In this class, students will be writing both Game Journals and Blog Articles. This page describes the expectations and structure for the Blog Article Assignment.
Blog writing is an increasingly prevalent form of discourse on the web. It blends casual writing and immediate access with, often, sharper and more reflective thinking. Most importantly, blog writing addresses a public audience in a way that other, more constrained or formulaic writing often does not.
For our purposes here, your goal is to write blog entries that 1) address a public audience with your ideas and 2) invite and engage a public conversation about those ideas. Ultimately, each blog entry that you write should, at a minimum, add something substantive to the class’s conversation. Even better, blogs should strive to add something substantive to the general discourse of video game studies.
Here’s how it works.
To write a blog entry, choose one of the topics/tasks below (or something similar), and start writing. Post your blog entry here on the class blog (canon.umwblogs.org), and tag it with the appropriate topic from the list below.
Article response. Find a scholarly journal with articles on videogames. Look through or search the issue archives until you find an article about a game you know well. Read the entire article, and write a blog entry in which you explain how the article changed your understanding of the game or games in question. Include a link to the article (or citation if it’s in print), and quote specific passages that are relevant to your discussion.
Close playing. This is not a review or a response to a game, but rather a deeply analytical engagement with a videogame text. Using the literary critical technique of close reading, discuss a small game or a small segment of a larger game, paying close attention to the minor nuances or provocations of the experience.
Game culture. Pay attention to mainstream news sites, and look for stories or events that reveal some interesting aspect of video game culture. In a blog entry, describe the event or story, making sure to link to or quote relevant sources.
Philosophical Inquiry. Frequently, in our readings, we will encounter topics with some element of controversy — positions held by one group of game scholars which is deeply opposed by some other group. Take a position on one of these issues and defend your ideas with your own unique insights and examples.
Personal Narrative. Some of the best writing about games consists of long personal essay about the author’s relationship with videogames. In some cases, this may be what your gaming log becomes. However, for a blog entry, you may pursue a one-off personal narrative. Relate some event from your childhood, for example — just be sure to make it interesting. If possible, relate your experiences to some concepts from our reading.
Let’s play. Record a video (about 5:00 minutes) of you playing through some significant or interesting part of a videogame. Record audio commentary as well, either in real time or after the fact, where you expound on the game’s significant details and features. Mainly, focus on how the processes of game play convey its aesthetics.
Choose your own. If you have some other idea for a blog entry that doesn’t fit into the categories above, feel free to write. You do not need to ask permission first. Just try and give it a similar scope and substance to what the given topics imply.
Blog entries are graded at 6 checkpoints throughout the semester. These exist in Canvas, which is where you must turn in your work if you want me to grade it. Submit your best blog entry before the checkpoint deadline by accessing the appropriate assignment in Canvas (listed below), hitting the “submit assignment” button, and pasting the complete URL of your blog entry in the appropriate box.