Tag Archives: featured

CUNY Gamecasting Episode 4 with Carlos Hernandez

Episode 4 of the CUNY Games Network’s new gamecasting video series has just been released! In this episode, we interview Carlos Hernandez, co-creator of Meriwether, an epic game that chronicles the historic journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Carlos Hernandez is an Associate Professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) with broad interests in multicultural literature of the United States, experimental literature, creative writing, and contemporary fiction. In his conversation with the CUNY Games Network, he talks about the trials and tribulations of creating a Kickstarter-funded game as an academic.

According to the game description: “In Meriwether, you play as Captain Lewis, the man President Thomas Jefferson selected and specially trained to accomplish this mission. You’ll join forces with your long-time friend and former commanding officer, William Clark, and with him you’ll form the Corps of Discovery, a party of hand-picked soldiers, interpreters, and hunters to whom you’ll trust your life every day of the 28-month journey.”

The game has also received high praise from both the game development and academic communities:

“I’ll just come right out and say this: Meriwether is absolutely fascinating.” — Adam Smith, Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“I actually had a chance to play this game about a year ago and found it extremely involving, even at such an early state. From the looks of their Kickstarter page, the game has improved by leaps and bounds since then.” — Andy Hull, TIGSource

“[Meriwether is] part of a new crop of games, from the highly mainstream (Assassin’s Creed 3) to the academic-indie (Walden) to the art-game avant garde (Proteus) that scrupulously renders and unabashedly celebrates nature.” — Joseph Bernstein, Kill Screen

“Josh’s work will bring not only a new dimension to this exciting story but will also win a new generation to the timeless event.” — Dr. Gary Moulton, Acclaimed Lewis and Clark Scholar

“Meriwether: An American Epic is going to take an important step forward in terms of bringing together great gameplay with reality-based drama…” — Richard Lemarchand, Lead Designer of the Uncharted Series

“Josh DeBonis is one of the smartest game designers that I know.” — Eric Zimmerman, Acclaimed Game Designer and Scholar

To learn more about Meriwether, follow them on Kickstarter, or follow this link for the discussion: https://games.commons.gc.cuny.edu/video/


Roleplaying History with The Atlanta Compromise

Lots of faculty, staff, and grad students across CUNY and in all disciplines use games in their teaching and learning. With so much going on we at the CUNY Games Network thought it might be fun to spotlight some of our terrific members and the work that they’re doing.

Prof. Iris Finkel is Reference and Instruction/Web Librarian, Visiting Lecturer at Hunter College. At the end of the American Literature, American Learning couse at the CUNY Graduate Center in Spring 2016, Iris and her fellow students published Structuring Equality: A Handbook for Student-Centered Learning and Teaching Practices. The book is available to download in its entirety on the HASTAC website, including Iris’s chapter The Atlanta Compromise, Reacting to the Past.

I recently had a chance to chat with Iris about developing her game as well as plans for the future.

Maura: Your game, The Atlanta Compromise Game, is modeled on the Reacting to the Past games. How were you first exposed to RTTP? How did you decide to use RTTP as a model for your game?

Iris: I attended a session at a CUNY Games conference a few years ago and learned about the RTTP games there. I love the idea of having students play a role in a historical event as a way of studying history. I wrote the game as my final project in a class I took with Cathy Davidson at the Graduate Center. It was a great way for me to learn something new in a way that could be useful for others.

Maura: Can you briefly describe the gameplay of The Atlanta Compromise Game? What courses are the best fit for this game, and how many students can play simultaneously? How much time does the gameplay take?

Iris: The Atlanta Compromise Game is based on a period in history when progress towards equality of black and white people in the South was halted. The outcome of the Plessy v Ferguson case reinforced the acceptance of separate but equal. This was only about eight months after Booker T. Washington’s conciliatory speech at the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition. I thought creating a game where students could be actors in these events would offer an opportunity for them to make connections to issues that we are still struggling through over one hundred years later.

I designed the game with high school seniors and first year college history classes in mind. I also think that it could work in a Library 100 class (an information literacy course taught at Hunter) and hope that I will be able to use it, or interest other librarians who teach the class to use it. Currently, roles are written for 15 students, but fewer students can play or more roles can be added. Students can take part in the process of creating more roles. The game is played over four class sessions with homework assignments to support in class role playing.

Maura: Let’s talk a bit about your process of creating and play testing your game. Did you make any significant changes during playtesting? Were there any student reactions or situations during gameplay that you hadn’t anticipated?

Iris: I discussed the prospect of play testing the game with my daughters’ history teacher and although he was interested, he didn’t have time to fit it into his curriculum. At that time, I was encouraged by others at my daughters’ school to contact a teacher who moved to another high school in New York City who might be interested in using it in his classes. Your interest in writing about the game now is inspiring me to pursue that option. But, as of now the game has not been play tested.

Maura: What are your plans moving forward with The Atlanta Compromise Game? Will you continue to use it as-is, or develop it further?

Iris: I would like to see the game actually played so I will continue to try to make that happen. Reaching out to History faculty at Hunter, or fellow GC students who teach in Hunter’s History department, is next on my list.

Maura: What are your future plans with game-based learning more generally? Is designing another game in the works for you?

Iris: I don’t have any immediate or future plans for game-based learning, though I continue to look for inspiration for a game to use in the classroom as well one that I can develop on my own.

Many thanks, Iris, for sharing your game with us (and indulging my questions). If you’re a CUNY Games Network member or a CUNY faculty, staff, or graduate student who’d like to talk with us about the games you’ve created, drop us a line and let us know, we’d love to learn more about and showcase your work!

Photo by Chris Humphrey.

CUNY Games Workshop at the 2017 Teach at CUNY Day

On May 8th, 2017, the Teaching and Learning Center will be hosting the second Teach@CUNY Day. This event is scheduled for 9am-4pm on the Concourse Level of the Graduate Center. Teach@CUNY Day is open to the entire CUNY community, but we especially encourage attendance by students at the Graduate Center who are or who will be teaching in Fall 2017.

Teach@CUNY Day 2017 will be opened by CUNY’s Executive Vice Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz, and will feature two keynote addresses in the morning: one by Maura Smale (New York City College of Technology) and Mariana Regalado (Brooklyn College) drawing from their book, Digital Technology as Affordance and Barrier in Higher Education; and a second by Natalia Ortiz, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Graduate Center’s Urban Education Program.

The morning presentations will be followed by a series of workshops that will explore what it means to teach at CUNY, and that will immerse attendees in a range of pedagogical approaches. It will be a terrific opportunity to join and help further build a community of practitioners who are committed to making CUNY’s classrooms inspiring and transformative spaces. Lunch and coffee will be served.

You can register for Teach@CUNY Day at cuny.is/tcuny. Please plan to join us, and stay tuned for more information about the day!


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