In absolutely unsurprising news (to everyone BUT me): I have another semester of straight As. This means that I’m basically 3 credits and a completed Thesis away from having my MA.
This semester has been… a lot.
But I had amazing professors that gave us innovative projects and allowed me to cover topics that were near and dear to me.
For my Monday night class, which wound up being about representations of “the everyday” in fiction, I wrote two pieces of work: a paper that will become Urban Fantasy 101: Southern Pride and Prejudice (3300 words) and Moving In New York : Tropes and Space in Santino Hassell’s Sunset Park which is a REALLY long paper about Hassell’s use of digital, physical, and sexual space in the novel (6000 words).
My Wednesday night class wasn’t heavy on writing stuff that I can be like “hey, this might be something I can post later” but I did get a potential start to my thesis intro down. I also wrote and read a TON of stuff about Oscar Wilde.
But my Thursday class was where I got to do the most awesome project with my darling friend Katelynn where we talked about identity and authorship in video games. Eventually, I’m sure that we’ll wind up writing an actual paper together on this because it’s a combination of our areas of interest. You can see our abstract below.
I Made this Game My Own: Authorship and Identity in Skyrim and Mass Effect: Andromeda
In Skyrim, an epic fantasy video game, the player can explore the world openly, with no set questline. The player is the creator of the protagonist, the creator of boundaries, and the creator of fate. In Skyrim, the player takes advantage of a sprawling open-world game system and an expansive character creation system in order to take on missions that span the entirety of the game’s territory. With a focus on modifications to the game, character creation, and the construction of sexuality, the player has free reign over this expansive world. In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the player plays a human character out to find a home for their people. This is another game featuring an open world-setting and that allows the player to create a character that matches their favored identity and personality. Both of these games provide the room for the player to make a narrative of their own either through the narrative and characters packaged along with the game or via downloadable add-on mods, ensuring that no two players truly have the same experience and that the player can impose their views and their identities onto the fictional landscape.
In this presentation, we turn to theorists in the rising field of video game theory such as Evan Watts, Stephen Greer, and René Schallegger in order to argue that the role that the video game player takes in gaming – particularly in open-world role playing games — is one that gives them a greater control over the narrative. Our theory, that the player becomes an author in their own right via modifications and the personal choice to create a main character and experience that mimics their own, is exemplified by our use of the example games and building off of these theorists. Our goal is to discuss the way that the player takes on authorship, shaping the narrative of the various storylines these games provide in a way that enhances the experience of playing the game and creating characters whose experiences and desires are formed by their own.
This semester also saw me making some milestones on another avenue. I don’t know if I mentioned it here, but a bunch of us in the English department signed up for the PCA/ACA National Conference last semester and got accepted. So last month, I went to freaking SAN DIEGO for the conference. And it was amazing.
(I’ll make a separate post for the narrated version of the powerpoint that I presented with notes to recommended reading. Just remind me!)
I’ve also gotten a lot of writing opportunities (like more than like… 5) and they either pay or they’ll get me further in my academic goals. I have three chapter proposals out right now (one that was accepted and I need to be writing for, one that’s still pending, and one that I’m still struggling to write the abstract for right now).
It’s still kind of freaking me out that people want to read what I’m writing.
So all in all, the spring semester has been a success!