Once your essay is published as a page on your site, also publish a post that links to your essay and also does the following:
- Invites readers to read the full essay by conveying what is interesting about what you’ve said and/or why they should care about your argument. This invitation can take many forms, but the gist is that I want you to recognize what is most exciting about your own essay and to convey that to an imagined audience.
- Articulates, in a concise way, the controlling idea for your essay. Ideally, your controlling idea will be part of what is exciting about your essay, so this might not be distinct from the first bullet point. But if you don’t state clearly in your invitation what your controlling idea is, then make sure you say it someplace in your post.
- Explains how your essay fulfills one or more of the course learning outcomes.
Is Kentucky Route Zero a magical realist work?
Here’s a list of some of the elements of the genre:
- Fantastical elements
- Real-world setting
- Authorial reticence
- Heightened awareness of mystery
- Political critique
There are descriptions of each of these elements at the wikipedia page on magical realism.
Choose one of the items from this list and write a paragraph or two about how that element is used within KRZ to invite players to think about and engage with the world around them.
Once you’ve completed your revisions on the Unpacking Manuel’s assignment, write a reflective blog post of about 250 words.
Begin your post by stating the controlling idea for your analysis. Then explain how you went about revising the final version in order to explain that controlling idea effectively. In what ways did you make the revised version stronger than the first draft?
How do you see your work on the Unpacking Manuel’s assignment helping you to achieve the learning outcomes for this course? Link to one or more of the specific learning outcome posts that applied to your work on this assignment, and explain how you met that outcome with your work on this assignment.
Make sure you address the sets of questions above and then also consider one or more of the questions below and address them in your reflection (you definitely won’t be able to answer all of these, so go through the list and pick some that seem to be most of interest for you and write about them):
- Were the strategies, skills, and procedures you used effective for this assignment?
- Do you see any patterns in how you approached your work on this assignment? How was your writing on this assignment similar to or different from writing more traditional essays?
- What have you learned about your strengths and areas in need of improvement?
- How are you progressing as a learner?
- How can you apply the skills you used in crafting this analysis to future writing projects, in this class, other classes, or in other arenas? Where can you use these skills again?
- What are you most proud of about the project?
- How does the close reading analysis of your one object fit into the larger project of Unpacking Manuel’s, or at least of the readings of the Main North Wall that you and your classmates have produced?
As you play through Firewatch for class on Tuesday, I want you to liveblog your experience playing. Liveblogging is an informal sort of freewriting — while you are in the midst of playing the game, just notice whatever seems interesting to you and pause periodically to note those observations in your blog post.
The game begins with a fairly long opening sequence that sets up a little background for the main character and serves as a simple tutorial for basic game mechanics, so launch the game and play through that opening section, then pause the game and open your dashboard. Write a new blog post which starts by announcing that your’e beginning to play through the game and links back to this post (not just the course site, but this specific post). Tag your post with “Firewatch” and “liveblog” plus whatever other tags you’d like. (You can add tags in the post editor page, in the section labeled Tags, which should be in the sidebar just beneath categories and just above the featured image area.)
Write a paragraph (or a few sentences) responding to that opening sequence. Again, whatever is interesting to you about it — visual style, emotional reactions, comparison with the opening of Gone Home or Dear Esther, making predictions or noting expectations for where this game will head, whether and how this game operates as “art” in the way Bogost defines art games, whatever seems worth noting. Publish the post. Once you’ve published your post, you might check out the other students’ posts and see how they responded to the opening sequence — please leave comments on their liveblog posts responding to observations they made!
When your’e ready, go back to the game and play on. When you find a scene that seems particularly cool or beautiful or interesting, screenshot it. Be on the lookout for moments that seem worth commenting on. Check in periodically with your peers’ responses to the game and pay attention to whether you have similar or different reactions. Periodically leave comments on your own post updating your progress through the game and recording those observations. Leave comments on your peers’ posts too, responding to their observations.
As you play through Gone Home for class on Tuesday, please try to pay attention to your own thinking and emotional reaction as you play and take notes as you go. If we were a little later in the semester and you were more comfortable with publishing to your sites, I might have asked you to liveblog your game play — feel free to try that if you’re willing (see note below). Probably most of you will choose instead to play through the game, taking notes of the things you notice, and then when you’re finished write a blog post with 2-3 paragraphs worth of reflection on the experiences.
Pay careful attention to the start of the game. How does the game begin? How do you feel at the start? How does the game establish setting and time, both at the start of the game and then throughout? How does the game establish character? Especially think about how the game establishes character given that there is only one person present in the narrative and it’s the first person narrator — without dialog and other traditional methods of defining character, how do the game designers go about doing so? Finally, your first larger writing project will build from our discussion of Gone Home towards thinking about how games make use of objects and descriptions of those objects in order to shape narrative, so pay particular attention to all the various things that you pick up and examine and how the writing frames the meaning of those objects.
You do not need to address all of these questions. You do not even need to answer any of these questions, to be honest — if there is a different pattern that really captures your attention and you feel a burning desire to explore it in your blog post, then do that instead of answering the questions in the paragraph above.
There are a number of different ways that you might liveblog game play. If you want to try it but aren’t sure how to pull it off, my suggestion is to open up your site in a tab and then launch the game. Just look around at the start point of the game for a minute or two, then write a blog post in which you announce your intention to liveblog your experience playing the game and then write a couple of sentences about the start point and publish the post. Then whenever you notice something interesting or worth commenting on as you play, leave a comment on your own post with your observation. Boom, liveblogging.
Now that you’ve created your subdomain, you need an image to represent yourself and/or your site for the class: a player character avatar. Your avatar can be whatever you want it be but try to create something that both reflects you’re personality and speaks to the topic for this class in someway.
Start by choosing one or more of your own photos as the basis of the avatar, drawing something yourself and scanning it, or finding one or more CC-licensed images on Flickr that you can modify. Make certain to keep a note for yourself of the URL for the photos you use if they are not your own.
Crop and otherwise edit the photo(s) in a photo editing application (like Photoshop or PicMonkey). You can create a layered or collage effect, if you’d like. Add your name on your badge in such a way that it’s legible. You might also include your domain URL, but that’s not required.
Your final badge should be square and at least 512 pixels wide and high.
When you’re done, you’ll need to put the image two places, with an optional third:
First, load the badge into your Media Library and publish it to your site in a blog post. Include information and links in the post about the source(s) for images included in your badge. Write a paragraph or two about why you chose those images, what aspects of yourself and your interests are represented in your badge, and/or what difficulties you faced in creating the badge.
Seconly, go into your dashboard to Appearance > Customize > Site Identity and load the image as your favicon/site icon.
Finally, if you do not already have a gravatar (which is almost all of you), create a gravatar account connected to whatever email you use when you comment on sites for this class and load your avatar there. From then on, your avatar will show up as your picture when you leave comments here and on other students’ sites.
Once you have completed your podcast episode, you should write a reflection post, published to your own site. Embed the Soundcloud episode in your post (if I haven’t published the episode yet when you publish your post, just edit the post later to add the link once I have).
Your refection should be 250 – 500 words and should be in the form of an essay with complete paragraphs, not as a list of bullet point answers.
Include a brief description of your process for developing the podcast. How did you and your assistant producer divide up the tasks involved and how did you structure your collaboration? In what ways does your episode respond to the other episodes in the series — in other words, compare your episode to the ones before it, explaining how you gained inspiration from, adapted, or resisted something that your peers did in their episodes.
Please describe your primary goals with the episode that you produced and explain the strategies that you used to achieve them. You’re producing these episodes under a number of time and technological constraints, so it’s likely that there will be some goals that you just cannot accomplish within those constraints — address what challenges arose for you and the choices you made to meet them and/or describe what you would have done differently had you more time/resources available for your episode (in other words, what are some aspirational goals that were perhaps unrealistic given the constraints of the assignment but that you would have liked to have tried to accomplish if circumstances were different?).
How do you see your work on the podcast episode helping you to achieve the learning outcomes for this course? Link to the specific learning outcome posts that applied to your work on this assignment, and explain how you met that outcome with your work on this assignment.
Make sure you address the sets of questions above and then also consider some of the questions below and address them in your reflection (you definitely won’t be able to answer all of these, so go through the list and pick some that seem to be most of interest for you and write about them):
- Were the strategies, skills and procedures I used effective for this assignment?
- Do I see any patterns in how I approached my work on this episode? How was producing a podcast similar to or different from writing more traditional essays?
- What have I learned about my strengths and my areas in need of improvement?
- How am I progressing as a learner?
- What suggestions do I have for my peers as they go about working on their episodes to come?
- How can I apply the skills I used in crafting this podcast episode to future writing projects? Where can I use these skills again?
- What are you most proud of about the episode that you created?