Recreate an Iconic Movie

from Jimmy Wang’s Youtube Channel

For this side quest, I recreated the famous reflection scene in the movie Shawshank Redemption, when Ellis Boyd speaks to his 40 years in jail. Even though the lines were straightforward and short, the acting was actually much harder than it looked. It took a long time for me to get mentally ready and start recording. But overall, fun quest, and look what I did! I enjoy it.

Assemblies

For my Assemblies side quest this week, I created a multi-step stair that includes both horizontal and vertical steps. This graph represents me as a writer and student for this class. Horizontal steps are steps of pause, the time when I rehabilitate and reflect upon my work. Vertical steps are steps of movement, the time when I work, probe, and be creative. I realize that as a student and also a person, I constantly engage in the switches of directions from horizontal to vertical, and vertical to horizontal. And every piece of writing that I had fits into the 5-step process that this diagram shows. I always started with preparation and ended with stagnation, where it would lead me to either the next project or the second-round of reflection. And I believe that the learning outcomes of this course rest in not only vertical steps, when I take actions, but also horizontal steps, when I spend time on making reflections and developing new ideas.

Twine Game Reflection

My most important contributions to the group project was to compose a whole story (from start to finish) about one of the three characters that we had. Our group designed a deductive game that players followed along the stories of three inter-related characters who live in the New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic. We separated the work pretty evenly between the four of us. From the beginning, we brainstormed a general framework together that we would start with a few characters, each with their individual story, and eventually let the players know if their character was infected by the Covid-19 or not. During the writing process, several of us ran into questions and we found ways to help each other and solve problems like how long we should write for each link, how we can develop three distinct characters while having them do the same thing (like go to work), etc. We presented to our class in a succinct manner, aiming to attract curiosity from our audiences to try our amazing game. I’m proud of our twine game, and I believe players would feel surprised and happy about the overall experience of playing. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would make the story of each page shorter and each option underneath that story simpler. I found that it was hard to track the logic and quality of the writing as we accumulated multiple complicated paragraphs.

I developed new skills to create a new game for myself. This is my first time doing so and definitely a dream-come-true moment. Growing as a kid, I played lots of games, and I always wanted to make a game on my own and let all my friends know “hey, I made that.” However, before this opportunity, I was also somewhat hesitant and lacked knowledge of technological tools to put together a game of myself. So I feel grateful of this course and this project. It really helps me fulfill my dream. And for certain, this twine game was not perfect; however, I think it was a big and meaningful first step for me as I found great passion in making new games that entertain people.

Feeling interested? Come and play our game by downloading here.

Podcast Reflection: Valorant

As the Co-producer of this episode titled “Valorant”, I assisted Andy Kim, the main producer in researching, analyzing, drafting, and recording. However, we agreed to let the main producer take heavy responsibility and initiative in shaping the goal and final effects of the episode. Throughout the process of making this podcast, I worked alongside Andy and learned about his passion about the game Valorant. Unlike Among Us, which is a game unfamiliar to us at first, Valorant is a game that Andy and I do play in our free time. Because of that, we spent time to specifically talk about how we should move out of a “player’s mindset” and work on developing analysis and arguing a valuable thesis. And I was thrilled to find out that we successfully switched from the perspective of being a player to the perspective of being a researcher.

In fact, we spent numerous efforts to avoid showing how great or popular Valorant is in the market, but to offer critical analysis about this game, like what messages it delivers, and what skills or qualities it helps people build, and why these things can benefit us in other aspects of our lives.

We met challenges like time management, setting a heavy and unrealistic goal, and overcomplicating our arguments. Under a tight schedule to finish our podcast, we still decided to find and incorporate three good sources from our research. We obviously set up a goal that was too aspirational and grand to manage.

Game Comparison Reflection Post

To structure my essay in a reversed order is an exciting but challenging try for me. I enjoyed the process of simply starting to write without worrying about a big, eye-catchy, and demanding thesis. However, as I went further, I noticed that I lost track of what I wanted to say. I jumped from ideas to ideas and it was hard for me to keep writing, being confused and not knowing where I really wanted the essay to go.

There were three parts of this essay. The first two were two contrasts that I recognized and the last part was a main thesis part…

I learned that writing in a reversed order does not mean that we do not need to know what we’re supposed to write about from the beginning. It actually means that we need to have a better sense of what we’re writing.

To read my Game Comparison Essay, please click here.

Sketch Post

I learned that it was really fun and entertaining to do a creative notes. This page of notes above is way more appealing to the normal notes that I do. And now looking back, there were some occasions when I got really frustrated taking notes. I think doing visual notes like this can balance my emotions because it alleviates some of my stress.

I’ve found that drawing cute little images make me happy and positive. I’ve never imagined incorporating my own drawings into my notes; however, now I find it enjoyable to create some images in my notes, just for the sake of adding some colors and special elements. Or else notes are simply tedious. Check out the original sources and instructions about this visual notes post here.

Throw a piece of paper into the bin

filmed by Jimmy: Throwing a piece of paper into the bin

This throw is absolutely spectacular because it is an explosive and angry throw. My original plan was to rip the paper slowly and make a throw, however, after failing so many times to actually throw it into the bin, I changed my plan to a powerful. I went with the speedy, here we go!

Gris Liveblog

Beginning: This game got me for a while because there’s no tutorial. I later find that we could either walk to the left or to the right. However, I’m looking for a purpose. What’s the purpose of this game?

“Gris”: Screen shot taken by Jimmy Wang

Color red: So now I figured out that we could actually jump and go to high and low places instead of walking only in horizontal direction. I was quite surprised when the map took me to a really high building through a series of stairs. It’s interesting to expand the playing experiences to a 3D instead of 2D. I love the color red and some of the scenes are very beautiful in this game. However, the music does sound a little melancholy. I’m guessing we should keep looking for colors? And probably Gris’ memories contained many colors and we’re trying to unlock each color by order???

Color green: Very interesting. I get a sense of how to play this game now. Still, three things that stand out for me are a). probing and searching the map b). color and the art design of different scenes c). music. I have to say the playing experience is wonderful. It is quiet and holy. It makes me feel that this game creates a world for me to explore. Then I quit the game and read the Wikipedia about the five stages of grief. Now everything starts to make sense. The colors in this game would match the five stages, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. So I’m in the stage of bargaining.

Color blue: I observe that some colors are intertwined in each section. For example, when I was in the green stage, there was some red. And now, I see mainly blue but also red and green. I’m guessing these are the details that relate to the tiny psychological changes that take place in the minds of ill people. They’re not simply entering the next stage of grief without carrying any that was left from the previous stage with them. In fact, some parts stay with them and keep having an impact on them. Very careful and detailed design here. By the way, Gris can sing! What a great way this is to remind people that singing can heal the wounds of depressed people.

The end: I’m truly fascinated about this game. I definitely feel empathetic in the end when all the pieces of her body come together. This is truly a journey: a long, spiritual, arduous, but meaningful journey. What strikes me is that this game presents to me that people going through these five stages of grief actually would lose abilities to capture color. They feel vulnerable and they’re locked into their inner world. Their minds are closed to even colors, singing; and it is so hard to heal their wounds and help them gradually open their minds and take in these basic elements of life that we, normal healthy people, take for granted.

Reflection–I’m surprised that Gris is only a 2D side-scrolling platformer because I feel like there are plenty of room and spaces almost like a three-dimensional game. In some sense, they make a 2D game not like 2D. There are so many possibilities, so many places to search and explore. We’re almost taking a journey in Gris’ mind palace, and this gaming experience along with the curation of color and music stretches the maximum of a 2D game. And the game Gris is persuading people to be empathetic and understand the inner world of people who are experiencing grief or depression. Their inner mind palaces are actually full of colors, crys, shouts, and beauty.