Mortensen (2018) takes the reader through a story arc to define the event #GamerGate; however it has not come to a tidy conclusion yet (just type in the hashtag in Twitter). From the underground buzz where discourse began and how it gained momentum in mainstream social channels, to using a “swarm metaphor to describe its self-organizing nature” and gradually building to a crescendo with the declaration that #GamerGate is akin to hooliganism; defined by Merriam-Webster as “rowdy, violent, or destructive behavior.” Mortensen explores #GamerGate and states that “it is a unique chance to understand more about games and their culture”. The author explores the motivations behind the ugly and damaging vehemence of the GG’s supporters’ presence throughout this event….
Click below to read my article review; prepared for ETEC 565S: Digital Games, Pedagogy and Learning.
Twine / An open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories
In my summer institute course Digital Games, Learning and Pedagogy at UBC’s Vancouver campus, we had the opportunity to try Twine, an online tool that allows you to make fun story games! This is such an incredible resource for the classroom as it is free!
My game, Two Strikes, is below. Click on the picture to take you to the game, hosted on my itch.io page. It is a story with two different outcomes (sort of ;), and you’ll notice when you hover your cursor over certain words/sentences, they are clickable. These will take you to other screens. It is a “choose your own adventure” type of game (albeit a short one!) and my first attempt at using Twine. It is so fun to use and I hope you try it out!
A reflection of our afternoon of play, with reference to Huizinger’s definition of ‘play’ and Caillois’ take on ‘game’.
Afternoon board games – we settle into our corner and choose a game to play.
“Sagrada? What’s that?”
“Do you know that cathedral in Spain? It’s a really fun game where you build stained glass windows…using die.”
Sagrada is a game where the players create stained glass windows by building up a grid of dice on their player board. Each board has some restrictions on which color or shade (value) of die can be placed there. Die of the same shade or color may not be placed next to each other. There are 90 coloured die in the game, and a game board with 10 spots. Those 10 spots are empty and awaiting the discarded dice following each round of play. For a 4-player game, you roll 9 die, choosing them from a bag and then selecting one to place on your “cathedral” (player board). Each player gets 2 die to place on their board, with an option to take both, opt out entirely or just take one (with the implication being you would potentially be behind your opponents, but sometimes you have no choice). We figured that a potential strategy could be to look at your opponent’s board and, if it suits your board (even though it would not necessarily be your first choice), take a dice that they would need/want for their window during that round to try to force an opt out.
One of the questions that came up was: Are there enough die for our rounds? The cathedral has 20 windows (spaces to place the die), marked with either the numbers on the die or colours. We did the math and if we were to deplete the bag during the rounds (4 x 20 = 80) and have 10 leftovers for the game board, that would equal 90 die total. The crux lies in whether or not the die rolls are in your favour. Caillois defines 4 different categories of games. Our group participated in the alea type, or games of chance. Games of chance level the playing field, as randomness takes away some of the competitiveness, since skills, qualifications and experience does not factor in. It is left up to fate. However, some games of chance are higher stakes than others (for example, gambling money in a casino versus a family game of Yahtzee), so each would have different levels of stress attached to who wins.
Huizinga (1955) states that play “must be defined as a free and voluntary activity”. Although the games were provided and assigned to us this afternoon, it still felt like free time, as there were no expectations or analysis to be done while playing. So, it was a source of joy and amusement. I remember thinking to myself that I should play more in general, as I was using problem-solving and critical thinking skills while figuring out the win conditions and gameplay, and doing so was satisfying.
Games provide an environment conducive to collective conversation, and thinking to yourself; being helpful, and attempting to thwart your opponents – all in an afternoon of play.
It’s Day 1 of our 3-day Walk With Us project at Mamawmatawa Holistic Education Centre in Constance Lake First Nation. What a cool group of Grade 9’s! Students learned how to capture 360′ imagery today and will be heading out in the community tomorrow morning to take pictures of their hometown to contribute to the northern Ontario coverage on Google Maps.
As you can see from the map above, the province of Ontario’s Street View coverage is sparse, particularly in the northern regions. This is an opportunity for youth to contribute to these gaps in service, and positively affect change for all who use Google Maps for directions and place-based education.
They will also be interviewing Elders to learn more about Constance Lake, share stories and record Cree language to integrate into a virtual tour, as they will be developing a virtual tour of the community as a class! The students hope to showcase their work at the year-end Art Show, and possibly even Constance Lake First Nation’s 75th anniversary next year.
Walk With Us, made possible by CreeGeo and Mushkegowuk Council, will be heading to Constance Lake First Nation the week of March 25th.
Constance Lake is not currently represented on Google Maps’ Street View. Students will be taking 360′ pictures of their community and creating virtual tours of their hometown using Google’s Tour Creator. They will be connecting with elders in their community to learn more about Constance Lake and its history in order to share with others!
I attended Google Earth Outreach’s Geo for Good conference for the first time in October 2016. This workshop is intended for nonprofit mapping and technology specialists (of which I am not – I am just fortunate to be able to learn in these fields); and Google Earth Outreach is a program that helps provide nonprofits and public benefit organizations with knowledge and resources to visualize their cause and tell their story in Google’s mapping tools. I had the opportunity to attend again in 2018, and met Tawanda Kanhema. Originally from Zimbabwe, Tawanda has lived and worked in the Bay area, California for the past 10 years and recently traveled back to his home to put Zimbabwe on Google Maps/Street View.
We chatted about where I am from (northeastern Ontario), and where I work (CreeGeo/Mushkegowuk Council Information Services). I remember talking about the importance of the Winter Roads to connect remote communities in the colder months (in warm months, they are fly-in), and lamenting the fact that Wetum and James Bay Winter roads were not on Google Street View (not to mention any of the communities). If these roads were on Google Maps, it would afford anyone using this service to be a virtual tourist, and take a virtual drive up these roads from anywhere in the world. Not only that, but my hope would be to provide education to others about why these roads are integral to Mushkegowuk communities, and as a thank you to all of the people who work hard to maintain these roads during its season.
With some planning, this project is coming to fruition on Monday, March 4th. We leave Timmins Monday morning and will be on the road visiting the communities of Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany throughout the week. We have welcomed community members to share stories about the winter road and will also show students the equipment being used and hopefully ignite some curiosity! Thank you to the above communities and to Mushkegowuk Council for allowing us to engage in this opportunity.
Wetum Road / James Bay Winter Road Street View project travelers:
Tawanda Kanhema – Photographer, Kanhema Photo
Alan Sanchez – Filmmaker, Sanchez Media LLC
Melissa Lavoie – CreeGeo
Ed Sutherland – CreeGeo
Michaela Paradis – CreeGeo
Dr. David Pearson – Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, Laurentian University
See the Twitter post below for our travel schedule!