Video games, film, and literacy


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A presentation composed by Nicholas A. Rose and Nicolaus Miller regarding the topic of video games and literacy.

Presented at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, October 2013 for the course English 331: Film and Media in the Secondary Classroom.

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Video games, film, and literacy

  1. 1. Nick Rose and Nick Miller aka The Nicks
  2. 2.  Intertextuality  “a model where literary structure does not simply exist but is generated in relation to another structure. What allows a dynamic dimension to structuralism is his conception of the ‘literary word’ as an intersection of textual surfaces rather than a point (a fixed meaning), as a dialogue among several writings: that of the writer, the addressee (or the character) and the contemporary or earlier cultural context” (Kristeva 35-36, alluding to Bakhtin) In other words, “text” is any site within our culture where we exercise relational processes and practices of interpretation (Elias)
  3. 3.    Professor of literacy studies at Arizona State University What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2003) and follow-ups Combines situated learning principles with… <GASP>… video games?
  4. 4.     Learning is not an individual act but a social one as well (7). Situated cognition – Learning “embedded in (situated within) a material, social, and cultural world” (9) New Literacy Studies Connectionism – recognizing patterns
  5. 5.     Some learning has little contextualized meaning (ex. upper level math courses) Embodied experience (activity vs. passivity) Active learning (back to intertextuality) Identity*
  6. 6.  Projective identity- an intersection of the virtual and realworld identities of a player; “seeing the virtual character as one’s own project in the making, a creature [imbued] with a certain trajectory through time defined by… aspirations for what [the player wants] that character to be and become (within the limitations of [his/her] capacities…and within the resources the game designer has given me” (50)
  7. 7. Question of approaching this kind of materialHOW?  Using situated meanings and the design grammar of the game to understand and produce appropriate meanings and actions (33)  The player is an “active problem solver” encouraged to recognize his/her mistakes not as drawbacks but as “opportunities for reflection and learning” (36) 
  8. 8.  Based on Steven Heath’s theory of narrative space in film (1981)  Player as director (game = movie): “The presentation of cinematic space is a process of selective framings and editing that produce ‘gaps’ or jumps in the continuity of the flow of images” (referring to Heath’s theory of narrative space)- the player controlling the camera allows for a similar kind of control
  9. 9.   Games emphasize the act of doing, what Espen Aarseth calls “ergodic” action, a type of “nontrivial effort [that] is required to allow the reader to traverse the text” (Krzywinska 207). Games adhere to a binary structure, a rhythm of activity and inactivity that “ties into and consolidates formally a theme often found in horror in which supernatural forces act on, and regularly threaten, the sphere of human agency” (207)
  10. 10.    Media literacy remote Five Critical Questions Close Readings
  11. 11.      Strategy (SimCity, The Sims –sociology, economics) Fighting (Mortal Kombat, BlazBlue – backstories, characterization) FPS (First-person shooters) Half-Life; Aliens: Colonial Marines- adaptation, tie-ins TPS (Third-person shooters) Gears of War, Dead Space- full cinematic experiences Platformers (Banjo-Kazooie, Beyond Good and Evil)- from side-scrollers to fully realized 3D bringing symbolism, some archetypes
  12. 12. Games and Film: Games AS Film Video games have become nearly (if not entirely) synonymous with film in their production, mechanics, and consumption in our culture.
  13. 13.       Gears of War 2 (Epic, 2008) Scene: Maria's Death The Walking Dead: Lee's Fate Twisted Metal: Black - Darkside- Prologue Twisted Metal: Black- Middle Twisted Metal: Black – Ending Mass Effect 2: Mordin's Loyalty Mission
  14. 14.  Elias, Amy. “Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.” English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s). Ed. Bruce McComiskey. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2006. 223-275. Print.  Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.  Hobbs, Renee. Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom. California: Corwin, 2011. Print.  Kristeva, Julie. “Word, Dialogue, and Novel.” Trans. Seán Hand and León S. Roudiez. The Kristeva Reader. Ed. Toril Moi. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986. 34-61. Print.  Krzywinska, Tanya. “Hands-On Horror.” ScreenPlay: Cinema/Videogames/Interfaces. Eds. Geoff King and Tanya Krzywinska. New York: Wallflower Press, 2002. 206-224. Print.
  15. 15.  Tong, Wee Liang and Marcus Cheng Chye Tan. “Vision and Virtuality: The Construction of Narrative Space in Film and Computer Games.” ScreenPlay: Cinema/Videogames/Interfaces. Eds. Geoff King and Tanya Krzywinska. New York: Wallflower Press, 2002. 98-109.