Play Make Write Think

Embedding video into

Hey everyone, excited to see the posts that have already gone up and the posts to come. Let’s get the video embedded directly into your posts themselves instead of just linking to videos, though it’s probably a good idea to just leave a direct link to the video in the post too, just in case.

It looks like so far most of the videos are hosted on Google Drive, so here is a quick tutorial focused on embedding a video from Google Drive. Other services down at the bottom of the post.

(Click to embiggen any of the screenshots below.)

Open the Google Drive hosted video you want to embed in a tab on your browser. Click on the “More Actions” button, which is usually just three dots, then select Embed item… from the pull-down menu.

Click to embiggen

A dialog box will pop up with the HTML code you will need to embed the item into your post. Copy and paste that snippet of code.

In case you’re interested in understanding how the code works, it begins with a <iframe> tag that basically creates a small picture frame in your page, then it instructs the browser where to go and find the thing that will be displayed within that frame (that’s the src=”” part of the code [src means source]), adds a bit of information about how big the frame should be, and then closes the </iframe> tag.

Then switch over to your WordPress site with your with your post open in the editor. Click on the three little dots for “More tools and options” in the top right corner of your editor window.

Switch from the Visual editor the to the Code editor. The editor page will switch from the WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) view where your editor looks pretty much the way it will display once you publish the post to a view that shows the underlying HTML code for your post.

Paste the code into your post where you want the video to display.

Then you can switch back to the Code editor and you should get a preview of the video showing up in your post (sometimes it takes a moment to process as the frame has to load separately).

That’s it! Publish or update your post and the video should show up within the post itself.

Other media hosts

If your video is not on Google Drive but is instead in YouTube, you can do the same thing with embed code, or WordPress will automatically embed YouTube videos if you just paste the link.

For TikTok, instead of just copying the link to the video, select “Get embed code” just above that link.

Copy and paste that code into your post following the instructions above.

If you don’t want to switch to the Code editor, in the visual editor you can also add a new block, but select a Video Block instead of just a text box.

Click on “Insert from  URL” and then paste the link to the video (not the embed code from above, just the normal link) into that box.

Things you can do with a Zoom virtual background

Please don’t do this in my class (we’re small enough that it would be obvious) … and if you get caught doing this in any of your other classes, please don’t tell anyone that I’m the one who told you how to do it, but that said, there might be some situations where this little trick with Zoom’s virtual background could be very handy:


Class tomorrow: Gris

Tomorrow we’ll discuss Gris when we meet via Zoom (same link we used on Tuesday should remain consistent the rest of the semester). You should expect it to take a little more than three hours to complete the game. If you don’t finish it completely before class tomorrow that’s okay, but please make sure you’ve played for a couple hours so you have a pretty good sense of how the game functions.

The game itself has a pretty simple set of mechanics. It’s classified as a “platform game,” so it derives ultimately from such games as Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, and Sonic the Hedgehog. However, Gris takes the basic mechanical structure of the platformer and turns it into a comment on not only surviving but healing. The protagonist is a heartbroken woman who has literally lost her voice and wanders through a desolate world. As such there is no dialog. As you move through the game, you more or less explicitly move through the stages of grief and slowly bring more and more color into the world around you.

Here are some basic question that I’d like you to think a bit about before we meet:

  • Some reviewers have complained that the virtuosic visuals and soundtrack become a problem of “form over function” because it causes the platformer structure to become confusing or difficult to navigate. Did you find this to be true? In a game about trauma and healing, why might the game developers have included elements that make is such that the world is “confusing to move through and the way forward isn’t always clear”?
  • How do you feel as you play this game? Especially now, when we are all in the midst of a global trauma, what does it feel like to play this game?
  • Is it important that the protagonist is a woman? How does it impact your experience to play through this world as a female protagonist?

Note that you should be thinking about your side quest 8/#hometasking no. 1 where you will throw a paper into a bin … spectacularly. You should post those videos to your sites by Friday and then we’ll vote on a class winner over the weekend. Please comment on each others’ posts and as you do think about not just what this activity means as your own solo work but what it means to be part of a community engaging in this ridiculous activity together, while also apart. I’m going to ask you to write about that question some time soon.


Earlier this semester, in my household we started watching the British tv show Taskmaster (via YouTube). It's a silly show where each season a group of comedians performs a series of ridiculous tasks in the pursuit of pointless prizes, overseen by the Task Master Greg Davies and his assistant Alex Horne.

Film Something That Will Look Impressive in Reverse

This video clip of one of the most popular tasks from the series gives you a pretty good sense of how the show works: the five contestants receive their tasks, have a bit of time to plan and execute the tasks, then the Task Master awards points based on whatever esoteric and quirky principles he decides to apply.

On Sunday, Alex Horne took to Twitter to announce that they'd be starting an at-home version of Taskmaster for people to play during these times of quarantine and social distancing called #hometasking:

Then yesterday, he announced hometasking no.1:

Throw a piece of paper into a bin. Most spectacular throw wins. The deadline for completing this first task ends about the time we'll be finishing up class today.

Check out some of the submissions from people all over the place to this seemingly very simple task by going through the #hometasking hashtag on Twitter.


3/25/2020 Edited to add:

Watch the video below to see a compilation of some of the best responses, with the top ten winners at the end.

#hometasking no. 1 Results

Unnamed Goose Miniature

Since I'm making all of you do some 3d printing, I decided to do some too. I brought a group of .stl files to the TechLab on Tuesday afternoon, then picked up my completed prints on Thursday. The image at the top of this post shows my Unnamed Goose along with a one-eyed raven (the wizard in my D&D campaign has a raven familiar). Die included in photo for scale.

I also printed a giant elk and a couple of other miniatures for my D&D game. Note that these are straight off the printer, so there are still supports attached. The TechLab can help you clean up the supports or provide cutters to do so yourself. I'll bring mine home and do that this weekend, then paint them hopefully sometime soon.



When all is said and done, the unnamed goose will look something like this.

I also printed pieces which I will assemble into a dice tower. I downloaded the .stl files from Lau85 on Thingiverse then did a PLA print of the 6 pieces of the tower. I need to cut out some extra supports between the balusters on the gate at the bottom and I'll probably paint it because they printed one piece in white and the rest in black. Then I'll use the empty bottle from a 1.5L soda to make the transparent cylinder of the tower.


When it's all done it should look something like this.


Week ahead: 7

7 2/25 Play either Mansions of Madness or Betrayal at the House on the Hill
2/27 Watch the first 15 minutes or so of the walkthrough of the Untitled Goose Game.

Ian Bogost “Don’t Play the Goose Game: Untitled Goose Game is fun. The problem is, all games are also work,” The Atlantic.

Optional additional reading: Ian Bogost “Video Games Are Better Without Characters: The real legacy of SimCity is its attempt—and failure—to make complex systems the protagonists instead of people,” The Atlantic

3/1 Side Quest 7: 3d print a game piece

Podcast episodes 5 & 6

We’ll discuss Mansions of Madness and Betrayal at House on the Hill in class today (Tuesday). We’ll also go over logistics for playing Fiasco and I’ll distribute dice and other materials you’ll need.

On Thursday we’ll discuss Untitled Goose Game, and in particular Ian Bogost’s assertion that “playing a game is a chore. That’s the big problem with video games: To enjoy them, you have to play them. And playing them requires exerting the effort to operate them. Games are machines, and broken ones at that. The player’s job is to make them work again.” Untitled Goose Game became such an unexpected hit last year, Bogost argues, because it offers “a counterintuitive way out of the quandary of game-play’s fundamental aggravation: Someone has to play the game, but that someone needn’t be you. It might even be more fun not to play the game than to play it. Untitled Goose Game is a game about work’s ubiquity in the guise of a game about leisure’s frivolity. And like all labor, the best way to get it done is to farm it out to others. Let the memers honk their geese so you don’t have to.”

Your next side quest will require that you visit the TechLab and 3d print some sort of game piece.

Fiasco Doodle poll

Please indicate the times you’re available between now and March 3rd to play Fiasco in this Doodle poll. I basically made the poll open from 10 am to midnight every day after tomorrow.

Note that you only need to indicate stretches where you have a three-hour block of time since you’ll need about that long to play the game. I know it’s a bit of a crazy huge block of times for a Doodle poll, but just check the times you’re available for at least three hours at a chunk. For example, if you are free on Friday 2/21 from 2:00pm on, except for a meeting from 6:00-7:00, then you’ll check the boxes saying you’re available on that day from 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10, 10-11, and 11-12. I’ll look for overlapping three hour chunks of time and assign you into groups of 3-5 players.

Edited to add: Please mark all the times that you’re available, not just one time. I will need to find times to schedule you together, so just marking one time that will work will for you will not be enough.

The Magic of Chess

The Magic of Chess

What has chess taught you?

"It's just a game of concentration and that concentration will help me in everything I do."

"I think chess has taught me brain skills to help me with other things in my life."

"I learned how to be aggressive."

"It teaches you how to make a plan and making mistakes or blunders. All you have to do is try again."

Podcast Bumper & Betrayal/Mansions

I spent a little time noodling with the text of the podcast bumper today, drawing on the language that you all put together in the Google doc. Here’s what I’ve got as of now — make any changes you’d like in that document, or leave comments here:

Hello and welcome to the podcast series Ready, Set, Game: The Rhetoric of Games, a podcast created by Emory University students in David Morgen’s Play, Make, Write, Think class. Over the course of the series, we will approach games as operating within the larger media ecology and attempt to diagram the competing forces at work within that landscape. In each episode, we will play and analyze a specific game with an eye toward its rhetorical situation and the role it plays within the broader medium. 

We’ll focus on the way these games encourage players to think in order to move through them and what sorts of decisions the games force us to make. As we probe the underlying rules of game systems and speculate about what’s going on underneath the hood, we’ll ponder where they are taking us and to what ends. How do these games encourage certain types of problem solving and learning? What sorts of values do they promote? What sorts of new perspectives do we gain in the playing? 

So buckle up and come along for the ride with us.

We’ll need to record the bumper on Thursday, so make any changes before class tomorrow.


Also, don’t forget that between now and February 23, you’ll need to check out Betrayal at House on the Hill or Mansions of Madness and play one session of the games. The prompt for Side Quest 6 on those games is started but not all the way fleshed out yet, but check that post for some more information about game play and what I’m expecting from you.

I added the game lending library to our Materials, Texts, Games, Services page too.