Voices of the Cove

We just finished our latest project, which was all about continuity, change, and the 1950s. In this project, we had to do interviews, research, and of course, a podcast episode, with the driving question of “How did Canadian life develop after WW2?”. To help us answer this question, we did a collaboration with the Deep Cove Heritage Society, to learn more about the 1950s and to also help them out with their archives.

To accomplish this, our task was to interview a prominent Deep Cove resident. We did this in partners, and my partner was Noah, who also wrote a great post about this which you can check out here. We conducted an interview with Wendy Bullen, who lived in Deep Cove in the 1950s.

She talked about a lot interesting stuff, like what life was like in the 1950s, and the changes that have happened since then, which brings us into the competencies for this project.

I think this interview was actually a pretty good introduction to the Continuity and Change competency, because a lot of our questions were focused on what has changed and what has stayed the same. We also dipped a little into the Discuss, Listen, Speak competency, because we had to listen carefully to come up with follow up questions.

And while this was a good introduction, there were some assignments that went more in depth and that I think are a better example of my learning. The first of these was Milestone 3, which was our Canadian connections keynote. In this milestone, we had to make a keynote presentation on our podcast topic in the 1950s and today.

My topic was Wargaming, which I’ve already done some research on before, but never on the 1950s specifically. To show continuity and change, I decided to talk about both time periods separately and then show the contrast afterwards. Then we the had to present our keynote to the class as well as take questions afterwards. I think this was a great example of my learning, as well as both competencies. I covered the topic of Continuity and Change in wargaming throughout the whole presentation, and I think I covered it pretty comprehensively. I also used the Discuss, Listen, Speak competency during the presentation to best get my points across and answer any questions that came up. You can see the full keynote down below:

Another milestone that I think is a good example of these competencies was our final podcast episode, where we had to cover continuity and change in our podcast topic, which again was Warhammer and Wargaming. However, we had to go much more in depth then our keynote presentations and we had to have an interviewee to back it up. I ended up interviewing hobby shop owner Mike Tong, because he has been in the hobby for a long time and had an interesting perspective on how things have changed. This and the additional research helped me come up with my thesis statement for the episode, that changes in audience is what drives change in wargaming. I think this was another great example of my Continuity and Change competency, because I showed what changed and stayed the same from the 1950s to now, and used it to back up my thesis statement. I also think my interview with Mike is a good example of the Discuss, Listen, Speak competency. You can listen to that and the whole episode down below.

Now for my answer to the driving question, “How did Canadian life develop after WW2?” We actually did an activity related to this, where we had to write a few paragraphs to show our learning throughout the project. I decided to write about how escapism started in the 1950s, which isn’t really my focus for the driving question. However, if you want to know more you can read the whole thing down below:

But, there was a part where I talked about how the end of the war led to the economic boom which led to the conditions that kicked off escapism in the first place, which I think applies to the driving question. Because if you look at the changes to things like social programs and human rights in Canada, you can see how they connect back to the end of WW2. Which is why my answer to the driving question would be “The political and economic situation in the postwar world led to many positive changes that make Canada what it is today.”

So, in conclusion, I learned a lot from this project. Continuity and Change is probably one of the most interesting topics we have covered so far, and being able to explore it with our podcast topics made it more enjoyable than other projects. I also learned a lot about the history of the 1950s era, and even some things about Warhammer and Wargaming that I never knew before. That’s about it for this blog post, and remember to stay tuned.

Is Warhammer an escape?

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post. In this post I wanted to build off of something we did in class, which was a writing activity to reflect on what we had learned so far. As I’ve covered in previous posts, we were learning about the 1950s, and the thing I chose to write about was how the 1950s started escapism as we know it today. If you want to read the whole thing, I’ve put it down below.

But what I want to talk about today is if you can use Warhammer as a form of escapism, and to answer that we need to know what escapism is. Well, the definition of escapism is “the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.” Well, Warhammer is a tabletop game, so it is a form of entertainment. But, you do have to find someone else to play with, and games take a while, so it takes some commitment to actually play a game.

When you think of someone trying to distract themselves, it would probably be something instantaneous like watching a movie or daydreaming. But escapism goes much further than that, because it can be literally anything that distracts you from something boring or unpleasant in your life. Forms of escapism can be simple things like playing video games or listening to music, but they can also be things that take a lot of commitment and time, like traveling or going on a vacation. So yes, Warhammer can be a form of escapism if you use it as a distraction, but the same goes for pretty much anything that you use to distract yourself, be it another hobby or interest.

I know this may have been a shorter post than normal, but this is just something I wanted to talk about, and researching this topic was also pretty interesting. So that’s about it for this blog post, and remember to stay tuned.

The Art of Warhammer

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post. I know that I’ve already done a lot of posts on continuity and change and Warhammer, but something I wanted to do is look at how the artwork for Warhammer 40K has changed over the years. And like I’ve talked about in previous posts, artwork is actually a pretty big part of Warhammer, because it reinforces that important aspect of the story. And like I’ve said before, the introduction of the story aspect of miniature wargaming has become an important part of the hobby. So without further ado, lets get right into it.

The first edition of Warhammer 40,000 was actually called Rogue Trader, and as I’ve talked about before, it was a far cry from modern day Warhammer. So, it should come as no surprise that the artwork was too.

As you can see, they are certainly interesting to say the least. The art style uses shadows a lot and has a weird, but unique, vibe to it. Also, the majority of artwork at the time was just black and white, with the coloured images being reserved for the covers of the books. The coloured one I included was actually the cover of the core rulebook.

When the 2nd edition of the game came around, it was renamed to Warhammer 40,000 and some big changes were made to the game, including the artwork.

Almost all of the art is coloured now, and the colours themselves are more vibrant than the few coloured pieces prior. There is also now a larger sense of scale to the artwork, with huge armies being presented, usually with a central character in the foreground. The massive, monolithic structures in the background help establish this as well.

3rd edition saw perhaps the biggest change to the story, the switch to a more “grimdark” setting. You can see the artwork beginning to reflect this, and it also gets more detailed and realistic.

Interestingly, they was actually went back to some black and white artwork, although there is still plenty of coloured ones as well. And since this era is what established Warhammer 40,000 as a setting, not much really changes in terms of the actual content of the artwork. However, the style and quality does change, so I will show artwork from 4th to 9th edition.

  • 4th edition

As you just saw, modern Warhammer art is incredibly detailed, and all of it is coloured now. It’s had a lot of changes since the days of Rogue Trader, from tone, to setting, to pretty much everything else. However, some things have stayed the same, like how it continues to use the same scale from 2nd edition, and the grimdark feel from 3rd edition. I’d also like to add that this is just the official artwork, there are tons of talented fans making artwork of their own that are worth checking out. But anyways, that’s about it for this blog post, so remember to stay tuned.

Is Warhammer 40,000 Becoming More Than Just a game?

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post. In my last post, I talked about the history of Warhammer 40,000 and some of the major changes that have happened over the years, but in this post I wanted to talk about a more recent and interesting change, which is how Warhammer 40,000 is expanding into a new medium.

As I mentioned in my previous post, a big change to Warhammer 40,000 was shifting the story to a more serious tone. It became much more dark and depressing, and coined the term “grimdark”. In fact, the term is actually now considered a subgenre of fantasy, defined as “A subgenre of speculative fiction with a tone, style, or setting that is particularly dystopian, amoral, or violent”. But this shift is what established Warhammer 40,000 as a setting, instead of just a game. Usually when a setting gets popular, it gets presented in a variety of different ways. For example, look at Star Wars. It started as a movie, and now they have TV shows, video games, books, and even a Star Wars miniature wargame.

So did that happen with Warhammer? Well, kind of. Books have been a big part of Warhammer since day one, because the rulebooks had all the story and other information as well as the rules. But soon after they made books specifically for telling stories in their popular setting, and nowadays there are way more of those released than rulebooks. For example, “The Horus Heresy” book series started in 2006 and has 56 books in it at the moment. And yes, they are all 400+ page novels.

Well, Warhammer is a tabletop game, so what about video games? There have been several Warhammer games over the years, but unlike other large franchises, they do not get regular releases. One of the most popular Warhammer 40,000 games at the moment is “Space Marine”, which released in 2011. However, there is a major Warhammer game coming later this year, called “Darktide”.

Now, with all these books and source material to choose from, surely they must have made a few film adaptations by now? Well, to give them credit, they did make an hour long animated film in 2010, but it hasn’t aged very well. But aside from that, there was nothing for 34 years, at least not officially. I say that because there have been a lot of fan animations, some of which look less like a fanmade thing and like something out of an actual studio. People were even suggesting that Games Workshop should hire them to make something. And then they did. Games Workshop picked up a bunch of animators, and then, in the last few weeks they announced a ton of animated projects, which will be under the name of Warhammer+, likely part of a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. They won’t be out for a while, but it’s good that Games Workshop is going in a direction where they can explore even more possibilities with their franchise, and it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of it.

So, like I said at the beginning of this post, this is certainly a big change, but the opportunity for Warhammer to expand even further and become more mainstream could be even bigger, and who knows what could happen.

Well, that’s about it for this blog post, and remember to stay tuned.

Continuity and Change in Warhammer 40,000

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post, in this post I am going to be looking at continuity and change yet again, this time in Warhammer 40,000.

I got the idea from an activity in class, where we had to make a keynote on our podcast episode topic in the 1950s vs today. As you know, mine is wargaming/Warhammer, and I decided to cover wargaming as a whole for my keynote. I won’t go over the whole thing, as there is a lot, but I will link the keynote below if you want to check it out.

Before I start with Warhammer 40,000, I should point out I am only looking at general changes, as going into every change to the rules would take years. But without further ado, let’s get right into it.

The origins of Warhammer 40,000 actually come before it was even considered a “Warhammer” game. Games Workshop, a British game company, released a game called Rogue Trader in 1987, four years after their hit game Warhammer Fantasy. Rogue Trader was a miniature wargame, but it was similar to Dungeons and Dragons in that there was a third player (“The Game Master”) that was a part of the game. The game used metal miniatures to represent the wacky characters.

The game got a second edition in 1993, this time renamed as “Warhammer 40,000”. It made some big changes, like getting rid of the game master, and becoming a more traditional miniature wargame. It also got plastic miniatures this time, and this was the point where the game became more about armies than individual characters like the previous edition.

3rd edition arrived 1998, bringing in some more major changes. The scale of the game was increased, making it easier for players to field larger armies. The story was also changed to a more serious “Grimdark” setting, in a galaxy without hope. This gave Warhammer 40,000 a different appeal from other games, and helped cement it as it’s own unique setting. This also marked the end of drastic changes to the game each edition, and the next two editions were just small updates to streamline the rules, as well as providing new miniatures.

There weren’t any major changes until 6th edition in 2012, which changed several major rules, and added a few new ones. 7th edition continued with this, and also increased the scale of the game with larger miniatures to use in game.

8th edition came soon after 7th in 2017, and it had more changes in store. 7th edition, while increasing the scale of the game, had become a bit bloated with the sheer amount of rules it had, and 8th edition focused on streamlining everything to a more playable level. 9th edition released recently, and is pretty similar to 8th, focusing on streamlining the game, and shorter play times have probably been the biggest change so far. Also, there are more miniatures being released than ever before, and the quality of some of these models is astounding.

But along with the miniatures, there are a few things not specific to any of the editions that have been changing as well. One of these is the target audience, as Games Workshop has picked up on the fact that its not only nerds who buy their games nowadays. They have been targeting younger audiences for quite a long time now, with commercials, or more recently, books. Who knew children would love stories about endless death and suffering in the far future?

The streamlining of rules as well as easy to build model kits may have also partially targeted kids, although those have been more for new hobbyists as a whole. This attention to newcomers is actually part of another big change, as Games Workshop used to be infamous for not communicating with their players. But nowadays, they are more connected to the community they have created and post articles daily about things to come on the Warhammer Community site.

Now, that is a lot of changes that have happened in the last 34 years of Warhammer 40,000, but what stayed the same? Well, after researching and writing this post, I have to say pretty much nothing. Maybe the only thing that has stayed the same (and hopefully will stay the same), is the idea of my guys fighting your guys, and having fun.

That’s about it for this blog post, I’ll be doing more weekly posts in the future, so remember to stay tuned,

What Happened to Andy MacKenzie?

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post, in my last post I talked about our latest project and how it was all about continuity and change. Well, we continued with that topic, but instead of looking at immigration, we looked at the economy. You may be wondering what that has to do with Andy Mackenzie, but don’t worry, I’ll get to him soon.

Back to the economy, we did a cool activity called “Iron Chef”, which is kind of like Hell’s Kitchen and all those other cooking shows where the contestants get put under stress to cook things under a time limit. Except, in Iron Chef, you get to learn under stress instead! We basically had 10 minutes in our groups of 3-4 to fill out the slides on a keynote document with all the information we could find. The topic of the keynote was “How did the end of the war affect the economy?”, and the slide I ended up doing was “veterans coming home”. You can see the whole keynote down below.

If you looked at the document, you may notice something in the bottom right corner there is something called the “secret sauce”. That was bonus research we could do if we had extra time. And the secret sauce for my slide was “what happened to Squadron Leader Andy MacKenzie?”. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before I could finish researching, so the only thing I found was that he was shot down twice by friendly fire. But I decided to find out the full story of what happened to him, and this is what I found.

Andy MacKenzie was born in 1920 in Montreal. When WW2 started, he enlisted in the Air Force, but didn’t see combat until 1943. He shot down three German planes before he was shot down himself by friendly fire from American forces in 1944. He survived the crash and left the military when the war ended, but rejoined in 1946. In 1951 he fought in the Korean War, where he was once again shot down by American forces. He ejected, but was caught by Chinese soldiers when he landed. He was imprisoned and suffered intense interrogation, but was released in 1954 after he issued a “confession”. He retired in 1967, and died of cancer in 2009.

So there you have it, the fate of Andy MacKenzie, shot down by his allies not once, but twice. However, strange things happen in war, so I’m sure there are other stories similar to his. That’s about it for this blog post, and remember to stay tuned for more.

Peter Pan’s Flight

In class we just looked at Disney through history, specifically in the 1950s, and one of the things we did was connect continuity and change to old Disney rides from Disneyland. The ride I looked at was Peter Pan’s flight, which came out when Disneyland opened in 1955.

In the ride, you go onto the flying ship from the film, and “fly” over various scenes from the movie. However, the ride was extended in 1983, and some changes were made. In the original ride there was no Peter Pan, as you were supposed to be looking from his perspective. However, in the Extension they added an animatronic of Peter on the ship and in some of the scenes. They also added more scenes to the ride. Things that stayed the same were the ship you traveled on, and although more scenes were added the original ones were not removed or changed in any meaningful way.

That’s about it for this blog post, so make sure to stay tuned for more.

Continuity and Change

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post. I haven’t done one in a while because I haven’t had a PLP class in a while, but we just got back into doing projects, and the one we are doing right now is pretty interesting. It’s about Canada and continuity and change, and in this post I want to go over some interesting things I’ve learned so far.

One of the main things we’ve done in class is look at what has changed and what stayed the same in certain parts of Canadian history, and lately we have been focusing on immigration. Nowadays, Canada is known to be a welcoming country to immigrate to, but that wasn’t always the case. We did an activity looking at immigration then vs now, where we did research and put it in a Venn diagram.

I knew that immigration back then was discriminatory, but I didn’t know that it was extreme as it was. In 1947 only British, French, and Americans could immigrate freely to Canada. They also had mobile immigration teams they would send to other countries to choose who could immigrate. Another activity we did was making a before and after comparison for Canada and WW2. We had a limited amount of time, but I actually found something pretty interesting when I was doing research. Veterans got a lot of attention after the war, including veterans from minority groups. This brought them more into the public eye and eventually lead to rights movements for minority groups. The example I used was Chinese Canadians getting the right to vote in 1947.

Anyways, those are some things I learned this week, so that’s about it for this post. I’ll be posting weekly from now on, so make sure to stay tuned.

Romeo and Juliet: a PLP production

We just finished our latest project, which was all about Shakespeare. For this project we had to make podcast episodes, read about Shakespeare, and even make our own play on top of answering the driving question of “How can we present a live audio story that makes an audience appreciate the relevance of Shakespeare?”. Needless to say, this was no small feat, and going over everything we did would take ages, so I will go over the parts that stood out to me the most. Before we move forward, there were also some competencies for this project, which I will cover as we go.

We started off by discussing Shakespeare, basically who he was, and the different plays he wrote. We did a few different activities, mainly focusing on Romeo and Juliet. We started to get into different questions, like “How might I make this appealing to a modern audience?”, which we did a writing activity on. And then we started getting into bigger, more complicated questions, like “What makes a classic?”. Fortunately, we wouldn’t have to solve these questions alone. For the first time ever we were going to do a co-hosted podcast episode, and not just one, but two of these episodes, which you can listen to down below.

This next episode deals with the question of “What makes an adaptation?”, and it is a bit more streamlined since I got feedback on my first episode.

Overall, these episodes were pretty fun to make because you could just have a conversation, there wasn’t much of a script to write or anything. We did have to do some research beforehand, but it was more of an outline of what we were going to talk about. I think the ideas that came from these conversations ended up being very interesting and answered the questions as well. I actually think that these podcast episodes are a great example of me using the Analyzing Texts competency, because in our episodes lots of the discussion points came from us sharing what we had learned about literary devices, language, context, and how they affect the reader/viewer.

While these podcast episodes were going on, we continued our other research on Shakespeare, reading through the whole play of Romeo and Juliet, watching different versions, and other stuff like that. We finished by taking what we had learned and writing about it in Milestone 3, which was about historical perspective and what we had seen from these different interpretations. I think this milestone was another example of a competency being used, this time the Take Historical Perspective competency. I think this because the milestone was mainly about taking historical perspective when looking at the different interpretations that were made.

After we had done all this research and reading on Shakespeare, it was time to put it to use. Because we, as a class, now had to write and preform our own version of Romeo and Juliet. Also, since we had been doing a lot of podcasting, it had to be presented as a radio play. We were split into four different groups to start production, and I got to be a member of the creative team.

We were mainly responsible for casting roles and giving ideas to the script and music teams. At first, the main thing we had to do was help the script team come up with ideas and ways to make the play more entertaining. We also had to help iron out a lot of kinks in the script and with the music team. I did this enough that I think it became of a good example of the Innovative Designer competency, because there were a few times where I came up with particularly creative solutions to problems we had.

But once the script was tweaked a bit it was looking pretty good. It was basically a class preforming Romeo and Juliet, so just the normal play but with commentary from some students and a teacher. It was also shortened quite a bit. At this point the next job for the creative team was to do casting.

Despite the shortened play, nearly everyone in the class would have a role, so it was pretty tough at first. But once smaller roles started to get filled in it got a lot easier. I even got myself a role with a decent amount of lines as the teacher. Before we preformed, we had to rehearse a lot and make some last minute changes. Unfortunately, my character got cut down to size, and ended up becoming the narrator for the intro, but overall I think the revised script was a big improvement. When it finally came time to preform, it went just as planned, and was a big success.

So overall, I definitely learned a lot from this project. I learned more about Shakespeare than I think I will ever need, I picked up some new podcasting skills, and it was fun watching those Romeo and Juliet adaptations (No Gnomeo and Juliet though.). I also learned what it’s like to cast people for roles, because I have only really done acting before, not casting. So yeah, that’s about it for this blog post, but make sure to stay tuned for more.

Preforming a Play

Hello and welcome back to another weekly blog post. This week, we are in the final stages of our Romeo and Juliet radio play. As a member of the creative team, I’ve done a lot of interesting things, like casting, helping out the script team, and eventually being a part of the play. Casting is quite interesting, because although I’ve done acting before, casting is completely new to me. It’s actually pretty difficult because you have to see who is better at what and if they can even do the part or not. It was also kind of weird casting myself, because I got a role as the narrator, who doesn’t have very many lines, but then again not many of our roles do. Our play is supposed to be less than 20 minutes total, so apart from Romeo and Juliet, everyone has relatively few lines. We had to cut a lot of stuff to get it to 20 minutes, and I was curious to see if anyone was able to do it shorter. In fact, I looked all over the internet, but the shortest (serious) version I could find was 30 minutes long.

Will our PLP have the world record for shortest performance of Romeo and Juliet? Well, I guess we’ll all find out next week when we preform it. Until then, we have a lot more practice to do. And remember, I’m always making more blog posts, so stay tuned.