This site is an archive of all of my work that I have completed in my English 181 class Read, Write, Play at Emory University during the Spring of 2016.
Final Portfolio Reflection
Publishing a blog and playing video games on the weekly was not something I ever did before college. Writing in high school was different. A book was read and analyzed and a paper was typed up in hopes of pleasing my teacher and her expectations. I adhered to the style of writing that was expected as straying from that path was frowned upon. In this class I have found the freedom to truly express my opinion on works without holding back. Most importantly, this class has challenged my traditional view of literature. Games hold as much value and meaning as printed books, if not more. By exploring topics through games, I have become convinced that literature deserves a broader interpretation than just books. The new skills that I have learned while doing these gaming analyses fall under the learning outcomes for the course and I was able to meet the expectations for this writing program.
Unpacking Manuel’s was our first big assignment for the class. We were tasked with picking an item on the wall of Manuel’s Tavern and attempting to place its significance. I knew my item, a Yuengling beer sign, was going to be tough to analysis as beer signs in taverns are a common sight. It actually took multiple drafts and a meeting with Professor Morgen to truly realize where my paper was going and adjust as necessary. In high school I never wrote drafts or took the time to a revise a paper. With this assignment I demonstrated use of learning outcome 3 (slo3). Eventually I came to my conclusion, “The Tavern is known as a hub for political events and all around American greatness. Yuengling is as American as you can get. Their joke on President Roosevelt reflected the company’s humor and showed their somewhat political side. Though there are many other beer signs on the wall, I think Yuengling truly embraces the ambiance of Manuel’s Tavern.” With this claim, I used outside information to support my argument thus exhibiting learning outcome 2 (slo2). I also linked to other pages in my essay to show where I received my information utilizing learning outcome 4 (slo4). In the following sentence I linked to Yuengling’s website so that readers could find out more about the company, “Being that I am quite unknowledgeable about this beer company, I took to Yuengling to find out more about the sign and business.” Though an early assignment, I was already starting to learn new things in this course.
My favorite assignment and one that fully exemplifies how games are literature is creating a podcast with my fellow classmate Billie. After discussing some of our ideas with Professor Morgen, we chose to play Cibele, from the same creator of Freshman Year, Nina Freeman. Cibele was the first game that had an impact on me. It made me feel emotion and empathy in ten minutes as compared to not feeling anything after reading a 300 page novel. It was quite an experience. In creating the podcast I displayed use of learning outcome 5 (slo5), collaboration. I learned how to listen to Billie and integrate our ideas successfully for the intended audience. I also achieved learning outcome 3 (slo3) as we as a team needed to come with a way to present our argument well, which wa not something that happened on the first run through. I was awfully proud of our work.
Our next assignment was playing a table top role-playing game Fiasco. This was by far the most normal assignment we had this entire semester. Professor Morgen thought we were going to push back on the game; however, after exposing us to weird games and ideas throughout the semester it was ordinary. We had all already come to the conclusion that games were excellent vehicles for introducing concepts so creating a story was just like writing in high school. I had extenuating circumstances that prevented me from playing with my classmates but I still demonstrated learning outcome 1 (slo1). I surprised myself because, “I learned to write a story using a game instead of a keyboard,” which was a cool experience. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Fiasco.
Our last major project was working with the novel Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. It was the only time this semester where we had to read a book and come up with some sort of idea about it, much like in high school. After writing a draft, each student was assigned another paper to peer edit. I liked this aspect because I received feedback from my peers which helped me improve my paper, but also by reading other papers, I was able to see other points of views. It made me think about my argument and how I could improve it or include ideas from my classmates. By incorporating feedback from my peers, I showed the use of learning outcome 3 (slo3).
Our small reflections during the semester gave me the ability to reflect on my gaming experiences. They further convinced me that games carry great meaning because I was forced to think about what the game meant and how it made me feel. My favorite game to play was Freshman Year. The game, “definitely pulls at a player’s emotions. It tells a story, one that is ever so real, and that’s what got me interested. Though it may seem like a lame game with terrible graphics, it brings to light an issue that is usually viewed by society as ‘normal.’” This is an example of learning outcome 2 (slo2). Games have the ability to present on a different platform that is more appealing to most than print literature.
Overall this class made me a better writer as it challenged me to look at things differently and be aware of my audience. It also taught me the importance of drafts and how they can be used to produce the best work possible.