Michael Lewis

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We have some questions to guide you as you reflect on your experiences in this unit. Please think about them as you write in your journals. Please write as much as you like! The more reflective that you are about your experiences using the Values at Play methodology, the more able we are to get an idea of what this experience has been like for you. We'd like to hear about what it's like to use this methodology and what it's like to think about the concept of social values becoming embedded in video games.

Contents

Class 1:

 

1. What was the experience of using the Grow-a-game! cards like? Was it difficult to brainstorm values in the game that you selected with the cards? How so?

The use of the grow-a-game cards was very intriguing. They often pair cards together that at first glance seam difficult to put together but always seem to be with a little digging. I found it very difficult to integrate the value into the game in a meaningful way. Ofter the value would become the goal of the game, but if value is a goal and not a trait, the player will not really learning anything. I believe this observation because from experience I have seen the way of understanding something is to act it. Merely understanding a value does not mean one has an emotional connection to it, and at the heart values are expressions of emotion and not logic.

2. Using the cards, how was it to try to use the mechanic to represent the value?

Using the pink card was interesting. I started with a prejudice against the pink card because I didn't like the idea of having a forced mechanic on me. I mean, isn't a big part of game design creating the mechanic? To respond to my own rhetorical question: well no it is not. There are many games that were created derivative of a mechanic( i.e first person shooters) that still exhibit a great deal of design, it just needs to be refocused. So when we introduced the Gran Turismo card just to see what it would be like, I went from frustration to really enjoying thinking through how to incorporate a driving game to illustrate values that may not really have to be about driving at all. The pink cards can really increase the level of constraint, which in turn can lead to very creative solutions.

3. What was it like to explore values in games with group members? Did any emotions come up (for you or anyone else) as you spoke about games and values? ==

Doing this as a group experiment was quite interesting for me. I think for the most part, everyone simply kept impressing me with how they would interpret the cards so differently than I would. More so there was some great innovation and an almost jazz like atmosphere with people riffing off of each others ideas very rapidly.

4. For the out-of-class video activity:

• How difficult was it for you to discover an example of this value in a game? Have you ever done anything like this before (analyze game elements for value content)?

I don't think I would use the word difficult to describe this exercise. I did enjoy thinking about games centric to a value. It made really look at games through a different and focused light.

• Do you think that others might see this value represented in the game?

I think so. (I was doing honesty in portal) The game designers were able to used honesty for a humorous effect with in game dialog. I think this mechanic maintained immersion and also helped with the flow of the game immensely.

• Do you think that the game’s designer(s) thought consciously about the value being reflected in the game?

No. I think they were just trying to add humor to the game. It does not really make an attempt to teach honesty in any way or form, but it is continuously represented nonetheless.

• How did you make the connection between game elements (narrative, rules, or mechanics) and the value?

The value ultimately provided for motivation to continue through the game. It also added to the tension of the final scene because the value created a bond between the antagonist and protagonist. Interestingly, the antagonist is the one who teaches the player how to play the game, but then they become an unreliable source- so the player is at the same time following the rules of the one whom they are ultimately trying to defeat. The subtext that can be divined here is sort of a fall from grace turned on its head.

Class 2:

 

1. How challenging was it to discover the value that you are using for your prototype? How did you settle upon the value? What makes this value important to you? To society?

2. Values in games can arise from many sources: narrative, character representation and backgrounds, the game environment, mechanics (constraints and affordances), and underlying rules, to name a few. Which elements of your game design will represent the value that you have chosen? Why have you chosen these elements?

3. How have stakeholder values been appraised and integrated into your design?

Class 3:

 

1. How has your value been operationalized?

2. Were there any disputes among group members while trying to determine how to represent your value in the game? How did the disputes arise? How were they resolved?

Class 4:

 

1. How did your group handle conflicts around values representation in the game?

2. How did your group respond to critiques from other groups? Did you need to reconsider and design elements for values representation?

3. Write about your overall experience in this unit. What was it like to focus on embedding values as you designed a video game? What were the most challenging aspects of considering how to represent values? What were the most enjoyable aspects?

4. Have your thoughts or attitudes about the concept of values becoming embedded in video games changed at all since the beginning of the unit? If so, how? If not, why not?