#Gamergate

Gamergate is really confusing. It seems like a group of incredibly passionate people that got together and couldn’t decide on what to get mad about. And I suppose that’s where they struggle with many people, but that makes it difficult to explain to a person on the outside. It also makes anyone talking about it on the internet question whether or not they want to say something.

Gamergate is something that began as one thing, and morphed into another. It seemingly began as a hate campaign against a woman in the independent gaming industry. Then, after it gained considerable (and frightening) speed, it aimed it’s high-powered weaponry at gaming journalism. And there it has sat for around 5 months now.

That’s probably the most basic of explanations, but it gets the nucleus of the matter. There are obviously about 100 follow-up questions to it, but others have already explained it so eloquently that I’d probably just point my friend in their direction. Hopefully they would get their questions answered because I’m still fuzzy on a lot of it.

The actual gamergate community seems like a bunch of people who take themselves to be like this guy. Passionate and misunderstood. But a lot like the gentleman in the video, they’re hearkening back to the halcyon days that just aren’t here anymore. We grow up and so did the gaming industry. I’m sorry fellas, but those days of clandestine games of Pitfall! in your friend’s basement are gone. Gaming gas gone global, and in almost every sense of the word.

While I do think those protecting the legacy of gaming are a bit off the mark, I understand the want of journalism ethics in gaming. The problem is that the seed of that whole problem came out of such a blackened place. Maybe if the issue came up a year from now I’d be more on board, but I can’t see myself being a passenger when the others are still riding along.

Ghosts of a Chance

Ghosts of a Chance seems like a very interesting method to get people interested in museums. I’m not sure that the Smithsonian really needs more foot-traffic and interest, but what they seem to really want is the interest of young people. I suppose that’s not unlike most museums around the country. The advantage the Smithsonian has is that it can do everything bigger than the rest.

The small ripple I think this game has over World Without Oil is that, not only are these people puzzle solving, but they’re also creating art to send into the museum itself. World Without Oil did encourage art-making with all of the writing, but here you are sending your project directly to the museum. That’s a really cool difference and would definitely encourage me to join if I had any artistic ability.

This game also seems to rely much more on actual puzzle solving. What a fun addition. Especially when you get multiple people on a forum involved, dissecting every little detail of their clue to make sense of it all. People love that kind of stuff. Puzzle solving in a collaborative way is a great selling point for your game and museum.

World Without Oil

The World Without Oil game is an interesting look into what can be made out of the concept of a “game.” And while it doesn’t adhere to the traditional idea of a “game” at all, it still is one in its structure. I’d probably describe it more as a collaborative narrative or something along those lines, but I can see why they want to call and sell it as a game. Simply because, to me, a game is something that people are more likely to participate in.

And that’s part of the reason why it works so well as an experience and learning situation. Because something called a game sounds much more attractive to participate in than a social experiment. Plus, people like using their imaginations to make up narratives. I didn’t participate in this thing, but the idea that I get to write up a complete fictional story sounds crazy fun. Throw in thousand of others that I can bounce ideas off of and combine story-lines with? Sign me up.

It seems like the kind of idea that has been around for a while now (Mad Max came to my mind), but it’s still something that is socially relevant and also fun to join in on. I wouldn’t be too shocked if this exact game made another appearance on the tech radar within a couple of years. Just off of sheer numbers alone, it would make sense that they would try and resurrect it. Maybe the next time they’ll take away another huge resource or something.

Video Games Go to Washington

I think the idea of a game for a presidential candidate is awesome. It’s a great way to try to engage an entire new generation of potential voters. And with the massive expansion of the smartphone market in the past 10 or so years, it makes the accessibility of these games even more intriguing. The real question is, should candidates be spending real time and resources on getting a game into their campaign?

My simple answer would be no. My expanded answer would be that, with the difficulty to crack the ever-saturated game market and the potential to make games based nothing on the candidates themselves, it is far too high a risk to have these games come with each ballot in November. But, then again, politics essentially is just a game of persuasion and dismissing platform at this point anyway.

Cracking the smartphone or flashgame market now is near impossible. It’s like every game is a small rowboat in the Pacific Ocean. And each little rowboat is different from the others. Now, a lot of those rowboats will crash and sink, but some with specific differences from the others will make it. To make a successful campaign game, you not only have to crack the next-to-impossible odds of making a great game, but you also have to somehow make that game political. How many political video games can you think of that have been successful on any level? Because I can’t think of one.

Second, I aggressively disagree with manipulating (assumingly) young voters with a video game for a candidate. The Dean game seemed to work on strictly using mini-games to build the strongest voter, which seems incredibly off-putting to me. So, the goal isn’t the get the platform of the person you’re potentially voting for out there, it’s to tell the actual voter that the only thing that matters is how strong a voter he or she is? Knowing the stances of the candidate they’re voting on isn’t so important, though? Or, topically, their stance on the war? Just seems the crosshairs are on the wrong target, here.

I love video games and would love their involvement in my life dang near as much as possible. Unfortunately for the next Howard Dean, one of those things isn’t in politics. It could be my constant cynicism when it comes to politics or my unwavering dismissal of anything that comes out of one of their suit-clad mouths, but it definitely is something. Keep the games about sports and first person shooting. Although, the clashing of the two cultures could lead to our first candidate sponsored first-person shooter, which would be an adventure unto itself.

From Work To Play

Mouthrop’s academic write up on the relationship between working and playing was something I actually struggled a bit to get through. Could have been my mood or just the timing, but for some reason I found the writing quite a tedious read. It was just something that caught me off guard since the website itself seemed like a blog at first. So, while not the most important thought, it did undoubtedly play into my opinion of this reading.

One expert cited in the article is Janet Murray. I tend to disagree with some of the thoughts she has on the video game industry. She says that “those engaged with electronic texts sometimes fail to read for the plot…” I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. If for nothing else, than for the fact that she really isn’t citing any specifics.

What kind of games are these people playing? Madden? There is no real narrative there. A huge percentage of the games on the market today don’t feature a narrative, but that doesn’t mean those players aren’t engaged with the game. It just means they’re engaged with what’s in front of them.

Even a game like Grand Theft Auto, that I see cited as a game nobody cares about the narrative in, it really depends on the source of gameplay. Online, the narrative really isn’t the appeal. You want to run around with 10 friends and rob 8 banks in the lowest time possible. That’s the narrative.

I get what she’s trying to get at. But, really, games have come a long way in terms of story structure and engagement. You used to just side-scroll into a castle and chase the princess for decades. Now, we have cinematic-quality games like Heavy Rain and the Uncharted series that are akin to playing a movie. So, while I see where she’s coming from, I just don’t buy her narrative.

Narrative Fiction Project Reflection

The narrative fiction project was unlike anything else I’ve ever done at this university. It was such a change of pace for me as a journalism major that it was, at times, uncomfortable but also an interesting feeling of freedom with what I was doing. I’m not used to that kind of freedom in what I’m writing on a day-to-day basis. It’s obviously important to get out of your comfort zone in life, but something like this is not what I expected to be doing in this class. I assumed “New Media Writing” would be a bit more of adapting the old school style of what I had been doing in a new way. So, all in all, it’s been a very fun surprise.

The readings and such helped a bit in the writing process, but nothing really earth shattering was contributed by them. There were probably things I subconsciously took from each one. Thinking back, there isn’t anything I was trying to copy or draw from that we looked at, though. Mostly I was drawing from the specific characters I used and just my personal history of readings and pop culture.

The easiest thing about the project was the actual writing. Which kind of sounds weird to think about if you approach it from the beginning, but it was helped greatly by the outline. The outline was, far and way, the hardest part about the project. But as soon as you had the table set it was simple as can be to do the rest. The outline was so difficult because I felt the need to establish this as something that was sort of believable, but at the same time had some sort of intrigue to it. The story itself doesn’t have all that many big plot points so it was a struggle to make sure people still would want to read it. It’s probably the main issue with most writers of fiction, but it’s a problem I’m not really used to.

The strengths of this style of writing can be utilized in different ways. If you’re doing it on Twitter or something over several months, you get constant interest and anticipation with each new bit of story. You can also do a lot of things with feedback from the audience that is much harder to do in traditional fiction writing. If you write a book and release it, it’s hard to get feedback for months because the publishing process takes so long. In this realm, you’re able to send out that story immediately and the comments just start rolling in. It’s pretty amazing and I think that can be a useful tool to use as it can help you steer the story where the audience seems to be the most interested.

I’m not sure if this project will seep into my other forms of writing. I really do enjoy fiction writing so it’ll undoubtedly be nice to get more experience with it. It’s the type of thing where, if I ever developed something I thought would fit really well into this arena, I’d pursue it, but it’s not something I plan on putting into my writing rotation. I do really appreciate that it’s a project I did, though.

The ebola project I did before this one certainly helped with structuring this project. It was nice to get a solid picture of what was expected before anything really started. Because if this project just would have been dropped in my lap two weeks ago, I would have struggled to complete it at the level I ended up at. There are little sections of my project that I thought were good ideas and there were some that I thought were too trope-y and bad. I’m fine with the final project, but I’m such a nitpicker that I could easily struggle over small details for weeks on end.

Models for Personal Narrative Project

Tonally, I don’t want this project to just be coming from one angle. I want there to be drama and comedy, mostly. Dramatically, it will be a bit like a family-drama. So examples could be anything from The Family Stone, to the Vacation movies, or, more aptly, American Beauty. Mostly dealing with the dysfunction of the family and the consequences of such. Dysfunction does breed comedy, though. I plan on it mostly to be dark, but there will be straight comedy as well. American Beauty‘s comedy fits in well here, so does something like Observe and Report. There’s dark and light, like almost anything that’s good in media.

As far as specific voices go, the Tyler character will mostly resemble the @IAmJacksBot Twitter page as it’s based off of the character in question. This is an effective model because it is portraying the character as is in the movie. Chaotic, idealistic, and violent. Also being used as what I believe to be a better model is the @AngryPatBateman Twitter page. I think this moreso resembles the character it’s based off of. Bateman is the opposite of Durden in that he’s materialistic, but they’re both cynical and violent. Although less chaotic than Durden, this character is still just as unpredictable.