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[personal profile] rockwood posting in [community profile] i_love_games
Hi, folks; I'm a game designer/publisher and also a teacher of high school English and Game Design, and I'm working on using games (video games and tabletop RPGs) in my English classes, along with the usual books.

I'm interested in hearing thoughts and feedback on the idea of using video games as texts in class; my first blog post in a series on this subject is about considering what 'literature' means in this context, and I'm happy to have disagreement or discussion on that, but the later posts will be more specifically about the use of games. What makes them a good fit, what problems they have, and so on.

So, if you are interested in the idea, have negative or positive feedback, or even experience to share on the subject, I'd love to hear it! I'm especially interested in recommendations for games that might be used in a classroom, as my later posts will start to include critiques of such things.

~Nathan Rockwood

Date: 2015-09-14 06:26 pm (UTC)
lizcommotion: Patrick Stewart in Star Trek attire with the caption "Engage" (Patrick Stewart)
From: [personal profile] lizcommotion
This makes absolute sense to me. One game that jumps out at me -- which I haven't had a chance to play myself yet, but has gotten good reviews -- is Never Alone. From the review:

Working with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Upper One Games has assembled a marvellous tribute to the Iñupiaq tribespeople who reside in northern Alaska, in which videos about native customs are unlocked as you progress through the campaign's eight chapters. “Unlocking” is too bleak and unfeeling a word, though – what you're doing is reclaiming, rescuing the fragments of a way of life that's melting away into the ocean, in order to shore up the sense of fellowship that's boldly insisted upon by the game’s title. The result is beautiful, hopeful and sad. Scoring it feels rather presumptuous, like slapping “Must Buy!” on the cover of the diary of Anne Frank.

Another Steam game (also available on multiple platforms) is Road Not Taken. The mechanics of the game is solving puzzles, but the story of the game is really about choices. You play a ranger whose job is rescuing children lost in a snowy wood (from Baba Yaga, Yetis, Will O' the Wisps and other sometimes even humorous dangers). Yet you can progress if you save over half the children -- and sometimes there is no way to save all the children, and/or the best way to save more children is the next level is to choose to leave some behind. You can also romance characters in town. Eventually all of them want children, but for various reasons they can never have them. It's beautiful and funny and heartwrenching and challenging all at once.

I could go on and on about the Dragon Age series as well...

I think, basically, that over time with better programming, games are moving away from game mechanics being the motivation to pick up a particular game (with an icing of more straightforward "beat the Obvious Bad Guy") to stories with more nuance and grey moral areas. Obviously with GG there's been pushback to get more diversity in characters and stories and representation.

Have more thoughts, but no time to share them atm.

(I have seen some anthropological studies lately though about gender and WoW -- how the gender of the player alters the gender presentation of the character they play, for times when the genders match and when they differ. Apparently on average masculine identified players who play feminine characters tend to hop a loooot more, and display many more obvious "markers" of femininity, and try to use their gender to get better raid loot. I have lost the link, but it might have been via

Date: 2015-09-19 04:13 pm (UTC)
lizcommotion: Lily and Chance squished in a cat pile-up on top of a cat tree (buff tabby, black cat with red collar) (Default)
From: [personal profile] lizcommotion
Ooo thank you! I shall poke them.

I have a lot of thoughts about games and the economy and society that I keep meaning to write about. Like how WoW auctions have made me much better at using Craigslist, and why is there *always* that one person underselling everyone?


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