Side Quest 10: Assemblies

Due: 11/29

Tag: sq10

For some unknown reason, the National Archives includes a document entitled Cocktail Construction Chart, which was created by the US Forest Service in 1974, showing recipes for a group of cocktails represented in the style of an architectural diagram.

For this week’s sketch, think about the work you’ve completed in this class and your own learning and thinking processes — then break all that down into component parts, represented in some sort of an architectural diagram like this one. I’m less interested in the quality of the drawing itself and more in your analytical ability to break down something complicated into a series of steps and to represent that as if in such a diagram. Think of it as a kind of telescoping.

Creating this diagram should be a key step towards completing your portfolio reflection letter (and I will encourage you to use the diagram as a key image in that letter). If you think about what you have learned this semester about yourself as a writer and reader, how can you represent that understanding as a single diagram, and how do the various pieces of writing you have done fit into that diagram to construct your vision? You might want to refer, once again, to the learning outcomes for this class as you you put together your assemblies.

Twine Game Reflection Post

Once you’ve completed your game presentation, each student on the team should write a reflection post  (around 250 words) that you’ll each publish to your separate sites. Think about and explain in your post how the proposal and presentation help you to fulfill the learning objectives for this course.

Describe the Experience

  • What were your most important contributions to the group project? What role(s) did you play on the team?
  • What processes did your team use to make sense of the assignment, brainstorm ideas, and complete the work?
  • What technologies or writing strategies did you employ to complete your individual work on this project?
  • How did you prepare to present your game to the class?
  • How do you feel about the final product that you produced? What would you do differently with the project if you could go back to the start and do it over?

Reflect on Your Learning

  • What new skills or strategies did you learn while working on this project?
  • What new technological or design skills did you develop?
  • Were the strategies, skills and procedures you used effectively during the various stages of the project?
  • Do you see any patterns in how you approached your role in the writing of this proposal and the other work you’ve done, say on the podcast episodes?
  • How can you apply the skills you used in crafting this game proposal to future writing projects? Where can you use these skills again?
  • What are you most proud of about the game that you created?

You don’t need to/won’t be able to answer all the above questions in the space provided, but hopefully they help you to meaningfully engage with the process of reflecting on your work on the assignment.

Super Mario in Quarantine

The Longest Rainy Sunday
The Longest Rainy Sunday
Super Mario in Quarantine

In this episode of the Longest Rainy Sunday, we bring our listeners to Super Mario Odyssey, which on one hand connects people’s childhood memories and emotions, but also extends horizons to the future modern world. In our podcast, we mainly analyze the elements that remained the same in Super Mario Odyssey when comparing it with previous versions in the series and the elements that become new in this newest version. Finally, we connect that with our current social and pandemic time, illustrating how Super Mario Odyssey is related to people’s daily lives under such a unique circumstance. 


Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch – Nintendo Game Details. 

Thier, Dave. “‘Super Mario Odyssey’ Review: A Perfect Game With One Problem.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 2 Nov. 2017, .

Flanagan, Mary. Critical Play. I, “Introduction to Critical Play”. MIT Press, 2009. 



Download transcript

Games Comparison Reflection Post

After you’ve published your games comparison as a page on your site, write a post that links to your essay. The reflection post should provide a very brief (one or two sentences) preview of the argument of your essay: what’s the thesis of the essay?

Then write a substantive paragraph in which you reflect on choices you made as you wrote the essay and what you learned while writing it. Some questions to consider:

  • For this assignment, I asked you to write an inductive essay — in other words, building up from specific claims to the thesis statement near the end of the essay — rather than the deductive essays you are more comfortable with. What did you notice about writing in this new structure? How did it go for you?
  • Look back over the essay you wrote and think about how it’s organized. In a few sentences describe just the broad structure of the essay — how many parts are there? what are the claims that organize the big pieces of your essay?
  • What did you learn while writing this essay? What surprised you or what was something you hadn’t understood about these games until you were writing the essay?

Side Quest 8: Visual Note Taking

Due: 10/25

Tag: sq8


For your sketch assignment this week, I want you to create a set of visual notes for one day in one class (other than this one) that you are currently enrolled in. You do not need to take your visual notes in real time; in fact, I recommend that you don’t. I recommend that you attend classes and take notes in whatever manner you normally do, then after class go through your notes and recreate them as visual notes.

Giulia Forsyth

Domain of One’s Own” by Flickr user Giulia Forsyth

Giulia Forsyth is a visual note-taker and facilitator, which means that she is sometimes employed to go to presentations and meetings and to doodle notes for the meeting. Check out the four minute video below, where Forsyth gives a quick summary of how she began to take her doodling seriously and where it has led her.

Kenneth Robinson

As another example of visual note-taking, you might check out the video below from RSA Animates illustrating a lecture by Kenneth Robinson about educational philosophy. I suspect you’ll find the video much more powerful and engaging because of the illustration that goes along with it than you would if you were simply listening to the audio. What does this mean for your own practice?


For your sketch assignment this week, I want you to create a set of visual notes for one day in one class that you are currently enrolled in (probably not this one). You do not need to take your visual notes in real time; in fact, I recommend that you don’t. I recommend that you go to your classes and take notes in whatever manner you normally do, then after class go through your notes and recreate them as visual notes.

You do not need to draw your notes in a digital environment, either, though you are certainly free to do so. If you prefer to doodle with pen, pencil, or marker on paper then do that and once you’re done with your drawing, just take photos of the pages as JPG files so you can upload them to your site. If you have an iPad or other tablet or would like to draw on your laptop or desktop, then you might try apps like GoodNotesProcreateInkflow, or Adobe’s Sketchbook or search for other free/cheap drawing applicationsI am completely tool agnostic on this assignment, so make your drawings in whatever manner make sense to you.

Your visual notes do not need to be polished or beautiful or anywhere near as intricate as Forsyth’s. Do try to take this assignment as an opportunity to really engage differently with your material – don’t just make a series of doodles that follow the outline of the lecture or discussion in your notes but try to translate the concepts and information into a new, visual set of notes. You might think about creating flowcharts or diagrams, which are also visual devices.

Once you’ve got your notes, load them onto your course site as a sketch post. Embed the images from your notes into the post and as you do, take a few moments to reflect on the process and then write a paragraph or two about what you learned during the process of creating your visual notes. Did it help you to understand the course content any differently or better to create notes visually rather than just as text? Did you discover anything new about yourself or the way you think in the process? Did you find it enjoyable or find some aspect of it particularly interesting? Someplace in your reflective text, create a link back to this blog post assignment.

Side Quest 6: Gris Liveblog

Due: 10/4

Tag: sq6

As you play Gris, I’d like you to liveblog your experience just as you did with Gone Home: pause once you’ve gotten a little ways in and are starting to have a feel for how the game works and write a post where you describe what you’ve noticed so far. The game is organized by the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief, so as you go through the different stages, keep pausing periodically to make note of new developments — especially how you see those five stages reflected in game play.

You might also think about the structure of the game. As I mentioned in class last week, Gris is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, but is it really? What rules of the genre have they broken or bent? Why do you think the game developers chose to make a platform game, or chose to make something that looks like a platformer but isn’t really one? What are they trying to persuade you of with those choices?

The Longest Rainy Sunday

Welcome to The Longest Rainy Sunday Podcast, a production by Emory University students in David Morgen’s Play, Make, Write, Think class. Time has stopped, everything is uncertain, we’re physically distanced and socially disconnected as a pandemic and fights for justice rage around us. The world might be forever changed after the events of 2020 but where does that leave us in the meantime? It’s felt to a lot of us like one almost unending rainy afternoon staring at video screens, either to escape, to connect, or to imagine a better way forward.

Even the World Health Organization, one year after designating video game addiction as a mental health disorder, is now urging people to play more video games and celebrating the “important messages” that the video games industry can communicate.

So in this series, we’ll turn our critical gaze to the games we have been playing, examine what they have to offer right now. How do these games define identities, foster a sense of belonging, encourage empathy, or subvert systems? How do they encourage certain types of problem solving and learning? What sorts of values do they promote?

The world hit pause, let’s hit play.

Bumper music credit: “Algorithms” by Chad Crouch on Free Music Archive


Podcast Reflection

Once you have each completed your podcast episode, the Producer and Assistant Producer should each write separate reflection posts, published to your own sites. Link to the podcast episode post on the course site as part of your reflection.

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.

Reflection Questions

Include a brief description of your process for developing the podcast. How did you and your co-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? Explain how you met those outcomes 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 you used effective for this assignment?
  • Do you see any patterns in how you approached your work on this episode? How was producing a podcast 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?
  • What suggestions do you have for your peers as they go about working on their episodes to come?
  • How can you apply the skills you used in crafting this podcast episode to future writing projects? Where can you use these skills again?
  • What are you most proud of about the episode that you created?