I was just told to go home today. While I was in class. I’m in grad school another student in the class told me to go home and sleep. And the teacher agreed. It’s been a while since that happened.
For those who are now worried, I have a sore throat at a bit of a fuzzy head. I hope I can still teach tonight… I don’t want to have my students have a substitute on the second week…
I’m gonna go back to watching Food Truck Race on On Demand now… And drink some tea…
Oh great, I think I have a fever too… I’m gonna go look for pictures for my 30 Days of Disneyland Resort now and hope I can breath better.
As a new school year approaches, I think now is a good time to reintroduce myself to those who are following me, especially those who don’t know me personally.
So let’s get to it!
On Monday I will be starting my first day of graduate classes, which is cool and all, but that’s not the most exciting part of Monday. As of Monday September 24th, I’ll officially be a teacher. Now I’m only a GTA (graduate teaching assistant) but I still am faculty here at PSU now. Scary huh. I mean do you really want me teaching people?
My professors and adviser think I’ll be fine, since I have a pretty calm personality, but I’m still worried. A little. But not as much as my new coworkers (or is it colleagues? I’m not sure). They seem super nervous considering the first week is really simple.
You know what I’m most nervous about: The fact that I’m 22. That’s pretty young for a teacher, especially in a college class. Any takers on how many of my students will be older than me? There are 16 registered currently, so it’s got to be some where under that.
I think I’m gonna start writing a series of posts about my chronicles as a new teacher.
German 101, here I come! I’m gonna have so much fun! If you have any questions, suggestions, or just want to drop me a note, please do!
The week that you move in, I am claiming at least one afternoon for us to spend sometime together in Portland. We can window shop and go to Powell’s :) Also, we should meet up with Hawk (who is not to be confused with me… Nita calls be Hawke) and get coffee or something…
I remember the feeling of my summer winding down until I moved… It wasn’t pleasant… But I know you are going to have an awesome time. And me and my friends are totally going to make sure you are having fun! And we are totally going to dress in cosplay and ride the max and take note of peoples reactions.
Also, if you have any questions about the area, I’m really good with directions and knowing where stuff is. Cause it’s kinda part of my job…
Okay, I’m gonna try to go to sleep…
Yeah… I’m not sleeping anytime soon…
So I’ve been trying to sit down for a while and write down something, but I am awful at that. But here is my life as it is now.
I’m actually writing. This is pretty amazing… For those who don’t know, I always have a large amount of great ideas banging around in my head. While that can sometimes cause me trouble, it hasn’t been too bad as of late. Except the whole “I really need to write more” part of my brain. Did you know, that most of the people I know are writers? I’m not kidding. Even the ones who didn’t study anything remotely related to English (I’m looking at you timeofthedecade) have written something. Right now they are all engaged in their writing competition (which started at 8 am today) and they tried to get me to join. Anyone who knows me should know that I am not the type of person who writes a book. Heck, I don’t know if I can find any stories that I’ve written (fan fic or not) that has an actual ending… Right, that’s a different topic for a different day.
Back to me rambling about my life. I finished up with my undergrad about half an hour ago. My last email was sent, at that’s it. It’s cool that I will have a degree soon, but it’s also terrifying. I know I’m not actually done (I’m starting up my grad studies in the fall) but I need to start thinking about the future. A lot. And Suddenly I’m doubting everything. Am I really on the right track? Do I really want to be a teacher? What if everything I’ve done up to now wasn’t worth it. I mean, German teachers are losing jobs left and right. Right now I really just want to curl up the the couch with a book or a video game, drinking iced coffee and watching Netflix. I don’t want to think about what I’m going to do. Actually, can I just act? Cause I miss acting a lot. Why didn’t I take more theater classes? See there’s the regret creeping in…
Jasmine and I were talking last night about what we should do. I mentioned that I wanted to keep working on games and their uses for language learning. Also I want to travel. Maybe I’ll just try to become my professor. I mean he gets to travel and learn languages and write scholarly articles about how WoW helps people learn languages. How awesome is that?!
I’m sure you noticed that I said I want to write articles… And now I have circled back to the beginning of my post. Now I know that my Tumblr is by no means an academic one (I mean, have you seen what I post) and I am still a little iffy on how that works. In every language that I know, my writing level is always below my speaking level. I’m sure my teachers have seen that. Jasmine and I were talking about how for here, it’s the opposite. That is reflected in her native language skills as well. I can speak pretty well, if I do say so my self. Last night when we were presenting, it took me a little to warm up, but when I did, my language became smoother and I didn’t say “like” or “um” as much.
Jasmine has opposite skills. Her writing is amazing. She told me that she is stronger at writing in the other languages she knows as well. I’m not sure if she knows this (well, she will now) but I am so envious of her skill and her focus. She works for on her writing more frequently than I do on my German. She is always thinking about what to do next. She has written so many things so far, and has a list of other things to write. I… am not even sure if I will have a job in two years… Oh god… I need to stop thinking about this…
So this has been a long a rambling post. If you made it this far, kudos! Hopefully I can find something else to write about soon! Something that is not so depressing…
Pileofzombie and I have a new blog for our AR game that all of you should check out, especially you people who are going to/are anyway involved with Kumoricon (even if you aren’t it’s kind of an awesome project. It’s kumoriquest.tumblr.com. It would be great to have some feedback on our progress. Also help finding local cosplayers for our NPCs.
Thanks in advance! (I would put a cute/awesome gif here, but I’m on a school computer…)
So it’s been kinda a while since I update what was going on with my game… Probably because this is my last term of undergrad and I really want it to be summer… Basically that is a recipe for super unproductiveness (which is why I now have 6 projects to do in… two weeks… Damn…)
Anyways, back to the game. We now have a lot of NPCs added to the game and are starting to deal with the fact that we need people to be those… So to my facebook page to ask people if I can use their pictures for NPCs… Also, we totally put in a reference to shawarma. Yeah, we are awesome. There are lots of NPCs each marking a spot of importance around downtown Vancouver. Some of them are going to have mini quests where they go find places and trade with an NPC for Kumoricoins and some are just going to tell you about the place you are standing in front of. We need to add more to the narrative, but really, we are doing pretty good. Hopefully we are going to have a demo done before school gets done (maybe in time for the June general meeting? I’m sure we can have something done by then, so we could talk to the staff…) This general meeting at least within our travel distance (Salem is far and Eugene is crazy far for two students who don’t have a car)
The goal (at the moment) is to have the game done by mid-August at the very latest. I’m also finding that this would make a great Day 0 game, but we will have it available during con too. I’m gonna go ask people on FB if I can use their pictures now. As a side note, if anyone who is reading this would like to contribute to this, just reply with a link to a photo or album that I can use! Thanks!
So change of plans, we aren’t heading to Vancouver until Friday, so I’ll be able to tell you more after that. I really need to some in person scouting, since most of the places around where I am looking don’t show up on Google maps…
As for my new project, you can expect an intro to it later, maybe even today. I want to start writing more, and my Tumblr seemed like as good a place as any. Also, what I want to write is what I would love to discuss with someone in person, but I’m currently missing my discussion buddies, since they are both halfway around the world currently… Anyways be on the look out. I need a good title to the series before I start of course… Oh well, I’m sure it will come to me :)
So this one is going to be a short update, since I haven’t done a lot with it since I wrote my last post (I am a busy college student with 3 jobs in my last term of undergraduate school, give me a break!) Since I started conceptualizing this idea and how it can help the con goers, I’ve realized that I really need to visit Vancouver again and do some research. Hopefully this weekend with change that…
Here’s what I’ve got to add since last: I want people to interact with the game. ARIS, the platform we are currently using (which is open-source, btw, so it’s free), has the ability to leave messages around the game. I want to encourage people to do this game in groups and leave voice notes around that other people can find and listen to. These messages can be language practice, notes, or just whatever they see fit to add.
Another thing I want is to have cosplayers (local ones of course!) to be the people you meet. I have a few cosplayers as friends, and they have friends, so you can see how big the network can be. All I will need is a picture of them. I can even note who these people are and where you can find them online.
I’m going to need a place to collect all of the web pages (if they exist) so that people can find them. I think I’ll just create another blog dedicated solely to that and lock it down (or not. I mean it may be necessary to leave it open for comments again.) This might be how I have a version that is not only for iOS. And a possible paper version for people who don’t have any kind of smart phone.
The last major point that I came up with was to have the player collect things throughout the game, so that they don’t have to visit every point until the end goal shows up. Also, I want to have some points only show up if the player has a certain amount of stuff collected. I also realized that I need to make sure my info is up-to-date.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’d be interested to here what your opinions are!
… You get something like my idea for a class project.
It’s the second week of classes here and I’ve got a class with the same professor as last term, which means I’m going to probably keep writing about what we are doing in class. Also, as a note pileofzombie and I are in the same class, so don’t be surprised if you see her name mentioned here.
So my new class is going to focus on AR game (augmented reality). We are using this engine called ARIS, which is open source. It only works on Apple products, which is kinda limiting for me since I don’t have an iPhone or iPod touch. The class started going off on tangents and kinda creating more projects than we could possibly do in a term. Also I don’t know how many of these people actually understand how games work…
But I’m getting off-topic. This post was supposed to be the first post about my great idea: Combining Kumoricon and language learning. Hear me out, it seems kinda like a strange idea, but I think it will work perfectly. Now, I don’t want to make a game that can only be played during the con, I want it to be a way to introduce people to the area. I live in Portland, so I don’t know downtown Vancouver very well, but I do know what I missed during the con; something that not only told me what was to eat around the con-space (there were maps for that!) but what the hours were for these places. I want to make a game that has a cute over-laying story (Bowser kidnaps Kumori-chan. I mean how perfect is that!) that incorporates wandering around downtown Vancouver and finding places that may be useful to you during con. Like places to eat, with hours. Or cool spots for pictures. Or other motels if you don’t want to stay at the Hilton or Red Lion.
So that’s my idea, but there is one component missing: Language learning. I think that I will have a solution. What is Kumoricon all about? Anime and manga are Japanese, so why not learn a tiny bit of Japanese? I only know a tiny amount, but I know lots of people who speak more than I do :) Anyways, I think that each person you meet would have some sort of note that teaches you something useful. Maybe at the end there could be something about it… I don’t know right now. It’s only in the pre-production/planning phase.
That’s my idea. I would love some input from anyone reading this! Also, I have a new thing to add to my career goals… Technology and language learning. And I mean new technology. Like Facebook. Or fanfiction. Or Tumblr (I don’t think this is really going to help though…)
Stay tuned for my more info as this idea progresses!
During my class presentation about how Dragon Age 2 and its fandom is a great way to learn a language (Yeah, I did a class presentation about Dragon Age! How awesome is that!), I was asked how the replay value on the game is. I was on a very well done German fan site, showing the class the forums section of the site, which is a great place to see German in practice, when I noticed the first topic was asking what ending people got to Dragon Age: Origins. One of my classmates asked “Are there really that many endings? I saw that there were a bunch of pages.” The question almost made me laugh, but he had never played that game before. I then spent a couple minutes explaining how there were nearly an infinite amount of endings to DAO (Dragon Age: Origins) because in each major decision you make, there are a bunch a smaller ones that all contribute to the whole story.
The Dragon Age series is a set of games that let the player make important decisions and face the consequences of their actions. Dragon Age: Origins, which is over 60 hours of game play without the extra content, has a set of main quests, and within each of those quests, you have 3 or 4 options that you can pick from for each quest. Multiply those together, and you can quickly see how you can have so many endings. That doesn’t even include the fact that you can kill most of your party members and there are multiple people you can have as a ruler of the country. Of course, that doesn’t include the fact that there are multiple dialog options to choose from, so your conversations with your party members or any non-playable characters can be different. There is almost no way any two play-throughs of your game can be the same. There are even 7 different player-characters to pick from, each with two genders and 5 of those can be either a rouge or a warrior. And there are a variety of voices to pick from. Each of the player characters has their own unique back story and some have dialog only available to them.That means there are nearly an infinite number of choices and possibilities of language. You will always be able to find new quests, comments, or reactions that will bring new vocabulary and situations.
But that was DAO, Dragon Age 2 has a different style of play. There is only one race, because the story centers around one character. It’s Hawke’s story, so you play as Hawke, male or female. Hawke can be a mage, rouge, or warrior. Hawke does something different that the Warden (the main character from DAO): Hawke has a voice. You can pick dialog options and Hawke will actual speak it. There are still 3 options, so you can still pick how you want to respond. Quests are easier to get, but there are still options within each of the quests that change the outcome, but since the game is much shorter, there are less options. But there is a new rivalry/friendship scale, meaning you can be friends or rivals with your party members, and that can affect the way they speak and interact with your Hawke.
I just started my 5th play-through, one of my friends has 4 games, my roommate is on her 7th play-through, and my sister has played at least 10 times. If there was no replay value, we wouldn’t be as invested in the game. Imagine if each of those play-throughs I played in another language? I could learn some Spanish, Italian, or French! Hm, maybe I’ll play in Spanish next time :)
I’ve been writing about my journey through Dragon Age and it’s fandom in German, but how does that really help? Does playing this video game really help you learn German? For me the answer is simple: Yes. I would rather play Dragon Age 2 than do worksheets. It’s true that if you know this game well enough, it’s easy to simply speed through it. But if you are playing in a target language, there is a very high chance that even you will come across at least a few words that you don’t know. And listening practice is always a good thing.
There is a problem though: Dragon Age is a console game, which means it costs money (I play it on the PS3, but it is available on the PC). This is the problem for someone who doesn’t have the cash to spend on a video game, but still wants to learn though playing. I am proud to say, I have found a solution: Steam. Steam, for those who don’t know, is a website where you can download games directly to your computer. Some do cost money, but there is another great section of the site for those who don’t want to spend any money: The free to play section. I scrolled through and found that there are a variety of games there that have other language tracks and the games represent a variety of genres. They vary from action, strategy, puzzle to RPGs. Not all are highly rated, but one does stand out. That would be Team Fortress 2. It’ free, highly rated, and comes with a variety of language tracks and a slew of subbed languages. Full audio languages are English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. There are another 14 languages that it is subbed in, including Japanese, Turkish and Chinese. The game is an action FPS (first person shooter). Overall, it’s a good game for those who don’t want to spend the money.
For anyone who wanted to know, Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition (It includes the game, the expansion pack, and all of the downloadable content) is $23 for the the PC, or the regular game is $13. That’s over 80 hours of game play in the ultimate edition, so that’s a pretty good deal. Dragon Age 2 is $19.34 for the PC. Both are good for people who want to practice their target language (if it is French, German, Italian, or Spanish) and still be able to play video games.
If you ever want to see what languages your favorite video games have, either change the options or if you have an Xbox or a PS3, go into the systems menu and change the language. Or hop on Steam and look up the game. Steam has all of the languages each game has and some distinguish between full audio or are only subtitled. It’s very informative :)
I needed a place to agragate all of the links that I have been using or found online that relate to Dragon Age and German. Here they are for all you lovely people out there who might have wanted to know :)
To begin, here is the official German Dragon Age 2 site: http://eu.dragonage.com/?lang=de
Here’s a fan site dedicated to the series with lots of information: http://www.dragon-age-game.de/
The German Wikipedia article for Dragon Age 2: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Age_2
The German Wikia page for Dragon Age 2 (the fan site is better): http://de.dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon_Age_Wiki
German Dragon Age fanfiction site: http://www.fanfiktion.de/Dragon-Age/c/106055000
I think that’s all I need, if I find something else, I’ll add it later!
And now another lovely installment of my adventures through the fictional town on Kirkwall in German. Hope you all are ready :)
I now have all my party members and have been able to decide my opinions of them all. I have come to this conclusion: I like them all, except Anders and Merrill talks too slow. I find the German voices nice and I enjoy listening to them. It’s especially fun when the speak very quickly. Anyone who knows a bit of German knows that it takes about a third more words to say something in German than in English. That means that dialogues in the game must be spoken quickly to fit all the words in. Some characters are more likely to speak quickly than others (Hawke, Bethany, Aveline I’m looking at you!) Some are able to keep up the same pace (Varric and Flemeth have been doing okay so far). And then there is Merrill. When you first meet her, she babbles because she is nervous meeting a human. In German, she actually slowed down and said less. I was really confused. I got over it though when she interrupted something I said, but I was annoyed that that one line she said quickly and I didn’t understand her.
Back to Anders. It feels so wrong hitting on someone who sounds so young! Being able to flirt with the characters is one of my favorite parts of the game, but it’s less enjoyable when the recipient sounds like he’s in middle school… I think I’ll adjust, but I miss the English VA…
I probably should talk about what I’m learning, right? Here’s what I learned this week: When you start playing in another language, it’s a good possibility that you roommate might want to as well. I haven’t had much time for video games in the last few days, cause I’ve been reading, but my roommate has. She has been playing in French, and sometimes using my computer as a quick translation device. My project prompted her to learn, which makes me happy :) I’ve learned some things in French (none of them useful might you. Sang is not an everyday word). What I’ve gotten most out of her sessions is language cognates in English and German, and that you don’t have to know a lot of the target language to have fun playing in it.
My roommate knows basic French, but she knows her video game well and enjoys playing it. If more people used this method, I’m sure more people would learn foreign languages. She will keep playing the game in French, even though she looks up many words (not always for vocab, sometimes it’s simply to see how names of quests translate into French or to see if the puns translated). I do that too. I’ve also learned a few new and useful words and a few fun and possibly useful at some point words that just make my vocabulary better. I mean I can say precocious in English, why not German too?
Learning a language is difficult and time consuming, as are video games (sometimes). Combining them means you can play your game and study. What more could a gamer or nerd ask for?
I’m lucky that the language I am currently learning is spoken in a country that has a great dubbing industry. I love my favorite TV and anime series, but sometimes I wish I could enjoy them, as well as do a bit of learning. Then I found out that a few of my favorite series (and a couple of childhood cartoons) were dubbed in German. While these videos are not easy to find, if you search hard enough, they can be found. Or you can hop on Youtube, your choice. Finding German language TV shows can be an easy task, and it lets you learn while watching. There are German language products to be found everywhere, including Netflix. Last year one of my classes was watching a movie, and I missed the first part of it. Instead of being lost, I searched a full version of it online, and watched the part I missed. The internet is a great resource for things of this nature.
I was sifting through a wikipedia article on Doctor Who, when I came across a list of “Synchronsprechern” or the actors who dubbed the show. That prompted me to head to google and find a site where I could watch Doctor Who dubbed in German. I found a site with little effort, and spent the next 90 minutes watching a Christmas special in German, trying to understand as much as I could. It was a great way to enjoy my favorite show and feel like I was getting some German practice in. It might have been more helpful if I had had German subtitles on, but I was doing pretty well.
I love combining my obsession with German and my nerdy pursuits. Expect more to come from this idea!
I’m a nerd (in case you hadn’t figured that out yet). Plain and simple. In fact I was called out in my German class on Monday how nerdy I was. I love my nerdly pursuits, and I love talking about them. I’m not ashamed to admit I would rather be playing video games, watching Doctor Who or Buffy, or reading books about vampires than do actual work or anything related to reality. There is one other thing I love just as much: Learning a foreign language. In this past term, thanks to my new media in foreign language class, I have been trying to mix my favorite things together. Enter my post(s) about playing Dragon Age in German. I have a few other ways to combine them, but right now I will stick with one: Fan fiction.
Now I’m guessing that all of you know what fan fiction is, so I don’t need to explain it. But what you might now know is that fan fiction sites exist in pretty much any language you could want. I found fan fiction sites in Spanish, French, and German (I might have found one in Japanese, but I don’t have the capabilities of typing in kana with my current keyboard). I, of course, am going to stick to examples in German. It took me under 30 seconds to find a fic for me to read. All I had to do was to google “Fanfiction” on Google.de, click “Computerspiele”, then “Dragon Age”. There are 68 for Dragon Age 2 and 74 for Dragon Age: Origins at this moment. I picked DA 2 of course :)
From there, I had a real test of my German skills. There are synopses of each story, but the language used there isn’t necessarily easy to read… I could figure out how many chapters each story had, how many reviews, what the subjects of the story were, and what the rating was. There was also a note that was helpful for me: The story was either “fertiggestellt” or “in Arbeit”, so either finished or in progress.(There was also a place to mark it as a slash fic) I looked for one with lots of reviews and that had updated recently, since I hate starting a fantastic fic that was never finished, so I stayed away from “pausiert”. I chose the story “Don’t hate me for failing” I noticed that a number of them had English titles, but this one seemed to have the most promise. I’ll report back with my findings soon.