This last week has been super, super hectic for me, hence my silence on the blogs. This semester I took 3 HASS01 Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences classes this semester: CMS.300,02 Intro to Videogame Critique CMS.616,03 Games and Culture and 21G.704.04 Spanish IV One of the benefits of this is that I had no finals for these classes.
The unfortunate drawback was that I then had three final projects to do. I had a pretty intense week. I think this is the hardest I’ve ever worked in a long, long time, but I’m really proud of the work I accomplished this week! I’ve had a pretty chill semester and I haven’t really been stressed whatsoever (subtle flex lol) so I didn’t mind the work too much. It was really fun to put my all into my final projects.
My final project for CMS.300 was to create a 10 minute video essay of a close reading analysis of a Triple-A game. A Triple-A game, or an AAA, is a video game produced by a major publisher and is typically known for having a lot of budget dedicated to it. I chose the game Ori and the Will of the Wisps to evaluate.
For CMS.616, we were told to write a 12 page paper on a topic covered earlier in class. It should be a deep dive onto this topic. For my paper, I chose to study the evolution of spectatorship in the videogames space and looking at how the role of the onlooker has changed over time in different contexts, from arcades to LAN parties to now live-streaming on Twitch.
I had a group project where we had to create a 7-9 minute video on a topic covered earlier in class in a documentary style. We decided to focus our video on the history of the tamale and its indigenous roots!
I essentially knew that this final week was my main grind week. I woke up at around 11ish and ate brunch with some friends at around 2 at Sulmona, a really tasty brunch spot in Central. After Sulmona, I headed to Stud 505 The fifth floor of the MIT Student Center where students typically go to work and worked on gathering resources for my CMS.300 paper.
In terms of how I found sources, I spent a lot of time trying to find things specifically on the history of platformer games, the emotional impact of an environment of a video game, the emotional impact of nature, and nature in video games.
I found a lot of interesting sources so I’ll link a couple cool ones I found for CMS.300 here:
- Fuchs, M. (2017). “Ruinensehnsucht”: Longing for decay in computer games. Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association, 3(2). | This is an interesting paper talking about an art concept known as “Ruinensehnsucht”, a German word referring to a longing for decay. This is meant to explain humanity’s obsession with idolizing ruins and things of the past and how even though we have the technology to make video games with pixel perfect, utopic environments, we still continue to include decay and ruins in them. I thought this was an interesting concept that could maybe be applied to nature and a longing for it.
- Chang, A. Y. (2019). Playing nature: Ecology in video games (Vol. 58). U of Minnesota Press. | This was a SUPER cool book that I really loved reading if you manage to get a hold of the full copy. In this book, Chang talks about video games as mesocosms, experimental enclosures halfway between unbounded nature and a lab setup. She evaluates video games and their role in influencing our understanding of ecology and nature, and how games studies are actually imperative for understanding interactions between human and non-human actors. I really loved this book because it had a lot of interesting critiques regarding video games’ treatment of the environment. She mentions how video game environments often lacked because they were merely aesthetic backdrops to the games rather than serving some greater purpose or interaction. Additionally, she mentioned how video games often displayed their environments and worlds with infinite resources despite this most definitely not being the case in the real world.
After I did some resource gathering, I went to chapter for my sorority where I am excited to announce that I am Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Zeta Delta chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon :)
Then, I headed home and did more resource gathering and finished my script for my Spanish project.
On Monday, I woke up at 2 again and threw together a quick video for my Spanish project in Adobe Premiere Pro. I was..not the most familiar with the program so I ran into a lot of issues exporting, mainly Premiere crashing a bunch of times so I was pretty frustrated.
As it exported, I headed to the Z Center to work out with my sorority little, Elaine, and my sorority twin, Megan, for a good push day. Then, I ate a quick dinner at McCormick and headed to 2.009 presentations.
2.009 is the Course 206 Mechanical Engineering product engineering class where MIT students must ideate, create, design, and prototype a product of their choice. The presentations featured so many cool products like an assistive chair that helps transport people in wheelchairs from the chair to their aisle seat in a plane, a prosthesis accessory that helps those with hook prosthetics to cook better, and a portable handheld tool that solders and heat seals wires.
You can view the full presentation here and the product prototype brochures here.
It has been my dream to go to a 2.009 presentation and it’s usually very, very hard to get tickets but Petey was nice enough to give me his extra. I am so excited for next year since a lot of my friends will be taking this class in the fall.
After the presentation I was still pretty frustrated since the video still wouldn’t export and I was planning on already writing the script for my CMS.300 video instead of spending so much time on Spanish. But, after a bit more of fiddling with settings, I was able to get it working. You can see my final projects at the end of this blog.
Since it was working, I was able to work on my CMS.300 script! I stayed up til 3am working on it.
I, a fool, was under the impression I didn’t have classes to attend.
I woke up at 10:40am to a Discord notif of my prof reminding us about class. Yikes.
So, I rushed on over and was about 15 min late and watched some demo presentations for the people in my class that opted to do a presentation + paper instead of a video. I loved hearing so many cool ideas for papers, like a paper on whether or not Cyberpunk 2077 is really cyberpunk, if Death Stranding is its own new genre, and how Animal Crossing represents the ideal workplace. CMS.300 was genuinely such a cool class and it really pushed me to think a lot more critically about games. I started getting back into playing video games because of the class and I loved my time in the class.
After class, I continued over to essentially just write, write, write and continued to work on my script. I headed over to ZBT for dinner to take a quick break and then sent the script over to some friends to edit.
Then, I recorded the script and called it a night at around 2.
I woke up around 12 and got ready to go to Aidan’s Jlab07 Course 8 (Physics) Junior Lab presentations. Aidan will probably be making a guest blogpost on Jlab so I won’t go too deep into it, but essentially this is a lab class that juniors in physics take that focuses on physics experiments and presenting your findings.
Honestly I wish I could tell you what Aidan presented on but it is out of my comprehension so…I will just have you wait in anticipation for Aidan’s Jlab post :) I enjoyed the free food, though.
Afterwards, honestly the day was just heading to Stud5 and editing. I continued working in Adobe Premiere Pro to make my CMS.300 video and even skipped my night class to finish editing.
I ended up finishing editing around 8pm and then pivoted over to CMS.616 to gather sources for my essay.
On Thursday, I woke up around 12 and got ready to head over to my Spanish class to watch everyone’s final presentations. I loved seeing the range of presentations, from a documentary on the United Fruit Company (do your research) to the history of soccer to an art piece on the colonization of Latinoamerica.
I really learned so much through my Spanish class and I’m excited to pursue more of my Spanish minor at MIT.
After Spanish class, I ate and worked from 2 to 5 on my essay looking at more sources. I gathered around maybe 20-30 different academic papers to look at.
From 5-6, I went to an pre-departure info session for 21L.590, The Spanish Incubator. It’s an IAP class where students study for a month in Madrid, learning about Spanish history and literature!! I am so excited to (hopefully) be heading to Spain.
From 6-7 I ate and spent the rest of the night sifting through my sources and taking notes on them as well as then outlining the paper, before heading to bed around 2.
Friday was crunch day. I had a 12 paged paper due at 11 and I woke up around 12. As soon as I woke up, I just wrote. I was also trying very hard to plan my friend retreat, where we were heading to a cabin in New Hampshire at 5 that day.
It was…a tad bit stressful? I wrote about 4 pages before leaving the DPhiE house to head to Raymond’s 6.17208 Performance Engineering of Software Systems competition. For the 6.172 final project, students were placed in teams of 4 and had to code their own leiserchess bots.
You can read more about leiserchess here.
Raymond’s team ended up getting the highest ELO bot!!
At around 4 I finished writing my paper and had Aidan look over it to edit it, before submitting it at around 5pm. Then, we were on our way to New Hampshire!
We ended up driving for an hour to a Cracker Barrel and it. Was. Delicious.
Only two people in our group (Kylee and Aidan, both coincidentally or not so coincidentally from the south) had had Cracker Barrel before so our group was so flabbergasted by how delicious it was. I got chicken fried chicken with pancakes on the side and these were genuinely the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Then, we continued on our way past the state line to end up in Gilford, New Hampshire, where we checked into our Airbnb and relaxed for the night, chatting away and watching Love, Actually before bed.
Saturday was a really lazy day for us! We all woke up around noon-ish, gazing out the window at our lakeside view from the cabin and eating chocolate chip waffles. This retreat was essentially meant as a celebration of our hard work, as well as a celebration of just having an in-person semester again.
Later that day we headed to a tavern to eat some tasty comfort food then spent some time at the lake. Then, we headed home to do our friend group’s White Elephant game. Raymond ended up getting $25 and I got protein shakes. WOO!
Then, we watched Whiplash and played a LOT of Super Auto Pets. Super Auto Pets tierlist incoming.
Afterwards, we watched Whiplash and talked about life, our futures, and school!!!
Now I will be heading home for the holiday break. I’ll be traveling around hopping between Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco before heading to Madrid. I am very excited for what is to come and I am grateful for a really fruitful semester. I’ll probably do my final semester wrap-up and reflection sometime soon, but in the mean time here are my final projects.
- Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences back to text ↑
- Intro to Videogame Critique back to text ↑
- Games and Culture back to text ↑
- Spanish IV back to text ↑
- The fifth floor of the MIT Student Center where students typically go to work back to text ↑
- Mechanical Engineering back to text ↑
- Course 8 (Physics) Junior Lab back to text ↑
- Performance Engineering of Software Systems back to text ↑