Depression Quest

Now that we’re done with the indie games, if any of you want to explore more games but don’t want to pay or download, I suggest looking a Depression Quest.  I know both Steph and Brad mentioned this before, and after just posting the article from The Guardian about the creator, Zoe Quinn, I decided to play it.

As someone who’s been there with depression, between friends, family and personal issues, I find the game amazingly represents how people feel when they are depressed.  It’s one of the hardest things to explain to someone who doesn’t understand how it works.

At the end, there is a nice post from the creators that offers a feeling of “you’re not alone.”

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Gamergate & Zoe Quinn Update

YesterdScreen Shot 2014-12-03 at 1.06.03 PMay The Guardian published an article where the writer, Keith Stuart, sat down with Zoe Quinn while she is in the UK for the GameCity festival in Nottingham.

I figured that this article would interest a few people in class since we talked about the issue of Gamergate and sexism in games in class with Steph a few weeks ago.

The article is definitely worth reading and at the end has a timeline of the whole controversy.

A passage towards the middle I found interesting, in case you don’t have time to read it all:

“I ask Quinn, what about those people who have found Gamergate to be a supportive community, who genuinely do see it as about journalistic ethics?

“No!” she says. “I have 16 gigabytes of evidence, I’ve got massive amounts of screen grabs. But proof doesn’t matter, logic doesn’t matter – the fact that the review they’re propping up as the excuse for their crusade doesn’t exist and has never existed, that does not matter – it still gets thrown at me constantly.

“People can just make shit up and you can’t debunk it, they’ll just replay it. This is used to terrorise my family and go after my boyfriend, to ruin his life too for the crime of being associated with me. Now tell me it’s about ethics in games journalism.”



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Interview w/ Dr. Katie Salen of Quest to Learn

So, here’s an interview/profile regarding Dr. Katie Salen, a professor of Computing and Digital Media with a background in game design. With the support of some serious philanthropic heavyweights (including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, most famous for their ‘genius grants’), she has founded a gamification firm/design studio called the Institute of Play, and a gamified public 6-12 school called Quest to Learn.

I am very biased and underqualified, of course, having read little from the detractors of gamification and nothing from its supporters. Still, I found this video very strange. It made the philosophy of the school seem very ‘spoonful-of-sugar’, as opposed to presenting a really thorough integration of game mechanics and education. Also, I feel like the concern is less that, as Salen puts it “kids can and do learn in different ways outside of school, often via access to digital media”, and more that kids have a difficult time learning when digital media isn’t involved. Gamification, to me, seems like a way of coping with increasing apathy, impatience and entitlement and not a novel pedagogical approach with unprecedented results. But I guess you have to spin it somehow. Is that cynical or misinformed? What do you guys think?

Also, good luck on your final paper!

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Apple has become invasive

Hey guys, I was browsing my reddit and found this really cool short article about how Apple has admitted to removing songs from people iTunes without letting anyone know. I felt like it related perfectly to our old discussions on the Circle and how they would constantly insert themselves in peoples lives almost in a unknown way. I also found another short article written as well so it is attached below along with the original article.
Apple will be facing a lot of heat for this but nonetheless it was really cool and interesting to see that Apple has done this. Enjoy!

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“Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers.”

Since Professor Fest is planning to give a lecture on the importance of liberal arts education, I thought this would be a good excuse for me to plug one of my all time favorite essays “Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers,” by Scott Samuelson.

Samuelson challenges the idea that education is nothing more than a necessary part of a successful career path.  He quotes Henry David Thoreau, “We seem to have forgotten that the expression ‘a liberal education’ originally meant among the Romans one worthy of free men; while the learning of trades and professions by which to get your livelihood merely, was considered worthy of slaves only.”

This article reaffirmed my opinion that education and career preparation should be two separate things. On a more personal note, this is also why I deeply regret my decision to major in English writing instead of philosophy.

I’d really love to know what you all think about this. Give it a read! At the very least, it will give you something to say next time some philistine asks you why you didn’t just major in engineering.

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Dave Eggers, Unplugged

I just read a great article on The Wall Street Journal by Howie Kahn about Dave Eggers and the work that he is doing to improve education in our country. The interview goes in-depth about Eggers’ after school tutoring center, 826 Valencia which is located in the Mission District in San Francisco, CA. 826 Valencia is one of seven active 826 National chapters and it is also the first one created.

Kahn goes on to talk about much of Eggers’ other works including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, The Circle, You Shall Know Our Velocity, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets Do They Live Forever?, A Hologram For the King, The Monster Mish Mash, What is the What, and Zeitoun. With each book, Khan talks about the background of the books and what role they had in developing Eggers’ career. This article is a great way to familiarize your self with more of his work as well as learning about the impact that he has on today’s youth.

My favorite line from the article: “Solitude also means no Internet. Eggers doesn’t have it in his garage or in his home. Weschler told me Eggers drives down the hill from his house daily, parks outside a lumberyard and piggybacks off the company’s Wi-Fi.” For a guy with such fame and who is a large influence on many of today’s popular topics, I find it astonishing that he does not have Internet at home.

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Hey guys I found this amazing game that does a great job of of referencing other games in an interesting way. The game is called evoland and it starts out as a top down 2D black and white game with no music. As you open different chests new game mechanics are unlocked and you find yourself progressing through the history of game creation. The game allows you to unlock new textures, music, faster loading times, and many other things video games have improved upon with better technology. The combat bounces back and forth between styles from legend of zelda and final fantasy to name a few. This game does a fantastic job of imparting a sense of how video games evolved from incredibly simplistic mechanics to more complicated one. I would highly recommend playing it.

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