Coursera: Online Games Class Notes

This post servers as a outline of the new concepts that I have learned in the class hosted on Coursera, "Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative" taught by Jay Clayton. I will
try to avoid giving answers to quiz's or questions in order to give other classmates a fair chance.


MMO Examples:


Multi-modal Analysis: 

Embedded narrative : Main content to the game, "A pre-generated narrative content that exists prior to a player's interaction with the game." pg 383 Salen and Zimmerman.

Emergent Narrative:  "arises from the set of rules governing interaction with the game system. Most moment-to-moment narrative play in a game emergent, as player choice leads to unpredictable narrative experience." - Salen and Zimmerman.
Frame Narrative: Frame story (This term not defined in the class but was referenced.)
Remediation"absorbing and re-purposing remediation, as defined by Bolter and Grusin 
Progression: a movement or development toward a destination or a more advanced state, esp. gradually or in stages.
Ekphrasis: The verbal description of a visual mode such as a painting or sculpture.
Allegory:  points to another story.
Romance Works: sometimes action-oriented plots, archetypical quest structure. contains characters "types". "exhaustible" -Jay Clayton
  • Star Wars
  • Never Ending Story
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Harry Potter
  • Frankenstein
  • Raiders of the lost Ark
Type of class:
  • lectures
  • In-Game Sessions
  • Classroom seminars
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Genres : all are mixed, critical part of a story.
Episodic: a plot to the Quest romance.
Mundane - lacking interest or excitement; dull.

Books for Reference (not required, but great reads)
  • "How To Do Things With VideoGames" By Ian Bogost
  • "Extra Lives" by Tom Bissell 
    • "The more explanation there is, the thought appears to go, the more story has been generated. This would be a profound misunderstanding of story for any form of narrative art." pg.40
  • "Reality Is Broken" by Jane McGonigal
  • "All your base are belong to us" by Narola Goldberg
  • "The Rise of the Creative Class" by Richard Florida
  • "The Creative Economy"
  • "Rules of play:Game Design Fundamentals" by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman
  • Jesper Juul's Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds -
  • Robert Browning’s poem "Childe roland dark tower came
  • Jesper Juul, "Half-Real:Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional World" 
    • "To play a video game is therefore to interact with real rules while imagining a fictional world..." (p.1).
    • "Video games are real in that they consist of real rules with which players actually interacts, and in that wining or losing a game is a real event." (p.1)
    • "The rules of a game provide the player with challenges that the player cannot trivially overcome. It is a basic paradox of games that while the rules themselves are generally definite, unambiguous, and easy to use, the enjoyment of easy-to-use rules presenting challenges that cannot be easily overcome." (p.5)
    • "A small number of rules combined and yield large numbers of game variations." (p.5)
  • Constantine P. Cavafy
Types of Characters:
  • Hero
  • Villain
  • Mentor or guide
  • hits per second (ranger or mage)
  • Tank (slow but powerful)
David Herman’s idea of mental mapping - It is the process of forming a relationship between stories we are interpreting and the contexts in which we are interpreting them
Humans draw upon whatever real world or imaginative sources they have when mental mapping
The fused mental model can also be described as a story world

David Herman, “Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of narrative”

"A radical capacity of some forms of gaming that is not shared by written text or cinema is the subject's ability to manipulate the camera and point of view."

mise-en-scène in cinema – everything from what the viewer sees within the environment.
From the book to the movie of “Lord of the rings” compact emotions and action help achieve the same concepts in the book.

Temporal order in stories
Frequency is how often an event occurs in the discourse
Three common alterations in temporal sequence affect order, duration, and frequency
Duration refers to the time that passes as you read or view a narrative

A filmmaker can rearrange the events of a story
Flash forwards and flashbacks 
Ellipses (leaving out a part of the story)
Voice-over where a character narrates a scene from the past
Filmmakers find unique ways to deal with the disjuncture between story time and discourse time in cinema.

andering and doubling in romance
-experience of romance is doubling, and the possibility a hero can fail
-the primary difference between wandering in a romance narrative and in a picaresque novel is that in a romance, it is the hero’s fate and burden to strive for a goal, whereas in a picaresque novel, the protagonist is a rogue who falls into one scrape after another.
-helps create a comparison

issues of theme and content
best describe the genre of realism? (check the best answers)Realism strives to make the ordinary and everyday engaging Realism is usually allegorical Realism often features plain language and ordinary style There is an emphasis on honesty in realism

Not all characters have to flat or round. The feature of a round character is the have depth, someone you can relate to. Romance characters appear sometimes the opposite and hieratic. Associated with a sacred person and stylized.
a flat characters are one-dimensional characters who are rarely changed and stick to a one mind set.

best describe the genre of realism? (check the best answers)Realism strives to make the ordinary and everyday engaging Realism is usually allegorical Realism often features plain language and ordinary style There is an emphasis on honesty in realism.

Daemonic characters and romance character systems
romance characters -There is often a system of characters that gives the viewer a grid to assess the moral nature of humanity

narrator has total access to all of the characters' minds and actions at any time, yet has a distinctive tone of voice and uses “I” = Personified omniscient

LOTRO from the third person point-of-view, you are simultaneously looking at your character from an outside perspective and directing your character’s movements

penser's poetry in The Faerie Queene
written in an intentionally archaic style
orthography and diction make the work seem more difficult than it actually is
contains frequent references to myth and the early modern political scene
the features of the Spenserian stanza
It is nine lines long; the first eight lines are composed in iambic pentameter (five metrical feet per line)
The ninth line is composed in hexameter, adding an additional (sixth) foot that propels the narrative forward
The rhyme structure follows the pattern A B A B B C B C C
Notes from 5.2
Knights have trouble fighting the demons within that normal people do.
significance of the tapestry in Castle Joyous
It an example of ekphrasis, a description of a work of art in works
It depicts the story of Venus and Adonis taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses
It allegories the very opposite of chastity, contrasting with Britomart's character

What are, arguably, some elements of a good beginning to a story?
It presents a problem to the reader
It forms part of a chain of events
It grabs the reader's attention

Which of the following are true about the “recognition” element of a story?
It occurs after the reversal in the climax
It helps a character retrospectively understand how all the parts fit together
It brings you towards the close of a story

Denouement - in french means “unraveling” and in English it is used to mean the opposite.

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