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Limbo Journal #1

Due to the short duration of both games, I decided that I would try to play them each in one or two sittings. I also felt that this was best since I would be able to remember more details about my gameplay to record.

I already had Limbo in my PlayStation library for a few years now since I got it when it was one of the free PlayStation plus games of the month a long time ago. It had caught my eye because of the eerie theme that it had, but I never got a chance to play it and I forgot about it eventually. Therefore, I was excited to see that it was an option for one of the games for this assignment.

Upon starting the game, I got the feeling that this would be a creepy game. It certainly did not help that I was playing the game at night. The main menu was spooky enough!

First impressions: it is very spooky indeed. There was no music at all, and the only sound emanating from the tv was the sound effects of my character moving, and some environmental sounds. I’ll admit that I thought this was going to be an easy game, but I was very wrong. Not only did I die quite a bit, but I also got stumped here and there. 

Upon starting the gameplay, I immediately turned left, just out of curiosity, and I found a secret white thing which gave me a PlayStation trophy. I was not really intending to find any more secrets, but I found another one a little bit after. After much jumping and moving objects, I got to what I think would qualify as the first boss: the spider. I’m sure that anyone with megalophobia or arachnophobia checked out as soon as they saw it.

It was interesting since I did not understand how to deal with the boss until after I died a few times. The game aesthetics played a part in this struggle since the black foreground made me think that the beartrap used to damage the spider was just for decoration. After running away from the spider and going through some more parkour and puzzles; I encountered the first other human. Embarrassingly enough, it took me a few more deaths to realize that if I held the x button a bit longer, then I could have a longer jump instead of spamming the button. 

The more I played, the darker the tone got since I started finding dead bodies, what I presume were children. Coincidentally enough, I started getting cold in real life, and I grabbed a blanket. One of the first instances of music appeared when I found another person who was dying. I noticed a pattern that there was music whenever something startling came up, and it worked to convey a sense of anxiety since you could also not see their faces. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this game are the few white glowing objects that must signify something that I have yet to figure out…



Privacy can mean many things. The amount of privacy I want or need probably differs from the amount which the person reading this desires. I believe that there was and never will be any 1 definition of what privacy means, and the digital age has only made it more difficult. Technological innovations which give us a digital identity and a place where we insert our personal information have become more commonplace, which should encourage us to rethink what exactly we put out into the web. Technology has made effectively made priavacy a bigger issue since malicious actors can pose as institutions we trust and phish out information, with us not batting an eye. That is the issue here: our care-free mentality.

Technology’s easy use has put us into a position where we completely trust the institutions we use. Places where we put our personal information such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where we usually skip the TOS and overlook security options, due to our confidence in them, have put us into a false sense of security where we do not really care what we put out there and how our privacy it their top concern. Evidence of our trust is how many people fall prey to spear phising emails. According to research, 70% are opened by people and 50% of the opened emails result in clicked links leading to data breaches. Technology has made us get too comfortable in putting our information online which results in more people falling prey to data breaches and phising, with the end result being more panic about privacy.

Therefore, it is important to recognize that these institutions are not perfect in protecting our data so that we can also think before we put whatever about us online. All in all, there is nothing wrong with a bit of healthy suspicion:)


We the Commodities

One of the important ideas expressed in The Attention eConomy chapter of Reality Lost is commodifying the users’ information does not only serve make consumers victims of predatory marketing tactics. But it also, equally as important, creates a political dilemma where the online public become targets of political micro-targeting. The book briefly mention the idea of developing countries falling victim to data misuse. In these countries, nefarious data collection can lead to abuses which threaten the development in the political sense. Based on all of that, I believe that this phenomenon is only bound to get worse. Unlike the United States, where rights tend to be explicitly defined, these developing countries tend to be more unstable and the looming threat of fake news, is not to be taken lightly. This is because it is disinformation can quickly lead to human rights abuses, due to the unestablished government and/or lack of peoples’ rights. Another important issue, is that on top of dealing with state development, the people and the government have to deal with external forces spreading disinformation. An important point in your lecture that applies here, is that in responding to disinformation one gives it a platform no matter how illegitimate it may be. In effect, this may continue the erosion of trust in the developing government and may even undermine its authority since they are responding to such outlandish statements. Lastly, I also believe that this phenomenon will only continue to grow in developing countries as access to the internet in them increases. I say this because one may just be gathering information online, but as we see in this course, it I important to be a good digital citizen and know how to defend oneself from disinformation, which is easier said than done.


“Bad News” and communication through video games

Bad News is an interesting game that takes an all too common sight on social media and makes it into an interactive simulator for spreading disinformation. The game had simple mechanics, you can choose from 2-3 options on the type of disinformation you want to spread, then you then get feedback and are judged on the amount of followers you can accumulate. In the end I accumulated 12,616, although I do not know if that is a good or bad score. Many of the options on there, while not being word for word mirrors of what I can find online, echoed similar sensational headlines that I could find on almost any social media sites to lure people into clicking on their article.

This takes me to the question proposed: Are online video games an effective tool for social change? Why or why not? After playing this game I feel like video games can be adequately used to send a message to its players. While this game’s message of why disinformation is not a good thing is probably common knowledge. There are many other games that are examples which can convey ideas ranging from political messages, themes of addiction and loneliness, and to social commentary. This can be embedded in the game’s mechanics, narrative, and even easter eggs which may take players much time to find. “Bad News'” message is clear in the highly sensationalized options we can choose from. We, the player, are meant to see the interaction between those who spread disinformation and those who consume it. While we cannot see the full effects of disseminating disinformation, we can clearly see headlines that we may have seen before. Therefore, in a game that is meant to satirize the producers and consumer of disinformation, we are playing from the point of view of the troublemaker through which we can identify certain words and styles that those who spread this use.

Furthermore, video games are a clever medium through which we can communicate messages. Looking back, easier in the semester, I recall an article which looked into how we are dissuaded from reading long portions of text due to the way we read online. We are now getting used to reading shorter lengths of text such as small articles, or tweets. I know that I have sometimes fallen victim to this since I may shy away from reading long blocks of text. Therefore, I believe that a video game may be an interesting and effective way of sending a message to a public who may have difficult keeping their focus on a long novel or journal article. While the video game may not be able to convey the large amount of information that a books or series of books can it can still give useful information with relatable characters and through offering a larger degree of interactivity learning said message. One of the greatest ways to achieve this would be to use Virtual Reality. Using these types of games, the player can actually feel like they are full immersed in the video game, thus having a better interpretation of the message. For all of these reasons, I believe that it is very important to recognize how video games can act as a vessel for change through all of the unique ways that they can send a message to the player base.


Terms of Service

I have almost never tried to read the terms of service of any app, website, or game that I use. Although, one time I did try to, I ended up just doing a quick skim. I feel like there is just so much information and it is so wordy that I feel disconnected from any information it is trying to convey to me. One interesting portion that I found in both the Medium and TikTok readings was the presence of arbitration consents. I was learning what this meant in my intro to legal writing class, and both texts lay out the process that parties who have a grievance against the company must go through. They both make similar points by saying the arbitration is the only way to go and that they cannot seek class action lawsuits. They also state specific parameters that govern the process of arbitration, emphasizing the fact that they must remain confidential. Apart from all of the terms that govern out day to day use of these platforms, I feel like this is also important to know since it outlines the process those who have formal complaints must go though and the legal implications of pursuing one. While there would be almost no way to establish TOS’s that are the same for platforms across the board, I hope that companies would at least try to make them a bit shorter, although I guess it is not in their best interest to.

The other site that rated websites by outlining important parts of their agreements is a step in the right direction, since it condenses the terms into pros and cons and gives an overall rating as to how safe it is and what the site does with your information. On there I saw some sites that I use, who utilize my information in ways that I did not like. But in this case I feel powerless since if I do not agree to their terms, then I cannot use their sites. We do not have much bargaining power since we cannot regulate them as consumers, so I wonder how much these companies would be willing to change about their structure of TOS.



FireWatch Final Review


I started this game not knowing too much about it, the only information I knew about this game came from a trailer I watched many years ago in a showcase. I was not expecting too much out of this game, but my first impression indicated that it was more than just a beautiful game. After playing through the game, I definitely stand by the idea that it handles multiple themes that many people deal with in life. Additionally, this game can also serve to be an escape from stresses and anxieties of daily life.

The story is pretty impressing, the way that they make the plot relate to themes of addiction, isolation, and escape really helps sell Firewatch to its players. The game also does a neat job by building up tension and making it seem like there was going to be a twist some unrealistic twist at the end, This idea was echoed in many other reviews of the game that I looked at after I finished it. Many people were upset that there was no twist ending and there were certain characters that we did not even get to see. While I initially thought that there would be some unexpected final twist and that some characters were not who they seemed to be, I realized that after experiencing the themes that the story evokes a twist was not necessary for the game. While I enjoyed having the rug pulled out from under my feet, I felt like the story was realistic which was their goal all long. The relatable themes also compensate for the “walking simulator” that many people call this game. Although, at some points, I felt like I was walking forever, it paid off when I could find some cool setting to gaze at, and it took time away from my other stresses.

The mechanics here are simple, you walk from point A to point B and investigate the items to move the game along. The main way we got information is by talking to Delilah, our supervisor. Although, we never get to see her, we get enough information and she adds to the story enough that her identity is not relevant here. That is another part of the gameplay that is interesting. The game is very vague, there are many questions left unanswered, which is both a good and a bad thing. It is good since it is not necessary, but it is also bad because if leaves the players sometimes wanting more. Another important gameplay mechanic, is choices. Like I said before, there are many choices in the dialogue throughout the game, although I am pretty sure it does not affect the outcome of the story.

The design and visuals of this game are what really make it great! I absolutely loved the free roam feature. I played it after I was done with the first play through, and I was definitely interested in just roaming throughout the entire park. I’d say that the one things that disappointed me is that I wish that we had more options to the dialogue. Sometimes I felt that I did not like any of the options that I had, that is not too important though.

This game relates to a culture of those who are overwhelmed by daily life. In the story we see a man escape his issues by going to work in almost complete isolation in park. We see this in our culture a lot through people who are fed up with 9-5s, their relationships including their families and marriages, and of the fast paced life in general. The ways people deal with this include, but are not limited to, converting to minimalism, going to the country, and sometimes ending their relationships. Here we see a game that does not try to create a sensational story, but instead make a story that resonates with a generation who sometimes feel overwhelmed whether it be by loans, jobs, and many other issues. In my opinion, the developers of this game have succeeded due to the game’s critical reception and many positive reviews by fans.

The biggest thing that surprised me was how relaxing this game can be. The last time I played this was when midterms were coming up. I was really stressed with the amount of work that I had to do so I got on this game after a long day and I let all my anxieties go. I felt like I escaped from all my earthly problems, and very few video games that I have played have done that. Overall, I plan to continue playing this game whenever I feel like I need to get away from issues and life in general.


Firewatch #4

Since I finished the game, I wanted to go back and finish collecting the last few trophies that I missed. They were a couple of achievements that required me to go looking for something, but after some research I found exactly where I needed to go. I saw that there was a free roam option but before that I wanted to test something. I was curious if the choices that I made had any effect on the intro narrative. So I made a new game and chose all the options that I didn’t pick in my first playthrough, but it didn’t really change the final outcome and it only altered a few minor details. After that, I loaded into the free roam and made it to the area I needed to go! I got some pretty cool side story for each of the achievements which was pretty nice! That makes me which there some other side stories like that since the park is so huge. After that I just wandered. I wandered around trying to look at all of the places that I didn’t get a chance to look at before. During my exploring I realized that the combination of the music and scenery reminded me of Minecraft. It brought back nostalgia from when I would be on Minecraft for hours just exploring and walking through different biomes in hopes of discovering giant caves or ravines. I felt like it was a good time to relax since I was having a stressful day with all of the assignments that I had to do. I wonder if they will make a sequel with different characters, or if they would make a prequel exploring the stories of the other rangers who came before me. After wandering for a while, I realized that I have been roaming for almost an hour. While I enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights in the game, I had to go to sleep since it was almost 2pm. I hope that I can come back to this game again soon, especially since fall break is coming up!


Rebuild the Internet!

First of all, forgive my artistic skills…. Anyways I had a bit of trouble deciding how I wanted to express my view of the Internet. It was not until yesterday where I decided I would try my best to write a comic. I have always loved to read comics since they usually include deeper themes than what meets the eye. The meaning of the internet that I decided to go with is the idea of our own “personal internet”.

The comic I wrote starts off with a boy who just had his first class of DGST101 and was struggling to answer the question of. What is the internet? He asks his father who gives him a very complex answer, and then his sister who gives him a much more simple yet interesting answer too. Despite having this information, he feels that both their answers do not apply to him. So what better to do than sleep on it!! In has deep sleep, he find the creator of the internet, and repeats the same question to him. The stranger gives him a 5 word response, IDK what’s it to you? Before the protagonist could respond, he is abruptly awakened by his alarm. He sits on it, and reflects in the answer until he finally understood what the response meant. He was so caught up in getting others’ answers that he never looked inside himself for his own. Looking at it now, he uses the internet for very different reasons while using very different “parts” of the internet, when compared to those he asked. As a result we each have a very different interpretation of what the internet is, causing us to have different answers to the same question!

The internet is vast and contains an immense amount of knowledge that useful to some but useless to others. To think that one day someone could explore its entirety is highly improbable. That is why we have our own personal internet. Each of us uses the internet for various different things. Some use it for their job to attend meetings and work from home. Others like me, use it for school and for entertainment. Furthermore, if I were to ask you, what the internet means to you, you would give me a different answer than I would give. Therefore, this is how we create our own personal internet. It is like a room in our mind, where we store all of the information that is meaningful to us that we find on the internet. I may find a forum here I can talk to other people that have similar interests to me, so I would store that in my personalized room. It is this idea, that prompts the “creator of the internet” to answer the protagonist’s question by saying “IDK what’s it to you”. We have to ask ourselves that question in order to find what the internet means to each of us, and the injects of our “room” is based on what we value from the internet, not on what others do.


FireWatch #3

I finished the game… I honestly did not think that it would be this short, but here we are! I have mixed feelings about the ending, since some things did not happen the way I would have wanted them to, and I wonder if that is due to my choices or not. The ambiguity of the ending is not what left me empty, it is the abrupt ending to the friendship between me and Delilah. In the end we talk about how we might see each other agin but it does not feel very impactful, I feel like if we would have known a little more about her, then us leaving without her would have had more meaning. I also saw the twist from a mile away, ever since we talked about Ned and how he was a bit sketchy, I knew that he was probably an antagonist in some sort of way. What I did not expect was for Brian to be dead in the cave. But at the same time I did not feel too impactful since we did not talk about them that much. I just feel like there should be some cutscene or more dialogue to create give us a better idea of who these characters are. I read online that most people were upset that there was not some grand conspiracy, but I am ok with the absence of one. The game already dealt with themes of letting go and moving on, which are both ever present, especially in the dialogue. After I finished the game I went to go look at the Playstation trophies and I saw that I am missing a few, not including the main storyline ones. These are mainly some extra things I have to discover so I will go back in the weekend to see if I can find them. The completionist in me cannot let that go! Overall, it is a very thought provoking game, although I feel like it needs a little more backstory to make the certain events and characters feel more meaningful. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my playthrough and would recommend it to anyone who wants to play a relaxing, yet powerful game


Brandon Rojas


9/21 Reflection: Arcade visit

I have not been to an arcade in years, so this visit brought back nostalgia from my childhood. Despite not visiting one in a long time, I have always loved arcade games such as Pacman, Mappy, Dig-dug, and Bosconian; so I was very happy to see some of those there. It as very cool to walk through the VHS rental entrance and to see the living room. I have never seen a VHS rental store, but I will probably return since I still have a VHS player at my house. The basic features of an arcade was there, the dim lighting and the multitude of games with their distinguishable sound effects. A very nice addition was the music playing in the background, their choice of music was also adequate since they played hits from the 70s and 80s. One of they key differences was that all of the games were free. This is a liberty that many people who played in arcades back in the day did not enjoy. I was really glad that it was free since I would not have been able to have so many attempts at some of the games.

I did not have much time to be there, since I had class in an hour so I only got to play a few games. The game that I chose to focus onwas Centipede, developed by Atari and designed by Donna Bailey and Ed Long. Something interesting that I found afterwards is that this game was aimed for female gamers since one of the designers was a woman. The cabinet has that standard arcade cabinet shape similar to many others in the arcade. The design on the cabinet is really comic-like, with a giant centipede on the side being shot at by the ship (us) from the bottom. There are three buttons and a ball like roller on the game. Two red buttons are dedicated to either choosing one or two players, with the last being the button pressed to shoot the gun on the spaceship. The interesting control is the roller, which is one that I have not seen before, that was used to control the ship. The cost is 25 cents per play, which is the norm for many arcade games. The game uses raster graphics and the game’s attract mode is just the game being played.

The game’s graphics are similar to that of other games at that time. It has 8-bit graphics, and the enemies are insects which have basic shapes. The centipede is comprised of circles with two small moving dots as legs and small red dots for eyes. The other insects form representations of what we think about them in real life. The spider looks like an 8-bit arachnid and is very pesky since it moves around very quickly. The lizard appears every once in a while going across the screen and it slithers at slowish speed, while the fly looks like another circle with some smaller circles for details, the same goes for the mushrooms riddled through the area.

This game’s genre can be best described as sci-fi similar to Galaga since you have to presumably destroy aliens using guns from your ship. It has a high score list and I was able to take the bottom five scores out of the eight in total. The highest score that I got was 25,355, while the high score was 57,397. I probably would not have been able to reach that even if I stayed all day! The objective of the game is to destroy the centipede by shooting out each segment. There are many things that awards points in this game, shooting the centipede, shooting the mushrooms all around you, killing the spider and the fly, and killing the lizard, which can also give you a life, that moves across the screen periodically. Interestingly, after every level the spider gets faster, but it maintains the same pattern. The lizard randomly rewards a life when you kill it, otherwise it just gives points. It is also ideal to kill the fly since it falls creating more mushrooms in a vertical line. Lastly, there is not really any specific design intended to keep you playing other than it keeps getting more difficult. The perspective of the player is looking from above to give a birds eye view of all of the arena.

The game is about killing the centipede and other insects and amphibians in order to defend what I assume is Earth. Although I do not believe we are on Earth since some game art shows the setting which look to be an alien planet, perhaps the centipede’s planet. This makes me think that perhaps this game is about us invading their planet, while the enemy is simply trying to defend it.


Brandon R