Monument Valley Podcast Reflection

As the main producer for this episode, I chose Monument Valley due to its uniqueness among other games. Unlike competitive multiplayer games that require skill, experience, and focus, Monument Valley is a game that gives you a space to think, relax and enjoy. There is no pressure to play this game and there is always a sense of reward for players to find out more about their imagination and what they can do in this game. This game design is heavily focused on aesthetics and representing 3 dimensional objects within 2 dimensions. Many seemingly impossible shapes and structures are suddenly possible in this game and challenges users to abandon their current belief of dimensions to really enjoy the imaginary world this game creates for us. Making this episode is much more smooth from our previous experience with other episodes. It only took us very few trials before the audio is ready for final editing. To combine the discussion with background music, Ruohan helped me edit music from Monument Valley original sound track and that fits this episode perfectly.

Monument Valley Podcast Assistant Producer Reflection

Genuinely speaking, I had more fun producing this episode than making my own episode. Since the game Monument Valley truly focuses on limited aspects, we were able to maximize our expressions and opinions on these topics, alone with some minor points, which makes all the ideas come together to form a complete episode.

I played this game the night before planning the podcast, therefore I was able to have vivid memories when doing the outline. I would say both playing the game and producing the podcast were fruitful experiences to me because I enjoyed playing the game for sure, and I also enjoyed analyzing it and elaborating the concepts and deeper meaning within the game. The part that I enjoyed the most was producing the background music for this podcast. We decided to use the original soundtrack from the game itself because we were both impressed by the style and quality of the soundtracks. I went through the collection, picked out seven soundtracks, edited them into small pieces, and combined everything at the end. I would definitely recommend all the soundtracks in this game, they are as beautiful as the game itself.

I hope everyone enjoys our episode, and check out the game and music yourself. I did not regret spending $5 for this wonderful experience.

Podcast Reflection

The first time I played Settlers of Catan was for the summer assignment of AP The first time I played Settlers of Catan was for the summer assignment of AP Microeconomics before the senior year. For the assignment, we had to tie this game to the fundamental principles of economics. Even though this game was given for work, my friends and I actually played this game for fun and really liked the quality of the game. Out of many games I have played, I chose this game as my episode because I believe that this game contained many factors we have discussed.

I was the main producer of the Settlers of Catan, working with Alan. the assistant producer, and Ruohan, the line producer. This was my second time podcasting, and this time we discussed in more detail the real-life applications rather than the strategies, such as telescoping and probes of the game itself. (I appreciate professor Morgen for his advice during the meeting.) We planned on podcasting that way so that any audiences may understand our conversation with the minimal understanding of the game rule. We discussed recent topics, including the coronavirus and education in college, which can be related to many of our classmates and professor. There were, again, several challenges we faced while we are making the podcast episode. One of the challenges was summarizing the analysis of the game strategy with some explanations of rules. However, with several times of recording, we were able to overcome this difficulty by organizing our thoughts by using google docs, and we took away unnecessary details or paraphrased the sentences to make them clearer and shorter. We were also required to think of real-life examples that link with the idea of this game. Eventually, we were able to pull out easily comprehensible examples. One of the applications was about the college, and this topic was discussed during one of the earlier English classes. I was satisfied with how we connected our previous discussion to my podcast. I believe that there were more other challenges, but some expected problems, such as the quality of voices, came out okay. Overall, I hope we were able to discuss the game from a different angle and that showed the creativity of this episode.

Chess Podcast Reflection

I, along with Will and Sadie, recently completed a podcast analyzing Chess (https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org/ready-set-game/chess-the-game-of-strategy/). The conception of this podcast was rather unorthodox given the circumstances. Usually, podcasts are recorded with everyone sitting around one microphone, but that setup would have required an extreme violation of social distancing. Instead, each person recorded their own lines alone, and then someone compiled all the recordings into one project. Since each person was limited to their own recording software, the voices don’t blend as well as they did in our first podcast. I tried accounting for this while editing the volumes and EQ in the project, but there wasn’t much I could do to change the natural sound of each recording.

One of our main goals for this podcast was to make it less monotonous than the last. We tried to make it sound more conversational and easier to listen to. We included a few clips from songs and movies in effort to make the podcast more entertaining. They’re supposed to give the listener’s mind a little break from the deep analysis of chess moves, in case they’re losing focus. Keeping the listener’s focus is obviously very important, and we faced a big dilemma in trying to do so. We weren’t sure about how much we could assume the listener’s previous understanding of chess. Chess is a very intricate game with many different pieces and moves, and we didn’t know if it was fair to assume that the listener already knew the basics. In the end, we decided to give a brief explanation of the rules in the beginning just to be safe.

One thing I felt good about was our balance of explanation and conversation. I felt that our first podcast was a little hard to listen to since it was too informational. I, and my group members alike, am more accustomed to informational writing, so naturally that was the path our first podcast took. In this one we made a conscious effort to make it more conversational, with light jokes and arguments, and less explanatory. With the style of these podcasts, I feel like I’m improving at finding the middle ground between casual writing, such as texting, and the professional writing I’m used to. With this style, I feel more connected to my writing, as if my writing is more “me” now, if that makes any sense.

Reflection on Podcast for Settlers of Catan

As the assistant producer for making podcast for settlers of Catan, I worked with Keita to analyze the game. I played this game a long time ago and did not get much experience in playing prior to preparation of this episode. When I played the game recently, I started to learn how the game works and what I will need to make real progress to make good use of my resources. Understanding the game and relate the similarities between the game and real life brings me a brand new perspective in viewing the game. In making the podcast, it was hard to discuss on zoom and not in person. Also, both me and Keita are nervous for recording and that makes our discussions much harder to go on naturally. It took us many tries before making a good podcast recording. Relating the game to life choices is important as well. We had a emphasis on making long term choices of college application, course choices and life decisions, which is what we expect to learn from playing this game.

Paranoia Podcast Reflection

While playing Paranoia, I realized that the game is way more than what I initially thought. I first played the game when I was in college. I never knew anything about the game, until at a party (where some were under the influence) that they introduced me to the game. When I first heard how the game was played, I was nervous to play and even backed out at first. It was my first time meeting the people, and I did not want anyone to have a negative first impression of me because truthfully, the game seemed messy. As I sat back and watched them play, a range of questions surfaced. Some I thought to myself, “Oh I would feel comfortable answering this” and others I felt “NO WAY… I can’t believe people actually feel at ease playing this game”. I remember one of the questions was “Who do you think would be there for you if you were to face police brutality?” And at the moment my view of Paranoia shifted. I realized that the game was not only about being messy or telling your most embarrassing or scary secrets, but could also be used as a time to appreciate someone or show someone admiration for how they treat you. You did not have to be messy or shady… it was a choice. Whenever you asked a question, the ball was in YOUR court and no one else. And the funniest part is whenever I played the game… I found myself asking messy questions. And I did not understand why because my fear of the messiness was the very thing that caused me not to play originally. This made me want to examine Paranoia further: how the game is played, whether people have the same agendas or not, what people use Paranoia for, if Paranoia changed in any way when on a different medium, and why people like to even play the game to begin with.

For this episode, I played Paranoia with 6 friends: Austin, Sofia, Matthew, Camila, Oscar, and Brandon. During this game, I quickly realized that everybody had their own agendas which refuted my hypothesis that everyone was going to come into the game with a “messy” or shady mindset. While some people like Oscar, Brandon, and myself did come in with a “messy” agenda, others like Austin, who played to bring out laughter” and Sofia, who wanted to be friendly and make other players feel better, had different goals coming into the game. That’s when I realized that Paranoia had ambiguous rules because it allows flexibility and malleability for the players. The players get to choose how they want to use the platform. I also realized that this lack of rules is what adds to the tension of the game. By not knowing what type of questions the players was going to ask, it added to the suspense of the players, making the game more exciting. And the fact that we played the game virtually did not take away from this at all. The game was still very shocking, nerve-racking, and triggers some sort of anxiety, and (no pun intended) paranoia. I think this is the very reason why people like myself decide to play Paranoia. I think millennials thrive off of the unknown, the unexpected. In Paranoia, you never know what you might get asked or what your name might be the answer to. You might find out that you have a secret admirer, an enemy, a lover. And that fear of the unknown is the magnet that brings young adults to continue to play. At least, for me it did.

Podcast Reflection

Greg Lawrence
Podcast Reflection
Michael and I’s podcast about FIFA 20 was divided into a couple different aspects of the game. Michael focused on the present opportunity the game has with people not able to play soccer but really miss the feelings it brings. I mostly looked at the ways in which FIFA relates to the physical activity of playing the sport. Luckily for us, we both have played multiple versions of the game FIFA and other sports games, therefore we were aware of the different components to the game and the different mediums people use them for. Our episode related to others in the sense that it brought up pressing issues in society; ours just happened to be a global pandemic. I resisted walking through a game of FIFA like others did with their games due to the core structure of the game is very easy to imagine as it is meant to be a replica of a real match. The attention to detail in FIFA all works to give the player the most realistic experience possible. One of my primary goals of the episode was to illuminate how they are helpful for athletes looking to improve their play individually and as a team. The simulation of skill moves and strategy provides players with insight on game-like outcomes which is very valuable if used correctly. This collaborative and creative project brought together the topics of class discussion and put them in relation to a part of my personal and social life; sports video games.

Risk Podcast Reflection

I, along with Will and Sadie, recently completed a podcast on analyzing the game titled Risk (https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org/ready-set-game/risky-business-a-deep-dive-into-the-game-of-risk/). Due to the tremendous strategy the game requires in order to win, it has always been a favorite of mine to play. Risk requires a lot of critical thinking, so playing is always a challenge I look forward to. Considering my thorough enjoyment for the game, I thought it would be fun to review it in a podcast. Since we were just a three person group, we collaborated for every part of it.

The theme and style of the background music was something we decided to adapt from previous podcasts. We initially had some trouble determining what style of music would work well with what we were creating. It can be difficult to choose a sound that compliments the voices speaking, but also isn’t distracting. After listening to past podcasts, we realized a calm but playful track would fit well. In addition, only being able to explain concepts verbally caused us some issues. I never realized how reliant I was on visual aid until having to explain Risk without any. For instance, there was a point where we wanted to demonstrate the exponential relationship between the amount of land the player has and their power in the game. A graph or hand motion would have demonstrated this well, but instead we had to put it into words and hope our audience would understand. 

Our primary goal in creating the podcast was to keep the audience engaged. In order to keep it interesting, we attempted at finding the right balance between talking about the history of the game, its relevance and meaning to the world, and strategy within the game itself. We found this balance by making connections within all of our information. For instance, we tried to make the meaning of the game transition and connect to different strategies players could employ. Along with frequent transitions to prevent boring the audience, the connections made the podcast easy to follow and compelling. 

Intuitively, one would think that writing in the form of a conversation between people would come easily since everyone converses. I realized while writing the script that recreating conversation is pretty difficult.  After we finished the script, I noticed that it sounded a lot less like a conversation than I was expecting. This was presumably due to my experience in writing being purely formal or scholarly. When writing my next podcast, I’m going to try to be more conscious of how conversational it sounds in order to make it more engaging for the listener.

Podcast Reflection: A trip down memory lane

I was the assistant producer on Winslow’s podcast “Minecraft: A Trip Back Through Time.” We focused on nostalgia, the memories video games brought back to us that we played growing up, and how we use things we learned in our everyday lives. We chose to revisit Minecraft since it was a game both of us were familiar with. In preparation for the podcast, we each played Minecraft and explored our worlds. We also watched YouTube videos which helped bring back memories of playing in our childhoods. This was a fun experience because I had not played Minecraft since I was in middle school. 

We decided to make the episode very personal and conversational because we liked how it worked in a prior episode. This helped achieve our goals because it allowed both of us to reflect on our personal experiences from the past and present. The goal of our episode was to show people how video games changed our lives for the better and to realize how video games can grow our character. In addition, we wanted to prove how video games bring back nostalgic memories and spark creativity. 

Decisions were made throughout the process to fit the requirements and goals of the podcast. Originally, we wanted to focus on just how video games can ignite nostalgia and how nostalgia effects people. However, we decided to focus on the experience of revisiting video games. Minecraft was the perfect game to focus on because we had not played it in awhile and our lives have changed in that period. This allowed us to show how some life skills that Minecraft promoted have helped us grow as individuals. If we had more time, we would have discussed more than one game.

The filming of the podcast went smoothly because we communicated efficiently, and we were both familiar with how to use the technology. We wrote down bullet points for each segment rather than script it which made the conversation sound more natural. One area I could improve on is that I say filler words like “um” often. Luckily, we edited them out, but I will work on speaking more confidently and without interruptions. 

Podcasting is better than writing a traditional essay because it is more informal, personal, and allows you to go off track. This allowed for a more creative conversation and to explore areas that really interested us. I hope to be more creative in future writing projects and say my thoughts aloud to organize assignments like podcasts are organized. For future episodes, I would recommend that people explore their game for as long as possible and choose something they enjoy because they will be more invested and have a higher quality of conversation. 

I am most proud of the collaboration that Winslow and I did for this episode. We both helped each other out and gave each other ideas to build off throughout. Having a partner who was willing to listen to ideas and implement his own opinions made it an enjoyable working environment. We also communicated well with each other which prevented conflicts from arising. 

Podcast link: https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org/ready-set-game/minecraft-a-trip-back-through-time/ 

After The First Time Podcasting…

First, I will explain what we did for our project. Then, I will comment on our product and discuss what we can do to improve the quality of our piece. Finally, I will chat about how this project affected me.

Our main goal of this podcast was to make natural, just like a conversation between two people. First, we made a framework of the podcast about the League of Legends, using Google Docs. This framework was done by bullet-pointing topics that we were going to discuss. Then, we looked for resources we could use for our project. The main producer interviewed an experienced player, and we looked for suitable pieces of background music. Then, we started taking voice recordings.

The first impression or feeling I had towards our piece after podcasting is unsatisfactory. As Professor Morgen told us, I was stressed by voice (mostly because of my accent and fluency). However, these problems cannot be resolved in a brief time. Therefore, what I can do for the future is to imagine many kinds of scenarios and organize my thoughts for each scenario so that at least I can speak fluently and this fluency can make listeners more comfortable. The second improvement we can make is preparation for podcasting. We, the producer and the assistant producer should first play together so that we can share our opinions about the game before we start podcasting. This preparation should work as a “practice round” for the podcast. When we share our opinions, we can add some important aspects that can relate to the broader medium and eliminate topics that take too much time, which can make listeners bored, and topics that are hard for listeners to understand. Overall, I found many places that we can improve on, so we will make use of these failures for the next podcast. Our goal will be to make our piece more smooth and interesting. If this goal is reached quickly, then we can work on the naturality.

Although I only talked about the negative side of our product, I also have a positive attitude towards this project. I was glad that I was able to experience podcasting (I enjoyed taking podcast). Although I am a person who does not talk in front of people, this project forces me to speak and I could feel that I was getting used to speaking. Interestingly, I am looking forward to making the new podcast episode.