CAHSS and Effect

Random Encounter #13: In Which Chance, Algorithm, and Collaborative Story Building Are Exalted

Stories are more fun when we tell them together. Taking that a step further—stories are often more fun when we build them together. There persists this myth of the great artist, working feverishly (and alone) to make a masterpiece, the magnitude of which could only be rendered in an environment of social and creative isolation. And, sure, some great works of art might have been created in those conditions. But there also exists art that seeks to offer responses to the world from a place of interaction and connectivity. Collaborative story building, especially as articulated in games, are creative endeavors of the latter variety.

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Random Encounter #12: How (Not) to Leave a Game

In most of my life, I’m Julialicia Case, and I teach creative writing, literature, and game writing at UWGB. In another version of my life, though, I’m a moonkin in World of Warcraft (WoW), an online multiplayer role-playing game with (until recently) a huge player base. As a moonkin, I’m an owlbeast with antlers and feathers, and I spend a great deal of time calling upon the moon and the sun, making the stars fall upon my enemies in dangerous storms. I love this moonkin version of myself. It’s weird and comical, and in a world packed with overtly sexualized female avatars, its androgyny makes it difficult to parse. It’s physically imposing without taking itself too seriously, and if I could be a moonkin in the everyday world, I would be one. Instead, I am a cis-ish female player in a highly social game, one that requires frequent teamwork and voice communication with other players (often strangers). Further, I’m sure you’ve seen news of the lawsuit recently brought against Activision Blizzard, the company responsible for WoW, which alleges a hostile and unsafe work environment for women, queer folk, and people of color.

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