Gaming to Graduate

This is my second class at this school which has required video game play as a class requirement.  It would be easy to make the common immature comment that I so often hear from roommates or friends about how it’s a joke or how ‘awesome’ that is.  And although I won’t hide the fact that I enjoy playing video games as part of a Middlebury College class, I think that there’s more to it than simply having fun.  I see lots of other students having fun in other classes with a variety of new and clever assignments and I think it’s more important to just be doing something new.  It’s too easy to find a class with two exams and a final paper with a variety of problem sets or response papers along the way but finding a class/professor that can use new ways to push academics or force students to think in new ways is important.

So far this year all three of my FMMC classes have been doing that and I consider myself lucky to have found a major which I truly enjoy because of that.  I’m proud to go home and tell my housemates about the assignments I’m working on and perhaps a lot of it has to do with the act of creating something more tangible and shareable than a paper or exam.  This is something that film, studio art, dance, and music majors share in common for the most part because of the creative aspect of each but I think this is a direct result of the faculty in these departments.  The creativity and progression which the film department has shown over the past year in particular is something to be recognized as well.  The establishment of programs abroad, the dedication to production, interest in technology and the obvious addition of the Axinn center are all things that have coincided with my time at Middlebury.  How cool is that?

So to get back to the idea of playing video games in a class that I need to graduate, I think it speaks volumes about the evolution of the department.  If video games are a prominent part of our society and are a growing industry creating thousands of jobs for young adults, than why is it so absurd that we have to study them.  After all it is film and MEDIA CULTURE, right?  

So for my narrational video game research I’ve begun to play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.  During my years in high school I played through GTA III and Vice City in their entireties, but for some reason when I got San Andreas as a Christmas present I never got as into it as the previous two games in the series.  I played a few of the entry level missions but barely enough to advance any kind of narrative or become attached to the storyworld of the game.  Now that I can justify playing the game as homework, I’ve been forcing myself to ‘get into it’ and become more active and excited about completing the missions and advancing my “street cred”.  As I continue the game’s narrative I look forward to blogging about what is and what is not working for me this time around as compared to last time.  When i gave up on playing the game the first time I never thought about why it was less appealing than its predecessors so that’s also something I’ve been giving some thought to as I play.  I’m about to pass the point in the game where I gave up before so we’ll see where it goes from here. 

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