- 21G.704 – Spanish IV; Estamos de vuelta en la Spanish Grind, bebe!!! Estoy muy emocionada por esta clase, especialmente porque tengo amigos en esta clase y mi profesora es muy atenta!! (We are back on the Spanish grind, baby!! I am very excited for this class, especially because I have friends in this class and my professor is very helpful!)
- CMS.300 – Intro to Videogame Theory; Excited for this class mainly because our assignments are READING really cool videogame articles and then PLAYING videogames and then WRITING about them. Literally my three favorite things.
- CMS.616 – Games and Culture; A class that talks about the impact of gaming on the culture of today as well as the culture that surrounds games!!! How neat!! How cool!!
- 6.034 – Artificial Intelligence; Honestly just needed to take a CS class this year and I heard very good things about AI.
Monday – 9/13
I wake up at 9am in the beautiful brownstone Delta Phi Housilon (also known as the hussy house), wash up, set up a dentist appointment, and catch the 1 bus and run over to 26-100 for lecture.
6.034 lecture (10am-11am)
This is our third lecture of the class and I’m actually very much enjoying this class. It’s content I know and understand because I’ve taken 6.009 and 6.006 so it’s nice to be able to go into a computer science class for the first time and actually understand what they’re talking about.
Today in class we covered the different basic searches, specifically depth first search, breadth first search, British Museum method (aka brute force), hill climbing, BEAM, and best first.
It was cool to view the different representations of searching in a continuous space as opposed to a discrete one and seeing what problems may arise if we only search in the four cardinal directions as opposed to exploring other ones as well:
Also this class has a dog in it that belongs to the professor and it comes in and says hello and it also is officially a staff member for 034.
Down time (11am-1pm)
From here I have no classes so I go to the Stud typically to get some food and talk with friends.
This is one of my favorite classes of the day! I really love being able to comfortably speak in Spanish without people judging me, especially since I’m not the greatest at Spanish. It’s nice to be in an environment that works on uplifting and supporting your learning.
We talked a lot about the different metaphors of the United States being a mixing pot vs. a mixed salad and which metaphor applied most in our day to day lives, as well as reviewing stem changing and irregular verbs in the present tense.
Today was my pull day! So I deadlifted, did some lat pulldowns, cable rows, chest supported rows, and the like. I am happy with my progress and today I did 5 sets of 4 of a 100 pound deadlift which honestly is not much but it is progress! And I’m especially happy I was able to maintain a decent enough form.
6.0001 Office Hours (4:30-6)
As mentioned in a previous post, this year I am an LA for 6.0001, MIT’s Intro to Python class. I’m very nervous but simultaneously looking forward to being able to help kiddos. I know how rough coding can be, especially when you’re learning it for the first time. But since it’s the first week, barely anyone came in so I used the time to catch up on some reading for my classes.
Poker Club Intro to Poker class (8-9)
I know how to play poker but I thought it might be nice to get a refresher and also there was free food.
Poker Night + Boba @ DPhiE (10-12)
After poker night we all were so hyped up by poker that we ordered boba and played poker. I invited some friends over and it was so lovely, I had such a good time and forgot just how much I love the game.
Tuesday – 9/14
I literally did nothing I just woke up and rolled around in bed.
CMS.300 lecture (11-12:30)
Frankly this lecture wasn’t super engaging, but I think that was because it was just an introduction and an overview to gaming critique and also the projector wouldn’t work so it was just an auditory lecture so I honestly cannot tell you a lot about this lecture.
I then rushed over to Building 16 and prepped for Spanish. Our homework was exploring the term “chicano” and “mexican-american” and the struggles mexican-americans face daily. I think there were a lot of really good conversations surrounding this topic and it was really incredible we all are able to talk about such heavyweighted subjects in a language we are barely fluent in.
6.0001 Office Hours (4-5)
Once again very uneventful since no one really has questions this early in the year!
Push day! And some brief cardio while watching a Twitch stream. My bench press is still not where it needs to be but we’re seeing improvement so that’s all I can really ask for.
I went over to Simmons dining with Raymond for a quick meal. It was pleasant and I enjoy eating dinner with lovely people.
Random Hall Pool (8-10)
I went over to Random to see my good friend Kylee and play a couple games of pool with her while catching up!
Pset and chill (10-12:30)
I went back to the dphie house with Raymond and Aiden to pset and goof around and get some last minute work in.
Wednesday – 9/15
I practiced a little bit of guitar after I washed up just since I’m trying to get back into an instrument playing habit.
6.034 lecture (10-11)
This time we covered optical searches, like branching and bounding, branching and bounding while maintaining a set of visited nodes (called an extended set in this case), branching and bounding while implementing admissible heuristics, and then finally combining those three methods to result in the A* optimal search method.
It was cool to learn about A* in a class, especially since I’ve heard so much about it in the past and seeing an actual application of it has been really interesting.
In this class we covered some poetry and reviewed direct objects, indirect objects, and lo neutro and it was really interesting having to talk about abstract concepts and metaphors in a whole other language.
6.0001 Office Hours (4:30-6)
Once again, no one here because it’s the beginning of the semester. I actually got permission to leave somewhat early and watch the queue virtually.
I did a really light legs day since I didn’t have that much time. I squatted, did some leg extensions, leg curls, and thigh workouts but nothing too intense since it was pretty limited time-wise.
Quick dinner (6:30-7)
I was really excited for this because tonight was Soul Food night at McCormick!
This class I have a deep love and hate relationship with because three hours is SO LONG but those three hours are so full and rich with such important and intriguing conversations. We had four readings this time around which I will briefly talk about because I thought they were really neat.
Hughes – Beyond the Rules of the Game
This paper focused on a group of eight year olds playing foursquare and the concept of “real” rules versus “nice rules.” Imagine nice rules being that when a younger child comes to play foursquare with you, you immediately realize you shouldn’t do any nasty moves (things like hitting the ball so hard it topples over their head or permanently targeting this child to get them out). These are unspoken rules but simultaneously “nice rules.”
This paper talked about how these kids would often define their ruleset at the beginning of every game, but would use something called “Rooie Rules”, where Rooie was one of the girls that played foursquare and she generally had an agreeable ruleset that people enjoyed.
It was interesting, though, because new players would often call Rooie Rules even if they didn’t know what it entailed — they just knew it was popular. Some kids couldn’t even describe what Rooie Rules were.
And when people would break Rooie Rules (holding the ball, hitting the ball very hard, etc.) the young girls often wouldn’t call people out on it because it didn’t look intentional. They would simply assume that everyone was trying to play nice and just assumed they weren’t breaking the rules maliciously.
When a group of rowdy boys, however, decided to join foursquare and continued to break the Rooie Rules by playing rough, the girls began to call them out on it because they saw the boys were intentionally doing so. They weren’t doing it by accident or even feigning it as an accident, they made it obvious that they were playing competitively and roughly.
As girls began to call specifically the boys out on their behavior, they ended up in a catch-22 of sorts. The girls now had to call out the people unintentionally breaking the rules as well, as the boys would say things like “She was holding, why does she get to stay in?” or “She hit it too hard” even though it was blatantly an accident. Thus, this paper focuses on this idea of “overemphasis on game rules can lead to some rather paradoxical conclusions” like as seen here. It also explores the malleability of the rules in the gamespace and how there can be things like unspoken rules, “nice rules”, and “real rules.”
Malaby – Beyond Play
Building off of this, Malaby’s paper talks about viewing games as social artifacts that are relevant and intertwined with everyday life rather than this separate game space altogether. It really emphasizes this idea of games as a process rather than a procedure and this ties in really nicely with Hughes’ paper because, like we saw before, rules are everchanging and malleable thus a game and its rules are always in process and development. There are modifications made to “hard and fast rules” so that players can focus more on game flow.
Someone in class described it well, saying how sometimes in sports games refs won’t call out minor infractions against the rule to maintain game flow. They will only call out minor ones if they are pivotal to the outcome of the game. It would be an unpleasant experience for both spectators and players if the game were stopped for every misstep and rulebreak.
Latour – Where Are the Missing Masses?
This passage was somewhat dense and hard to read but I’ll try my best to summarize it because I actually really enjoyed it.
Latour opens the piece with some extended metaphor about entering their car, not wanting to put on their seatbelt, and their car making obnoxious car noises to indicate the person should put on their seatbelt.
They then pose another situation, a situation in which the car will physically not drive unless the user’s seatbelt is buckled, and then poses the question: where is the morality?
This passage focuses on these nonhumans (the seatbelt, the car, the car alarm) becoming enforcers and imposers of morality. “I cannot be bad anymore,” says Latour, “I, plus the car, plus the dozens of patented engineers, plus the police are making me be moral.” The paper then goes on to say that these nonhuman actors in our day to day lives make up morality and imbue that morality into our lives, like heavy doors that close automatically so you don’t have to think about closing them, or bathrooms that lock on close, lights that turn off with a clap.
I found this concept really interesting because Latour phrases it as if these objects are making us moral. I personally argue that these objects are making us less moral since we no longer have to actively think about doing the right thing. Instead, the right thing is chosen and done for us.
We then can look at Latour’s perspective on things and apply this to games: what are the nonhumans acting in our game? The unspoken rules? The way the game is simply built? The limited or freeflowing autonomy granted to us?
Taylor – Assemblage of Play
(Fun fact this paper was actually written by my professor). This concept of nonhumans acting and imposing into our lives then comes to fruition here, where Taylor focuses on the assemblage. It is not just the game we should be evaluating in game studies, but the assemblage – the system, the company, the rules, the organizations, the community, the player themself. How do these things all contribute to the gaming experience as a whole?
Taylor then talks about how adding a specific mod to her World of Warcraft session changed the way that a raid went entirely. It communicated to all players present, unlike usual where you must type or give out commands yourself. The mod acted like another player in the game, this nonhuman thing playing an important role in the way the game was played and understood.
Anyway, this is a long-winded piece on my class to say that yes this class is extremely interesting and I’m enjoying it deeply.
Hanging out with friends at their frats (10pm-2am)
I went over to Raymond’s frat to hang out as well as Aiden’s frat and had a really good time meeting everyone, talking, and chatting.
Thursday – 9/16
Woke up and felt like absolute garbage and desperately did not want to go to class, before realizing I have mandatory attendance for the two classes I have today.
Today in class was pretty insightful. I admit I spedread the papers beforehand so I don’t know if I consumed that much meaningful information but..
Bardzell – Interaction Criticism
I really enjoyed reading this series of blogposts, despite it being so long, because it really broke down the fundamentals of criticism. Not even in games-focus but just in general. I’ve never been the strongest writer in any means (which I’m sure is evident through my blogs) but it was so interesting seeing how much of criticism really is personal. It is viewing and critiquing things through lenses in which you are familiar with, using frames of references and associations to really give context to your understanding and critique of the thing that you are evaluating.
It is also very much a deep dive. It is not enough to say that something is fun (obviously) but really go into how that thing fits into a bigger piece and message and what this aspect is trying to convey.
I know that sounds really abstract (the paper was very abstract, too) but overall I think I have a bit more grasp on what games critique is.
Kael – The Godfather
This is a film critique on The Godfather that frames the piece very nicely, giving context to The Godfather and setting the scene and the plot. What really stood out to me about this critique was the focus on some aspects of the film I wouldn’t have originally thought of. The author very much focuses on the use of timelines and time and its role in setting the theme for the movie, as well as focuses on the individual actors. They talk a lot about the cast and how their past acting experience shapes the film altogether.
Then at the end, the author packs in this powerful punch about the piece:
“In The Godfather we see organized crime as an obscene symbolic extension of free enterprise and government policy, an extension of the worst in America — its feudal ruthlessness. Organized crime is not a rejection of Americanism, it’s what we fear Americanism to be.”
I thought this critique did a really good job of:
- highlighting features (actors, lighting, time as a vehicle) that weren’t as obvious or blatant
- painting a picture and getting those who may have not watched the godfather (like myself) interested and even believing the critique
- representing the movie well enough so that people who have watched the godfather feel it is an accurate representation
- driving the point home with this greater, more elevated viewpoint on the movie (americanism in the godfather)
It was such a well written critique and I was really amazed (and nervous because how could I ever write something as good as this?)
Weise – Platforming Despair
This critique was short and sweet and really intriguing. Our first assignment of the class is to choose a game (we choose from a list of A Short Hike, Cibele, Depression Quest, Hatoful Boyfriend, Howling Dogs, Monument Valley, Old Man’s Journey, Proteus, and Ritual of the Moon), play it in one sitting, and write a 600 word review on this paper. AKA about the length of this review right here.
I was really amazed at how this critique was formed. It doesn’t delve too deep on the details of the game — instead, it’s written as if you’re already familiar with the game itself — and hammers down on a very specific aspect and theme: verbs in context.
I don’t really have much else to say about this piece other than I thought this style of critique was really enchanting and I enjoyed reading it a lot and it made me really understand the depth to which people evaluate and play these games.
We talked a lot in this class about consumerism within hispanic communities and how latinx people possess a great deal of consumer power in the United States.
I deadlifted today and it moved a little bad but we’re still working on it and did the other lat pulldown, chest supported row, etc. type things.
MISTI Korea Info Session (5:30-6:3)
MISTI is our Global Experiences office that allows us to travel fully paid over IAP and summer internationally and do internships abroad, semesters abroad, and teach abroad.
I was interested in teaching in Korea over IAP through GTL but the time commitment seems really high so I might opt to take a class that goes abroad instead like Literary London (IAP in London) or The Spanish Incubator (IAP in Barcelona).
6.0001 Office Hours (6-7)
Once again no one because beginning of school year B)
Working in Stud5 (7-9)
I then studied/worked in Stud5, working on our 034 lab we have do that implements all the different searches we learned (DFS, BFS, hill climbing, best first, BEAM, branching and bounding, A*).
Chilling in the Delta Phi Housilon (9-1)
I realized my social meter was really low since I didn’t see anyone all day and so I went and spent time with the other deephers in the house and had a really good time drinking boba and just chilling and doing work all together. It was really nice.
Friday – 9/17
I woke up to loud plumbers banging their loud machines in our house and I wanted to cry. Darn you plumbers.
6.034 lecture (10-11)
We learned about games and applying the search methods we learned to them, specifically looking at chess and how chess quickly became a solved game.
I thought this was extremely relevant seeing as Raymond made a chess engine (which you can read about here!!) and I had some familiarity with how he made it. We also watched a documentary on Go together called AlphaGo that talked a lot on how people are working on solving Go and highlighted the developments in AI and it was just super cool.
So needless to say I was so giddy about this lecture. We talked about how people first approached chess with a BFS approach, doing wide but shallow explorations of all your movesets, proving impossible since there are about 10^120 different possibilities in Chess (aka The Shannon Number). That number is more than the number of atoms there are in the universe.
So obviously they had to take a different approach. They then tried a Minimax algorithm before settling on Alpha Beta search that pruned the path so that it was much more efficient.
6.034 recitation (11-12)
I then went straight to recitation, where we reviewed all the different searches we learned and the key differences between them.
Working in Stud5 (12-1)
I worked on the fifth floor of the Student Center on some comfy couches and coded and coded and coded.
Infinite Careers (1-1:30)
I work at the MIT Career Advising and Professional Development offices and every Friday I have a call with my boss Tianna to update her on my progress. It is my job to bring in very cool alums to come in and give talks about their career post-MIT with MIT students and faculty in a casual setting and this year I’ve got some REALLY COOL ALUMS coming in.
So I’m excited. But also it’s a big task so I am terrified. But very very excited.
Lunch with friends and more work (2-3:30)
I met up with Aidan, Aiden, Emma, Raymond, and Max (hi Max) and we chilled and ate lunch together while I finished my lab1 for 6.034. Which was a pleasant surprise seeing as I usually struggle with coding but I was actually able to solve this lab.
Today was my push day and I benched 4×3 65 which was surprising since my bench has seemingly been stuck at 60 for the past however many months (I know, it’s incredibly light. I am working on it.)
Hopefully when Tuesday rolls around I can do some solid sets of 5 reps rather than just half-assing it at 3.
Working in Stud5 (5-7)
I’ve been working in Stud5 typing up this blogpost and finalizing some Infinite Careers stuff and just trying to stay ahead of my work. I’ve been really conflicted about my workload this semester because it seems manageable. Which is…suspicious. It makes me wonder if I should have taken on more this semester? Since I seem to have such free weekends?
But my friends told me that it is okay not to have things to do and I should instead revel in this free time.
So I’ve been dedicating a lot of my free times to clubs and hobbies. I’m trying to be active in MIT Art Club, which meets tomorrow and gives us free art supplies and lets us just exist and go for 3 hours on Saturdays. I am trying to be a part of MIT Lecture Screening Committee, which puts on movies nearly every week for the MIT community. I am also potentially trying to be a part of Student Events Board, in charge of hosting big really cool events for MIT like SpringFest (concert where we bring in big musician to perform at our school). Also looking into MIT Literature Society since I want to be more consistent with reading and this first quarter they are reading Dune in preparation of the movie release!!
I don’t know if I’ll actually end up doing these things. But I want to have more space to do things I like and am actually passionate about instead of throwing myself into clubs I feel I have to do instead of want to do.
Talking with friends in Stud5 (7-9)
I ended up running into two deephers, Laura ’23 and Lauren ’22, and we ended up all talking about living in the house, our qualms with sorority life, and generally just how things are going for us. It was really nice having casual chats again in Stud5 just like old times, before the pandemic was a thing.
SaveTFP Waffle Night (9-10)
A group on campus known as SaveTFP often holds morale-boosting events to lighten the mood on campus. One of these things is waffle night, where they make a ridiculous amount of waffles with various toppings like whipped cream, chocolate chips, strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. It is free. It is delicious. It is fun.
Hanging out with friends at a frat (10-2)
Laura, Raymond, and Aidan ended up tagging along with me to go to Aiden’s frat for some good wholesome fun and we ended up having boba and chilling.
Saturday – 9/18
I got out of bed at 1 and took a shower because I felt gross and then Raymond came over to the DPhiE house.
Newbury Street Outing (2:30-4:30)
Ray needed new shoes and I enjoy shopping so we decided to take a walk to Newbury to eat at Red White Buddha Ramen, a 100% vegan ramen place that I was somewhat skeptical of at first but it was pretty good (I was still very much craving my usual pork belly in my Miso ramen, though).
We then went to Nike to buy Raymond some new shoes and then Doc Martens to buy me some new shoes! And then we went to Emack and Bolio’s for some ice cream (Raymond got toasted coconut and chocolate fudge dairy free ice cream and I got cookie monster ice cream).
Then we headed home and stayed the rest of the night in, watching Big Brother.
Sunday – 9/19
House Chores (10-2)
Today was house work day! Aka where all the members of the house get together and clean the house. It was my job to vacuum our couch room and TV room as well as sort the arts and crafts drawers. It was a nice day and we ordered pizza and chatted.
Nap time (2-4)
I have become much of a napping person this semester and I took a PHAT nap in my room right after work.
I ended up walking to the Z center since I took my rest day on Saturday and had a pretty fulfilling leg day where I hip thrusted 111 pounds and I was quite proud of myself and my glutes.
I ended up getting a quick salad from Verdes and gossipping with Aidan.
We then had chapter, where all of DPhiE gets together and just recaps the week, gives updates, votes on some stuff, and talks. It was nice!
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (8:30-11)
Movie time!! Some dphie sisters, Raymond, and I ended up going to the AMC in Boston Common to watch Shang Chi. We all agreed that the dad is a DILF. It was a good movie go watch.
Pset and chill (11-12)
I ended up psetting at the house with Tiff very shortly after coming home and having a good time.
Now I am just excited to see what the rest of the semester has in store for me. I am reading and playing guitar and painting and going out with friends and talking and meeting new people and I am overall just thriving. And I am so excited for things like ring delivery and dressing up fancy and getting to just have such a lovely time with all my friends and things are going WELL and I am so so excited.
Thanks for reading and cheers to a new semester.