The art of associating


Picture source here

As a scholar, one can easily end up wondering ”why am I learning this?” or sighing ”I will never use it for anything”. Does that sound familiar? I lost count of how many times I have studied for nothing but the sake of passing my exams. Without bothering to collect knowledge for future usage.

Therefore, I felt high when realising that this entire semester actually makes sense. Here is why:
•    I can draw parallels between the courses.
•    The knowledge comes in handy in my everyday life and also for my future work life.
•    It is even enjoyable and interesting.
I find myself acquiring knowledge that I consider nearly obligatory for my final degree back in Sweden. Yet, my class’ modules are different. So close for myself to not obtain any of this, I can feel nothing but relief. For choosing the ERASMUS-year, for choosing these modules.

Media and journalism are the two areas in which I focus, subjects that come with a lot of writing.
I sit with this blog and words like ”user created content” and ”produce + user=produser” appear in my mind from the module about social medias – making me aware of this very blog being a part of contemporary ”participatory culture”.
And I sit with the blog for that other module, feeling like copyright, file sharing and piracy is more spot on than ever. ”Intellectual property” means just as much to writers in new media as it does to game developers. ”Verifying media” is very important when users generate content online, but also when writing features. Yes, the range of my modules is somewhat broad.

To sum this up – my theory is that the more I learn at the University, the more the subjects seem to correlate. Now, isn’t this every teacher’s dream?

The theory of life and games

Gamification in business concept illustration
Picture source here

Living is more or less built up around rules. What one may and may not do, what one may do under certain circumstances and what one shouldn’t do but have to in order to…survive? When rules intersect one another and when one takes action, consequenses may occur – exactly which depend on the combination of rules one acts out. Whatever happens one will feel it. It can give a sense of relief, fury, euphoria, sadness or something else.

Does this sound abstract or can you actually relate? As much as it seems like pure philosophy – or law – the theory is in fact concerning something different. Games modelling design. When learning about the MDA-framework for game design, I couldn’t stop myself from approaching it as a life model. But back to the game design version. What does MDA stand for?

  • Mechanics
    When one creates a game, rules need to be set up. Where, what, when, how and more. But without a player in motion, mechanics are nothing but these words.
  • Dynamics
    This is what happens when a player plays a game and uses the rules in different combinations. It is the general goal of the game and different actions have different outcomes – consequences.
  • Aesthetics
    Many people mistake this for the design, the looks of a game. It is not. As opposed to life, aesthetics are the player’s emotional responses to what happens.

See what I mean? Creating games is serious business and now I know why most contemporary games are so well-made and plunge the player into a state of flow. Reality is the core to which they apply magic. Magic in many different senses. What kind of game could my life be turned into, I wonder?

Dia ‘s Muire dhuit ‘s Pádraig ‘s Bríd!

Being the start of Imbolc, the second season of the Irish calendar, and one of the greatest festivals of the year, I would have thought to find signs by every house and on every street. Yet the way I got to know of it was through a University module in Irish Folklore. Isn’t this fascinating? I came to Ireland as a non-tourist, hoping I could dive straight into theimg_20170213_145311 ocean of the authentic Irish spirit. To take part in the festivities, pray to St Brigid – the Goddess of light – and forge Celtic crosses. But things aren’t as easy as that, are they? One cannot simply merge with traditions that are hundreds or thousands of years old, nor get invited to Irish homes where families have had their traditions for many generations.

So learning something the academic way is what I have to settle with. My module allows me to stand on the side, to look at collected objects and to read stories that somebody was nice enough to turn into records. To analyse them from psychological and sociological, historical and ethnological, demographical and geographical angles and every other angle that has valid references. To hope that ‘Traditional Irish Breakfast’ doesn’t really mean ‘Traditional Irish Breakfast Tourist Edition’, and that I can sneak off-track during our arranged bus tours around the country.

‘Irish folklore’ is something to hold onto, my one portal into this lovely country. Though it is my belief that something pure and authentic goes missing when information is received this way. Intellectually, without sensations and feeling. Then, I wonder – how many families actually still honour St Brigid, also the Goddess of Fertility, on this beginning of spring feast: leaving objects out for her to bless, turning crosses into rushes, trying to have babies more than any other time in the calendar?