The Ugly Duckling
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The Ugly Duckling

English Department Hosts Video Games and Digital Humanities Colloquium

The Department of English is held a series of academic seminars on video games this semester.

Sponsored by Dr. Samuel Fuller, the talks are entitled “Videogames and the Digital Humanities Colloquium” and are held virtually on the second-to-last Friday of each month.

Something that makes this colloquium stand out is that participating students will be given a $10 Amazon e-gift card to discuss current issues related to video games and other digital media, emphasizing the role of humanities.

The funding received for the $10 Amazon e-gift cards came from the Leol Purcell Endowed Professorship, which Fuller was awarded by the English Department in Fall 2020.

“Starting the Colloquium was one of my major goals for the Professorship, and I was originally going to use the funding to offer really good refreshments, but due to the pandemic I decided that eGift cards would be a safe, appealing incentive to draw-in participants. The raffle prize was another way I thought I could keep people coming back. I’m really glad to be able to offer these incentives to Southeastern students!” Fuller stated.

In their most recent meeting, participants were told to read three articles and discuss them in the colloquium, which was: “Gaming, in kids’ own words”; “Avatar Crossing: Self-Representation in Animal Crossing: New Horizons”; and “Like Seeing Yourself in the Mirror? Solitary Role-Play as Performance and Pretend Play.”

The participants went over the readings by first talking about video games that they could relate to and what games they most associate with the readings and why.

Most participants focused on self-expression as portrayed in one of the assigned readings, “Avatar Crossing: Self-Representation in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

But when Fuller asked everyone what their take on that specific reading was, participants named Cara Rubins chimed in with her own unique perspective. “Part of the reason that it is so close to my heart is because it’s the only other game that my mother would play.”

Rubins explained that her mother changes her own characters’ hair and outfit every day in the game. And that She can do things in “Animal Crossing” that she wouldn’t be able to do in real life.

“Some people play video games to express themselves because they see that as important, ” Fuller replied.

Others focused greatly on more interactive video games and interactive storyteller games that would force one into a set role.

Such games that were discussed and compared were “Life is Strange” and “Between Two Souls.”

Joel Frodel stated that when playing such games as these, “it forces him into this different perspective.”

After the meeting had come to an end Fuller concluded the colloquium with a few remarks, “Choices and consequences in games may be our next topic in reading that we do. There are two more meetings of this kind of colloquium to happen this semester so I hope all of you will consider attending again.”

On a side note, all attendees of the colloquiums will have their names put in a raffle to win a “Nintendo Switch Lite” and a copy of “Undertale.” Fuller said the raffle will be held after the fourth meeting, at the end of the spring semester.

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Photo: Students constructing reflections about program participation Credit: Patiño-Liu