “free” to move about has he or she pleases without the fear of getting lost in the dark.

Chun, however, talks about shattering of enlightenment because of light being used as control. I think this is where the twinning comes in. To twin means that something has to be joined together. Control and freedom have to be together? Well, that would depend on one’s ultimate world view (but, we’re not talking ethics here, are we? Or are we?). Ultimately, Chun sees control/freedom as two binaries working against each other, but perhaps if they are looked at in the realm of two parallel paths working together… then they  become a bit more like railroad tracks… and then the light becomes a train at the end of the tunnel. And I am going to stop now before I twin my metaphors any more than I already have.

Question: Can you talk about control/freedom WITHOUT talking about world view, moral, ethics, etc?

3 Articles

In avoiding my studying that I need to do for comps, I chose to read a few research articles on alternative reality games (ARGs). The following are my comments/thoughts on the articles and/or good or interesting ideas which I pulled from them

 I am also considering making the book Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture From Geek to Chic my main text. I don’t know, though, because I haven’t read the book, but the authors of one of the articles I read seem quite intelligent and on top of things. So… we’ll see.

In the mean time…

Williams, Mark. “Jane McGonigal, 28.” Technology Review. Sep. 2006. Vol. 109. Issue 4. p. 50.

This article focuses on Jane McGonigal an intellectual/game developer. She discusses the idea that ARGs use network technologies such as electronic mail, web sites, Internet chat rooms, text messages, and phone calls to construct new types of communities whose collective intelligence lets them solve problems no member can solve alone.

Question: Can my final project be an “alone” adventure? Or does the notion of creating an ARG automatically negate any form of “aloneness”? Ideas?

Herold, Charles. “A Sick Killer Has Pac-Man Fever.” The New York Times. July 22, 2004. p. 8.

This article compares and contrasts the following ARGs: Missing: Since January, Aware, Aura: Fate of the Ages, Psi-Ops: Mindgate Conspiracy.

Note to self: Do not assume that those who like intellectual searching also like methodical searching.

Borland, John and Brad King. “Bees, ARGs, and the Birth of the Collective Detective.” Phi Kappa Phi Forum. Summer 2005. Vol 85. Issue 2. p. 21-24.

Stewart: “We were placing a bet that we could put an ad in a newspaper in Uzbekistan, and some kind in Iowa will be analyzing it that afternoon. That’s what the Internet means.”

Ilovebees was created in early 2001.

Jordan Weisman got a call and came up with the question, “What if that was the game calling you?”

Question: Again, can I allow my players to do this alone? The idea of the “collective detective” seems to be an important reality in ARGs and I want to be true to that. Further, a continuous thread of conversation within class has spoken to that idea. Is it fair to not think ‘community centric’ when I start creating this. But, HOW? I don’t have enough resources, I don’t think to make this a community centric game. Hmm… plotting, plotting.