Participant Introductions

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 SkyrimAssassin’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.


25 thoughts on “Participant Introductions”

  1. Hello class! My name is Kadeejah Kelly and I am a rising junior at UB. I’m currently persuing English and Biology as majors. Unfortunately, I am not a huge video game fanatic. But over the past year, I have found that I have become fascinated with playing Madden( any year I can get my hands on), Medal of Honor, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Like anyone else, I play Candy Crush, 2048, Flappy Bird, and whatever new phone game seems to be hot that month. In part, I took the class as a way to lessen the amount of classes I have to take next semester and because it would make my boyfriend happy. He’s very much into video games. He loves Assasin’s Creed and 2K14. None of which I have found myself about to enjoy. I see this class as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I look forward to meeting the rest of you and learning new and exciting things along the way!

  2. Hey guys,

    My name is Eric Yu, I’m a senior at UB finishing up my English degree. I first took this class because I was interested in analyzing how new media is affecting today’s society, I had no idea that the class would be primarily focused on video games. Since I was young I had loved to play video games, I started with duke nukem and bomber man on windows 3.1. I then progressed to handhelds mainly for pokemon. I had a few friends that owned an N64 and would play on those instead. It was with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 that I first started analyzing the games. I remember the shock and awe of Bioshock’s first twist, and have been hooked to RPG-esque games ever since.

    I would like to study the different style of storytelling in the video game genre. For instance, the open ended choices of Fable, Mass Effect, KoTOR, gives players a fresh experience depending on their actions. The Assassin’s Creed games, is a perfect example of interlacing an alternate (or is it?!) history into real historical events, this conveys an air of realism into the story lines and gives players a chance to research the expanded universe.

    I will be picking up Watch_Dogs later today as well as participating in Bungie’s Destiny Beta.

    -Eric Yu

  3. Introduction
    Hello, my name is Allison Carriero; I am about to start my senior year and hope to graduate next summer with a BA in English and Spanish. I am taking this class because it satisfies an English requirement and does not require me to drive to campus.

    I did not even know what this class was about until I began receiving e-mails about it, and I was very excited to see that it takes a closer look at how video games fit into our culture.

    Video games have been a large part of my 21 years, as I have spent a good part of that time moving from state to state with my two younger brothers. I remember my younger brother and I sitting in our respective seats in the van we were traveling in with a connecting cord between our Gameboy Colors so we could trade between Pokemon Yellow and Pokemon Red. When my youngest brother came into the family, my dad bought us Spyro: Year of the Dragon, which my brother and I sat in front of for days while my parents bounced and cooed a screaming, newborn baby.

    My brothers and I remain close, but they stayed up to date on the latest video games and I did not. I still love a good fighting game (Street Fighter: Alpha 3 is one of my favorites) and am still in love with the original Pokemon and Spyro games, but I have grown away from them and know nothing of the latest developments (though I am impressed by the graphics I have seen-Assassins Creed, in particular, looks incredible).

    Now, as I write this, my younger brother is at work, but will undoubtedly return home to play some game (I’m not sure what it is he’s on now but I can here the battle scenes from my room across the hall) and my youngest brother will go to the Wii U right after school. Both of my brothers are insanely jealous that I, of all people, somehow ended up with a video games course in my schedule. Though I do not play them as much anymore, I know that certain video games have a spot in my heart as a reminder of how carefree I once was. Video games still serve as a much-needed break from reality for my brothers, so I am interested to see what I learn from this course

  4. Hello everyone! My name is Amanda Shaw. I am a junior, however I am graduating right after the summer session and going on to graduate school for a dual masters in elementary and special education. At the University at Buffalo, I am an English major with a minor in Education. I do not know much about video games, but this seemed like a really interesting elective to take to fulfill my requirements for my English major. I was never really one to play video games, except for things like Wii or dance dance revolution because I work at a day camp and one of our activities that we do with our campers involves a variety of such games. I am definitely open minded towards learning about them, though, and am really looking forward to this class.

  5. Hello everyone! My name is Amanda Shaw and I am technically a junior at the University at Buffalo, however I am graduating a year early. I will have finished all my requirements to receive my diploma with a major in English and a minor in Education at the end of this summer. In the fall I will be pursuing a dual masters in elementary and special education. Prior to this course I have had minimal knowledge on video games, with the exception of games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Wii. I work as a counselor at a day camp and one of our activities that we bring the campers to is going to what is called the “wii room,” where we have the opportunity to play a whole variety of games. Since I work with little girls, though, they tend to gravitate towards all of the dancing and singing video game options. Additionally, I am taking this course because I am required to take 2 more electives to fulfill my English major, so this class seemed unique and would teach me about a field that I do not know quite much about. I am greatly looking forward to being in this class and working with everyone!

  6. My name is Paige Whitehead and I am a senior at UB, hoping to graduate in the fall with a dual major in English and Psychology. Video games were not allowed in the house growing up, so I am a bit late to the game, having started playing when I was 18 with Mass Effect. I’ve been trying to catch up since then and have enjoyed several other RPGs or RPG affiliates such as Dragon Age, Skyrim, and Borderlands. I took this course because I need some English electives but also because video games are one of my main hobbies and I wanted to focus on the storytelling and personality dynamics involved in them. I am very much looking forward to this class.

  7. Hello! My name is Devin Chavanne, I am a junior at UB currently pursuing an English Major. I was very interested in this course because I am an avid gamer. I first got a console when I was in 6th grade, a PS2. Playing games like Jak and Daxter and Sly Cooper. In High School I got a Xbox360 with Halo 3 and I was hooked. The Halo series is by far my favorite set of games. I recently just bought a PS4 with NBA2k14 (which I also love).
    More importantly I think my love for video games stems from my fascination with storytelling. Which is why I chose to become an English Major. I love the stories video games can tell, and not only can you watch them but you get to live them as well. That is what I love!
    I am really looking forward to this class. I think that not only will I learn some more, but I think I’m going to have some fun as well!

  8. Hey all,
    I’m Aric Gaughan, a to-be senior this fall double majoring in Music and English, also going for the creative writing certificate. I took this class primarily so I wouldn’t need to juggle a simultaneous 4+ 300 level English classes during either of my next two semesters.

    However, I read the bit about Call of Duty MW3 that Professor Reid posted. That was the video game world I’d been steeped in for quite some time, actually, and I was excited to see a course was being offered on video game subject matter. I started around 1998 playing Super Mario 64, Madden, and NHL 99 on the N64 my grandmother got me for my birthday. I used to love arcades, too. Still miss the big ones, even now. Since then I’ve played all sorts of games (probably too many,) got a Gamecube & Wii, PS2, and Xbox 360, and have been contemplating the new Xbox as well. I was always playing Call of Duty in high school, and I too received my fair share of “hate mail.”

    I still play my 360 frequently. A few of my favorite games would be the Mass Effect trilogy, Forza Motorsport, Super Smash Bros., the Mortal Kombat series, and somewhat reluctantly, most of the Call of Duty games.

    Mostly the only times games like these come up outside of actual gamer circles, there is talk of them causing shootings or violence, and this seems to be happening even more so with the recent rash of crowd shootings that have been occurring countrywide.

    I’m very interested to learn about games in a different context. I’ve taken interest into writing for games and similar media, which is part of why I am pursuing a creative writing certificate. I’ve also been doing some communications work related to games as well. All in all, I’m looking forward to an awesome and interesting class.

  9. Hello everyone! My name is Jeremy Crossman. I am a Junior at UB pursuing degrees in English and Media Study. Seeing this course and what it entails makes me very excited. Gaming in all forms is a passion of mine, and I aspire to one day be involved in some way with a game development team. My video gaming experience started a long time ago when I was first introduced to the sega saturn and the gameboy. From then on, I indulged myself on any game I could, ravenously playing through games on the PS1, PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, and anything on the PC, as well as handheld devices such as the gameboy, gameboy color, gameboy advance, gameboy advance SP, and the nintendo DS. I have very fond memories of playing my gameboy with that corkscrew light into hours of the night way past my bedtime.

    Its so hard for me to pick one, singular all-time favorite game, so I’ll just share the ones that I have enjoyed playing the most. It would be a crime to not list the Pokemon franchise here, even though I don’t play any of the games past Emerald Version. All versions of Super Smash Bros are fantastic, and I’m very excited to play the latest one. The Elder Scrolls series is probably as close to an all-time favorite as possible. These games are, in my opinion, the best in the genre, and have honestly made it nearly impossible to play other RPGs. Most recently, the game that has eaten up all my time is League of Legends. This game in all aspects is something I love. I am an avid follower of the professional play, even making my own Fantasy LCS League with some friends, and I play every day as I try to climb the ladder myself, filling my competitive drive.

    I could go on forever about my favorite games, but I’ll save that for another time, as this is just an introduction. I hope to learn a lot in this course and I am looking forward to interacting with you all, as well as playing more games!

  10. Hey all,

    My name is Marissa Fielding. I am a senior and an English major at The University at Buffalo. I have chosen this class as a requirement and because it seems very intriguing.

    I have two sisters and a brother who are extreme game fanatics. The first game I have ever played was Yoshi on the Nintendo 64. I am more interested in playing classic games such as Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros. After the Nintendo 64, my family has owned almost all of the new game consoles such as the PlayStation, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and even the Wii. When reaching high school, I lost time to play video games as much as I had, only playing some app games as well as PC games on the occasion. I watch all of the my other siblings play their favorite games like Red Dead Redemption, Batman Arkham Asylum and City, Bioshock, and Dishonored.

    I am interested to learn more about how new media could be beneficial to society, such as in “Reality is Broken.” With an increase in the amount of technology and games being created around the world, it is important to analyze and understand how some games can benefit us, such as increasing creativity, coordination, and even possibly logic.

    1. Hi Marissa…enjoyed reading your final paragraph in your post about how media could benefit society. Just started reading the text, and you brought up some points that I agree with too.

  11. Hey class!

    My name is Bradley Shaffer, and I am going to be a senior English major at UB. I started as business, moved to communication, and have finally settled on English. This will be my fifth and final year at this institution. I signed up for this class to satisfy elective credits for my major, but am unmeasurably ecstatic to find that this class is focused on video games.

    I have been an avid gamer since maybe 8 years old, when I would play Sonic 3 religiously. Since then, I have played video games consistently throughout my life. Additionally, I always stay up to date in gamer news and culture. I consider myself to be very knowledgable on this topic as I have played all genres to a great depth and examined them through various lenses. My brother is also a designer of video games, and has been doing so since a young age. Because of all this, I believe myself to be intimate with the core principles of gaming, and am excited to learn more about gaming structure through this course. If I had to pick some favorite games, they would have to be Pokemon Blue, Final Fantasy VII, Megaman X, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Arkham City…. the list could go on. I pick those for the sake of pointing out favorites that span across my lifetime and different genres.

    Anyway, very much looking forward to this class! Should be a lot of fun.

  12. Sup people! My name is Henry Brown, and I will be a senior in the fall. I am an English major and am working towards the creative writing certificate. I’ve been playing games since I was very little. My parents bought my brother and I a Playstation when I was five. Also, my best friend had a Super Nintendo and we played at his house all the time. Megaman X is still one of my favorite games of all time, not to mention Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever really been a hardcore gamer, but every once in a while I will come across a single game and become completely obsessed with it. Like everyone else I could make a massive list of my all-time favorites. Recently I have been delving into the Souls Series, those being Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and the recently released Dark Souls 2. To me, these game are excellent examples of how video games, like books or films, can create living and breathing worlds. I came across this course when I was looking to take summer classes so that I don’t overload myself in my last two semesters. I’m very interested in seeing what I can learn from this course.

  13. Hello Everyone,

    My name is Quiana-Joy Ochiagha. I am a senior and I am also a double major in English and Political Science. I signed up for this course for two reasons. The first is because this class will meet a requirement for my English major and the second reason is because I am bored throughout the summer! I am from NYC, but I live off campus. This being the sad case, I have to work to pay my bills!

    When I was younger, I played a lot of video games. I can remember playing the first portable Nintendo (it was grey and the screen was green)… I use to love playing video games, but my definition of playing was to press a lot of buttons and hope that one of the combinations was better than my opponents so that I can beat them.

    I must admit, I love violent video games. My favorite video game of all time is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. But I also like less violent video games such as Crash Bandicoot, Mario Super Bros, and any racing games that are available.

    Even though I am not an avid gamer, this class looks like it will be a lot of fun. I might even learn a real combination or two!

  14. I just have to start by saying I had no idea that the main feature of this course was video games. I am beyond enthused that this was the intro I was given. My name is Greg Pennetto and I’ve always been a gamer, since the day I learned how to use a PC. I’ll admit you got more on me, my first gaming experience that really stands out was Doom on the PC, and you bet your ass I ended up using some cheats. It all really kicked off for me though with Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation, the first one, I played in a hotel while my parents were busy gambling, I remember Sanity Beach like it was yesterday. After that it was Spyro, Resident Evil… I actually remember, it was like 1998 and my dad convinced me I wanted Resident Evil 2. I didn’t even know what the hell it was, but I remember being 8 years old trying to get to the police station… All I can say is thank god for Spyro. As i got more into gaming I became huge on RPGs. I was really into Star War Galaxies due to my hardcore love for Star Wars, which I know is an MMO but truthfully that game was more than that, impossible to explain. Even today the KOTOR series is my top 3… And I know Obsidian rushed Kotor 2, but I loved it, just slightly less than Bioware’s Kotor 1. I’m a die hard Fallout fan, I’ll admit that it was Fallout 3 that got me into it, but I did myself the service of playing Fallout 1 and 2 multiple times. I actually went out of my way to get all achievements in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and they are still my top favorite franchise. As much as I love Bethesda I just wasn’t quite able to get into Elder Scrolls. Don’t get me wrong I played the hell out of Oblivion and Skyrim, missed Morrowind, but I feel like the lore just isn’t my thing. I’m more into Sci Fi RPGs. Mass Effect is my second favorite franchise, in fact I loved it so much that I got two tattoos for it. Most people have no damn idea what the tats are actually from, but its the renegade and paragon symbols on each forearm, kind of was bummed not more people recognized it, but I suppose its the company you keep. I’m way more of a gamer than most my friends, so just typing this alone makes me want to go on forever. I know with the next gen a lot of new games are doing their thing. I’m still on old gen, waiting a year for price drop and for companies to prefect their engines. I refuse to get Watch Dogs and Wolfenstein on old gen. I’m waiting for Mass Effect 4, next Deus Ex, and Fallout 4. Let’s hope 2015 yields some progress, were still at an awkward phase of console gen transition.

  15. I’m sorry to post again, but I read all your posts. There’s a lot of love here. We all have some experience with video games, we should all embrace this. E3 is coming up, that’s a pretty big deal.

  16. Hello new media, my name is Adam Culver and I’m a junior philosophy major, attending this course to fulfill an elective. My experience with video gaming has been discarded for the most part in recent years. As a younger version I was generally involved with the play station more of a social encounter than anything else, getting together and playing with friends as a way to past the time. For the most part I have not touched a video game in over 5 years for no particular reason at all. I do remember the days of Nintendo and Atari but was never interested in great depth.
    My reason for taking this course is to understand and conclude the obsession that most have with losing themselves in a fictional world. The world we now know May one day be virtual in some aspect. I look forward to learning more.

  17. Hello everyone, my name is Caleb Layton. I’m a senior English and philosophy major, planning to graduate after the summer session. I’m taking this course because it fulfills of my last English requirements, and for its modern subject matter.

    When I was a kid my brother owned a Sega Genesis, and I grew up playing Sonic and Mortal Kombat. Out of a misplaced bran loyalty, I swore to only ever own Sega game systems, and so bought a Sega Dreamcast instead of a Playstation 2. When I was about ten, I took a prolonged hiatus from video games after I was unable to find where a level started in Sonic Adventure, or deal with the subsequent frustration. I started playing again in high school when I was introduced to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, my first experience with an open-world style game. This was the last game I developed any real competence with, though I have spent an extensive amount of time watching others play Super Smash Bros. (the N64 version).

    I’m interested in the narratives at play with in video games, particularly in how a video game’s story line makes the player the protagonist, or at least makes the player’s actions justifiable within the world of the game.

  18. Hello New Media,

    My name is Adam Culver and I’m a junior philosophy major. I’m attending this class to satisfy an elective. The title of the course attracted me to register but I had no idea the course would be solely based on video games ( pleasantly surprised). My experience with video games is sparse. I stopped playing them over 5 years ago, although there is a fascination with how video games have influenced our lives and the way we live tremendously. I hope to get some great perspectives and outlooks from all participants and I look forward to the learning journey.

  19. Hey guys!
    My name is Justin Doyno. I am a senior majoring in Media Studies at UB. I took English 380 for my minor and I was agreeably surprised to see that the subject was video games. I have been involved with video games since I received my first Nintendo game many years ago.
    I absolutely love video games. I must admit that my preference has been sports video games such as Madden or NHL or NBA games. But I also love Grand Theft Auto and I play Candy Crush all the time.
    I very much look forward to the analysis and scholastic study of video games since I am so interested in them.

    1. Hi Justin…you kinda sound like me about video games. Use to play, Nintendo a lot when I was a kid, but slowly “outgrew” it. Definitely agree with you, looking for the scholastic study of video games. Who knew, that video games would turn into, a In depth course.

  20. Hi everyone! My name is Michaela Carbone, I actually had no idea that this class was heavily focused on video games, but I am extremely intrigued and excited to learn more about it and its effects. I am a Political Science student at UB, but looking to minor in English, so that’s ultimately the reason why I signed up for this course.

    I recently just got back from studying abroad in Vietnam and they are insanely obsessed with animation and video games over there (well what they have of it at least). It’s interesting that this fascination has even made its way into developing nations, and in my opinion, somewhat sad. I am looking forward to learning and hopefully understanding why people are so obsessed with gaming, illusory worlds, and avatars.

    I have never been a big “gamer,” but I have played Call of Duty a few times and unfortunately spent more time talking smack on the headset rather than actually playing the game.

    I am really looking forward to this class and can’t wait to get started!

    1. Hey Michael….read your post. That was cool how, your time in Vietnam wanted to do more research on games and the addiction that people have with video games.
      As I was reading the syllabus, and thinking about research topics, I was thinking about researching that area about why individuals are addicted to video games.

  21. Hello, my name is Claudio Sinchi, I will be a senior this Fall. My majors are English and Political science and my minor is Philosophy-Ethics.
    The three reasons I enrolled in this class are because its convinient, since Im back home in Westchester County managing my brothers oil and construction companies, to fulfill a requirement for my major, and to simply interact with my fellow intelligentsia.
    Concerning the class topic, games have always been around my household, but I’ve never really fancied them, however, the only game I do play is COD MW3.
    Im looking forward to this learning journey and cant wait for our class discussions!

  22. Hello class…My name is, Peter Krahn and I am a returning student to UB, and I am a senior. Currently, finishing my undergraduate degree in, Mathematics, and working on two certificates. One in, Paralegal and the other in, Journalism.

    I am taking the class for a variety of reasons. One, since this is an online class, it is convenient with work schedule, since I work during the day. Second, to fulfill UB credit hours and apply the class toward the, Journalism certificate. But more importantly, motivate me more to work hard for being an online class during a short time plus taking two classes at the same time as this one.

    As I was skimming some of the blogs, I fall into the same category and say, I am not a video game person. I do enjoy playing classic game show games (Super Password, Scrabble, Classic Concentration, games where the mind gets exerciser–granted I have played the Wii).

    I did grow up in the 1980s, and had classic Nintendo, and played games such as, Mario Brothers, Zelda, Pac-Man, etc. I am more stuck in the 1980s when it comes down to forms of entertainment.

    I look forward to interact with the class during the short timeframe.

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