Collaborative Presentation: How to Play a Game

Rationale/Instructions

Because almost everyone in this course has now played some form of video game (see “Game Genres” and “Game Theory”) and at every class session, someone has mentioned a new game, it’s time to demonstrate your understanding of games, gaming, and game play. We have been discussing the rules for play and gaming using Callois and “Game Theory.”

Choose your Team (see team spreadsheet)

On October 18, we will discuss this project and the presentation dates. Each team will consist of 3-4 members. By October 18, 5pm identify your team members (up to 4 colleagues), team name and your presentation date. (See the schedule for presentation dates — only 3 teams per day may present). Once a team has identified a game, no other team may present about that game. You may collaborate on the game for this project, but note that identifying the game earlier will not only lock that game in for your team but will also allow team members to begin playing the game.

The Documents Required

For this project, you are responsible for submitting the following:

  • Starting on October 13, each team member needs to keep a daily journal for 5 days (not necessarily consecutive) that records the below. Type up this journal and share it  with dr.katherine.harris@gmail.com as a Google Drive document on the day of your team presentation (by 12pm) with the title: [last name] [Team Name] Journal:
    • what you played (the team’s selected game),
    • your familiarity with the game,
    • identify the rules of the game, 
    • what you liked and didn’t like,
    • why you liked or disliked each game, 
    • other insights you might make — e.g., are certain kinds of games related to each other? Are there types of game players? Did the game designer make a mistake?
    • include photos or even short videos. (Embed images into your Google document; if you have videos, upload them to YouTube [or another online video sharing service] and include the link on your Google document).
  • As a team, lead a game by learning the rules ahead of time and explaining it to fellow players on your designated presentation day – 20 min time limit total. The formal presentation (6 mins, 40 seconds will involve a Pecha Kucha style; the remainder of the time will be used to demo the game and will include audience participation. Share the presentation (by 12pm) on Google Drive with dr.katherine.harris@gmail.com with the title: [Team Name] Game Demo.
  • Submit an evaluation of each team member using the rubric below. Share it (by 12pm) with dr.katherine.harris@gmail.com as a Google Doc on your team’s designated presentation day with the title: [last name] [Team Name] Team Evaluations.

The Formal Presentation

When selecting your game, be sure that everyone on the team has access to it. You may end up sharing your game, laptop, or console with your teammates so that they can play the game to fulfill the requirements of the journal.

The total time for the presentation and demo is 20 minutes per team. However, in order to orient your audience, the team will begin with a formal presentation of 6 minutes and 40 seconds in Pecha Kucha style. Typically, students resort to a PowerPoint with lots and lots of text and/or bullet points or simply a series of images. For the formal presentation in Pecha Kucha style, use PowerPoint but with some rules: each team is required to use 20 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds. You will have exactly 6 minutes 40 seconds to present your team’s project. Think SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE. You’re not trying to present every detail about the text; you’re telling a story about why it’s interesting. Don’t be afraid to play around: The idea here is that the form’s restriction promotes creativity.

In PowerPoint or a comparable program, set up a presentation with 20 slides.  Each slide should feature ONE image per phrase. You really should think in terms of phrases, not sentences. You will need to think through what goes on each slide.  Guy Kawasaki suggests no font smaller than 30 points on a slide. His reasons are pretty compelling: You want the slides to complement your presentation, not dominate it.

Set the program so that your slideshow advances every 20 seconds, without any input from you. (For help on this in PowerPoint, see Jason B. Jones’ handy how-to article — scroll down.)

The result is that you have 6 minutes, 40 seconds to tell your story. You now need to rehearse your presentation so that your commentary is linked to the slides, and to revise your slides, especially the text, to make it compelling to your audience.

You might consider these two web pages on improving presentations: Merlin Mann’s “How I Made My Presentations a Little Better” and AQ’s “Guide to Better Pecha Kucha Night Presentations” (Here’s an alternate link for the AQ guide.) (In particular, note AQ’s recommendation that one spend about 6 hours on making the slides.)

The material should be presented cohesively; in other words, the presentation should clearly show that the team members have shared research, reviewed one another’s work, and integrated each other’s presentations as seamlessly as possible.

Failure to present during the appointed time will result in a zero on the entire team project for that individual. No exceptions. Under no circumstances can the date of the presentation be moved.

Note: Explanation and description of pecha-kucha presentation borrowed from Jason B. Jone’s ProfHacker article, “Challenging the Presentation Paradigm,” Nov 2009)

The Demo Presentation

After spending some time on the team’s selected game, the team should be more familiar with the game, its rules, its play, and the required level of expertise or learning curve. For your presentation, you will demonstrate the game to your classmates by articulating those rules, the gameplay, characters, and a critique of the game itself. You may include any other relevant information (history of the game, the creators, etc.) The idea is to get your classmates to play the game, if possible.

For the remainder of the 20 minutes, the team will engage with the audience to help them actually play the game — whether this is from a single player controlling the main screen or at individual tables to help classmates play on their own laptops. (This will depend if your team’s game can be played in a browser, needs to be downloaded, or requires a console.) The primary goal of the demo is to engage the audience with the game. If there are platform issues that render the game inaccessible to your classmates, you may use videos to demonstrate the game play. You might also consider discussing the cost and any information about the history of playing this game.

At this point in the presentation, the team should move to audience participation. Students will be required to write a formal blog post about their experiences, so make the presentation and the demo accessible to all levels.

The Teamwork Evaluation

Also due on the day of your presentation is the evaluation of each of your teammates. Using the chart in the teamwork/collaboration rubric (pdf) along with the numbers assigned for each category, write an evaluation of each team member. It’s very important to use the categories and numbers from the rubric because your team members will each receive his/her evaluation (without the evaluators’ names, of course).  Offer a sentence or two as reason for that particular number being assigned to a team member. Use the following format to draft your evaluations:

  1. Write the team member’s name;
  2. Provide each category and the assigned number;
  3. Provide 1-2 complete sentences regarding your reason for assigning the evaluatee this particular number in each category; and
  4. Skip a line and continue with the next team member.

These evaluations will be taken into consideration when the grade is being assigned.  Failure to submit a teamwork evaluation will reduce the entire team’s grade by a half step (for each delinquent team member) for each day that the evaluation is late. The team leader should check with everyone that they have sent in their evaluations on time.

A Word about Teamwork & Collaboration

If the work of the team breaks down, come see me. Don’t wait for an impasse. See me sooner. If it comes to a moment when the team can no longer work together, we will discuss a firing (as a last resort). Part of collaboration is dealing with and resolving conflict. But, it means being honest with one another about deadlines and workload. Remember, the team doesn’t need to meet in person; in this age of virtual tools, utilize Skype, Google+ Hangout, Facebook groups to meet virtually.

Grading

This collaborative project grade will be based on the team’s ability to present both formally and in a demonstration (50%). The presentation grade will be based on the Team Presentation Rubric. Visit the rubric to determine how the team can do well on this portion of the project.

The individual journal (50%) will be graded based on the thoroughness of the entries, including answering all the queries (see above), providing full descriptions, and using images to demonstrate your gameplay.

Note: The premise for this assignment is borrowed from Prof. Erik Peterson’s course, “A History of Games,” University of Alabama

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