Friday, October 29, 2010

Week 10 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 15

(Begins Dec 10 - Ends Dec 17)
Read Ender's Game, Chapters 15, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 15

1) What was really going on during Free Play, and the mind game involving the Giant's Corpse? Who's game was this? Who designed it? Who was a player to it?

2) What was the relationship between Ender and the Bugger Queen? How were they alike? How would you compare/contrast this relationship to the one between Ender and his brother Peter?

3) What is the relationship between winners and losers in a game? What is the nature of the enemy?

“It sounds nice. But I couldn't stand it. I've been offered the presidency of three different universities, on the theory that I'm an educator. They don't believe me when I say that all I ever cared about at the Battle School was the game.” (Card, 306)

Week 9 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 13, 14

Read Ender's Game, Chapters 13 and 14, and respond to these questions:
(Begins Dec 3 - Ends Dec10)

Chapter 13
“They must talk to each other directly, Ender, mind to mind. What one thinks, another can also think; what one remembers, another can also remember. Why would they ever develop language? Why would they ever learn to read and write? How would they know what reading and writing were if they saw them? Or signals? Or numbers? Or anything that we use to communicate? This isn't just a matter of translating from one language to another. They don't have language at all. We used every means we could think of to communicate with them, but they don't even have the machinery to know we're signaling. And maybe they've been trying to think to us, and they can't understand why we don't respond.” (Card, 253)

1) What is the critical issue/concern revealed in this quote? Why is there a war between humans and buggers? What is it that has allowed Ender to beat all his enemies thus far, but is now missing as he considers the menace of the buggers?

Chapter 14

1) In chapter 14, Ender encounters “the most perfect video game he had ever played.” (Card, 258) Describe this game. What importance is graphical quality? What importance is interface control?

2) At what point does the strategy of the simulator become “pleasure” and “play”? What transforms this serious game into serious fun?

3) Who becomes Ender's new teacher? Why does the new teacher refer to himself as the enemy?

4) What do you think is “Ender's Game”, to which the book's title refers?

Week 8 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 11, 12

(Begins Nov 26 - Dec 3)
Read Ender's Game, Chapters 11 and 12, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 11
1) In this chapter, we see how the game masters at the battle school intend to make the game “unfair” for Ender. How, then, do they make the game “unfair”? How does Ender respond?

2)Ender once again turns to study the strategy of the “enemy”. What enemy becomes his concern in this chapter?

3)What is Bean’s new role? Should every team have a team member like Bean? Why?

Chapter 12
1) What do the adults want Ender to think and feel about danger and escape? Does Ender eventually have the desired realization? Have you ever had this realization – in real life, or in a game scenario? Would you want to? How would this effect the way you play a game?

2) How neccesary is it to “win” a game? What is the point of winning? Why is winning a part of games?

Week 7 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 9, 10

(Begins Nov 19 - Ends Nov 26)
Read Ender's Game, Chapters 9 and 10, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 9

“The mind game is a relationship between the child and the computer. Together they create stories. The stories are true, in the sense that they reflect the reality of the child's life. That's all I know” (Card, 121)

1) What game is this quote referring to? What do you think of this kind of game? Would you want to play?

2) While Ender learns the ropes of Battle school, Peter and Valentine Wiggen have begun a game of their own. What is the nature of this game? What is the goal? The rules? Who designed this game, and who is playing? What are the game pieces?

Chapter 10

1) In this chapter, what sort of games does Ender use to teach? What is his role in these games?

2)Would you want Ender for a teacher? Why or why not?

3)If you were a teacher, would you want to be like Ender? Why or why not? Would you use his games? What kind of games would you use, in his position?

Week 6 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 7, 8

(Begins Nov 12 - Ends Nov 19)
Read Ender's Game, Chapters 7 and 8, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 7

1) Ender has finally made a friend or two among the Launchies, when suddenly he's singled out again and promoted to an “army”, where he'll train and “play” with the big kids. Before he accepts the transition, he goes off in “Free Play”, and encounters a dreamlike string of locations and events. The adults refer to “Free Play” as a mind game. What does it reveal about Ender's psychological and/or emotional state? What does it reveal about the adults who designed the game? What do games reveal about the player, versus the designer?

2) Ender is transferred to Salamander Army. What does Ender learn from the leader of Salamander Army, Bonzo, throughout the chapter?

Chapter 8

1) Compared to Salamander Army, what is different about Rat Army? What is different about how it is organized and run?

3) At the beginning of the chapter, the adults discuss the consequences of making the battle game progressively more “unfair”. As game designers, is this ever an option we should pursue? At what point does strategy break down, and become anarchy?

Week 5 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 5, 6

(Begins Nov 5 - Ends Nov 12)
Read Ender's Game, Chapters 5 and 6, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 5

1) What kinds of strategies does Ender learn from watching the older boys play computer games in the game room? What are some of the weaknesses that the older boys demonstrate?

2) Do computer games train people to think like computers?

3) Throughout the book, Ender encounters a series of systems put in place by the adults. In chapter 5, he learns how to “play” at least one of these systems. Which system does he master, and to what benefit?

Chapter 6
There are two major games (game-like scenarios) explored in this chapter. One takes place in the battle room, and one takes place during Ender’s “Free Play” time.

1) What is different about the nature of reality in the battleroom? What issues arise due to these differences? What possibilities also arise? Have you ever faced these issues in computer/console game? How might we push these issues and possibilities in a new direction?

2) What kind of game is “Free Play”? What do you think of Ender’s responses to the guessing game?

Week 4 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 3, 4

Thanks to everyone who responded to the first blog! Keep it up. Also, feel free to "follow" the blog for updates. :)

(Begins Oct 29 - Ends Nov 5)
Read Ender's Game, Chapters 3 and 4, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 3, 4:

1) What games are mentioned in Chapters 3 and 4? What games are being played in Chapters 3 and 4? What is the goal? What are the stakes? What is the scope?

2) Are games a suitable way of teaching and instruction? Are games the best way to teach and instruct? Should games be serious? Should they be fun? At what point is a game not a game?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week 3 Blog: Ender's Game, Chapter 1, 2

(Begins Oct 22 - Ends Oct 29)

Read Ender's Game, Chapters 1 and 2, and respond to these questions:

Chapter 1:
“Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them n three dimensions from every angle.” (Card, 4)

1) Considering the quote above, is this a game? Is this play?
2) When the other children bully up on Ender, is this a game? Is this play?
3) What do you think of Ender’s strategy? What is fair play? How do we, as game designers, ensure fair play? Should we?

Chapter 2

“Peter opened his bottom drawer and took out the bugger mask. Mother had got upset at him when Peter bought it, but Dad had pointed out that the war wouldn’t go away just because you hid bugger masks and wouldn’t let your kids play with make-believe laser guns. Better to play the war games, and have a better chance of surviving when the buggers came again.
“If I survive the games, thought Ender.” (Card, 11)
1) What is the relationship between games and reality? Does violence in reality validate violence in games? Under what circumstances is violence in games acceptable? Can games go too far?
2) Who is the “bad guy” in Peter and Ender’s game? Why would you argue this?