Welcome!
afunkhouser
Greetings from Trinity University, I'm so glad that you could take the time to visit this site!  This blog is a personal spin on some of the things we have been discussing in class.  Forgive me if I go on tangents from time to time, I have a tendency to do that.

I am a sophomore communication student, thinking about a double major in business and then pursuing law school.  I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so naturally I'm addicted to green chile and breakfast burritos.  The more time I spend away from home, the more I miss it.  Turns out I was kind of spoiled with our mountains and sunsets and what not, I just didn't realize it before.

When I'm not in class or playing MMOs for class, I like swimming, reading, writing and playing soccer.  My friends will tell you that I'm addicted to T.V.  I like to think of it as being well-versed in popular culture with a focus in primetime television.  I am also a sports writer for our weekly on campus newspaper, and therefore love watching soccer, hockey and college football (Go Sooners!).

Feel free to comment on any of my blog postings, I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on transnational gaming or MMOs in general.  Being fairly new to the online gaming world myself, any advice or discussion is much appreciated. 

A recursive loop of collaboration
afunkhouser
I'm supposed to be blogging about the article I found that discusses collaborative research, but first, I thought I would note on several of the recursions in this assignment.  First of all, we are researching articles about research.  People are doing research about researching and we are researching it!  Also, we are supposed to upload this article about collaborative research to our own collaborative research project, which is also a bit entertaining.  A final note on research-- it sure is a weird word if you say it a lot.

The article I read was about the use of Wiki's in secondary school classes.  The study was done at a school in England, and the author of the study was interested to see what would happen in the research process if people used a wiki (the same wiki our class is using, actually) to do their projects.  The students involved in the project were high school freshmen.

According to the study, not many kids felt the need to access pages created by other students, expound on them, or edit them in any way, for a couple of reasons.  In fact, students seemed to resent having their pages edited by others and were nervous that others could change their pages because they did not want to get blamed for incorrect information or spam if another student posted something incorrect or immature.  The author suggested that people who take advantage of wikis must look at them from a different perspective than just individually written assignments, which appears to be the default train of thought for people without prior experience with collaborative online tools.  A clear cut set of rules could help to dissipate some of the student's fears about the program as well as the knowledge that whatever one student posts is not helpful to just herself, but to everyone.

Free Realms is great, so long as social networking isn't your thing . . .
afunkhouser
Earlier I posted this on the wrong blog.  Here's the right one!

One of our assignments for class was to compare DDO and Free Realms from the perspective as a game designer.  We were also supposed to make use of the chat tools on Free Realms, and here's the conclusions that I have come to:

From the perspective of a game designer, I think that both Free Realms and DDO have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and both will appeal to different types of gamers.  Free Realms includes a wider range of types of games, by allowing players to choose occupations that have different types of mini games.  It is obviously geared toward a younger audience who simply wants to log on and have some fun playing a computer game.  Free Realms makes use of player vs player (or player vs. computer), collection, spatial reasoning and building, depending on the occupation that a player chooses.  Free Realms is also good because players are able to freely choose different occupations if they decide they do not like the occupation they have chosen.

DDO on the other hand mostly consists of going on quests that require players to search for something and also fight enemies (player vs. computer or player vs. player).  There is less flexibility in the occupation that a character chooses because it takes a significant amount of work to be proficient in whatever type of character a player chooses.  This is not to say that it is impossible to change occupations, but a player has to be a little bit more decisive.  DDO also has an advantage over Free Realms for gamers who wish to be absorbed in the game, because it was a more well-thought out and consistent story.  Free Realms is kind of all over the map-- it has a magical world where people have race cars and can fly, but seems to be largely devoid of other modern conveniences.  DDO gives a player a more specific storyline to adhere to and the environment of the game allows the user to be absorbed by it more.  I also think it is easier to use the movement control in DDO, but that's probably just because I've played it more.

Another disadvantage to free realms is the censorship on the game.  There were times where I could not communicate with anyone unless I actually spoke to them.  Obviously if you were trying to meet someone online and make friends with them, this would be incredibly difficult.  I couldn't even say "people!"  For this reason I think it'll be difficult to profile a free realms gamer.  I did try to talk to someone in the game who was not in Games class, and all I managed was asking how she was, and getting a "Fine, u?" in response.

I do think the censorship is a good thing though (despite the fact that as a 'journalist' I'm avidly opposed to censorship), because Free Realms is geared toward a younger audience, that needs a greater amount of help with internet usage.  Many kids may not know what information to release or not release over the internet, and merely the fact that they are young and there are creepy people out there makes these censorships somewhat necessary.  Certainly not to the extent that they have been done though.  As long as there is a way for people who wish to communicate to each other without censorship to do so, then its okay the Free Realms has these networking blocks.  I found the DDO chat much more user friendly.


I have no idea why this says we're all taking "a sleeping", but whatever.  here is my awesome group playing free realms.  I'm the fairy on the right, Amelia Brightdawn.





(no subject)
afunkhouser
 Invertigo Games Inc. Presents Riptide

 

Surfing has been the epitome of cool sports for decades, and envelops a lifestyle that people envy.  Many people enjoy picturing themselves as a surfer, living a laidback, California lifestyle.  Unfortunately, surfing is not a reality for the majority of people around the world, because they do not live near an ocean.  However, thanks to the advent of the Nintendo Wii, and the innovation of the game-design team at Invertigo Games Inc., surfing can be a reality for anyone, right in the comfort of your own living room!  Riptide is a surfing game for the Nintendo Wii that uses the balance board interface controls.  Players can compete against each other, on the web, or create a career as a surfer in a variety of unexpected, unique surfing environments.

 

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[2] What is Wii? Nintendo. Retrieved from http://www.nintendo.com/wii/what

 

[4] Major Competitions in Surfing. Message posted to http://www.talksurfing.co.uk/guides/surfing_comps.html

 

[5] Brathwaite, B., & Schreiber, I. (2009).  Challenges for game designers. Boston, MA: Course Technology/ Cengage Learning.

 

 

[6] What is the Wii Balance Board?  Nintendo. Retrieved from http://www.nintendo.com/wii/what/accessories/balanceboard.

 

[7] Barlett, C., & Harris, R. (2008, October). The Impact of Body Emphasizing Video Games on Body Image Concerns in Men and Women. Sex Roles, 59(7/8), 586-601. Retrieved September 22, 2009, doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9457-8

 

[8] Steel, Bon (2008, Nov 1).  Proper Surfing Attire.  Message posted to http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1148708/proper_surfing_attire_pg2.html?cat=14

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Turns out, the designers of Mario Bros. were geniuses
afunkhouser
Think about it-- they have basically created an empire!  There's super smash bros, mario kart, mario party . . .  so many video games have come about as a result of this game.  Not to mention, it is pretty unique. 

I didn't realize just how unique Mario is until we did our exercise in class today.  My group members and I were trying to classify which category mario fell into, and we had a lot of trouble figuring out what the primary category would be.  Obviously, there is a little bit of destruction, because you have to kill bowser in order to save the princess, and also end up killing random other creatures along the way, such as goombas and fish.  However, I would argue that killing Bowser isn't really the main objective of the game, but is just another obstacle.  The main objective of the game is to get through all of the levels, essentially.

So what is this?  There isn't really a beating-all-the-levels category, unless you consider beating a level collecting it.  I guess its also race to the end because you have to beat the clock through the level.  of course, its also survival because you don't want to get hit by any of those flying hammers or end up falling off a cliff.  So, I've dubbed Mario and games like it in the Levels category.  Games in the Levels category have an overall goal at the very end, but the levels are mostly similar except for variations on things like foes and background settings.  Ultimately, you want to get through all the levels without dying, but especially without losing all of your lives.

I was surprised that there wasn't really a genre that I could easily fit Mario into in Brathwaite's categories, because it is such a popular game and seems to be a model for many video games that were released after it.  In addition, it seemed like there were several other types of games that were difficult to put into just one category, but none that truly seemed like they didn't belong in any of them, like Mario.

Wii's, FML's and Other Related Topics
afunkhouser
So I read a pretty funny FMyLife the other day and thought I'd share it with you all, seeing as how it sort of applies to today's blog assignment.  Although I realize it probably isn't actually a real event, I nonetheless thought it was funny.  Although I can't find it right now or I'd post it, but it said that the guy saw a banana peel in the road, swerved to avoid it, and ended up hitting another car because of it.  He attributed this to Mario Kart.

I have always loved Mario Kart, but I love it even more now that I've had a chance to play it on my sister's Wii.  They have added so many new features and cool graphics to the Wii version!  Probably the best and worst invention added to the new game is the dreaded blue shell.  There is no way to avoid it, and it always goes after the person in first place, no matter who shoots it-- totally unfair.  Not that I had to deal with it much, seeing as how usually, my sister was destroying me at the game.

The cool thing about Mario Kart Wii is that they have a special "steering wheel" that you have to use for the game.  You stick your wii remote into it, and hold the steering wheel infront of you, turning it as you would a normal car . . . Well, close enough anyway.  There are other additional remotes that you can use for other games, such as the Wii MotionPlus and Wii Sports Baseball Bats (apparently there's a lot of FML's that can arise from playing the Wii).  Although I have not heard about others gaming systems that have come up with interactive controls, I know that the PlayStation 2 has a video camera that you can buy, which allows you to be the controller yourself.  For example, there is a hoverboarding game that records from a video feed the movements you make and translates that to your avatar. 

I think that Wii could maybe incorporate some of this technology if it hasn't already, and could maybe come up with some hoverboard or surfing game.  They could even have a device that made you balance or something like that. 




Exploring the Gamer World on the Web for the First Time
afunkhouser
When looking through the course catalog for the fall semester, I was shocked to see that there was actually a class on Games for the Web!  Not only that but I had heard a rumor that I actually got to play video games online . . . for credit.  I thought that there was no way there would actually be research on such a thing-- because I saw online gaming as merely a past time.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of research that is being done on this topic and and surprised at what I've already learned.

I started my research by visiting a webcomic- The Noob.  What better way to start research for a class than by having a good laugh?  I thought the comic was funny while also being somewhat informative to a new gamer.  Clearly, this comic is good for both new and experienced gamers.  It gives us "noobs" a way to see what we can expect when entering an MMO for the first time, and is also full of inside jokes for experienced gamers as well.  The comic seems to be pointed at a fictional MMO, that will certainly apply to the way that games we play in class are set up.  I've already seen how this works in Free Realms when I tried to get my username for my fairy character.  It is purely independent and does not appear to have any advertising on the site.

Another interesting site I visited was Massively.  This site was devoted to everything MMO-- including Dungeons and Dragons.  It had a lot of the latest information about upcoming games as well as advertisements for other games.  There were even news articles about events in the world of online gaming and contests, which were well organized into categories. It is mostly aimed at people who are fully immersed in the world of MMOs, and want to learn about how to improve skills and know what the latest developments are.   While I didn't see much information dedicated to transnational play or region locking, I now know the best ship combat for sci-fi MMOs. 

The last site I visited was Gameology.  This site was a scholarly site, and appeared to be a mix between a blog and an academic journal.  The interesting thing about the site is that people can post comments and be involved in a conversation about whatever topic is being written about.  This is a great thing because we can see input from different scholars and anyone who cares about the subject.  It had a convenient search feature but didn't come up with any information about region-locking.    This site did not discuss Dungeons and Dragons in particular, but did recognize the elements present in many MMOs from Dungeons and Dragons.  I'm sure more research will come around once DDO has been released to the general public and they actually have something to study.






A Little About Me
afunkhouser
Hello,

My name is Ashley and I am posting this blog as a part of my Games for the Web class at Trinity University.  We will be exploring the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games, and seeing how these games play into transnational communication.

Originally, I grew up in New Mexico.  I love to play sports, especially soccer, and I like to write.  I'm always up for trying new things-- which is one of the reasons I took this course; I've never played an MMORG before.

I'm very excited to take this class and look forward to learning about the gamer subculture and experiencing it for myself.

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