Posted in episodes

Episode 16: You Can’t Go Home Again

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Fifth Elephant, 1999 novel by Terry Pratchett (part of the Discworld series
Martha: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014 film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Chris Evans
Cory: Gone Home, 2013 PC game available on STEAM

Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Sam Vimes, finds himself in over his head when he travels to Uberwald on a diplomatic mission. Amongst his cohort are a dwarf, a werewolf, and a troll who used to call the cold nation home.

Steve Rogers misses the 1940s. Also he and other vets find solace in each other, until he finds out a missing piece of his past is still running around killing folk in the modern era. SHIELD is there also, but they’re terrible.

A girl comes home from a trip abroad to find her family missing. Over the course of discovering what happens, she learns a whole lot of new things about her sister, her family, and the secrets that they keep.

Home is a construct, but is it one we build, or is it built despite ourselves? We get a chance to play with a new media format, welcome a new guest, and figure out what home means to us in today’s episode.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: NPR First Listen Live: The National, “Sleep Well Beast”
Martha: Crash Override by Zoe Quinn
Cory: In Defense of Food: PBS Documentary by Michael Pollan

Welcome, Cory!

Martha may be the only one who didn’t know NPR played music. She’s also here to stand on a soapbox for Zoe Quinn and women on the internet, and don’t you even start with that “every story has two sides” thing. (Wikipedia has a pretty good dissection of the whole GamerGate debacle, I recommend it as a starting point. Read it here.) Cory and Martha get excited about Michael Pollan, and overall we’re all having a pretty good time ingesting pop culture. Go us.

You Can’t Go Home Again (…or can you?)

  1. How do we define the act of “going home”?
  2. What is home for our various characters? How does this change through the course of the narrative?
  3. How do characters react to returning “home”?
  4. What causes the inability to return “home”––is it us who change, or home, or both?

“Home” is a nebulous concept that is, by its nature, constantly redefined. We attempt to make sense of what it means to our main characters, and in the process get to talk about format and world building a whole lot. Home is pretty deeply tied to identity for all of our main characters, so we end up looping a little bit back to our very first topic for the show as we explore the struggle to define oneself by an idea that is constantly shifting.

I’m gonna be honest with y’all – I really want you to listen to this episode, so I don’t have a lot of show notes to give you! Here is a link to a YouTube playthrough of Gone Home in case you were not able to play it yourself.

Also, the song Martha poorly articulates is the Dionne Warwick “A House is Not A Home.” It featured in the 1964 film of the same name, starring Shelley Winters and Robert Taylor. Martha knows it because Kurt sang it on Glee once.

On September 13, we’re talking about Ambition with special guest and fan of the show Lizzie Buehler. Your homework for next episode:

Pete: The soundtrack to a little 2016 musical Hamilton, you may have heard of it
Martha: Glee episodes 1.01 (Pilot) and 3.22 (Goodbye)
Lizzie: There Will Be Blood

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook!

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Pre-Reading

Prelude to Episode 16

New media! Heavy nostalgia! The first time for many of us consuming the homework! Episode 16 is gonna be BIG, folks!

Our guest host for episode 16: Cory Ruegg

For episode 16, we’re talking about the notion that You Can’t Go Home Again. What does that mean, exactly? We’ll get into it, along with how our various main characters are defining home and what it means to them, how they react to coming home, and how does that impact the story (hint: usually that IS the story). It’s the first time experiencing the homework for many of our hosts, and we get to incorporate a new form of media, which is very exciting!

The homework for the episode:

Cory: Gone Home, 2013 video game by Steve Gaynor and Majesco Entertainment
Pete: The Fifth Elephant, 1999 novel by Terry Prachett
Martha: 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by the Russo brothers and starring Chris Evans

 

Posted in supplementary material

Games, Gaming, and Educational Space

(Written by Martha S.)

This is a topic I would like to see us devote a whole episode to, if we can make it work, because it is a vast, rich vein to mine and has a lot of useful information for us to impart. But as an introduction to the idea, let me say: games and gaming are an incredibly useful tool in one’s educational repertoire. I have spoken myself at conferences on the benefits to having RPG resources and programming in the public library; others have written at length on the benefits of gamifying learning. I hope we will be able to add our voices and experiences to the conversation.

I am thinking about this at the moment because I spent the previous weekend at GenCon, the largest gaming convention in North America and the longest-running gaming convention in the world (this year marks its 50th anniversary). It is a celebration of gaming of all kinds, from board games to tabletop RPGs to miniatures and more. When I attend, I play as much of the Pathfinder RPG as possible, in addition to a handful of other tournament games over the years (I have played in WarMachine, Conquest, and Imperial Assault events). It is INCREDIBLY fun and I imagine my husband and I will continue attending until we’re physically unable to do so.

Look, I’ve given you two introductions to justify the fact that I want to tell you how amazingly inclusive Paizo is as a gaming company, and now I can’t figure out a way to transition easily into that, so I’m just going to say it: Paizo works really hard to make their “iconic” characters really, really diverse and I love it. (An iconic character is the example character for a particular class, that usually participates in the fluff or art in some way. Merisiel, for example, is the iconic rogue, and she is a gay elf who is in a relationship with Kyra, the iconic cleric, who is a gay brown human.) Additionally, the adventure paths that Paizo publishes (pre-constructed campaigns designed to get you from level 1 to level 20) are full of LGBT+ characters, frequently included without any kind of fanfare or controversy. The world of Pathfinder is rich and diverse, and while the writers are nowhere near perfect in representation (adventure paths are frequently weighted with hot women the players can romance and much fewer, less attractive men), it never feels exploitative or gross.

I’m sure that using RPGs as a way to teach empathy and compassion will come up if we are ever able to do an episode on games in the educational space. For now, I just wanted to say that I appreciate what tabletop gaming is doing to increase empathy in geeky circles, since there are so many other geek subcultures where it is lacking. I’m gonna go write my android space priest multi-personality collective now, for Paizo’s brand new science fantasy game Starfinder.