Mario’s Graduation

Welcome to the archive of the work I did for my English 101 class with Professor David Morgen (https://eng101s19.davidmorgen.org/). Today, I wish to summarise my writing experiences, which I encountered over these four months.

Initially, when I was going through the General Educational Requirements before coming to college, I was extremely anxious about taking an English 101 class as English has always seemed quite daunting to me. English courses were designed in a pretty odd way at my high school. We had to memorise quotes from Shakespeare’s play and would only get good grades if we applied those quotes well in our answers. Personally, I did not enjoy doing that as I did not see any point behind learning what a particular character said. Henceforth, I was not looking forward to taking a similar higher level course in college. Even though, the course design was not at all similar to my high school, I was still a little worried as I did not want to write long mundane essays.

However, on my first day of class I realised that this class was not what I had thought it would be. This class did not involve writing long essays, instead it was all about reflection and blog posts. The use of new technology like using WordPress made the class even more exciting. Throughout the semester, I did not just write on one topic. Instead, I wrote about the emotions I felt throughout the week, about “What’s in my bag”, about why I chose to be Mario and many other things. Writing  on topics, which are so different from one another took away the monotony from this class and made me enjoy writing as a piece of art.

Throughout, the semester we were also involved in multiple group projects, which improved my collaboration skills. We had to work together on two podcast episodes, create a kickstarter proposal for a new game, which solved one problem Emory student’s face, and play multiple games together. In each of these tasks, every student had to compromise his/her idea for the betterment of their team. For example, for my second podcast episode, I wanted to talk about Grand Theft Auto as a game, which showcases human behaviour had there been no laws to govern humans. Would we be barbaric and not care about anyone else but us? I thought that this would be an interesting issue to talk about as a lot of people would relate to what I had to say. However, my team mate wanted to do something out of the box and decided on talking about how the college admission’s process is a game, which does not purport the values it intends to promote. Personally, I liked my idea more but I thought that his idea was something, which could add a different dimension to this project and would improve our podcast series. Therefore, we decided to drop my idea and talk about his. This is something, which I learnt from these collaborative exercises. We should try to look beyond ourselves and focus on what is best for the team. However, deciding on the topic was not the only hurdle in front of us. We had to learn how to use Audacity- a software for voice recording- write a comprehensive script describing our argument, engage the audience and be creative with the voice-overs. Although it seems like a lot of work, in reality it was not that bad. My team mate and I were cordial and were ready to divide the work. The strategy, which we used to complete this project was division of labor and specialisation. We each did the work, we were best at. While recording our first podcast, we both realised that I was better at recording and editing voice notes on Audacity and he was better with the graphics. Similarly, we divided our script in such a way that the topics he was confident about and had a better knowledge of would be addressed by him and the topic, which I was confident about would be addressed by me. Like this, we divided our work into small fragments and joined each part of our work to create a wonderful podcast series. This learning outcome is something, which I am going to use in the future with all my writing and group assignments as it makes a difficult tasks seem easy.

For our final project, we had to create a Kickstarter proposal for a newly created game. In order to do that, we first had to list down the problems, which Emory student’s face in their day-to-day lives. Next, we had to design a game, which solves that problem and sell it to the audience. This project involved a lot of visual thinking and practicality since this was a real-life problem and not a fictional one. We had to imagine how our game looked and analyse if we had  practical approach to the problem we were trying to solve. While creating  this, we questioned our every decision and saw for ourselves that if such a game was out there, would we play that game and if not then we had to come up with a new solution because we felt that if we don’t play such a game ourselves then the majority of Emory students’ would also not play.

Both of the assignments had a lot to do with technology and digital citizenship as they were published on  digital platforms. The use of Audacity, Photoshop, and other graphic designing apps made these assignments extremely interesting as it was something new, which I was learning and would be a very useful skillset to have. However, with technological freedom comes great responsibility and therefore, we were really careful about plagiarism and incorporating someone else’s work in our own work.

This class also helped me learn a lot about myself. While doing the podcast series, I learnt that I was not extremely fluent in front of the microphone and needed to practice my public-speaking abilities. I still had to spend more time focusing on the Aural learning outcome of this class. While playing Fiasco, which was a role-playing game I realised that I was gifted with a creative mind. I came up with interesting and amusing plans for my character. The way I twisted the story to my benefit taught me that I can think on my feet and tackle problems well.

Thanks to this class that I have developed as a writer, thinker, and a team-mate. The unique design of this class has broadened my mind and now I always have multiple perspectives on a single topic. My brainstorming abilities have improved tremendously and the skill sets, which I have acquired will help me in my future classes as well.

All in all, it was a great learning experience and I would definitely recommend this class to the rising first years.

Reflection on Discover Dooley

For my Kickstarter proposal, I dealt with explaining to the audience what are game was all about. In order to do this, I had to know the tiniest details about the game. Although, this task was not that difficult as I had a pretty definitive idea about our game because we as a group went over it quite a few times. However, the the challenging part was to write the motivation in such a way that it appeals to our catered audience. I had to sell our game through my writing and really showcase that the problem which we were trying to solve was actually something, which most freshman at Emory face.

While deciding on one particular game for our Kickstarter proposal, we had a lot of ideas before us. However, the challenging part was to find that one game, which was suitable to present and actually solved a wide-spread problem. We all had to compromise some of our ideas and contribute to someone else’s idea to try and find the game, which works the best. This part of the project taught me the essence of collaboration and team-work. Sometimes, when we working in a team, we have to look beyond ourselves and focus on achieving the main goal, even if its at the cost of your team-mates discarding your idea to which you have put a considerable amount of thought.

The technological aspect behind our game was extremely new to me as I was working on an unfamiliar platform. The design aspect of the game was given to Neha as she is quite familiar with using design applications such as Photoshop and other apps. However, as for our game in general, we had to continuously think of conceptual solutions which were viable in real-life situations. Since it was an alternative platform, I learnt new way of composing my writing and improved upon my style. The video, which we was shot to demonstrate our idea taught me a lot about practicality and how every piece of writing should be practical and cater to real-life situations. This assignment constantly challenged me to step out of my comfort-zone and adapt the new and unconventional ways to compose my writing, which helped me achieve the first learning outcome of the class.

All in all, I think we produced a pretty solid final project and I hope we find people who think that this game could actually solve the issue, which we were trying to solve. However, if we had more time, we could have added other features and improved upon the rewards of the game. We could have made it more competitive, while achieving our main goal. This assignment taught me a lot of things, but the most important thing it taught me was collaboration and tram-spirit, which is something I have developed over the course of the semester through this class. It is extremely important to sacrifice your own thoughts and beliefs for the betterment of the project and the task before us. I am definitely going to use this skill in my future writing assignments. This was a task which I thoroughly enjoyed and had a great time working on.

Reflection 2

After completing my first podcast episode, I was really thrilled about my second episode because this medium of expressing my thoughts was extremely fascinating to me. Henceforth, Curious George and I thought about talking more on the genre of games. However, we decided to present our views on an unconventional game called The College Admissions Process. We decided to talk on this topic because it is a game, which almost every teenager plays without ever realising that they are playing the game. We were extremely familiar with the process as we had just gone through it and wanted to tell everyone that the values which the colleges intend to promote do not actually lie in accordance with the values they actually promote.

So, for this episode we switched our roles and I took on the job of assisting Curious George with producing this podcast. Since, we were familiar with the entire process of recording it, it didn’t take much time for us to assign ourselves tasks and finishing the episode. Our strategy was to divide the work between ourselves on the basis of the things we were proficient at. Hence, I worked on using the software and editing the recordings, while Curious George created the graphics and collected the equipments necessary for recording. However, our script was too long and included a lot of things about which we didnt have much knowledge. Therefore, after discussing our script with Dr. Morgen we concluded that we would talk about how the admissions process intends to promote the need for a holistic education but in turn promotes shallow learning. Since, students feel the need to tick off all the check-boxes and try to pass each and every stage of the admissions process, they neglect the true value of education: Learning. Because the admissions committee seek students who have served the society, are actively involved in their community, are above average academicians and are impressive writers, students end up joining classes which would boost their GPA or take part in clubs, which make their resumes look prettier. Students should be actively involved in the things which they are interested in rather than focusing on the activities/classes, which makes their application fancy.

Since, we had limited time to record the episode due to additional work pressure, we could not include many other things like how the rich take away a deserving candidate’s spot by donating money and how we are brain-washed by our teachers and seniors in high school about how we should only focus on the next step and try to do everything to achieve that. Such an ideology takes a toll on your learning and creativity. If, we had more time we would have definitely touched upon these aspects and would have also added additional peer-interviews and audio notes to support and strengthen our argument. Moreover, we would have used research data and statistics reported by researchers on this topic to get some more insight on this topic.

While working on this topic, I realised that we used different technologies like Audacity to express our opinion.I also realised that collaboration is a big part of writing as it helps writers gain much more depth on their content and writing skills. For example: We collaborated with our professor to narrow down our script and make it concise. Finally, we approached the genre of games in a different way, which broadened my thinking and interpretation abilities. Now, i will always look at the obvious in a different way and always try to find different perspectives on the same topic.

I can say that this episode of ours was much better than our previous one because we learnt from our mistakes and tried not to make them while working on this one, which told me something about myself, which i didn’t know: I am an active learner and learn from my mistakes. The thing which i am most proud of is that we managed to see this topic in a different way and tried to link it to the genre of games. This required out of the box thinking and decent communication skills. This assignment taught me a lot about myself and writing as a process in general. It was a really enriching experience and I am sure to say that I will be coming up with many more exciting episodes and will use my rhetorical skills efficiently to convey my message and spread awareness about many issues. All in all, it was a really enriching experience.

The week gone by…

When I sit back and look at my past week, I have to say it was one of my toughest week at Emory. At the beginning of the week when I was told by my Professor about this quest, I found it a little difficult. The reason I felt this way was because I was not used to reporting my emotions on an hourly basis. However, I was a little thrilled about how my emotion scale was going to look like by the end of the week.

So, I started working on this quest by creating a hand-drawn table and jotting down how I felt on the basis of a scale ranging from 1-5 with 1 being extremely negative and 5 being extremely positive. I noted my emotions every four hours, which gave me a precise analysis of my emotions throughout the day.

As you can see from the graphs, my week did not start really well and i had a pretty low positive emotional score. The reason for that was my root canal surgery, which was causing me immense pain and distracting me from my academics.Henceforth, I was behind on all my assignments and had a really tough academic week coming up. The worry of that made me feel anxious up until Sunday, when I had my Econ midterm. Sunday was the day when i felt really positive about myself because it made me realise something about myself, which i had not discovered until now.

I believe this is a great exercise for self-analysis as it helps you reflect on your good and bad days, your decisions, your achievements and failures, and your growth as a person. I think I am going to continue with this fruitful activity in just the same way I did for my assignment and hope to learn a few more things about myself, which i did not know up until now. I am looking forward to this journey!

Podcast Reflection

The human brain is structured in a way that allows one to think all the time. Thinking is an imperative learning process. Thus, as a thinker I have always attempted to jot down my thoughts and experiences. This English Class gave me a breakthrough from the ancient mundane way of expressing. Instead of writing my emotions and feelings down on a piece of paper, I spoke about it and conveyed it to a much larger audience. I used Podcast as a medium to showcase what I felt about an activity, which most of us spend countless hours doing – playing FIFA.

Our English Professor, David Morgen, had assigned us to create a podcast series on one particular game. We were divided into groups and luckily, my group member was also as big of a FIFA enthusiast as I was. Curious George and I started working on this assignment by brainstorming about the elements of FIFA we could include in this podcast series. We were thinking of talking about the game modes, which FIFA has to offer, its history, its future and all the other generic things. If we would have gone through with this, then our podcast would have lacked an extremely important element – a constructive argument. However, with the help of our professor we managed to come up with an argument around which we created our entire series. The main argument which we decided to talk about was if FIFA was actually pursuing its true values of getting more people to play soccer by offering the capitalistic game mode it offers.

We, again, began by brainstorming about ideas that could prove our argument true because we believed that FIFA actually lost focus of its true values in the course of earning revenue. We decided to talk about the FIFA ultimate team, the journey, the packs and various other things. We got the mic from our professor and began recording. Although, I was the producer of this episode, Curious George had an equally important role in creating this episode. Our primary strategy was division of labor and skill specialisation. For example: We divided our script between ourselves; both of us talked about the game mode we were most familiar with and expressed how that game mode took away from FIFA’s true value. As for skill specialisation, I was responsible for editing the audio script while Curious George was responsible for creating the square image, which is our main logo. I think, our strategy worked out pretty well as it led to smooth development of the episode without an hassle and arguments. I believe devising a useful strategy on the basis of your and your group member’s personality is extremely important and this is what i would recommend to my peers. Also, this podcast acted as a crucial learning experience because i learnt that i need to focus on my speech delivery skills as i stuttered quite a few times while recording my thoughts about the game. I would have never learnt this about myself, had this been a traditional essay writing assignment. Moreover, this podcast series also game the skills essential to writing projects such as focusing on a constructive argument, developing thoughts and pointers around the argument and executing it in a systematic fashion, which i intend on using for my further assignments as well.

Now when I look back at my podcast there are a few things I wanted to add but could not because of the time constraint. I wish i could incorporate views of few more of peers about FIFA as it would have given podcast much more depth and quality. Furthermore, a few more background sounds and different statistics to add to the podcast’s creativity and information.

All in all, it was an enriching experience which allowed us to use our rhetorical and editing skills, our researching and technological abilities. This experience has made me much more professional in the field of writing and has expanded my horizon as to what all we can incorporate and use to make our expressions more well-rounded and consistent.

Mario plays Fiasco!

Fiasco… A game that transpires into a script for a Netflix series with a lot of editing!

I have always played games, which have mostly to do with what I do. However, Fiasco is a game that has a lot to do with what other players of the game are doing. This, single thing, made the game so unique that I looked beyond the tediousness of doing another homework assignment. I am pretty sure the other players playing it with me also agree with me on this.

I was surprised and intrigued by the fact that this game allows the players to have immense freedom to do whatever they want to with its plot. However, the player who establishes the plot has a lot to do with the plot’s direction. For example, Neha started the story by accusing me of drugging her because of our manipulator/victim relationship, the entire plot ended up playing off of this little fact, which is pretty interesting to me. The plot took a very strange route because all the players were trying to turn it in a way, which made them seem a “good guy.” This conflict made our characters take a completely different route from where we initially started. For example, one of our players started off as a grandmother and ended up molesting her own grandson. This was something which was shocking to me and also made me realize that we all were just trying to protect our image at the cost of other players’ image. Hence, most of our conflicts revolved finding the truth. Also, I noticed that one player was ruling the game at a particular time, which also had to a lot to do with the direction of the plot. For example: when I was somewhat dominant, I took the plot from a simple criminal mystery plot to family drama. This factor kept the intensity of the game alive and kept all the players on their toes.

 By the end of it, I don’t think I am extremely proud of the plot because it has a lot of confusion and a lot of thing happening at the same time. However, I would say that if a director was looking for an intense drama series, which leaves the people extremely perplexed, our plot could be considered for such a genre. Also, I think throughout the game I was always trying to narrow the plot and build up its intensity so that the other players are left with little options. Because of this, I was always more interested in role playing my than having an outside perspective. The saddest part of the game was the Aftermath because all of us ended up being depressed, destroyed, and miserable. But, I believe that we all deserved this ending because of the things we made our characters do. For example: I ended up sending my wife to a mental asylum and son to become a male escort. So, I believe after doing all this it was right to deserve this ending.  

Fiasco, in general, is a game that involves a lot of team-work and communication skills. It was our duty to take the plot into a certain direction, keep developing the plot, solve the problems with the storyline to reach the finale, and maintain the flow and intensity of the game. I know for a fact that I will be playing this game more often in the future and will not be making the same mistakes I made in this game. I also realized that I am a moody person and it is mood that decides what sort of a role I want to play in a game. This is something which I am going to work on. All in all, this was an enriching experience.

Mario plays Gone Home

I just started playing the game and it seems to be a dark, scary game with an ominous ending. I feel a little scared because I think something abrupt is going to happen. The game is set in a huge house, which adds to the eeriness of the game.

I have spent at least five minutes trying to unlock the door and enter the living room of the house.

I finally found the key, which was hidden in one of the drawers. I am curious to know if people still live in the house or it is just a dilapidated structure. The venue reminds me of a horror movie.

Just came across an invoice from a moving company. Seems like the residents have moved out of the house. The invoice totals up to 2750 dollars.

A new character named Sam is introduced. She starts speaking about the things written in the journal. The journal is addressed towards Katie.

I have entered the TV room. The tv was switched on, which makes me believe that people still live in the house or the game is just showcasing paranormal activities.

I have entered a bedroom, which has a melodious musical record. I like the owner’s taste in music.

I just found a letter from Sam to Lonnie asking her to come over to Sam’s house. Judging by the language of the note, it seems that Sam and Lonnie are friends.

I just found a post-card from Katie. It seems like Katie is currently in Paris. The note also reveals Katie’s relation to Sam. They are SISTERS!

I just came across a book given to Sam by her father. The book guides its readers on how to make friends. It seems like Sam does not have many friends and is an introvert.

I just came across a crumpled note from Tommy asking Sam if she was interested in being friends with him. However, Tommy was extremely rude to her and asked if being a psycho was in their blood.

I just came across Sam’s journal about default friends. It seems like her childhood friend was Daniel, whom she found weird. She is trying to use him to get Daniel’s cool street fight games.

I have reached the second floor of the house. I just came across a note with controls written on it. I think the controls are for the video game which Sam was so interested in playing.

I just found a crumpled note written by Sam asking her sister not to tell her parents about the things she found in the attic.

This game does not seem to be a horror game but it is definitely mysterious and makes me anxious every time I open a new drawer or read a new note.

I have reached the attic and have realized that Sam and Lonnie have run away and are living happily. This at least has given me some hope. I think I have reached the end.

The game was very intriguing and interesting. I have never played such a game ever before in my life.

Mario’s Essentials!

Want to know what Mario has been hiding under his big belly? Guess what.. it’s not beer! His big belly holds his most necessary items without which he can not even think to enter the Mushroom paradise. It includes:

  • A 15″ MacBook Pro with stickers on top to make Mario look fancy and up to date with the newest trends. This laptop is his most precious jewel when it comes to overcoming hurdles.
  • A PENTAX black and white camera that helps him take pictures of his scenic mushroom paradise.
  • Two Mead files which hold his important documents and learnings from every mission he goes to.
  • A Mead notebook to take down important notes and to showcase his average sketching skills
  • A pack of Watermint chewing gums to avoid bad breath and to keep him always ready to interact with his peers.

I believe the items in the bag are a representation of myself. I am an organized person who has different folders and notebooks for each class. Most of the things in my bag are black, which is my favorite color. It helps me maintain a sleek and professional look.

According to me, this assignment was to showcase a relationship between our belongings and our self and drawing that relationship was the most difficult part of the assignment. I had never thought that my backpack could be a representation of myself. Now, when I think about it, it really portrays the kind of person I am. Although the things which I carry are not unique, it still reflects my preferences and my attitude towards things, making each backpack unique in its own way.

What’s in my Bag?

Mario’s Introduction

As I sat down to relax with my roommate after a long day to unwind, we got held up in a discussion about our childhood experiences. The conversation led me to realize that one of the fondest memories of my early years was on my Nintendo DS when I tried to be a part of Super Mario’s adventures in the fictional mushroom kingdom. As a kid, I thought of Super Mario as just a game, but my English 101 class made me realize that there was a different storyline running behind this game.

It came to my knowledge that this game was a simulation of real-life experiences in which every person has to fight his/her challenges with their acquired skill sets. The only difference was the game gave one multiple chances to overcome one’s hurdles, while life doesn’t. However, the game does focus on creating a sense of optimism within a person which helps in overcoming failure and tread on that path of success. This is exactly the reason why I chose Mario as my character.

My badge is a mixture of myself and Mario. The blue eyes represent innovation and imagination – things which are essential when overcoming our fears and accepting challenges head-on. If one notices, my badge always has a laughing face. This is primarily because I believe that under no circumstances should one reveal one’s inner feelings of sadness and should always be thankful for the situations which one is facing as every new experience makes one stronger and better.

However, while creating this badge, I did face some difficulties. I wanted to depict my resemblance with Mario in terms of facial features. However, i was not able to do that because of the application’s limitations through which i created this gravatar.