My group’s Twine game is about the early stages of Covid-19 and the story of three people who contracted it. The three characters who catch the virus are drastically different in terms of their occupation. The point of the game is for the audience to learn how different socioeconomic states can impact people’s experience with the virus. The goal is for people to hopefully gain empathy for people that are struggling with the virus firsthand and take note of the gravity of the pandemic so everyone can take the pandemic with the necessary caution and seriousness.
Our group set the setting and time intentionally as Tuesday, March 5th in New York City, two days before NY Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, so our characters aren’t familiar with the mask-wearing protocols. The three characters we based our Twine game on is a heart surgeon (Sam), a construction worker (Frank Briganti), and a CEO (Bill Stevens). As the player picks a character and makes decisions for the character, (spoilers alert) the player will always end with the character dying from the virus. When the player finishes a character’s journey, we reveal when and where the character unknowingly caught the virus; each character was programmed to catch the virus in the very beginning of their journey. This intentional decision by the group was to hopefully underscore the fact that the people can get the virus and unknowingly live their lives normally, spreading the virus during that incubation process. It was also to serve as a ‘surprise factor’ though I don’t how effective that was.
Making the Twine Game was pretty fun for my group. Although the job became tedious at some parts, as we had to plan out and write numerous options and the subsequent, corresponding pathways of decisions, it was interesting to come up with a fictitious but believable storyline. My main role for the project writing the storyline for one of the characters; I wrote the storyline of Sam the surgeon. At the start of the project, after my group got into a Zoom call, we just started discussing and fishing out things we could write about. After we came up with the basis of the game, we just all started writing. When all was done and our group presented our game to the class, it turned out that our concept was similar to those of other groups, predictably so considering all we think about is the dreadful pandemic. I thought the final product came out well; if my group had more time, we definitely would have added more pathways to make it each character storyline to be more interesting.
I learned many things from making the game. The most relevant skill I learned was developing a fictional storyline a number of corresponding hypotheticals. It was the first time I did something like this. I don’t usually write fiction in the first place, so writing for our Twine game was definitely a new experience. I hope use these skills again in the future if I have another project like this.
In terms of how our game accomplished the learning objectives of ENG 101 with Professor David Morgen, we fined our skill of practice writing as a process. When we were all making pathways after each decision, my group constantly made revisions on the new options and even the original decision—back-and-forth—just so everything seemed coherent. Our group also demonstrated collaborative skills; our group met 2 times over Zoom and conversed frequently through GroupMe. We used technology to communicate with each other on the game’s development, and it helped us tremendously.
The acting Producer, Elaine Han, chose the focus on Super Mario Odyssey for this episode. I was excited to get into the game because I had never played it before. The creation process for the script was the same as always. We took the time to play the game and wrote our own points. The concluding product focused a bunch on the gameplay as well as interesting aspects that we saw in the game, such as intense probing that is involved in the game. The entire process was enjoyable. The great chemistry between the team allowed us to smoothly develop the script. Just like the other episodes our group has made, we successfully hit the learning outcomes. We took the game and synthesized the interesting points of the game and laid them out in the podcast script document after which we refined the points and converted them into talking points. Our group worked well as always, messaging each other frequently. We used technology well; I was involved in making the final product come together by making snippets of voiced recordings of the script and knitting everything together. One thing I would like to improve is connecting a game to other scholarly arguments. The current and past episodes were heavily connected with Mary Flanagan’s Critical Play and Steven Johnson’s Everything Bad is Good for You. And although it was necessary and appropriate to connect our games to those novels and their ideas, I wish to challenge myself to connect ideas to other scholarly books. After making 3 interesting episodes on 3 vastly different games, I think it is safe to say that our group—Jimmy, Elaine and I—are well equipped in the knowings of how to make a podcast on any game. I thought the most interesting thing about the episode was the game was the play experience, and how vastly different it was to my previous experience playing Mario. I remember playing the 2006 New Super Mario Bros that came out on the DS Lite. The improvement in graphics, the transition from the classic platform game to an amazing free-roam game. It was a delight to touch Odyssey after so many years of not playing the Mario video games franchise.
The main thesis of the essay is about how the coping of trauma propagates the feeling of empathy for the characters involved who are jumping over the imposing hurdles of trauma.
I thought that writing an inductive essay was much harder than writing a deductive essay. In my writing upcoming, I was accustomed to writing a standard 5 paragraph essay: the introduction states the main thesis of the essay, the 3 body paragraphs each support the main thesis with different reasonings, the conclusion paragraph brings the essay to a natural ending and reinstates the main thesis. Saving the thesis for the very end felt weird to do. From a structural viewpoint, I feel like writing the body, support paragraphs following the introduction helps me as a writer because I am constantly aware how to connect the body paragraph back to thesis. When I have the thesis at the end, especially when the thesis is underdeveloped, writing a thesis statement that forcibly connects the body paragraphs seems difficult to do.
In frank words, I am not sure I correctly followed the Professor Morgen’s intended structure. The purpose of the prompt to compare 2 games—in my case, Gris and Gone Home—I wrote the first 2 paragraphs contrasting the clearly different games. I then dedicated the last 2 paragraphs to how the games involve the theme of trauma and coping of trauma. The very last paragraph continues the discussion of the third paragraph and connects how the characters’ dealing with trauma forces us to empathize with the characters.
I learned about the inductive essay format because it was my first time writing it. I was surprised at how challenging it was for me to write it. I’m not sure if the difficulty originated from the fact that I hadn’t played the 2 games for a long time or because of the inductive essay structure. If I had a choice, I would much prefer writing a deductive essay than an inductive essay.
I recreated a scene from the Christopher Nolan Batman series. This scene is during Batman: The Dark Knight Rises where I impersonate Bane, the antagonist of the film, and easily K.O Batman. Filming this was only described as cringe. I tried my best sounding like Bane, but my voice just wasn’t low enough in some places. Also, I clearly don’t know where to look when I film myself. However, this SQ assignment was extremely fun to make and I had lots of laughs in the process.
A couple weeks ago, I took a passive role as the line producer for my group. This time around, I took initiation as the Executive Producer. When I was thinking of which game to study on, I looked at the gaming categories on the largest gaming platform, Twitch, as the viewer counts give an idea on which mainstream games are the most played. As expected, the most concurrently viewed game was League of Legends. Scanning through the other games, I saw a game called Valorant. I had heard of Valorant before; I knew that it was released only 6 months ago and that it was a blend of Overwatch and Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, both games that I had previously played before. I downloaded the conveniently free game and tried it out. It had the same mechanics as CS:GO and the different agents had unique abilities like Overwatch. I played a couple games and got hooked. Transferring my knowledge from Overwatch and CS:GO, I was able to adapt to Valorant pretty quickly.
My primary goal for the podcast episode was to explain Valorant in a way that would be easy to understand for the typical non-gamer. Valorant isn’t a complex game; it doesn’t have a steep learning curve unlike League of Legends. Valorant, however, has several components to the game which made it slightly difficult to explain the game in just a short explanatory paragraph. The biggest challenge our group faced was analyzing the game. After all, Valorant is just an FPS game. When our group met up with Professor Morgen for a progress check, we were able to write about Valorant that was more than just describing the game. In the end, I was extremely satisfied with the final product. I don’t think we would have done anything differently with a time extension or under different circumstances. Our group performed well together; I am thankful to my group that they were responsive whenever I needed feedback or when it was time to record. Making the podcast was a unique and fun experience. I was able to achieve the learning outcome “summarize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the ideas of others as you undertake scholarly inquiry in order produce your own arguments”. By connecting ideas to novels like Jane McGonical’s Superbetter, my group was able to talk more than the basics; we were able to scrutinize the game and find The Underlying Lessons in Valorant (episode title). Overall, I am super proud with the outcome of the episode. Also, I am happy that I thought of recording the podcast via individual home recordings rather than a Zoom group meeting recording because the quality also turned out pretty great.
First and foremost, I learned that I am a terrible artist. The only reason why each doodle is even recognizable to the eye is due to the fact that each doodle was drawn extremely slowly and meticulously. However, I also learned couple positive things from the doodling process. As I was rewatching my Econ 101 lecture about the labor market, I found that doodling helped me retain what I was learning. When you write/take notes, you remember what you’re hearing because the physical motion of writing helps you process and retain the information. When I was doodling pictures along with the written notes, I felt like it helped me even more with retaining the information because, I think, psychologically, I was associating the information with the doodles. I also found doodling to be quite therapeutic. There is something quite soothing about just moving your drawing pen on the paper and contemplating what to draw next. The only downfall for doodling notes was that it took a long time for me to draw everything, but I think it’s because I suck at drawing. For that reason, I don’t think doodling notes is a very practical way of taking notes.
Although the challenge is called “Throw a piece of paper…”, I wanted some liberties with the challenge. Because throwing the paper would be too easy of a challenge (I initially did a LeBron James iconic stepback long shot, but I made it my first try and just didn’t look that interesting), I got out my trusty tennis racket from my high school days and used that to hit the paper ball in. With my usual tennis outfit on, I tried just hitting the paper ball in the air with my 2018 Babolat Pure Drive. That simple task proved to be a challenge. Because of all the tiny cracks and corners of the roughly scrunched up paper ball, the irregular shape of the ball made it go haphazardly upon impact. When I tried hitting the ball in a general direction, the ball seemed to have a mind of its own. Without practice, I told my mom to record my shot and my numerous, numerous attempts in the living room, but she soon got sick of all my misses and told me to do it in my room. I took the challenge on my own: I put my phone against my computer and I just started recording me hitting the ball with my racket, from a considerable distance. After a total of 30 attempts, I recorded a shot that I was finally satisfied with. Behold! The ultimate tennis shot! With the handle comfortably in the volley grip, the paper ball collides with the swinging head of the racket. The ball soars through the air with the perfect amount of backspin. It hits the corner of my room and the ball uses the backboard to get into the bin. GOAL! That is a spectacular shot if I ever saw one.
Gris is about a girl that is lost in her own world. The girl traverses through the different terrains as she battles with the difficulties that impose on her life. The various color schemes in the game highlight the different stages of grief that the girl experiences. Gris is a platform game with a beautiful 2D landscape that is detailed with intricate animation and supplemented with a moving original score. I will be live blogging as I play the game. I hope to capture my emotions and thinking process as I play Gris.
The game opens with the girl, kneeling in the secure palm of a giant hand. I see cracks in the hand; it almost looks like the hand is made up of rocks that were glued together. The cracks and splits of the hand that seems like it’s supposed to be her agent of security could signify her brokenness and loneliness. The opening color scheme is pink. The slow-paced music is accompanied by multiple female vocals that is supposed to represent her voice. But soon, her singing halts. Her voice is lost. Gradually, the cracks in the hands expand and the rock hand falls, as well as the girl. The girl falls down the sky for what seems like an eternity. The cool aspect about platform games is that because everything is 2D, directionality plays a big role in depicting the progress of the game. The girl falling down the sky, the downward movement, is most likely in parallel to her emotions. Her emotions are falling further and further down a deep rabbit hole where it is engulfed by tidal waves of the feelings of grief.
The girl finally touches the ground. She tries to get back on her feet but she struggles after a couple steps. She looks like she has hit rock bottom. She tries to grapple in her emotionally abysmal state. She manages to get on her feet and trudge the white, barren landscape. I feel like the white is supposed to signify the initial emotionless state when you fall into such despair—you don’t actually know how to react and feel because you’re swallowed by so many different emotions at once. The girl then changes her slow walking pace into a run. As a player, I can feel that she desperately wants to get out of her feeling of despair. I finally embark on my journey to trump the complex emotions of grief.
The beginning setting with the white landscape seems to look like a desert. I see desert pyramids in the background. The ground has numerous ruins, again reflecting her emotions. She walks more and more right when she finds that same hand that was in the beginning again. The hand is in the same position but the pieces of rocks are glued back together. The girl walks into the palm of the hand the entire color scheme of white is added with a tint of red. The red could symbolize the second stage of grief, anger.
In this new red phase, the music, so far, is just tranquil piano. However, there are certain parts when the rhythm turns very fast and the entire background is covered by blood-red dust. This may symbolize the short episodes of extreme anger when you fall into grief. The music during these episodes sounds like a combination of high-pitched strings and vocals—the tone of the music is pretty unsettling. During this red phase, the girl has the ability to break the certain surfaces underneath her. When the girl jumps, her dress turns into a solid cube, crushing the loose surface underneath her. This could signify our desire for using physical force when we become enraged. As I am playing more of the game, I can’t stop but appreciate the artistry, the score, and all the sound effects that respond to your movement. Everything is so detailed and feels so meaningful and original. The combination of these 3 things work together to set certain tones. This game truly feels like art.
I think I have reached the end of the red phase. I find that hand again and jump into the palm. The color scheme suddenly changes from red to green. Humongous branches with leaves appear out of nowhere. I slide down the branches like Tarzan. I fall into a red tinted green forest. I hear birds in the background. The ground seems very earthy. The square shaped leaves of the trees morph back and forth into a right triangle. I am walking on the forest floor and I see something following me. It’s like an alive rock figure. It is very cute. Still in the green phase, I am in a massive temple-like structure and suddenly a group of tiny birds morph into a big bird that screeches at me and follows me. It chases me like a predator. In the stages of grief, oftentimes you feel like you are being targeted because so many bad things happen after another. You feel like you are being chased by a predator (maybe it’s a person or maybe it’s just a life force) that is preventing you from escaping your pit hole of grief. I feel like that is what the girl is feeling at this stage. Woah. Suddenly I soar through the sky with the bird in the back. Either my interpretation of the bird is wrong or the game is trying to convey, yes, although it may seem like the people around you are turning against you when you are in grief, they are—unknowingly to you—trying to help you back up. I think the game is trying to tell a message to stay hopeful and that the feeling of grief could blind you by antagonizing the people around you as a self-defense mechanism.
I find that hand motif again but I also see a woman. Suddenly, the color scheme changes to a greenish blue. Also, epic music plays and it starts raining. I think the blue phase is supposed to represent the depression stage in grief from the color scheme, the tranquil music, and the depressing trope of rain. I go down a deep, dark cave. The level of detail and all the colors are so pretty. OMG, I just turned into a fish. I see this cool, pink-shell, glowing turtle. Still in the blue phase, I see the hand again. This time, I actually see the entire girl. The one before, I wasn’t to see the giant woman’s complete face. Now, I can. The big woman’s eyes are closed but quickly open. I am wondering if this woman motif is supposed to represent me: at first the stone woman was broken at first, but gradually, the stone woman becomes fixed, like the protagonist’s emotions. OH NO! This dark bird savagely destroyed the stone woman and is now chasing me. This bird, converted into what looks like a giant eel, chases me through the water caves. I desperately try to run away. The eel gets so close to eating me, but I miraculously get saved by the turtle I saw before. Close call!
The color scheme turns from blue back to a pink-ish red. The ground is very floral. The flowers symbolizing growth may signify the final stage of grief, acceptance. You need to grow from your feelings of resentment and depression so you can accept who you are and move on.
Out of nowhere, the color scheme turns to the color I started with, white. I get swallowed by a girl—I think, a spiritual resurrection of the giant rock girl. I make my way up and find that same hand I first saw when I started the game. The same cracked hand. The cracked hand becomes fixed. The music turns almost all vocal. There is a cut scene of the girl singing. The girl has regained her voice! The physical rock of the woman we saw earlier then becomes completely fixed. There is an intimate moment between the giant rock lady (I think, a physical representation of the girl’s emotions) and the girl. I think the girl has finally come in terms with herself and her emotions. There is a burst of different colors. Epic music plays. The girl has finally escaped her stages of grief! The game ends.
I was scrounging around my desk and through drawers when I saw my staple remover. The sharp teeth used to take out staples looked exactly like the teeth of an alligator snapping turtle. Then I started thinking of animals that could use some sharp teeth. The first thing I thought was birds because they don’t have teeth. How scary would it be if a soaring animal can take your head off with its sharp, menacing teeth? I then started brainstorming of birds that would look the most terrifying with sharp teeth. Obviously, the first bird that shot up to my brain was the bald eagle. Funny enough, I started drawing the shape of the bald eagle but it turned more into a seagull, so I just stuck with it, thus why the background is a blue ocean.
MacBook Pro 15-inch (2019): I am one of the unfortunate 10% of people that has been cursed with what I would like to call the “left-handed syndrome”, because when it comes to writing in general, being left-handed sucks. If you’re writing in a spiral notebook, your handwriting will vary for every page. Your handwriting will be good on one page then turn to utter poop on the next. That’s because the left hand gets inhibited when you write on the right page from the cursed spiral. Also, whenever I write with an ink pen and even lead pencil, my left hand always touches the writing, smearing lines of words to a smeared glob. That’s why I try to do most of my schoolwork, especially notes, on my trusty MacBook. Also, I recommended the 15-inch over the 13-inch; you can just see more. The touch bar is optional though.
Wallet: I try to carry my wallet in my backpack rather than my pocket to prevent losing it. There have been multiple times when I lost or was close to losing my wallet. Once, I left my wallet on an airplane and didn’t notice until I was at the baggage claim; I was able to fortunately find it later. Another time, I left my wallet on a bench, the same bench I always left it on, in my church and went somewhere. I had never got anything stolen in that church before; I was surprised to come back to the bench and not see the wallet. These events converted me to just enclose my wallet in my backpack front pouch so I never will lose it again.
AirPods Pro: These bluetooth earbuds are a game changer. I used to carry the Bose SoundSport Wireless and the Beats Studio3 Wireless, the Bose earbuds for casual listening and the Beats over-ear headphones for studying as it had a noise-cancelling feature. The AirPods Pro has all the components that the aforementioned Bose and Beats have but better. The Airpods Pro are compact, easy to wear, extremely comfortable, and have extremely high quality audio. The Airpods Pro also has a really good noise-cancelling component, surprisingly similar to the Beats headphones. AirPods Pros are a must. I don’t think I can use anything else after wearing the Airpods Pros.
Pencil case: I received this pencil case from a friend on my birthday after my friend saw that I lost my previous pencil case and I used a ziploc bag as my case for 2 straight weeks. It contains multiple mechanical pencils, pens, highlights, and white-out. I don’t know much about writing utensils, but I would recommend the Uni Jetstream ballpoint pens (0.5 mm). The sharp pen tip allows for responsive and accurate writing. Make sure it’s 0.5 mm! Anything wider is too thick…
School stuff: Nothing special here. Just a couple notebooks and folders and for school things. Nothing more to talk about here other than the fact that I have been using the same folders/binders/notebooks since 9th grade because I am environmentally friendly, but mostly because I get too lazy to buy new school equipment.
*I carry my iPhone XS and, of course, mask in my pocket.
The things in my bag showcase what I would be carrying on the daily if I was attending on-campus. I usually don’t take a bag with me other than for academic-related purposes. The academic-purposed bag by no means represent me as person as I am not an academic intellectual. This assignment was easy because the backpack and the content inside I imagined to use in college is the exact same as the ones I used in high school. I consider this type of writing to be enjoyable because I am taking the everyday mundane objects I just blindly use but defining each thing with a purpose.