Cross-Cultural Connections: Stanford & Sydney – Questions from the Rhetoric of Gaming students

During the week of May 16th, the Cross-Cultural Rhetoric project will connect students from here at Stanford University with students from University of Sydney for a video conference exchange about analysis, research, and rhetoric.

Student from our Rhetoric of Gaming class (who will participate primarily in the Thursday U.S./Friday AUS session), got together to brainstorm a list of questions they have for our partners from down under.  We divided them into three broad categories:  questions about University of Sydney student life and academic life; questions about gaming in Australia; and questions related to their specific research projects.  We look forward to hearing the Sydney answers to some of these questions (either here on the blog as comments or during the video conferences) — and to finding out what you’re wondering about us.

Here are our questions — feel free to reply in the comments, or to ask us your own questions too!

Questions about University of Sydney campus life and student life

  1. Do you play video games in your free time?
  2. What are some common stereotypes about Americans in Australia?
  3. What are some common stereotypes about American college students in Australia?
  4. What kind of music do you guys like?
  5. So what’s the deal with New Zealand?
  6. How do roommates/dorms work in U of Sydney?
  7. Are there many international students at your university?
  8. If you came to the US, where would you want to visit?
  9. Do you think our accents sound cool? Because we think your accents sound coo’. 😀
  10. What class are you in that you have/get to do this for?
  11. Do you have any classes that are specifically about video games?
  12. How far is campus from the beach?
  13. Do you surf? Long board? 
  14. What was the original use of boomerangs?

Questions about gaming culture in Australia

  1. What kind of games do you play?
  2. What games are popular in Australia? Are the same games popular in America? (Halo, Grand Theft Auto, etc.)?
  3. Are you aware of the worldwide perception that the Australian government heavily censors games?  If so, what’s your opinion on it?
  4. I heard there is a ban on Mature games, how is this enforced?
  5. What are your favorite game types? RPG, FPS, RTS, etc. (MMORPG*)
  6. What do you think about your own gamers? Are they honored like in Korea?
  7. How expensive are the games in Australia? We heard that they are pretty expensive.
  8. What popular Australian-based game companies are there?
  9. What is the online gaming culture like in Australia?
  10. How many hours of games do you typically play in a week/day? Do many of your friends play games?
  11. What do you think about games? Are they good/healthy?

Questions about your particular project or area of interest  (put your name and section in parenthesis after this one)

  1. Is it strange for women or girls to play video games in Australia? (Hopefully not! :)) +(Katheryn, Section 1)
  2. Is Second Life popular in Australia? (Henry, Section 1)
  3. Are games viewed as at all innovative or artistic in Australia, or are they seen solely as entertainment? (Grace, Section 1)
  4. What is your most memorable experience in a video game, and has it taught you anything? (Andy, Section 1).
  5. Is there a problem of video game addiction in Australia? (Ariel, Section 2)
  6. What do your parents think about video games?  Do your younger siblings play video games?  What are your parents’ attitudes towards the extent to which you play video games?  (Aubrie, Section 2)
  7. Do any of you prefer virtual gaming technologies such as the Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect over traditional gaming? (Justin, Section 2)
  8. Do you know what eSports is? (Shawn Section 2)
  9. Do you think the rating system needs to be changed and is it too harsh in Australia? (Mitch Section 2)
  10. Would you say that gaming is becoming more or less popular in Australia? (James Section 2)
  11. Are there many professional gamers? (Leo, Section 2)
  12. What are the roles of video games in education? Do they play a role at all? (Loren Section 2)
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17 Responses to Cross-Cultural Connections: Stanford & Sydney – Questions from the Rhetoric of Gaming students

  1. Lasya C. says:

    Hey! Here are some answers to a few of the questions from each section.

    Questions about University of Sydney campus life and student life:

    2. Unfortunately, there’s an idea amongst many Australians, that Americans are blind to the world past their backyards. As a result, Australians tend to make fun of Americans a bit.


    However, at the same time, *most* people are well aware that this is exaggerated and can’t be applied to the whole population. There are also positive stereotypes – for example, Americans are seen as trend-setters and innovators. Many Australians engage with American politics and pop-culture and list the U.S. as a top travel destination. So there’s still quite a bit of love for Americans, despite the negative representations.

    3. Many students in Australian universities don’t actually experience college life, and can’t relate to American college kids in that respect. As a result, most stereotypes about American college kids are [likely] derived from media representations, particularly film. So the conception of a stereotypical college kid is *possibly* a hybrid of Jesse Eisenberg, “Elle Woods” and the frat-boys from Borat.

    4. The top 40 music charts here tend to resemble the American top 40s, with a few Australian artists mixed in (like Silverchair and Powderfinger).
    For my personal taste, consulting the 5 most recently played on iTunes:
    1. Crystal Planet – Joe Satriani
    2. Baby Snakes – Frank Zappa
    3. Broken Hearts are for Assholes – Frank Zappa
    4. Dire Dire Docks theme (SM64) – Koji Kondo
    5. Akira – Koan Sound

    5. New Zealand = Middle Earth.

    6. USyd (the Uni of Sydney) is located right in the middle of the city. Residence on campus is sparse, and as a result there isn’t much of a “college culture”/”dorm life” here if you’re a local student. (There are only about 10 colleges on campus I can remember. And they hold around 200-300 students each). Those who populate the few colleges are usually international students or students from rural areas/other states. Sydney-siders (such as myself) who study at USyd generally just live off campus, in their own apartments with their roommates (friends from uni/high school, and the like) or at home with their parents. The majority of students don’t live in the inner city, but in the surrounding suburbs. I live in a suburb approximately 16 km from the CBD, and that’s a 30 minute commute on the train to get to uni each day I have class.
    TL;DR – I know nothing about dorm life at USyd, unfortunately. 😛

    7. Yes! Education is Australia’s third largest export, behind coal and iron.

    8. I’d visit New York City, first and foremost. I love the atmosphere of a big, bustling city.

    9. I think your accents are pretty cool. 🙂
    And bonus points (+1000) if you sound anything like Kevin Conroy.

    Questions about gaming culture in Australia

    1. Nanananananananananananananana, Batmaaaaaaaaaan [Arkham Asylum] currently. I generally like to play games that are based on my other interests. I’m a comic fan, particularly of most Batman titles and anything involving Deadpool. (Marvel, DC, I don’t discriminate).
    I occasionally get nostalgic for good old N64 games.

    2. Pretty much the same as in America. Halo and Grand Theft Auto were quite popular here.

    3. Yeah, I’m aware. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the government has substituted an R18+ classification for games with a lazy banning of those games. But in the end, when the Australian governments censors games, people still tend to obtain them via other less-than-legal means, such as ripping them off the Internet. Thus, it’s the pending censorship of the Internet in Australia that I find a lot more threatening and Orwellian.

    4. Games with sex scenes and “extreme violence” are rejected for sale in Australia unless the creator supplies a “modified version” with the sex/violence removed. There is also no R18+ classification currently in use here. So if a game violates the highest order – the MA15+ classification –> B&.

    7. Pretty expensive! Usually between the range of $80-120, depending on the popularity/quality of the game, with new releases towards the latter end.

    11. It’s *probably* not healthy to live your life on a game console, but it’s fine for recreation. Also researchers have not yet found a *causal* link between video game-playing and adolescent violence, despite all the concerns/accusations, so that’s encouraging.

    Questions about your particular project or area of interest (put your name and section in parenthesis after this one)

    1. No way, no how. Girl gamers are revered. 😛

    3. Really depends on the game. People appreciate the artistry that goes into games like FFXIII, and the innovation behind Resident Evil and even simpler games like Tetris. Games like Big Buck Hunter – really more about the amusement.

    4. Probably defeating Final Bowser ages ago in SM64. I was scared of Bowser, for reasons I can’t explain, when I was a kid. I’m sure I can dig up some message about overcoming fears from that. 😛

    10. I think that, for a while, traditional video games were becoming less popular, as multi-player gaming on the internet was gaining popularity. However, with newer virtual gaming technologies emerging (incorporating motion sensors etc, for a heightened sense of reality), as well as an increase in the quality of other tech (e.g. higher resolution TV), leading to greater quality graphics and a more intense player experience, I think game consoles are putting up a good fight for the crown.

  2. Bethany Kings says:

    1. Do you play video games in your free time?
    No, I don’t play games on a regular basis although if I’m bored I may turn on the Playstation every now and then, but I have to admit it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done that.

    2. What are some common stereotypes about American college students in Australia?
    You like to have fun and be loud, outgoing. Lots of ‘FRAT’ parties- is that what their called? But thats just one stereotype. Most movies about American college life portray ‘clicks’ of people, so we feel you have ‘The Nerds’, ‘The Jocks’, ‘The Cheerleaders’, ‘The Dumb Blondes’. I’m interested to know- is this right? Do you actually have these distinct groups of people or is this just the film industry exaggerating reality?

    3. What kind of music do you guys like?
    All kinds, it’s pretty diverse here. Although if you look in our Top 40 list, you’ll find mainly pop music. However, in more recent times the more Indi music (mainly Australian performers as well) have started to become more popular- people like Angus and Julia Stone. I think we are finally starting to embrace Australian performers.

    4. So what’s the deal with New Zealand?
    Ha! I don’t think we even know ourselves… Although, we do like to adopt them as our own.

    5. How do roommates/dorms work in U of Sydney?
    I don’t board myself, but my friend does, and it sounds like so much fun! They have a room to themselves (a small one), they receive breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. They are situated on campus and so is only a short walk to most of the buildings here. Almost everything is included in the cost- internet, food, library resources, they have tutors that can come to them during set times.

    6. Are there many international students at your university?
    Yes. Quite a lot actually. I’m pretty sure Sydney University has a good International Program and a lot of ties to other Universities which makes it easier for international students to come here. It also works the other way around- us U of Sydney students have easy access to many other universities/ colleges around the world.

    7. If you came to the US, where would you want to visit?
    I would really love to go to Albuquerque as I have relatives there, but would also love to see the balloon festival in October. I would also go to the main tourist destinations- Times Square, Grande Canyon, Disney Land and LA. I would also love to go to Colorado because I really love Autumn leaves and taking photographs of them, so Colorado is a perfect place for this at the turn of the season.

  3. P. Huynh says:

    Student life/culture.
    1. Yes, all the time.

    2. You’re loud and brash.

    3. You’re wild party animals who get up to all sorts of craziness.

    4. No idea. I don’t pay attention to what’s popular in music.

    5. They’re like a neighbour that we get along with and like, but we mock mercilessly. Kind of like you guys and Canada. We also like stealing all their celebrities and claiming that they were Australian.

    6. Not certain. We get international students who live in a proper dorm apartment like thing. College students, who are seperated into individual colleges. Which I assume would be like a frat or sorority house. And the University Village, which are like small town houses where several students live in.

    7. Lots of them. Many. I think they’re one of the universities chief sources of revenue. Pretty callous terms I know, but still…

    8. I wouldn’t mind visiting some of the larger cities. Want to see if NY really is what it’s cracked up to be.

    9. Oh I reckon some of them are pretty cool. There’s something to be said about a Southern drawl or a Cajun accent.

    10. Academic English. Right now we’re studying cross cultural rhetoric. So differences in the way we communicate.

    11. Not to my knowledge no. If there was I’d probably be enrolled in there right now.

    12. I’m not sure, closest beaches would probably be Bondi and Maroubra. Don’t know how long it’d take to get there, I’m not a beach person.

    13. See above.

    14. The Boomerang was a hunting tool and they weren’t originally designed to return to you. They were just meant to bludgeon animals on the head.

    Questions about Gaming Culture in Australia.
    1. I pretty much play everything except for Online games, Sports Games and Racing Games.

    2. Yes the sorts of games popular here tend to follow the same trends in the United States.

    3. I am very aware of the fact that people think our government has no sense of humor. They’re right. Our rating system here in Australia has G (“General” for everyone), PG (parental guidance), M15+ (Parental guidance recommended for those under 15 years) MA15+ (Anybody under 15 must be accompanied by a guardian) and R18+ (for 18 years olds and over). For video games there is no R rating. Meaning games are either banned or neutered of “offensive” content. Trying to get an R rating is a pretty big issue here for Aussie Gamers.

    4. All games are submitted to the classification board. If they’re refused classification (for being too “mature”), then they just aren’t sold here. You can import it pretty easily thanks to Internet sellers, but they’ll fine you if they catch you.

    5. RPG’s, Action Adventures and Fighting Games. I also like retro stuff from time to time.

    6. Are our gamers honoured like Korean ones? Mate, I’m pretty sure nowhere honours its gamers like Korean ones. I think our gamers are just everyday folks. The average age of the Aussie gamer is supposed to be in the late twenties as I recall. Still doesn’t stop that moronic perception that games are primarily for children though.

    7. Games in Australia are dead expensive. What are they over in the states? USD $60? Usually (before our exchange rate went high up) that’d equate to 70-80 dollars Australian. However, the stores here in Australia tend to sell games for around 100 dollars or even higher. I am not kidding you. That’s why I import all my stuff.

    8. That’s a difficult question to answer. The Aussie games industry is… Well I can’t really comfortably name many Aussie developers. Most of them have either gone defunct or develop smaller, casual games. Off the top of my head I can probably only say Team Bondi, and that’s because there’s been all this hype about L.A. Noire. If it turns out to be a great game, then you can probably say that Team Bondi is gonna be popular.

    9. Online gaming culture? Not all that sure. I don’t play online games very often, sorry. I will tell you that we’re pretty badly underrepresented when it comes to servers. For quite a few games we have to rely on servers elsewhere, which results in massive lag.

    10. How many hours a week do I play? I manage to squeeze in 4 or 5 hours a week. If I were on break most of my time would be devoted to gaming. And yes, I have many friends who are gamers.

    11. I’d say gaming is good, but definitely not healthy. Gotta get out, bask in the sunshine and get some exercise from time to time.

    Questions about particular projects.
    1. Not really all that strange. But from what I’ve read, playing games online for girls tends to be unsavoury. Lots of d-bags online who like making sexist remarks, but I’m pretty sure that exists everywhere.

    2. I have no idea about that, sorry mate. I’m fairly sure it isn’t, considering I had to stop and think about what the hell Second Life was for a moment.

    3. To the wider, non serious gamer population, I’d probably have to say that they view games are purely entertainment. Amongst the actual gamers, I’d say quite a few of them support the idea that games can be artistic and innovative.

    4. Most memorable moment is one of my earliest moments. I was preschool aged, and I was playing against my teenaged brother in Street Fighter 2. He was using M.Bison and spamming the psycho crusher. I promptly threw a tantrum in frustration. What did that teach me? Older brothers have a cruel sense of humour and that you’re an @$$hole if you don’t play fair.

    5. I’m not aware of a serious video game addiction problem here in Australia. If it was bad, you can bet that the losers in the soft news media outlets would be jumping all over the “terrible epidemic”

    6. My younger siblings play games, my older siblings used to play games and occasionally still do on their iphones and such. My parents think I’m wasting my life away.

    7. Good god no. I’d sooner set a wii controller on fire than use it over a proper controller. Motion gaming is an unpleasant fad in my eyes.

    8. Competitive gaming right? I can’t say I’ve seen the term esports used all that often, but I could guess what it meant.

    9. Yes. Yes. Yes. And a thousand times yes. It is not the place for a bunch of humourless old men who have lost touch with modern society and technology to dictate what we adults do in our spare time. Our actions harm nobody and if they were willing to think about the problem logically for a moment, then they could come up with a solution that pleases everyone involved. But no, they’re too busy being self righteous d%#kheads about it.

    10. More popular. I’m quite certain it’s becoming more popular everywhere. Lots of people are gamers, they just don’t realise it. The iphone/ipad is one of the most popular gaming mediums in the world, but people don’t seem to equate the little amusements they download as games. I’m also certain that more and more children grow up completely familiar with games. Ergo, more popular.

    11. No there aren’t all that many professional gamers. I consider myself pretty well versed on almost all things gaming, but I can’t name any Australian pro gamers. Although to be fair, I can’t name any pro gamers except for Daigo and Justin Wong for their Street Fighter work.

    12. I think you could make education a lot more interesting for kids if you disguised it as a video game. I reckon it could be a pretty powerful educational tool.

  4. Gee says:

    Do you play video games in your free time?

    Do you play video games in your free time?

    No; I lack the coordination

    What are some common stereotypes about Americans in Australia?

    slightly gullible
    like ketchup on everything
    favourite food = cheeseburgers
    enjoy having loud, expressive phone conversations

    What are some common stereotypes about American college students in Australia?
    You have wild parties in your college dorms with copious amounts of alcohol, (which no one ever seems to actually pay for), and lots of pot.
    Everyone is part of a sorority.

    What kind of music do you guys like?

    That depends…
    There are a lot of Australian indie bands around nowadays
    Angus and Julia stone are my favourite in that category…
    Otherwise I like all sorts of other stuff; Coheed and Cambria, Guns ‘n’ roses, Santana, Vivaldi… whatever, just not rap.
    So what’s the deal with New Zealand?

    I think a more appropriate question would be ‘so what’s the deal with Tasmania?’

    How do roommates/dorms work in U of Sydney?

    They don’t. Unless your daddy’s rolling in cash.
    We just don’t have enough students to sustain on campus accommodation.
    We have about five colleges that house approx. 600 students in total. The college culture is very ‘exclusive’. They are quite prestigious, and some actually have set academic entry requirements.
    Everyone else lives off campus, and public transports it in. The trip takes me about 1.5 hours each way.
    Students wanting accommodation near the campus live in the ‘hipster’/alternative neighbourhood of Newtown.

    Are there many international students at your university?

    yep. mostly post-grad

    If you came to the US, where would you want to visit?
    I ‘ve already visited the US and your campus :3 I loved the architecture!
    I want to go to New York next, to sing Sinatra’s “new york, new york” on the steps of the city library with jazz hands and hopefully a bit of interpretive dance.
    (it’s mah dream…inspired to some extent my the Madagascar movie)

    Do you think our accents sound cool? Because we think your accents sound coo’.

    Yes! I like getting American people to say things like ‘car’ or ‘jar’ or ‘star’
    we pronounce them ‘cah’, ‘jah’ and ‘stah’,
    yours sound more like carrrrr, jarrrrrrr. starrrr. you have motor r’s.

    What class are you in that you have/get to do this for?

    We’ve only just started a ‘Student Fellowship’ that trains peer tutors in rhetoric and composition. So yea, we’re doing a link up with you guys as part of that.

    Do you have any classes that are specifically about video games?

    Sadly, no (unless you count IT classes). We just don’t have enough students to offer really interesting courses like the ones you guys have.
    We’re a big landmass, yes. But we have trouble filling it up with people.

    How far is campus from the beach?

    The city’s quite small, so from campus to the nearest beach would be like a 15-20 minute bus/ferry/train ride.

    Do you surf? Long board?

    Not personally, no.

    What was the original use of boomerangs?

    The original aboriginal inhabitants of Australia crossed over to the continent, at the end of the last Ice Age….The boomerang was originally designed to be used as an ice pick. But soon after arriving, the aboriginies discovered that Australia was mostly arid desert… so they used it to hunt/dig for worms instead.
    No, not really… but you have to admit, it’d make a good story.
    I’m pretty sure the original purpose was always hunting.

    I asked a (male) gamer friend if he’d fill this next section out for you guys  …he was more than happy to oblige

    Questions about gaming culture in Australia

    What kind of games do you play?

    mmorpg, rts, fps
    What games are popular in Australia? Are the same games popular in America? (Halo, Grand Theft Auto, etc.)?

    fps and mmorpg – yeah they are, deviations will be found in countries like korea/china where rts and rpg games are very popular

    Are you aware of the worldwide perception that the Australian government heavily censors games? If so, what’s your opinion on it?

    couldnt care less, games are games. if i dont see a boob here or a decapitation somewhere else it wont effect my gameplay, thats what the internet is for

    I heard there is a ban on Mature games, how is this enforced?

    No idea

    What are your favorite game types? RPG, FPS, RTS, etc. (MMORPG*)

    mmorpg, fps, rts

    What do you think about your own gamers? Are they honored like in Korea?

    no, more shunned by society as low life beings!

    How expensive are the games in Australia? We heard that they are pretty expensive.

    new games range form 90-120$, across platforms

    What popular Australian-based game companies are there?

    No idea

    What is the online gaming culture like in Australia?
    ?

    pretty strong, not as big as america or korea… but there is a significant population disparity

    How many hours of games do you typically play in a week/day? Do many of your friends play games?

    10hs a week is a good estimate, yeah most friends play similar games to me

    What do you think about games? Are they good/healthy?

    Great time filler and escape from assignments and readings!

    Is it strange for women or girls to play video games in Australia? (Hopefully not! ) +(Katheryn, Section 1)

    no, i encourage it. Its every mans dream

    Is Second Life popular in Australia? (Henry, Section 1)

    what?

    Are games viewed as at all innovative or artistic in Australia, or are they seen solely as entertainment? (Grace, Section 1)

    Entertainment

    What is your most memorable experience in a video game, and has it taught you anything? (Andy, Section 1).

    online games such as the ones i play involve a high level of co-operative play. In such case objectives/goals/rewards are achieved through teamwork. If anything i work better in a group because of it

    Is there a problem of video game addiction in Australia? (Ariel, Section 2)

    it was briefly, i do remember a current affair report on it before. Although i think its on the rise now with the fps console franchise

    What do your parents think about video games? Do your younger siblings play video games? What are your parents’ attitudes towards the extent to which you play video games? (Aubrie, Section 2)

    parents being of an older generation are new to it, so naturally are against anything that effects study time/work time

    Do any of you prefer virtual gaming technologies such as the Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect over traditional gaming? (Justin, Section 2)

    not attracted to these consoles, mainly for the casual mainstream gamer

    Do you know what eSports is? (Shawn Section 2)

    online gaming which has a community following. example would be starcraft 2, counter strike, call of duty etc

    Do you think the rating system needs to be changed and is it too harsh in Australia? (Mitch Section 2)

    dont care

    Would you say that gaming is becoming more or less popular in Australia? (James Section 2)

    more popular, like the rest of the world.

    Are there many professional gamers? (Leo, Section 2)

    i dont know many, but in comparison to professional athletes no

    What are the roles of video games in education? Do they play a role at all? (Loren Section 2)

    video games have been subliminally teaching math/english/history/geography/social science for years, if only people out of the loop would understand

  5. Gee says:

    my questions to you – I’d like to put them up on our peer tutor/fellowship (see my responses above) blog, for the others to have a look at 🙂 –

    On rhetoric:

    Why did you choose to do a course on gaming rhetoric?
    What exactly do you study in gaming rhetoric?
    Do you get to ‘sample’ games for your essays/projects?
    Do you enjoy it? What will it lead into?
    Did you have to do an introductory course on rhetoric and composition in your first year? how helpful was it?
    Do you have writing peer tutors (either as part of the writing centre or for your writing courses)? What are your thoughts on ‘peer tutoring’? Do you think it’s effective etc…?

    Campus Life/General

    Do most of you live on Campus? how would you describe the Stanford ‘community’?
    Is everyone part of a fraternity/sorority? Are they at all like what they show in movies?
    Are clubs and societies a big part of student culture? Are you involved in any?
    Do you blog? if so –
    a) why did you start and why do you continue?
    b) What Platform? Why ?
    ( If you don’t mind can you provide [or email me] a link to your blog, I’m really interested in blogging and digital communities/ identities etc…dw links won’t be published on the usyd blog)
    Billy Joel taught me that ‘Downtown’ meant the sort of ‘bad’ part of town (that’s why he can’t get his uptown girl), but most Americans I know refer to the city centre as downtown. How does that work? Or is that what Billy Joel actually meant?

    Questions on Aus –

    Have you ever been to Aus? What did you think?
    If not, would you want to visit?
    Have you ever tasted Vegemite? If so, what did you think?
    Do a lot of people actually believe that we ride Kangaroos?

  6. Will, Grace, & Henry says:

    In response to that last part…

    Most of us live on campus – in fact, you have to choose to live in an off-campus apartment (at least to our knowledge) as Stanford guarantees on-campus housing for those who draw for it. The Stanford community is, as a consensus, “chill.” Not everyone is part of a frat/sorority – in fact, the Stanford campus is supposedly 30% Greek (it might be less – we’re not sure) – although they are kind of like what’s shown in movies (not all of them are, though – Southern frats are a lot more stereotypical than ours).

    Henry was born in Australia and lived there for a couple of years – Grace and I have never been there (but want to visit). We had to Google Vegemite (although Henry knew what it was, and said it tasted “gross”). We also don’t actually think you all ride kangaroos everywhere. However, we do think you all own one as a pet – it’s like a government mandate or something.

    What’s with the Billy Joel references, by the way? That’s an odd slice of Americana to seize on as a representation of American culture. For reference, “downtown” just means a part of the city you’re in – its connotations differ by city, but it usually refers to a more commercial area.

  7. Mariah and David says:

    We would like to address some of the great questions you asked. First off we chose Rhetoric of Gaming because it sounded the most interesting out of the other options and we heard great things from friends. Also writing is always easier when you are intersted in the topic and we are both interested about new technologies. Everyone in this class is a freshman and therefor this is our introductory course and we are enjoying it. How could we not, we get to play video games in class ^-^!
    All freshman are required to live on campus and most undergraduate students live on campus for all four years. There are fratenities and sororities but the “Greek” life in general is a lot different here than at other colleges. It is a lot more relaxed and less exclusive, not like you see in Animal House.
    First of all who is Billy Joel… just kidding we know who he is, and the song that you mention, but we don’t really identify with that era. But we’ve noticed that Downtown is now more of the city center and a “nice” place. It has lots of shopping and food. It is where the nightlife happens. Sort of like the hub of the city. It has evolved over time to be this way, though there is still a distinguishable Uptown which has also evolved to be more of a residential area for wealthy peeps.
    We don’t actually believe you ride Kangaroos, though that would be awesome!
    Our evil instructor is making us stop, she’s cracking the whip! Aaaaahhhhh!
    We hope to visit Australia some time.
    Toodles

  8. KJA says:

    On rhetoric:

    Why did you choose to do a course on gaming rhetoric?
    -We tend to write better on things we’re interested in, and most of us have played video games starting from a very young age. It’s interesting to study gaming from a completely different angle from our usual player perspective. The academic context of video games is very fascinating.

    What exactly do you study in gaming rhetoric?
    -Most of the class is about rhetoric, so we actually learn about how to write, research, make arguments, but we use games as the basis for most of these. We study things like advergames and serious games, and read articles on various perspectives of video games as well (trailers and game covers too!).

    Do you get to ‘sample’ games for your essays/projects? Do you enjoy it? What will it lead into?
    -Yes, definitely. We’ve played several games in class (though they aren’t really like Call of Duty or anything), and we study how they make arguments. Our research papers will include primary sources, which are of course, games. That said, we’re also supposed to have in mind how we’re going to incorporate the actual game into our main arguments. We also had a primary source party in the beginning of the quarter, which introduced us to a wide variety of games (and this did include games like Halo, as well as Grand Theft Auto and others). It’s really been quite fun, but it’s still a rhetoric class.

    Did you have to do an introductory course on rhetoric and composition in your first year? How helpful was it?
    -Yup, this is it. We think it’s really helpful… just the fact that we’re required to write and research will help us improve our own writing technique and style, and we certainly write plenty in this class.

    Do you have writing peer tutors? What are your thoughts on ‘peer tutoring’? Do you think it’s effecting etc…?
    -Yeah, we do. It’s called the HUME writing center and it’s staffed by other rhetoric professors. We also have resident writing tutors (students as well) who live in the same dorms as us. They’re all excellent resources, and in fact we’re required to visit the HUME center at least once this quarter to obtain feedback.

    Campus Life/General

    Do most of you live on campus?
    – All freshman are required to live on campus, and almost all students do live on campus.

    How would you describe the Stanford ‘community’? Is everyone part of a fraternity/sorority?
    – We’re all extremely diverse. Only about 13% of students pledge, so not everyone is part of a fraternity or sorority. Very unlike the media stereotypes, we know.

    Oops, sorry, we are out of time. We’ll try to come back and finish off…

  9. Andy and Tina says:

    Hi! We are Andy and Tina

    We thought it would be interesting. When we signed up, we didn’t know completely what it was, but we both had some interest in games overall. We also heard that you get to play games in class. Mainly, we study the ways that games employ rhetoric (mostly procedural rhetoric). For instance, we have studied game marketing, “serious” games with political or social messages, and educational games. This is our introductory course on rhetoric and composition. Next year, we will be taking a course on verbal rhetoric and presentation. Overall, it’s helpful and the material is appealing. We have peer tutors within dorms and different centers for various subjects. They are definitely effective, and many people utilize them. It helps a lot because you can seek help from an assortment of people and get many opinions.

    Yes, we both live on campus. Most upperclassmen do as well, because Stanford has guaranteed housing for four years. We love the Stanford community and feel that it represents a variety of individuals. Not everyone is part of a frat or a sorority, but it’s pretty accessible to anyone who believe that they want to lead a Greek life. We both don’t really blog, but we post statuses on Facebook…? 🙂 Also, downtown doesn’t mean a “bad” part. Uptown just means a more prestigious part of the city – think Beverly Hills.

    We’ve never been to Australia, but we really want to go! It’s featured in a lot of movies (Finding Nemo, Kangaroo Jack, etc…) especially Sydney. We’ve never tasted Vegemite… What is it? We don’t actually believe you ride Kangaroos, but it’d be damn cool if you did.

  10. Fredricijhaar (Fred+Mauricio+Jujhaar) says:

    1. On Rhetoric of Gaming: WE chose this particular course because it sounded interesting and interactive, and many of us are (at least occaisional) gamers. Yes, we do get to sample games as an exploration into primary sources (our first out of class meeting was an hour of trying out different games). The class is a lot of fun, and it will help us become better writers and rhetoriticians, and learn how to analyze persuasive arguments. This is a first year introductory course to writing and persuasion, and has been quite useful. We have peer writing tutors, who we have access to, and the help is effective, but definitely underutilized.
    2. Campus Life: Almost all Stanford students live in dorms – it is a big part of Stanford culture. Stanford’s community is pretty different and diverse, about 13% of students are in fraternities or sororities. We are involved in student leadership, community service, a dance team, and the possibilities are extremely numerous. None of us blog, and downtown is a very loose term – it depends on the city, the part of downtown, etc. Downtown is usually either really nice or really bad. The city center is great, but the inner city is known to be less favorable.
    3. Australia: Never been to Aus, but we would like to visit. Never even heard of Vegemite. Wait… you don’t ride kangaroos?? Just kidding, no one believes you ride kangaroos, just that you have them as companions and friends in your old age.

  11. Jose, Tim & Turner says:

    Firstly, we are freshmen and the rhetoric of gaming class is an introductory course on rhetoric and comp. We have peer tutors but they are pretty rarely used by froshies. We do have a writing center where students can get professors to review their paper and give them feedback. Most undergrads, almost all of them actually, live on campus. Greek life is like 10% of the school or something. None of us really blog. We have some blogging requirements for class but the extent of our blogging experience is pretty much facebook. Here’s the link to our class blog: rhetoricofgaming.wordpress.com

    Here’s a good video to describe the difference between uptown and downtown : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ5TajZYW6Y

  12. Loren, James, Aubrie says:

    Hey, Gee,

    A. We chose to take a course on gaming rhetoric because we were interested? Yeah, because we were interested in gaming as compared to some of the other [topics]. This class on rhetoric is an undergrad requirement. We are in our first year, and this is the class you were asking about.

    B. What do we study in gaming rhetoric? We look at how arguments are made in gaming and the gaming community, much as how arguments are made in the film community. All that generic stuff.

    C. All freshmen are required to live on campus. There are fraternities and sororities, but certainly not everyone lives there. How many people do––what’s the percentage of Greek life, do you know? No, I don’t know. No, they’re not what they’re like in the movies. They’re better.

    D. I don’t blog. We only blog when we’re required to by this class. In my opinion, it’s difficult enough to read books for class, let alone the unpolished works of amateur writers.

    E. I’ve never been to Australia. Have you guys ever been to Australia? Never. I have never been to Australia. Have you tasted Vegemite? I have. Yeah. It tastes horrible. The only thing I know about Vegemite is that it was in a video game that I played once. The kid sang a song about it that has haunted me ever since I played the game. What is Vegemite? I don’t know. Let’s look it up. It’s like yeast extract. Oh, it’s not in the dictionary. Yeah, it’s like yeast extract.

    F. Should we answer the Billy Joel question? It’s a good question. (Christine: In one of the other classes they didn’t know who Billy Joel is.) What? No. No. That’s so sad.

    G. I think downtown generally refers to the city center. Maybe the uptown people live in the suburbs. I think it can mean both. It just depends on how you use it.

  13. Shawn & Shona says:

    1. Why did you choose to do a course on gaming rhetoric?
    – It is mandatory to take a rhetoric class, so I picked the one that I am most interested in, the gaming.

    2. What exactly do you study in gaming rhetoric?
    – Rhetoric:P In particular, we learn about how the games are made and advertised in ways to produce an argument.

    3. Do you get to ‘sample’ games for your essays/projects?
    – Umm….Not particularly for our essays/projects but we can use it as our primary source. Also we play some games in the class and talk about them.

    4. Did you have to do an introductory course on rhetoric and composition in your first year?
    – This is the first class we take in Stanford for rhetoric.

    5. Do you have writing peer tutors?
    – Yes, we have a writing center named Hume Writing Center. It has a lot of fabulous tutors!

    6. Do most of you live on campus?
    – Yes, actually over 90% of students live in the campus.

    7. Is everyone part of a fraternity/sorority? Are they at all like what they show in moview?
    – No, not everyone is in fraternity. I don’t know what you saw in movies, but part of them might be true…Drinking with red party cups, and dancing in frat parties etc.

    8. Have you ever been to Aus?
    – Shawn: No, Shona: I’m from Australia lol

    9. Have you ever tasted Vegemite?
    – Shawn: No, but Shona says its awesome and I should try it.

    10. Do a lot of people actually believe that we ride Kangaroos?
    – What? I’ve never heard of it…..

  14. Justin, Mitch, and Dave says:

    In response to Gee’s post:

    We chose this course because we are interested in video games. In our class we’ve studied video game trailers and the ways in which they use rhetoric to appeal to various audiences. Currently, we are formulating a thesis for our research-based argument about a certain aspect/component of video games.

    Since we are freshmen and this is a freshmen-only class, no prior intro courses about gaming were required before we could enroll in this one. Peer writing is a pretty important part of our class. For each of our papers we exchange our drafts with other members of the class and peer edit them. Also, we have an entire writing center dedicated to peer tutoring.

    Again, since we are all freshmen, we are required to live on campus. The Stanford “community” is very tight knit; we are all very friendly…About 20% of the student body is in fraternities or sororities. We don’t blog…except for this class. Downtown also doesn’t necessarily mean the bad part of town. If you say that you’re “going downtown” that just means into the center of town.

    We have never been to Australia, but we would like to visit. We have never tasted Vegemite and duh, of course we believe you guys ride Kangaroos…how else would you get around?

  15. Gee says:

    Will, Grace, & Henry
    nah we don’t own them as pets… we do cull them and then feed them to our pets though.
    I thought people like Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen were like big American icons…?
    Anyway, I wanted to know the difference because when I went to America /Canada people kept telling me to ‘visit downtown’. I thought it was a little strange that everyone was trying to send me to the dodgy parts of town (we all think that’s what it means… I just asked around) 😛
    Mariah and David + KJA
    It’s kinda cool that you can pick any ‘rhetoric’ course you like. The introductory course we did was simply called ‘academic writing’ and we wrote about CCR. So yea, that was interesting in its own way, but it’d be good to have other options like you guys.
    We’ll look into the Hume Centre. Thanks for letting us know 🙂
    Jose, Tim & Turner
    Touche
    Andy and Tina + Fredricijhaar + Loren, James, Aubrie + Shawn & Shona
    Vegemite is a yeast extract spread that looks like dark chocolate, but is in fact REALLY salty and slightly bitter.
    Shona – I love vegemite toast with a glass of milk 🙂

    Thanks for replying guys,
    good luck for the rest of sem!
    Our first sem here is almost finished… we’ve only got about 3 more weeks to go. We’re looking forward to (the much needed) break/sleep ^^

  16. SOGAND SHAMSARIA (GROUP BACON) says:

    Questions about University of Sydney campus life and student life

    Do you play video games in your free time?

    yess! massive cod, halo and battlefields fan 🙂

    What are some common stereotypes about Americans in Australia?

    partay animals, very laid back, moolah is flowing

    What are some common stereotypes about American college students in Australia?

    you have the sickest college parties, very eventful, full of drama, very group-orientated.

    What kind of music do you guys like?

    we are morphing into an “indie” drvien society, the angus and julias, jezabels etc are taking us by storm.

    So what’s the deal with New Zealand?

    sheep. lots of sheep.

    How do roommates/dorms work in U of Sydney?

    apparently it’s like school camp on steroids, a world only for the filthy rich though.
    Are there many international students at your university?

    yess!

    If you came to the US, where would you want to visit?

    las vegas/las angeles/new york.

    Do you think our accents sound cool? Because we think your accents sound coo’.

    LOVE. YOUR. ACCENTS.

    What class are you in that you have/get to do this for?

    writing; academic english

    Do you have any classes that are specifically about video games?

    hahah no i dont think so?
    How far is campus from the beach?

    an hour or so?

    Do you surf? Long board?

    i surf, love love looove to surf.

    What was the original use of boomerangs?

    hunting animals for food! still is?

    Questions about gaming culture in Australia

    What kind of games do you play?

    i play cod, battlefields and halo on my xbox 360 weew!

    What games are popular in Australia? Are the same games popular in America? (Halo, Grand Theft Auto, etc.)?

    cod. halo was, but then battlefields entered our lives.

    Are you aware of the worldwide perception that the Australian government heavily censors games? If so, what’s your opinion on it?

    nope? could see why though, s’all good. they have their reasons and it hasnt deducted from my gaming experience.

    I heard there is a ban on Mature games, how is this enforced?

    its not 🙂 most parents are fairly chilled when it comes to exposing children to violence and things in games it seems.

    What do you think about your own gamers? Are they honored like in Korea?

    hahahaha no, not to that extent. more social fo show.

    How expensive are the games in Australia? We heard that they are pretty expensive.

    yeaaaah, about 60 is the cheapest for a decent game. goes anywhere up to 100-130 or so for new releases. bit ridic, but it doesnt stop people from buying.

    What popular Australian-based game companies are there?

    EB Games, JB HI FI, and yeaah?

    What is the online gaming culture like in Australia?

    becoming maaassive.

    How many hours of games do you typically play in a week/day? Do many of your friends play games?

    um 4-5, and yeah. but only my guy friends, i would be the only girl from all the people i know that play on a regular basis ahah

    What do you think about games? Are they good/healthy?

    in moderation, i wouldnt say healthy, but they are fun. definitely in moderation though.

    Questions about your particular project or area of interest (put your name and section in parenthesis after this one)

    Is it strange for women or girls to play video games in Australia? (Hopefully not! ) +(Katheryn, Section 1)

    its not that its strange, more that its rare. if a girl does play though, guys do dig it ahaha

    Are games viewed as at all innovative or artistic in Australia, or are they seen solely as entertainment? (Grace, Section 1)

    would have to say entertainment, buuuut slowly appreciation for graphics etc is growing.

    What is your most memorable experience in a video game, and has it taught you anything? (Andy, Section 1).

    haha my recent kill streak in cod! it taught me that i am really not as bad as the guys were making me out to be. i dominated 4 of my guy friend’s kill streak so woo!

    Is there a problem of video game addiction in Australia? (Ariel, Section 2)

    definitely.

    What do your parents think about video games? Do your younger siblings play video games? What are your parents’ attitudes towards the extent to which you play video games? (Aubrie, Section 2)

    yeah my brother does and parents are very strict about the whole in moderation rule. they think that its fine every now and then but there are much more worthwhile things we could be doing instead of gaming.

    Do any of you prefer virtual gaming technologies such as the Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect over traditional gaming? (Justin, Section 2)

    i think traditional gaming will always be the shiz. i still have my supernintendo 64 and i swear nothing comes close to how cool it is. wii and kinect involve moving, moving involves effort, which i think defies the whole reason i game in the first place ahah. in saying that, playing mario kart with wii caaaaaaan be funner compared to with a controller on occassion.

    weew! hope that helps 🙂

    Do you know what eSports is? (Shawn Section 2)

    nope!

    Do you think the rating system needs to be changed and is it too harsh in Australia? (Mitch Section 2)

    its not harsh, could be harsher. so yes.

    Would you say that gaming is becoming more or less popular in Australia? (James Section 2)

    MOAR. MOAAAR. MOAAAAAAR. girls are taking it up, radballz.

    Are there many professional gamers? (Leo, Section 2)

    probably, but not as intense as like korea and japan and stuff.

    What are the roles of video games in education? Do they play a role at all? (Loren Section 2)

    ahh they try to. but those ones kill all the fun 🙂 more aimed at younger generation, its a selling scam i swear. to make parents happy. faaail. 🙂

  17. Jannelle says:

    What is your most memorable experience in a video game, and has it taught you anything? (Andy, Section 1).
    MY gaming experience comes from a distant Jurassic past between the ages of 9 and 12 where the the craze back then was all about Nintendo’s Mario brothers, Galaga, Donkey kong, Adventure Islands and some other games. I’m talking about the 1990s in the Philippines here and most of you guys weren’t even born yet! Thanks to Nintendo, the generation gap is filled and plugged…i think. And I think too that kids back then, at least in my hometown, were just as crazy about video games as kids are crazy about their video games now. There were many gaming shops back then but my siblings and I were lucky enough to own a nintendo gaming console and the original nintendo game boy! beat that!Yes! the prototypes! It was heaps of fun and it was super addicting! You can imagine that during weekends and summer breaks my sibs and I would wake up early in the morning to race for the first player control, and that’s what we did literally . It’s truly memorable and i’m grinning right now just thinking about it. These hands have held a series of nintendo consoles developed from the 1990s to the present and that’s what makes it memorable too. Now a days i just play referee to my kids when they squabble over the controls. There is no particular moral to the story but i think the present gaming ideas owes much from the past gaming culture. What the gaming culture is right now seems to be a logical corollary of the past given the inevitable progress of technology and market ideas.

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