Week Ahead: 7

7 10/4 The Stanley Parable
Develop rubric for Unpacking Manuel’s
Discuss first two podcast episodes
10/6 The Beginner’s Guide
Begin literacy narrative assignment
10/7 Podcast episodes 3 & 4 due

I’ve updated the schedule some, partly to correct my mistake on fall break next week and also to stretch out discussion time for the games this week.

Come to class having played through Stanley Parable — there is a free demo available on Steam that gives you enough sense of the game for our class discussion but it is a classic independent game so I encourage you to buy the full version and play it. We will also spend time in class developing the rubric that I will use to grade your final revisions of the Manuel’s Tavern assignments. I’m waiting for the recording of the podcast intro before I publish the first two episodes — expect them to go up on Monday. I’ll embed them in posts here. Listen to them before class on Tuesday and we’ll discuss those too.

For Thursday, we’ll discuss Davey Wreden’s follow-up to Stanley Parable, Beginner’s Guide. I’ll also give you the assignment for the literacy narrative assignment and you’ll start working on that.


Week Ahead: 6

6 9/25


Peer review on Manuel’s Tavern Due
9/27 Firewatch Day 2

Bogost HTDTWV “Art” (redux) & “Empathy”

9/29 Freshman Year
9/30 Podcast episodes 1 & 2 due

This weekend, you should read the Unpacking Manuel’s project by one of the classmate that I assigned to you and provide feedback to them. Instructions for the feedback here.

Also, sign up for an individual conference with me here if you haven’t already. We’ll meet for 30 minutes sometime this week to discuss revisions of your Unpacking Manuel’s draft. Currently, conferences are scheduled to run from Monday through Thursday, but I might add times on Friday too, if necessary.

By class on Tuesday, finish Firewatch if you haven’t already and check out some of the resources I posted for that day’s discussion, especially Duncan Fyfe’s essay “The End of Firewatch.”

Thursday’s game, Freshman Year, is web-based so there is no need to download and install anything. Be aware that the game depicts scenarios that may be distressing to people who have experienced abuse, so pay attention to your own reactions as you play the game.

Week 5 Ahead

5 9/20 Firewatch

Bogost HTDTWV “Art”

9/22 Bogost HTDTWV “Empathy”

Peer review on Unpacking Manuel’s

Firewatch is a single-player first-person video game where you, as a man named Henry, explore the Wyoming wilderness after taking a summer job as a fire lookout. What is supposed to be a peaceful respite from your complicated life takes a turn when you start to question some of the things that are happening to you.

Your only human connection is over a handheld radio, which you’ll use to speak with your supervisor Delilah about the things both of you are experiencing.

I’ve only played the first few minutes, so will be playing along with you. How Long to Beat says it should take 4 hours to finish completely, so it’s longer than the other games we’ve played so far. Make certain you’ve played at least 2 hours of the game,  but it would be better if you can finish it.

As you play through the game, liveblog the experience. We’ll discuss the game itself, your liveblog reactions to it, and Bogost’s “Art” chapter in class on Tuesday.

Come to class on Thursday with drafts of your Manuel’s analysis written. There will be an opportunity for peer feedback in class on Thursday and then you’ll meet with me individually to discuss your draft.

Week Ahead: 3

3 9/6 Play through Gone Home to completion.
9/8 Richard Bell, “Family History: Source Analysis in Gone Home.”

Begin to discuss podcast assignment.

Check your email for a message from me about the games we’re playing over the next few weeks.

It should take you about 2 hours to play through Gone Home to the end. Publish a post to your course site with 2-3 paragraphs of observations you make during game play, or liveblog your experience playing if you want to try that.

Thursday we’ll continue our discussion of Gone Home by looking at Bell’s analysis of the game, and we’ll also spend some time making decisions about our podcast for this semester. I’ll ask you to listen to a couple of the podcasts from last semester before class on Thursday.

Edited to add:

If you have not managed to create your site yet, don’t panic but do send me a quick email or leave a comment here to let me know you’re working on it. And then play Gone Home and write your observations up in a simple document, which you can put in our shared Google folder. Even if you have not created your site, still play the game for tomorrow!

Week Ahead: 2

2 8/30 Sign up for your domain and install and configure WordPress.
9/1 Bogost HTDTWV “Media Microecology” (1-8).Also, create subdomain for this class, install and configure WordPress.
9/2 First sidequest due: Create an Avatar

If you haven’t already, register a domain and install WordPress in it — in the terms of your Homestead assignment, purchase your land and build a small house. (More detailed instructions are included on the Homestead assignment page and there are links from there to even more detailed instructions.) Definitely have that completed before class on Thursday (if you run into troubles, email me).

If you can, also go ahead and create a subdomain for this course and install WordPress in it — in gaming terms, add your Main Hall. (Note: the second time you install WordPress, choose the subdomain you created from the location menu, and make certain you delete the /blog/ subdirectory that Installatron suggests.) Follow the instructions on the Homestead assignment page to configure some of the basic settings for your subdomain (static front page, create a menu and add custom links to your primary domain and to the class page, and add the Meta widget to your site). I’d like you to have this done by class on Thursday, but if it takes you a day or two later than that, it’s okay.

Before class on Thursday, also read the introductory chapter of Bogost’s How to Do Things with Videogames (PDF of those first few pages below). Think about the rhetorical situation for this chapter:

  • What are Bogost’s primary goals? What does he want to persuade his readers to believe or what behavior(s) does he hope to foster in his readers?
  • What is the context for this book? Based on what you know of discussions about videogames, and especially based on the ways in which Bogost characterizes that discourse within the chapter itself, how does this book respond to already ongoing conversations?
  • What audience(s) is Bogost writing for?

I’ve shared two folders in Google Drive with each of you — one folder that includes the entire class and one folder for each student that is shared only by that student and me. Make certain you can access both of those folders. Starting on Thursday, we can begin to take notes together and work in documents together in class.

We’ll also spend a bit of time in class on Thursday going over the first sidequest assignment.

Download Bogost “Media Microecology”