New Job, New Classes, New Goings On

This is going to be my last post for a few days, maybe even a week. For those not aware, I start a second part-time job in a couple days at the same time that I start a new school semester. It’s going to be a bit crazy as I readjust to a new sleep schedule and feel out the requirements for each new class. For me, that usually takes about a week — for the classes anyway. It might take me a little longer to get used to having two (highly) different part-time jobs.

If you have not noticed, I changed the sidebar to reflect these differences too. Yes, I’ll only be a part-time student this coming semester. I was supposed to be full-time but they cancelled one of the classes I was enrolled in because of low numbers — I dropped from five classes to only four. (Turns out that only a few people are interested in taking a course on Literary Nonfiction.) I couldn’t find something that fit what I needed in that same time slot, so I just went with the part-time status. I figured with two jobs, that was probably a smart move.

In the meantime, however, I thought I would throw out some ideas I’ve been working on for upcoming posts for comments:

  • Dwarven society in Dragon Age: Origins. They seem to have a caste system — rigid class-based assignment — yet also have a king and a “Proving Grounds”. Royalty would mean an emphasis on individuality whereas the group-based (family-based) society would have an oligarchic structure — a group would rule, not a singular person. There seems to be a paradox at work in their society where you cannot (most of the time) move from one caste to another — not unlike older Asian cultures — yet a fighting arena means that some equality exists. It’s a bit, at least at first glance, like bits and pieces from Roman society (criminals can become celebrities through fighting) while also borrowing from feudal Japan — position in society is based on job, handed down from master to student.
  • Linking The Chantry from Dragon Age: Origins with Christianity before and after the Reformation. Dragon Age seems to have some interesting denominational splits along using certain rites and rituals in its worship of The Maker and, of course, Andraste. (Notably how worshiping different dragons fits into that.)
  • Following from the last point, an investigation of the various theories out there of the “Old Gods” in Dragon Age: Origins. Who are they? Where did they come from? Where are they now? (Yes, the wikia gives information on that. I’d need to play more Origins and then Awakenings before I wrote about it anyway.)
  • Examining various verisimilitude problems that dmcool and I talked about way back in November. I’ve been keeping a running list of strange tropes I’ve noticed in the few games I’ve played recently. I’ve been thinking about either doing a long post on them or setting up a Tumblr account with them — assuming, of course, that one does not already exist for that.
  • Getting back to defining the Possibility Space of Games. I wrote Part 1 and then didn’t go back to it. I’ve got a few more things to mention and some ideas to throw out about that still but would, like many other things on this list, like to have read up more before I start writing about it again.
  • Looking at Player Bias, “personal filters” or whatever it is going to be called. I want to talk about what players bring with them into the “magic circle” again. I should, hopefully, have some time to finish up a couple books on reader-response theory and have some thoughts on that as I continue to look at games as just another ‘read’ experience.
  • Different types of players. I mentioned back in the Recommend Books for 2012 post that I’d talk about The Grasshopper this week and then didn’t get to it. There has been some more recent work on trying to isolate play styles into four (or five) different categories since 1978 and I’d like to look at that issue again.
  • Expanding on “Watching the Game“. Kris Ligman, of This Week in Videogame Blogging and Dire Critic, was nice enough to not only answer my questions about her paper from a few years ago, but sent me a treasure trove of things she and others have looked at for the study of people watching players and player watching other players. I haven’t written anything from any of that yet and it is, let me tell you, quite good. Thanks again, Kris!
  • Typographic information systems. I’ve become interested in looking how people learn from just text. For example, were text-based games more or less fun from those we have now based in graphics? When more was left up to the imagination, did that give the reader/player more or less possibility space for play? Did they require greater mastery or less? Did the player need a greater fluency in the game’s ‘language’ and how did that translate between games?

As is always the case but not often stated enough, you can e-mail me. My address is on the sidebar. Be aware though that I will probably respond with several hundred words, as I do in the comments pretty often. If you want to start a conversation, I’ll gladly discuss anything I’ve mentioned in my numerous posts.

Also, this is one of the very few posts where I mention that I am, in fact, also on Twitter. (I mostly talk/complain late at night EST.)

See you in about a week!