Games are naturally interdisciplinary. Understandings of literature, math, history, science, and human behavior are all important, respected ways of engaging with games. A game designer must be competent in a field that is available at Carleton, but they must use their understanding of the field to both engage students about games and use games to engage students within their field.
The mind is an active beast. I heard this at a meditation retreat a few weeks ago as I sat cross-legged, attempting to shut off my mind. The room was silent, serene, and lit romantically, with high ceilings and comfortable pads. It was neither too hot nor too cold, and the sky outside was white and misty. In other words, it was an excellent environment to “meditate.”
Recently, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times published an article entitled “Come the Revolution,” which detailed the benefits of a new approach to education – online teaching. Friedman has a lot of good to say about Coursera, a new website that allows anyone to sign up for classes taught at elite colleges.
This is the reflective essay from my writing portfolio. I wrote a paper for Thabiti Willis’s Medieval West Africa course that was a fabricated folktale from eleventh-century Mali. It was an absolutely ridiculous assignment that I more or less boiled down to “try to be Chinua Achebe” and worked outwards from there.
When I decided to major in CAMS, a big selling point was that it was “versatile.” To be clear, I love screenwriting, cinematography, directing and film history, but when you get down to zero reality, I’m as worried about employment as anyone on this campus and I wanted a major that would get me up to date in a lot of different areas — computers, cameras, visual communication, and all the other skills that you put on your resumé to let people know that you’re playing ball.
There’s a lot of us on this DC Seminar that think we have law school somewhere in our future, and as you might expect, we like to debate policy. In other words, we argue endlessly. Sometimes we have productive discussions, but all too often we fall back on our tried and true political positions without really considering all the facts.
The story ends rather anti-climactically. I have an extremely—borderline problematically—low blood pressure, but no heart problems; the primary cause of my blood pressure, dizziness and near-blackouts was a major sodium deficiency. That’s right; not enough salt in my diet. Pretty much everyone in the world has the reverse problem.
When I was in Malawi during my gap year, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika artificially inflated the currency. You could see the effects of the poorly thought-out policy all around. As we head into the general election here in the States, I think it’s important to remember that public policy deeply affects us, in ways both intended and unintended.
I read recently that forming a habit takes an average of 66 days. On reflection, this really doesn’t seem right. Certainly, it sometimes takes a while to get yourself to do something you don’t really want to; two months is probably about how long it took me, freshman year, to train myself to write papers ahead of time rather than the night before they were due.
What would it take to get game design to become a legitimate part of a liberal arts curriculum? Game design, as the creation of a type of correspondence, is worthy of the chance to prove itself as a field of study. It provides a methodology that equips students with a perspective that will fundamentally alter and enhance the way they view the world.
At a school as small as Carleton, the impersonality of the language that the administration uses—and, by extension, the impersonal way it treats the student body—aren’t so much the result of necessity or malice as the result of a very flimsy institutional convention, a lowest common denominator of communication that only exists because of a general atmosphere of apathy.
A goal of mine is to orchestrate positive change. This is vague, but it’s what I want to do. I feel as though too many people get caught up in their own lives to bother with doing anything meaningful in a worldly sense, and I don’t want that happening to me. So, my question is this: is writing enough of a catalyst for the social, political, environmental, and technological revolutions that are required?