Play

DWRL Staff

Games

The word 'play' in colorful text

Throughout the long history of the lab, play has been one of our central recurring areas of interest. In the lab’s current manifestation our focus has turned specifically toward digital games. Digital games are always laden with values: they make assumptions about players’ bodies and beliefs as well as race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability. Games invite their players to identify with these assumptions in order to succeed. But players can also resist a game’s procedural rhetorics, sometimes learning more

Questing for Choice(s)

Lily Zhu

Accessibility, Games, Multimodal Writing

aisle intro screen

There is a fundamental issue with how we (as academics, players, and creators) view game narratives. This particular art form leaves room for player intervention, for changes and transformations, however, such interactivity has done little to push the boundaries of storytelling beyond alternate endings and perpetual quests. Is this as far as stories can go? Linear progressions momentarily disrupted by the novelty of easter eggs and yet-to-be unlocked zones? Mark Danielewski’s The Familiar book series – delivered through a traditional

Cool Tools: The Rhetorical Methods Twine Game

J Brentlinger

Games, Pedagogy, Tools

An image of the first page of the Twine game. The image features the Digital Writing and Research Lab's logo and The University Seal.

Following the success of last year’s Twine research group, we in the DWRL wanted to take a step toward making Twine an integral part of the classroom. So during the break I set myself a goal: I wanted to write a completely new kind of Twine game. The resulting text, a Rhetorical Methods game, helps students to take a page and a half of notes regarding the issue, event, or other controversy that they choose to write about in the Rhetoric

Twine: The Meta Game

J Brentlinger

Games, Pedagogy, Tools

Team Twine was busy in the spring. Kendall, Lily, and I have been hard at work making some wonderful stuff for the DWRL. To help us along, we’ve read books and articles, held meetings and brainstorming sessions, developed our own materials and shared them with each other, facilitated Game Jams for others, and even made our own games. But since the busy semester is coming to a close, I want this post to be simple. For this post, I just

The Useful Art of Coding

Lily Zhu

Accessibility, Games, Multimodal Writing

user versus coder

By the time I finished writing this blog post, I had come to a realization that wasn’t even on my mind at the start: The active function (in as utilitarian a sense as possible) of an object is just as important in creative production as its affective and aesthetic potential.

The Twine Apocalypse

Kendall Gerdes

Games

A red sky over a valley.

If you’re wondering what Twine is, check out my post Twine Games 101. Or, continue on… The 2015 anthology Videogames for Humans solved a problem unique to anthologizing digital games: if every playthrough of a game might be different, how can a collection represent those possible differences? The answer was, as the text’s subtitle says, to put “Twine authors in conversation.” Each game is presented as a singular playthrough by someone other than the game’s maker. The player makes and

Why Historicizing Games Matters

Lily Zhu

Games, Multimodal Writing

colossal cave adventure intro

You just can’t exaggerate the importance of D&D to all of the many storygames that have followed it. It really did revolutionize the way we look at stories and games and the combination of the two in a way totally out of proportion to the number of people who have ever actually played it. But then, we could make exactly the same statement about Adventure, couldn’t we? Every story-oriented computer game today, including graphical adventures, can trace its roots straight

Twine Games 101

Kendall Gerdes

Games

A knot tied in a piece of brown twine.

In November 2014, the New York Times hailed Twine as “the video-game technology for all.” Twine is an open-source tool that’s pretty easy to learn: it took me about 20 minutes to make my first simple game with Twine. You don’t even have to download the software anymore – you can use Twine 2 inside your browser.