Let’s get started with introducing ourselves. As I mentioned in the syllabus, it’s perfectly fine to use a pseudonym if you choose, so if it’s up to you if you want to use your name or post a picture of yourself. What I would like to know is something about your own experiences with video games, what interests you about them (if anything), and perhaps your motivations for taking this course (even if they are primarily pragmatic, e.g. graduating on time).
Here’s my intro.
If you watched the History of Video Game Consoles videos I posted, you saw something very much like the first video game I had as a kid back in the late seventies. It was pre-Atari and basically just Pong with maybe just a few variations. I also had a Coleco Electronic Quarterback, which was a handheld game. However I wasn’t a big video game kid. I went to arcades now and then, and I had some friends with consoles where I would play sometimes, but I was probably prime video game playing age (early teenager) right around the time of the first video game bust (see the history video) in the mid-eighties.
I got back into gaming in the mid-90s on the PC as a way to take a break from writing my dissertation: Wolfenstein and Doom were two of my favorites. I kept up with playing as a pastime: Half-Life, Civilization, and so on.
Then when my kids got old enough, we bought a Playstation 2. Following that, games became a regular feature of my life. We have since had the Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, and now also the Xbox One as well as computer-based games, online computer games (e.g Minecraft and Steam-based games), and iPhone games. In the past couple years, I would say that my favorite games have been Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and Dishonored. Today I am headed out to purchase Watch Dogs. I could probably list a hundred games here because in addition to the $60+ blockbuster console titles, there are many, many free or cheap games for the phone or computer and indie games. Flappy Bird is a good example of a game like this that you might have encountered recently.
From a professional-scholarly perspective, video games are a side interest for me I suppose. There are video game scholars out there, and we shall read some, but that’s not my area. My scholarship does address the rhetorical/communication practices of digital technologies, so video games are a part of that, but just a part. Over the years I have studied web page design; video and audio production; blogs, wikis, twitter, and other social media; and mobile applications. I have mostly been interested in the uses of these technologies in pedagogy (teaching) and scholarly communication (maybe not the most interesting topics from your perspective, but important from my view as universities have to meet the challenge of developing students’ digital literacy). So I am interested in video games because they provide insight into how people interact with digital technologies. For example, we talk about “gamification” as a way of making more segments of the digital world game-like. I’m not saying I’m a proponent of that (in fact I’m skeptical) but it is an indication of how the popularity of gaming shapes the larger digital culture.
In any case, that’s me. Your turn.