Emotional Easter

It’s yet another week, and yet another blog post. This is our 7th post, of a (hopefully) total of 10. It’s surreal that the semester is so close to the end, and it is scaring me a little bit (who am I kidding, it scares me a lot). I’m currently in my hometown on Easter-break, or really just Easter because there is no time for break.

This week started out with a visit to Bergen University Library for the opening of Mia’s art installation called #Textransformations. She lured us in with pizza, and we stayed for the art. It was very interactive, and I made several poems – alone and together with @SnowCherrie.

The visual aspect of the installation actually reminds me of a game I have played, called Unravel. Here you play a little fellow of tread called Yarny, and you follow a piece of yarn that is attached to him and solve puzzles to unlock the memories of his lost family. There are no words in this game, but the art is beautiful. And emotional. 10 out of 10, would recommend.

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I’ll insert some photos taken at the installation, and you will understand what I am talking about. I feel like Yarny is here somewhere, hiding. Maybe in the clues? All the QR codes where scan-able, and there was also a stations with cutout words, and poems, inviting the viewer to participate and make there own poem-contribution. I’ll insert some poems we made too. Also, the pizza was good, but I think they underestimated the number of participants, so it I only got a small taste. There where also computer stations, but they where always busy, so I didn’t get to check out what that was all about. Also I was busy being a poet.

On Thursdays lesson, the tema was serious-, or empathy-games. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, and was hoping for a recap in Mia’s weekly update and in the slides from class, but there doesn’t seem to be any for this week. But through my classmates Tweets, I got a hold of a couple of the names of the games they tested – and checked some of them out in my own time. This type of games are developed for a different purpose than pure entertainment, but rather to evoke emotions and feelings in the player.

I testedSkjermbilde  Bad news and SpentIn bad news I lost pretty quickly and died a hero. Your goal is to gain followers and credibility, you are suppose to build ut a fake news site. It is ment for education and scientific purposes, and I guess it works for that. Educational purposes I mean, not that I learned anything new.

SPENT is a game made for Urban Ministries of Durham, a nonprofit organization that is working towards the end of homelessness, poverty and hunger. In the game you are an un-employed american, struggling with finding a job, paying bills and getting health insurance. You get to make choices, like which of the bills to pay, what to buy and if you should have treatments you need, but can’t afford. I must be honest, I did fail to complete this game. I don’t know if my american survived. But I think this kind of game is quite clever, to give people a view on things they might take for granted. Trying to combine important stuff with things people love. As I student, I don’t have a lot of dough to “throw around” either, but I am still lucky to be living in Norway, and to be born with the privileges that I have. I still found the game boring, it might be because this is nothing new to me. For someone who are unaware, it might be different. Also the format, it was a lot of clicking. I get inpatient.

Last week I spoke about games and aggression. I personal don’t think that games make you violent (as a normal player, if you have a gaming addiction or other mentale issues connected to gaming, it might be different), except when you loose (No, I am kidding. But not really). If a game makes you go out and punch people, there was already something broken inside of you.

But I do think games can do good, make you learn things about yourself – and others.

And then finally, the DDA’s and other tweets:

Spring is coming!

– Lisa

 

The evolution of text

Last Tuesday’s appointment wasn’t a common lecture. We all were invited to discover the amazing installation of our prof. Mia Zamora. It was called “Textransformation”, a journey through the transformation of textuality from analogue to digital form.

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After an inspiring speech to present her work, prof. Mia Zamora let us free to explore her installation. What is textuality? The quality or use of language characteristic of written works as opposed to spoken usage.

The concept of textuality came about in the mid-20th century as a critical element in structuralism, a modern intellectual movement that views cultural phenomena in terms of linguistic relationships involved in all human activities. Philosophers, linguists, and literary theorists were major structuralist contributors, but it was Barthes in particular who really focused on what makes a ‘text.’ Barthes theorized that we can view literature through two different lenses: as a collection of ‘works’ and of ‘texts.’ For him, a ‘work’ is a finished, closed object. On the other hand, he considered a ‘text’ to be a process of creating meaning while escaping definitive definition itself.

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The installation was surrounded by red wool threads as they symbolized the current connection between past and future, which is the period that we are living. During this century information and messages where printed on paper and books. Now everything is online and instant. No more waiting for replies, no more time lost searching for information in a library. But there is an interesting symbol that connects paper and web: the QR CODE. Just with one picture at the printed code, we can reach internet pages, youtube videos and more. It was really interesting to see this new way to share texts close to old famous books, like the Hobbit written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

We were even able to give our contribution to Mia Zamora’s work since there were serenadeinteractive stations in some corners. I chose to create a new poem from deleting some words written on a cut sheet. The purpose is to find your own poetry that is hiding inside a written poem.

I really enjoyed this unique installation and it was fun learning more about textranformation as we are experiencing it every day.

 

 

 

Creativity by constraints

It was nice to start off the week with Mia’s exhibit called #Textransformations. It was visually pleasing and I liked how it was gamified both with the QR clues leading way towards the coming midterm exam, and the encouragement to creative participation. This weeks studio visit was also quite interesting. I especially took notice of something Remi Kalir said:

“…it feels though as we’ve possibly began to conflate games with play, which can intersect but do not necessarily always intersect. There are many things that people play that are not games. And there are some really important, I think, qualities of playfulness that in some ways don’t exist in games. Play is often open ended. Games are in some respects very constrained designed systems. Play can be this kind of imaginative space where rules shift. Notions of emerging qualities or improvisation often exist in play, which sometimes don’t necessarily occur inside of games […] but I think its interesting to think about the relationship between games and play, and when they do intersect, and when they don’t intersect.”

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It made me think a bit about the paidia and ludus in games. Many video games go a long way in trying to give a feeling of the free play of paidia, and while they may be quite successful at it this freedom is still confined to the rules of a defined ludus. So they might have a solid portion of free play, but not fully pure paidia. But I think that what often makes paidia interesting is when rules are applied and there are different mixes of ludus and paidia. It’s like when limitations kickstart creativity, and makes it easier to come up with ideas, A task or a problem can more easily than total freedom inspire innovative answers and solutions.

“To perceive is to suffer.”
-Aristotle

Empathy Games

We played some simple online empathy games this week, “Spent“, “Syrian Journey” and “Bad News” addressing different issues. While they were rather informative and educating, they were not very effective in evoking empathy. I think one of the reasons for this is that they were largely text-based, and had only simple graphics like static drawings and infographics as visual elements. Aristotle realised that to persuade the listeners, the “logos”/ facts/ appeal to logic was not enough. As a part of his modes of persuasion, in addition to logos he also suggested “pathos”, the appeal to the audience’s emotions. To achieve this in a game I think it is necessary to apply both expressive graphical content, music and sounds, and thus weave a multimodal expression with a greater impact than mere words. Another thing that made the games less emotive is that they were generalising instead of making it personal.

A game that has made it more personal is “That Dragon, Cancer“, a game telling the story of Joel Green’s 4-year fight against cancer before being defeated. The game developer is the father of Joel, and he describes the game like this; “This is where we go to remember our son Joel, up through here along this path. We want to show you who he was, and how his life changed us. Can we walk here together for a while?”. I haven’t tried the game myself, but only seen a video of the father presenting the game, which was moving. I can only imagine that this game, knowing what story it’s built upon, would be an emotional journey partaking in the struggle and loss of their family, and the memories that they cherish.

It seems like quite an accomplishment then, that a game like “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” could make me feel such empathy for a fictional character. That I felt some of her sorrow and fury, and wanted to help her take revenge.

The Fallout Series

It’s Easter, you nerds! You know what that means. No more work! Jkjk, there’s plenty of work to be done in the coming week, I just wish we didn’t.

For this week I’ll be talking about a game that I was recently reminded of: Fallout 4, and Fallout: New Vegas. I regard both of these two games to be great at what they do: let the player take part in a post-apocalyptic world where the rules and laws of society are thrown out the window and so is your own sense of personal safety.

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Out of the two games I played Fallout: New Vegas first, to be more precise, I played Fallout: New Vegas when I was supposed to be studying for my ‘exphil’ exam the first semester of my time here at the University of Bergen. But alas, I was playing video games instead. (I passed the exam(s) just fine, don’t worry) Fallout: New Vegas was a dozy though, it was pretty old by anyone’s standard around the time I started playing it, but at the time it was released in 2010 it was considered a great release by the players.

The game starts with the players in the shoes of the playable character named ‘the courier’. The story only tells you the bare minimum of what you need to know to begin playing. You’re a courier and your package was intercepted and stolen by Benny (voiced by Matthew Perry!) who promptly tells you “it’s just business” before he shoots you in the head and leaves you in your already dug out grave in the Mojave Desert of ‘New Vegas’. What happens next is that you’re recovering from your head wound in a run-down medical center, with amnesia. From that point on, more or less, you’re able to decide for yourself what to do in this unfamiliar place.

The game itself starts and runs somewhat similar to the game I discusses in my previous blog, Dark Souls. The character’s past isn’t crucial to the plot going forward, what matters is what choices you make throughout the game following you picking up the remote controller.

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Fallout 4, however, is filled with references and plot twists depending on your past—a stark contradiction to its predecessor. Fallout 4 starts with your creating your character, witnessing a nuclear attack in American soil, entering the bomb shelter successfully, and you entering into your ‘cryo sleep’. Several plot twists and plot lines are revealed later in the story to have a deep impact because of the past. Fallout: New Vegas shows us how to make a traditional role-playing game where the character is you and you make the decisions—while Fallout 4 is more of a game that follows a strict storyline, with the occasional moment where you can make a slight impact on the overall story.

Despite this ‘huge’ difference in the two games of the same series, the game mechanicals and playstyle is very similar. With the addition of Fallout 3, all of these three games follow a somewhat cookie-cutter format of how the game is played. They’re all played in a third-person perspective, the game focuses on exploring the world around you to uncover the land and lore, siding with different factions tied together by war and differing ideologies, and the confrontation with several philosophical and ethical questions—which is a staple of the series by now.

With Easter just starting, perhaps it is the perfect time to do another dissection of these very different, yet very alike games. Happy Easter everyone. 🙂

 

Why video games are important to me

As I mentioned in my previous blogpost, I’m going to talk about why video games are important to me.

As many others, I grew up playing video games and has been playing them since I was a little kid. Video games have been and still is a huge part of my life. Video games allow you to do things you cannot do in real life. Video games have no limits or borders and video games allow you to play with people across the world no matter where you are. This is why I like gaming. Games allow you to be creative in many ways and stay in contact and have fun with friends no matter where you’re located. This is kinda important to me as I have close friends who doesn’t really live nearby me which causes hanging out to be inpractical at times. This will also happen more frequently as I get older as more of my friends will move because they’re going to the university in different places. With video games, we can still have fun and play together without it being impractical.

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Video games are also important to me because playing video games is my favorite way to just kick back and relax. Especially while playing mindless games where the objective is very straight forward, like in FPS games and/or hack and slash games. Two of my favorite games I play to relax is Team Fortress 2 and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. All you need to think about is to killing the enemy, as brutal as it sounds. I also like video games because they can be challenging in numerous ways and it always feel good to be the best at something especially when you’re better than your friends so you can rub it in their faces.

In other words, I guess you can say that I like video games because it’s allows you to be creative, to communicate and interact with friends, to relax and it might also challenge you.

„The Sims“

So last week I have told you a little bit about the different gaming genres. Thus, that this week I am going to tell you something about my favourite game and it is called THE SIMS. The game belongs to the genre “simulation”. The publisher of this game is EA Games (Electronic Arts) – one of the leading gaming companies. In this game you can control several persons of every age, only prerequisite is that you must have at least one adult. At the beginning of the game you must create your own “Sim©”. You can for example decide which colours and form his hair, eyes, head and body have. But you could also choose how the character of your sim should be and what his life goal is. After you have finished creating your Sim© you can decide to move it into a furnished house, a non-furnished house or you could buy some land to build your own house on.
It all started with the first version of the video game which was called “The Sims”. It was published in the year 2000 and was almost the first video game of this kind of simulation. Only a few months later EA-Games published the first extension package, it was named “linin´ large”. EA-Gamed published seven extension-packages in only three years. The last one was published in November 2003. But it did not even take one year until the sequel “The Sims 2” was published. That was in September 2004.  The second „Sims Game“ has eight extension-packages, but that is not all. In this version they have accessory-packages as well. In total there are eleven of these packages. A main difference between this two versions is the graphic but the design as well. This you can already see if you compare the two photos below.

But there are also some other functions which have been developed, like the options how your Sim© can look and what you can do with him. This changed again in the year 2009 when “The Sims3” was published. A huge different to the earlier mentioned versions is that you can walk around freely in the city. Normally you always had to take a car or a bicycle to get to a difference place. This version has eleven extension-packages and it also have about nine accessory-packages. But the most special thing about that version is that you can also play it on a PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii and on a Xbox360. You could only play the other versions on a computer. The versions for the different consoles were published in 2010. And then in the year 2014 EA-Games published “The Sims 4”. In this version the producers of the game concentrated on the emotions and expressions of the Sim©. Nearly everything, like environment and the Sim around the main Sim can influence it. This version has already four extension-packages. And it also has a different new feature which is called GamePlay-Packs. This is a mixture between accessory-packages and extension-packages. One special point of the GamePlay-Pack is that you can not buy them in the normal shop. You are only able to download them online.

So, this was a short introduction of the Game-Serier SIMS. If you are more interested in this game, you should check out this YouTube video:

Mia’s textransformation!

Hi guys!
Here we are again 🙂
This week was the last before the holidays! On Tuesday I went to the Mia’s exhibition and it was really good! That exhibition talked about text transformation from the analogic way to the digital way.

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It was really interesting  and a good inspiration for start to think about the change of the text throungh years.
If you think about your grandmother and your grandfather and how they used the textuality you can see the big gap between they and us. They used letters to communicate and after you wrote it and sent it then you had to wait for the answer and this process wasn’t so fast as today. You could wait one month before receive the answer. Now we have internet and computers and phones. All the technologies during this years have sped up the communication and made us connected as the work of Mia shows.
You can see the connection in all these filaments that braid each other and made a spider web and in this web there are papers with old kind of texts and the new ones, like the QR code.

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It was interesting passing through different kind of texts, now you can only put a code on a paper and then read the information through your phone, and the information doesn’t have to be something written, it could be also a video from youtube. Now you could have only a link on a paper and not necessary a text.
Another thing that I liked was the metaphore of the leaves that Mia said: ” Like leaves falling from the trees, we are shedding these old frameworks, and growing something new”. That installation in fact could seem also a big tree and the paper that are hung on the filaments could seem the leaves.
One question that I was wondering was “Why the paper are hung back to front?”. Still now I don’t know the answer maybe it is something done with a purpose or maybe not.

While I was looking around the installation and reading some paper I found a book that I love! Not only because a love the story but also because I love that it is an old book!
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I have some difficulties still now imagining books not made of paper anymore but on a tablet. I think that also the electronic literature is art but according to me the “electronic” makes art lose something, the feelings of the paper in your hand, the smell of it and the pencil in your hand that underline the important phrases for you.  So I think that all of this new literature is considered art, it’s amazing just to think about the evolution, but the old things are always part of this art also because they are the source of inspiration for the new one.

There was also a game to play. There was a box full of papers from newspaper or peace of poetry and with it you had to compose a new text and paste it on the white board. This is what I did:

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It is not an amazing poetic text but it’s something xD

So during the representation I decide to tweet a photo of it.

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It liked a lot and also someone retweeted it! I am happy that you liked it.

#texttransformations

Last Tuesday our #netnarr class was invited to Mia Zamorra’s installation in the Humanities Library at UiB. The sculptural installation which was called #texttransformations, invited the recipient to explore the development from analogue to digital forms of literacy. For this reason, several items were presented which took the audience back into another time. Into a time where typewriters and card catalogs were conventional objects, which could not be missed in a library. Things which are gone for many, many years, so it is not surprising, if kids from nowadays just know those from historical movies. The reason is simple, because those things were banished by digitalization and the data networks.

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But the installation was not only made for our eyes, but also for our other senses. Thus, the recipients got the possibility to interact with the exhibition. Hot spots with QR-Codes, which were spread around the room, could be discovered by the audience by using their phones. These codes could open either videos or text on their browsers. One of the examples one can see below:

 

Furthermore an interesting part of the installation was the decoration with red strings which were hanging above the objects. In addition to that, book cards were hanging from the strings and were also lying on the floor. So the recipients got the impression of leaves which were falling from the trees. They were a perfect metaphor for the whole theme. Literacy is a network which is based on past insights and stories. It connects the past and the future, as well as analogue and digital forms of expression, because if old things go, new things can appear on the surface.

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All in all I really enjoined this interactive experience, especially because we recipients were a part of the installation itself. We had the possibility to tinker a little bit around and explore new things. Beyond that, we had to use our cell phones to find out more, which is an authentic and appropriate medium to represent the impact of digitalization to literacy.