When I signed up for EDT791, Video Games, Literacy, and Learning, I was cautiously optimistic. I had heard James Gee speak about literacy in gaming at ASU before he became a professor, and he really caught my attention with his discussion of the language skills being used and gained in everything from World of Warcraft to Yu-Gi-Oh!, so I knew both he and this semester's professor, Betty Hayes, were serious about learning concepts present in games.
This is list is incomplete, entirely subjective, and presented in no particular order. Most of the music here is from games I personally played last year. I'm sure there are other excellent soundtracks from 2013 and early 2014, so let me know if you have any other recommendations!
In my mind, gaming has historically been social in nature. Chess, soccer, Chinese checkers, poker, basketball, hide-and-seek, horseshoes and Dungeons and Dragons all exist as activities that enable and facilitate social interaction. As games, they nearly cease to exist without the presence of others.
A few months ago, I started trying to talk my dad into buying an XBOX 360. I worked on him for months, occasionally feeding him little tidbits of motivation by telling him about such treats as Gears of War or Forza Motorsport 2. These were games I was certain he would revel in, but the experiences were too familiar to him and, therefore, failed to inspire the desired action.
Wow, I've really fallen behind in posting my entries for class. I've been working on several different pieces, though, and I'm just having a hard time finishing them up. So, you can expect a steady stream of posts over the next few days about Rock Band, Gamestar Mechanic and a semi-related piece on podcasting.
For what it's worth, I mostly blame my procrastination on a re-discovered love for World of Warcraft...
In the first meeting of EDT791 this semester, we were told that one of our assignments would be to play a game for at least fifty hours and write about it while we did so. In that moment, I heard a sweet, subconscious whisper, "... World... of... Warcraft." It was uttered in that same way I hear "...coffee," each morning, or "...popcorn," whenever I walk through the doors of a movie theater. I hadn't logged into WoW in nearly nine months, and it was pulling at me. Strongly.
Lost Odyssey is a traditional Japanese role-playing game (JRPG), similar in play mechanics and style to dozens of games that have preceded it, but its presentation and quality of execution are among the finest in the genre. As such, it makes a great case study for games of its style in the context of literacy and learning.
"I'm much better. Yes, I'm going to make it and you will, too. Just do what you think is right."
- Paul Denton, Deus Ex
Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers of key moments in Deus Ex, Baldur's Gate II, Jeanne d'Arc and BioShock.