DISCLAIMER: I completed this blog post and it all got deleted/unsaved somehow, so I am writing this duplicate of it with much less enthusiasm and energy. While saving every 30 seconds. Maybe 15 seconds. Anyways I apologize in advance.
Coming into this course, I expected to develop a newfound love/appreciation for video games just as much as the next guy that was spending an entire semester playing and discussing them. This is not the most demanding or mundane workload, so in many ways, I assumed I would leave this class either loving or feeling ambivalent about video games. However, I also feared that we would spend a majority of the semester breaking down those common (and sometimes problematic or controversial) AAA games, and that I would not be able to enjoy them by the end of the course. I enrolled in the class with very little knowledge or interest in video games outside of my obsession for arcade video games, so I was going in blind for the most part. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how wide-ranged and unique this class structure and game selection was.
From DIY indie games to AAA to movies and manga that reflected those ideas about gaming that we discussed, such as platform, gameplay, and alternative endings, our discussions and assignments went beyond my own personal assumptions for this class. I gained such an appreciation for video games that I had not previously held, as I was able to better understand the mechanics and narratives that are central to these games. One of my favorite games that I discovered through this class was Undertale, which I had actually ended up playing long after our in-class discussion on it, as I had already played The Stanley Parable for it. I was amazed at how quickly immersed I became with this game, as well as how much it made me overanalyze every single choice of action that I made in the game, as I knew that it would impact me either positively, negatively, or neutrally. I also loved the itch.io games that we explored at the beginning of the semester and was surprised at how much I enjoyed these games despite their simple concepts and limited objectives; it was the first time that I realized I was capable of making my own video game if I wanted to!
In short, I gained so much from this course and our discussions surrounding these games. I see myself using the programs, games, and discussions that we established in class even beyond this environment, as I now have a newfound love and respect for video games that I did not initially have. As we focused on their multifaceted nature, and the ways that the narratives that we discussed can take many shapes and forms, I found parallels between these games and that which I have already come to understand through my studies as an English major. I can’t wait to see how many more games I spend on in the near future, and if I’ll ever get better with console games and their controllers. Thank you, Profesor Parham, and Videogames and the Boundaries of Narrative!