Creating blog articles for this class is writing that addresses a public audience. Students in the class will take turns blogging throughout the semester, and each time it’s their turn, they’ll choose one of the article genres listed below.
Students: please review the genres below, and make sure you select the corresponding category for whichever genre you choose to create. You may only create one article for each category, so every time it’s your turn to blog, choose a different genre.
Whichever genre you choose, your article should include the following:
- The correct category
- A “featured image”
- Other images, if appropriate, properly cited
Option 1: Summary
For this type of blog entry, your job is to read an academic journal article or book chapter and write a summary in which you explain that article’s main points, key evidence, and primary examples.
Choose something from our bibliograpy that hasn’t already been summarized on our site.
Your summary should contain your own ideas about the article: do not simply copy or paraphrase the article’s abstract.
- Include the author and title of the article you’re summarizing, a link to the article if it’s online, and name the journal or book it was published in
- Describe the central topic and thesis of the article. (It’s OK to quote.)
- Describe the context for this argument, for example, is the author responding or critiquing another article? Are they extending someone else’s ideas? Which sources are they citing frequently?
- Describe the main examples and evidence in the article, and explain how the author uses those to support the claim they’re making.
- Discuss what you learned from the article. Did the article teach you something new, or help you see something in a different way?
Option 2: Movie Review
Videogames are sometimes compared with movies or described as “cinematic” when they are particularly compelling, and film has been a rich medium for representing ideas about videogames, virtual reality, and related phenomena. In this genre of blog article, your job is to review a movie that has something to do with video games. Choose one from the list I’ve compiled that you haven’t seen (or haven’t seen recently), watch it, and write your thoughts here on the blog.
“Reviews” may be a misleading word — I want you to move beyond evaluation and into analysis. You’re not just telling your reader if the movie you reviews is “good” or “bad,” though you may certainly comment on its aesthetic value. Instead, treat the movie as a cultural artifact, and explain what it has to say about videogames and videogame culture.
- What technological apparatus do games require? (screens, goggles, gloves, etc.)
- What is the audience for the movie? What does that audience expect or believe about videogames?
- Is the technology presented realistic or utopian?
- Does the movie employ familiar tropes for showing the difference between a real world and a game world?
In addition to the general checklist above, use screenshots or embedded youtube clips (if they exist) to illustrate examples of the features you’re describing. You should also make sure and include the full name of the movie, it’s director, and year of release.
Option 3: Walkthrough
In this class, we’ll be playing some videogames and possibly doing some things with software that may be unfamiliar to some users, like Discord. For this genre of blog article, describe in detail the steps necessary to complete one of these tasks. It could be instructions for beating an objective in a game, or an explanation of how to set up a Twitch channel — anything relevant to this class or videogames.
In addition to the general checklist above, make sure that your walkthrough blog article includes the following:
- Numbered steps
- Images or video of key points in the process
- A good balance between showing and telling
- A good instruction set is one that finds a good balance between the number of steps and the complexity of each step.
- Make sure to cite any sources you use, and provide links to further resources or other tutorials if your reader still needs help after reading your walkthrough.
Option 4: Game Review
My guess is that many of you will have some things to say about videogames that you’ve played. For a blog article in the “game review” genre, your job is craft a thoughtful explanation of a particular game. This isn’t a review in the traditional sense where you give a game a score or a thumbs up or down — and really, this kind of writing is only interesting if the game you’re writing about has some value that you explain. Instead, try for something with broader contexts and conclusions.
The writer Brendan Keogh has several examples of what I have in mind, like this essay about Hitman. Note how he builds up to talking about Hitman by first outlining the history of the key formal aspect of temporality that he’s noticed has a different application in Hitman.
In addition to the general checklist above, your review should include a few common elements:
- The name of the game, its developer, its publisher, and the system you played it on.
- A description of gameplay
- Your well-considered, analytical insights about the game
- Some screenshots or video clips of gameplay