March 21, 2008
Written on Thursday 20th March 2008
Just want to disperse a few ideas that have been on my mind in the past two weeks.
Lately my studies and life have been traveling at a manageable pace. Thanks to the Easter holiday weekend I have already completed my 3rd week of Univeristy. I used the word manageable as I can feel the presence of strain from many out of study pressures slowly mounting. I hope that I will be able to continue to keep them at bay at least for a while longer.
I am not sure but I am continually finding that I have less time on my hands to meet my own personal demands. Some of which I will talk about later. I am trying to balance University studies with additional language study with my Chinese friends, marketing and writing for my Gamer Blog as well as par taking in other social activities in and around Uni. Maybe I have alterered my perception of the time it takes to do things but it seems that everything that I work on requires a dedicated chunk of time.
For example, some of the blog articles (lets say the 3-4 page articles) that I write can take about 2-3hrs to write, another hour to proof read and then another 2 hours to gather any additional media or links and finally post on the site with a bit more uploading. It is a challenging task.
It is a similar case with Chinese, although I am continuously improving, I don’t find that I have enough time to fit everything that I want to in. Even though I practice with my friends for 8+ hrs a week I still find that we don’t manage to plough through all of the pre-prepared material. It is not a case of inefficiency but rather time not matching with demand.
Maybe this is all a sign that I am doing too much which is probably true. In anycase I have to figure out a way of managing myself under these circumstances.
Beyond my daily pressures life really has been fine. I am enjoying my classes and am continually finding myself surrounded by more people I know which as I mentioned previously is very pleasing. I enjoy good conversation and for most people I feel that it is what is taking place.
A Demand For Better Writing
I feel somewhat enlightened and inspired by some of what is going around me. In the past 3 weeks I have felt a move in me to push for a high quality of writing within my Gamer Blog. I have been enlightened of course by some of my fellow bloggers whom are constantly raising the bar in terms of writing quality. But it hasn’t just been these guys that have shifted my perception on video game writing.
In one of my courses at University we study language, technology and the relationship between the two. The whole vibe around this courses has encouraged me personally to think about how I can improve my own level of english when sharing ideas under these fields, one pre-existing outlet of this is obviously my gaming blog. As our course director puts it this course is really our own, we navigate the ship in terms of what we want to cover in some areas. An example of such is our major assignment where we choose an a topic of interests, we study and research this ourselves and provide a report on our findings. Our tutor even talked about the University possibly publishing these as journals if the quality was there. I find this so whole course so exciting because the study of language and technology, conversational analysis and technology, language as a second language tool all of these things are something which I am familiar with as a student of language and an enthusiast of tech and yet the research into these areas is lacking. I feel somewhat motivated into contributing into this area of writing despite being only a lowly blogger.
From this idea I have been thinking about what I can do to make my gaming blog much more intelligent. I want to raise the profile of writing but ensure that my writing is still accessible to the masses. Under my niche of video games I feel as though there is a divide among smaller video game blogging niches. There are enthusiasts blogs like myself, from there the next level comes in talking about game design and philosophies etc. So in following the previous model I would have to move my focus to a more philosophical way of talking about video games. Which is fine, unfortunately this is not exactly what I want to do.
With exclusions in mind I find that most video game blogs of this, high profile nature are simply unaccessible. I have read through hundreds of video game blogs dedicated to game design, creation and the like and they all have one thing in common. They all speak of a foreign language of which I am unfamiliar with. I find this deeply offensive as someone whom has been gaming for his whole life why is it that these game design blogs are simply nonsensical to me? Maybe I am too stupid for my own good but what is the point of having a niche of blogs of this nature if they are inaccessible to others wanting to pick up and read about this topic.
(Stay with me on this one) I have recently been thinking a lot about game design and soon enough I will post up numerous posts on DP’s Gamer Blog about this. Something which I find so fascinating is casual gaming and how I believe all games can benefit from taking the soul of the casual gaming design principles; that is accessibility. I think that a game like Super Mario Galaxy represents this mantra perfectly; the casual player can pick this game up and feels welcomed, they can understand the fundamentals of this game and enjoy it yet someone like me a ‘core’ gamer can pick this game up and play it and also feel completely satisfied but on a different level.
I wish to adopt this scheme to DP’s Gamer Blog. For as many articles as possible I want people that don’t play games to be able to read my blog, understand it and feel satisfied. I also wish that more thoughtful gamers can read my blog and also feel satisfied.
Talking about video games requires at least some background knowledge of software in order to understand which will be my biggest issue. But with this in mind I want to talk more on game design and industry issues as well as my usual observations and thoughts of new and old gaming software. My main goal is to ease people in, to draw them in with writing that makes sense and keeping them in all the while not only speeding up the linguistic rhythm but also increasing the depth of industry and software relevance.
It is all a focus on understanding which I see as crucial. The more people understand the reasoning behind why we play video games the better our industry will be. I think that the rise of bloggers like News Week’s N’gai Croal are pushing video game journalism into new, more intelligent areas. I want to be a part of that but I also want to ensure that this type of writing can still be accessible for everyone. To greater improve understanding among classes of readers.
I want the enthusiasts, the casual players, the non players and of course the people that write for these game design blogs to all be able to get something out of my writing. Such a movement obviously is a difficult task and something that I honestly wish to pursue. It is something that will take me a long time to think about and understand what is required to write in such a way. But it is something which I find is improve and will drive our medium forward.
BTW I have also found the work of MIT’s Henry Jenkins to help push me towards this idea.
Well I am glad to get all of that off my chest, now I just need the time to be able to write those types of articles. The other thing which has constantly been on my mind is studying abroad. After much though I have realized that my time has come for me to finally study abroad in China.
I am planning on enrolling into a Chinese University and hence obviously living in China tarting this September. Clearly it is a while off which is why I am trying to get ideas of where I will study. I have 3 main opportunities, I can apply for a University in ShanHai with my main University, I have applied for a scholarship for a second year University or I can find my own University and enrol hopefully grabbing a grant in the process to save me some coinage.
Whatever the case I feel as though this is the necessary step. I have built up a clear foundation of Chinese grammar, you know I am just ready. I have the language skills, enthusiasm and money in the bank to do this. I know that it is my time to take this challenge which I have been supported by friends whom agree that it is my time.
I am always pushing for new frontiers in my life. Co-developing and selling my first video game with my twin brother, building a series of websites, most notably a video game blog in which I have had to learn the ways this medium works and have adapted to it and come to a point in which I am thriving off this type of culture. In year 12 I proved that I can actually hold my own in a series of subjects which had indeed been taunting me for some 9 years (long story that one). Then finally crawling my way back to where I wanted to be with my Chinese study.
I don’t like to wank over myself or proclaim that I am better than anyone else because I am not, I am actually extremely modest in real life. What I have found though is that all of the aforementioned examples are all milestones. Are all instances in which I never thought that I could amount to. Returning to Chinese classes this year has starkly reminded me of my efforts(studying Chinese) over the past 8 months. Its alerted me of my progress but much more importantly it has set in stone and made perfectly clear what is required of me to continue down this path. I feel that this trip to China, which will be at least a year of study abroad (from there it depends) is the next logical step.
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