class: middle # Description, Summary, Analysis, and Evaluation Matthew J. Lavin Clinical Assistant Professor of English and Director of Digital Media Lab University of Pittsburgh January 2017 --- class: middle # Overview - ### Description - ### Summary - ### Analysis - ### Evaluation - ### Other Modes - ### Closing Remarks --- class: middle # Description > Sitting in the lounge, we began on a Pez-colored planet called Oria V. Murray is known for nervously hovering during demos. “I’ll walk around a little, then I’ll let you have the controller for a bit,” he said. I watched as he traversed a field of orange grass, passing cyan ferns and indigo shrubs, down to a lagoon inhabited by dinosaurs and antelope. After three planets and five minutes, he handed me the controller, leaving me in a brilliantly colored dreamscape, with crystal formations, viridescent and sapphire, scattered in clusters on arid earth. Khatchadourian, Raffi. “World without End: Creating a Full-scale Digital Cosmos.” The New Yorker. 18 May, 2015. Web. 10 January 2016.
--- class: middle # Summary > Zork and other text-based adventure games have long been the subjects of academics writing about games, such as Brenda Laurel, Janet Murray, and Espen Aarseth. The games were also widely discussed in popular media, where journalists were fascinated by their artificial intelligence and imaginative scenarios. Although these games lacked audiovisuals, they were still widely played and admired by pretty much anyone who played them. Loguidice, Bill, and Matt Barton. "Zork (1980): Text Imps versus Graphics Grues," Vintage Games. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 2009.
--- class: middle # Analysis > Such was the payload of SimCity: not a game about people, even though its residents, the Sims, would later get their own spin-off. Nor is it a game about particular cities, for it is difficult to recreate one with the game’s brittle, indirect tools. Rather, SimCity is a game about urban societies, about the relationship between land value, pollution, industry, taxation, growth, and other factors. It’s not really a simulation, despite its name, nor is it an educational game. Nobody would want a SimCity expert running their town’s urban planning office. But the game got us all to think about the relationships that make a city run, succeed, and decay, and in so doing to rise above our individual interests, even if only for a moment. Bogost, Ian. “Video Games Are Better Without Characters.” *The Atlantic*. 13 March 2015. Web. 10 January 2016. < http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/video-games-are-better-without-characters/387556/> --- class: middle # Evaluation > Exploration, mission, cut scene, driving, mayhem, success, exploration, mission, cut scene, driving, mayhem, success. Never has a game felt so open. Never has a game felt so generationally relevant. Never has a game felt so awesomely gratuitous. Never has a game felt so narcotic. When you stopped playing Vice City, its leash-snapped world somehow seemed to go on without you. (164) Bissell, Tom. *Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter*. New York: Pantheon, 2010. --- class: middle # Other Modes: Summary moving into analysis > In the early history of video games, the dominant way to deal with failure was the arcade model with its limited number of failures per game. During the 1990s and 2000s, single-player began giving players unlimited lives. With some melancholy, one writer recently described this development. Yet the fact that we are given infinite retries also means that we now fail more frequently than we used to, even though we often describe newer games as easy. The combination of more failures and smaller punishments adds up to more frequent opportunities for having failure force us to reconsider our strategies, to learn from our mistakes. (72) Juul, Jesper. *The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games*. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 10 January 2016.
--- class: middle # Other Modes: Autobiographical voice, summary, description, evaluation > From today’s vantage point, it’s hard to explain how strange SimCity felt back then. The game that started with nothing, an empty map. Stupidly, I placed a square residential sector in the very top left, mistaking the barren, terraformed environment for something akin to a word-processing document. Then another, then some roads, forming a rudimentary grid. They remained empty, flashing their disapproval. I had no idea what I was doing. Bogost, Ian. “Video Games Are Better Without Characters.” *The Atlantic*. 13 March 2015. Web. 10 January 2016. < http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/video-games-are-better-without-characters/387556/> --- class: middle # Other Modes: descriptive summary > A few minutes into the game, you watch a cut scene in which Tommy and his lawyer (an anti-Semitic parody of an anti-Semitic parody) decide that revenge must be taken and the coke recovered. Once the cut scene ends, you step outside your lawyer’s office. The car is waiting for you. (163) Bissell, Tom. *Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter*. New York: Pantheon, 2010. --- class: middle # Closing Remarks - ### Use summary sparingly, to link ideas and give reader background info - ### Description and Analysis go well together. Make a claim, describe a scenario, interpret by defending claim - ### Evalutaion is often richly descriptive - ### Synthesis is more important that checking off all the boxes