Intro to New Media Studies, Spring 2008

It’s Important to Me that You Know You are Free

April 9th, 2008 by · Comments Off on It’s Important to Me that You Know You are Free

 …and I’m not sure this “holding power” is a good thing. It’s too easy for people to get locked into video games, even if they get there by their own volition.

While Turkle’s essay is interesting to me in that it goes into more detail as to why some people are drawn intensely to video games, I don’t find myself convinced that they are comparable in worth to (or rather, are adequate substitutes for) other recreational activities, specifically sports and other more traditional form of gaming. In fact, a number of the reasons/ anecdotes that were used to evidence the positive ‘holding power’ of games appeared to me to be demonstrating, instead, the negative consequences of this holding power.

The first of these involves Marty, the economist. Turkle writes

“Video games allow Marty to feel swept away and in control, to have complete power and yet lose himself in something outside. The games combine a feeling of omnipotence and possession- they are a place for manipulation and surrender.”

How Marty uses video games is all too reminiscent of more traditional forms of addiction. I don’t think that separating one’s life into such distinct areas (neurotic Marty v.  empowered Marty) is healthy, especially if that empowerment is false and is not applied to aspects of his life that do not involve video games.

I have a similar problem with the way Jimmy uses video games:

“Jimmy doesn’t think of the game in terms of losing or winning. ‘For me the game is to see how long I can be perfect. Every day I try to be perfect for ten minutes longer.’”

Jimmy feels insecure and uncomfortable in public. Isolating himself from a world which he can not relate to places him in even more of a position as an outsider. Even if he physically cannot participate in sports, he can still try to interact more with others. I can see no way in which playing video games alone is going to help him come to terms with either the reality of society or his place in it. Instead, video games appear to be polarizing his life, as was the case with Marty.

Finally, Turkle writes about David, the lawyer:

“David likes video games when they can serve as the perfect mirror, the perfect measure of who he is…He wants reassurance that he can handle things. The games are his test.”

Testing hand-eye coordination? Check. Adapting to levels? Check. Ability to handle a wife and kids? Check…what?! I have a hard time understanding how video games are a good measure of what one is able to handle/ accomplish in one’s life.

However, I can see how video games have a place in our society, and how they have the potential to be beneficial. Although in these cases that Turkle writes about, I notice more their potential for misuse. This is not to say that this latter potential is not present in other human activities, such as the sports I mentioned earlier (unhealthy competition, use of steroids), but I do feel that it is best to not “wall the world out” (Marty’s words).  

Original post by grace

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Reflections on New Media

April 9th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Reflections on New Media

So I’ve been thinking about this class a lot and how it’s changed my views on new media and the internet and how I feel about the way all of it is changing our society. In some ways, I am completely astonished by these new developments in technology and how they make things so much easier and faster for us. But in other ways, I’m scared of it all. I’m scared of the directions it’s taking us- with child predators and identity theft and internet addictions, there are so many negatives that come along with these seemingly amazing advancements. Sometimes I wish I lived back in the days before technology– before television and computers and video games. People interacted face-to-face more, people were outside more, things were generally simpler. I guess I’m just old-fashioned but I like to think there’s an important element to that life of simplicity that we’re lacking today…

Then again, it’s pretty cool to be able to send an e-mail to your uncle in India and have him respond within the hour. It’s amazing to reconnect with your best friend from 3rd grade after not having talked to her in over 10 years. There are certainly things about the internet that I’ve gotten attached to and that my life would be very different without but I think I might be okay if all of it were removed.

I know that’s not possible and that things will just get more technological and new media-based and I’ll probably continue to get overwhelmed with the whole thing, but at least I’ve come to be able to have some honest thoughts about this new media phenomenon that I hadn’t really spent time with before. I don’t know what the point of this whole post is or if anyone will really care but I just thought I’d reflect on what this class has done for me…

Original post by etimberlake

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April 9th, 2008 by · Comments Off on ENDBEGINENDENDBEGIN

let’s start with the introduction.  in the further reading it lists Google.  like the site.  like the portal to all knowledge which we hope to find on this here box.  i thought that was funny and i thought it went along with the article itself.  this article, while it was jargon filled and technocentric to the max, is very simple.  it clearly explains what the internet is and how it does what it does.  nothing really fancy, i mean it abstained from going over all of html with us but that is certainly not necessary in explaining the mainframe premise of the internet.  but that is the beautiful essence of the internet, SIMPLICITY.  it is a tool, just like how google is a tool for the internet.  both the internet and google can do an astounding amount of things; however, it can do nothing and will remain simple without the interaction of a complex, thinking human.  just like the pen that can write anything and everything, it is simple and remains simple without a body to put it to work.  the computer should just be called ULTIMATE POTENTIAL.

just like all the other articles this one was right on the money with its predictions for the future.  one of the things that it really brought to light was how the direction that the internet was going was the direction of the COMMERCIAL.  perhaps that is why the internet has stayed simple, even simple for the internet.  if everything was on a truly abstract and academic level then it couldnt do well commercially.  just think about books.  how many books, written by that simple but awesome tool the pen (or now the word processor) have to do with truly academic, intellectual, analytically augmenting topics.  certainly not all and perhaps even not most.  everyone isnt a programmer and the computer is not forced upon the public as a tool for programming.  it is forced on us as a tool for communication.  the introduction said that the most used function on the internet is email.  and what is commercialism, oh just the communication of dollars and cents.  just like the pen, most people dont use writing utensils to manufacture great novels, they use them for shopping lists and signing checks and doodling.

luckily.  there is hope.  the computer offers us inspiration on an unprecedented level.  just by using something like second life, or even just hearing about it, we cannot help but ponder its ramifications or its implications.  maybe people spoke the same way in the time of gutenburg.  but by hope i mean that the internet grows, and web 2.0 is happening, and media isnt dying.  in small villages in thailand everyone uses solar panels and you can bet your ass that an internet cafe is near by.  people are getting a chance to use this amazing technology and they are being made aware of the building blocks that  that make it up.   we are the creative ingenious information providers and we ARE A VERY EXCITING FUTURE.

Original post by adamreadwrite

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New Media Studies on Wikipedia

April 9th, 2008 by · Comments Off on New Media Studies on Wikipedia

After class on Monday, I worked on adding content to the Wikipedia article on “New Media Studies” started by Dr. Campbell during class. I knew nothing about the mechanics of Wikipedia until this week, and have learned so much in a few days! You will see that I only added a few sentences, but it took a long time to go through the tutorials and templates to learn how to add links, cite sources, and about editing protocols. I’m sure it becomes second-hand after a while, but I am still extremely impressed by the time people put in.

Original post by eliz1

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The Future

April 9th, 2008 by Alyssa Johnson · Comments Off on The Future

Tim Berners-Lee’s article, “The World-Wide Web,”  has a great section that was interesting to read- entitled The Future.  What was under it?? “Hypertext editors allowing nonexpert users to make hypertext links to organize published information.  This will bring the goal of computer-supported collaboration closer, with front-end update, and annotation…” Sounds a lot like Wikipedia now.  Or how about, “Conventions on the Internet for charging and commercial use to allow direct access to for-profit services.” Remind you of Ebay, Paypal, Amazon, basically any site out there today?” Reading articles like this really makes you wonder what is in store for the future, our future.  If what was written in 1994 has evolved, I wonder where our internet will be in another ten years. What will we be able to do, to expand on? I’m especially interested in where we will go with communication technology.  The World Wide Web is described as allowing one to “find anything that is “out there…” so where will we go from here?

Original post by kateh

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I don’t like, nor do I trust, anything I’ve ever read on the internet

April 9th, 2008 by · Comments Off on I don’t like, nor do I trust, anything I’ve ever read on the internet

And so here we are with the LAST ASSIGNED READING. This fills me more with fear than sadness because it means that I need to really get in gear on this wacky final project that I’ve heard bandied about.

Once again, and even more so than last reading, I feel that this reading is there merely to serve a symbolic hole. Ah ha! The book says to us! You have hit the end and now here is an old explanation on the world wide web, how quaint, you can fill in the rest yourself with THE INTERNET’S AMAZING POWERS. It is a dry article that doesn’t seem to push any philosophy or anything, it just presents us with some basic history on where all this came from and a simple rundown on how it works. I suppose among the things that I didn’t know about was the gopher protocol, but according to wikipedia, we don’t need to know about that since its not used anymore. So there.

We are presented though with some brief ideas as to where the future will take us, and one of the more telling signs is a note on creating something that people can easily make their own websites where they could link all their stuff from. Here we are a decade and a half later and everyone in the class has one of these magic online platforms that does all the work for us online and automagically requires very little in the way of work. In fact, for those of you who have to install the damn things on their servers, they’ll realize that even THAT is pretty simple (though playing around with databases is kind of a pain in the ass sometimes, oh well).

I think that we don’t really appreciate how important hyperlinks are. I didn’t. This book really nails the damn thing home though, from that silly old memex that everyone got all excited about. Blogs, the biggest blogs we got, aren’t anything but blurbs with a link on the end linking to something else. All the websites on earth are just a series of doors leading to other doors, information nesting to information nesting to further information. All the bullroar about a 3D webclient, we didn’t need take into it. There may still be Second Life and mmorpgs, but our web is this, the words on the screen, occasionally blue with a line under it. If its anything that this class taught me is how massively and extremely important those little doors are.

Original post by crowtrobot

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“A Vision of Students Today”

April 9th, 2008 by econway8 · Comments Off on “A Vision of Students Today”

The You Tube video entitled “A Vision of Students Today” really angered me to say the least. As I expressed in class, I do have sympathy for students that are going through school and will come out significantly in debt. Debt is something someone of our age group should never face. However, if you are going into debt and spending so much of your own money why would you not want to get the most for your money. It seems ridiculous to have to pay off 20,000 dollars of debt for absolutely nothing. Instead of feeling sorry for or worried for the state of education today, when the students held up signs that so few teachers knew their names, or that they only read some of their books, or only attend some of their classes, I actually got mad at the students. The state of education today is receiving such a bad reputation not because the system is outdated but rather because of the lack of drive many students are showing. Education used to be a privilege, and it still should be, so people strove to achieve it. Whereas, now it is just ordinary, hence so many advanced degrees needed to actually get a job. New technologies are not the answer. New systems of learning are not the answer. Successful education did and always will lie within the student. It is the students responsibility to gain as much knowledge as he or she can or wants to out of the education system. If they strive to learn more than go out and find it – it truly is as simple as that.

Original post by econway8

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Finally a map of the Intarwebs.

April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Finally a map of the Intarwebs.

Found this a few days ago, thought that it was pretty cool. Its a map made based on user activity and total traffic. I got a good laugh out of it.

I myself am a pirate of the sea of meme. Thar be no bandwidth in the waters of UMW. Arr.

Original post by mpena

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April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on

I invite all of you to go to this site and watch this. its only 20 minutes, extremely informative and fascinating. its about the environment and before you decide to ignore this, it is not fanatical or absurd like a lot of tree hugger/environmentalist stuff can be.

I am interested to see how the method of presentation in “the story of stuff” has on people other than my self. I found it VERY simple, but VERY effective. it is a sharp contrast to the bombardment of media/text/images/sound we usually receive nowadays from computers/Web, television, etc.  However, I am sure the people who made the video have done much research on the best way to win people over through compelling advertising (even though this site is advertising a cause not a thing) and maybe they are pulling the wool over my eyes through their unique and simple way of presentation but i was won over just the same.  in such a complicated, busy world, this presentation was the breathe of fresh air that the host calls for.

Original post by Anika

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Got Games?

April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Got Games?

So I really enjoyed reading some of these blogs and I decided to hop on in and give some of my own thoughts… As for the pros and cons of video games, I have to admit that I’ve seen the best and worst of it at home. My younger brother who is 16 has been addicted to playing video games for a few years now to the real dismay of my parents. I’ve heard very often that it is just because he is a boy that games affect him so much and it is the reason he is failing his education but doing extremely well on his xbox 360. My parents have tried A LOT, Austin (brother) hasn’t had his computer for more than a year and a half and during the school year he only gets an hour a day. However, my parents aren’t very strict about it so he usually gets a couple more hours on it every night. I don’t know what they are thinking…he spends 1-3 hours an evening on the xbox and no time whatsoever on homework (at least that anyone has ever seen). His excuse is that he doesn’t have any homework…which is such B.S. but I am not the parent so I just try to give him my advice and watch him as he continues to fail highschool. This is what I call the worst of video games, the con if you will. My brother is a boy, so granted he may be predisposed to not paying attention in school; however, I really think that the virtual world has corrupted him. I am not opposed to video games, but I do think that they are a bit addictive (biological reasons) and should be controlled. Video games do not become a problem for people with self-discipline yet how should anyone expect every young person be responsible to handle it. I definitely would never be caught arguing that playing video games is the same as watching television. As an English major I could just focus on the verbs describing each activity. Watching television is a passive activity that requires nothing other than comprehending what it is you are viewing. Playing video games is active and requires interaction on the part of the player. I think that video games, even the simple ones, are able to train the brain to be better with many skills…analytical, coordination, creativity, etc.  **Let’s not forget though that these skills should not take the place of living in reality! (yeah Austin!) ** I thought the story of the older man that goes to an arcade to unwind after work was interesting. I think that can be a good thing and things can be done to make it better. For instance, if the man has a job which he feels under-appreciated or hates his job (etc) then taking out his frustrations or anger by killing villains in a game is A LOT better than taking it out on his family. The way to make his technique even better would be to maybe get a game console for the home and make it a social release as well. Then he could play with his family and make everyone feel involved and accomplish: enhancing relationships and releasing frustration/anger. (YAY). Nothing is worse than an overworked parent whose crap colored aura is ruining everything.

At the end of the day, I think there are many benefits of video games. Also, we have to be careful with how much we allow ourselves to be trapped in the virtual world.

Original post by Jacqui

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Google Scholar!

April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Google Scholar!

How sick is it that if you forget your book, you can google scholar it.  Amazing!!  Why even buy textbooks anymore if you can get every single page online?  I for one, would rather have the book because reading tons of pages online gives me a headache but I’m sure not everyone is like that.  There’s a lot of money to be saved here.

Original post by ghart

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Response to Turkel

April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Response to Turkel

Turkel argues that many people compare video games to television, categorizing both as “mindless addictions.” She differentiates between the two, highlighting the fact that television is something you watch, whereas video games are something you do. The article points out the complex skills and strategies that video games require, and addresses the ways in which playing video games are valuable. For children, Turkel explains, the simulated world of video games serve as a bridge to new worlds and to the larger computer culture. Turkel recognized the negatives of video games: “[f]or many people, what is being pursued in the video game is not just a score, but an altered state” (509).


However, the dangers of video games have become more recognized since the publication of Turkel’s article in 1984. Video games have become increasingly sophisticated, and advances in graphics and animation make it even more likely to blur the lines between reality and the gaming world. McLuhan stated: “[t]he effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance” (207). The negative effects of video games, particularly on children whose brain patterns are still developing, needs careful consideration.

Original post by eliz1

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[insert witty subject line about video games]

April 8th, 2008 by gardnercampbell · Comments Off on [insert witty subject line about video games]

I’m not sure why I’m blogging so late at night, so I apologize for any incoherence. (Actually, it’s because I’ve been busy knitting a skirt out of plastic bags. Which, yes, is for an actual grade in an actual class.)

Anyway, I was (as some others have done) going to talk a bit about how I feel about video games. Or how I felt, and then ended up questioning that feeling after the reading.

I really have never been much of a video game person, honestly. My favorite video game is eighteen-wheeler truck racing. I’ve never gotten farther than level two on anything. So, clearly, not a huge gamer. And since I grew up in a house that didn’t have them until my brother bought a Gamecube a few years ago, I grew up feeling that there were so many more interesting things to do with your time. Like others in our class, I advocate going outside, interacting on a non-virtual level, etc, etc, but then the reading gave me the idea of video games as, well, interactive literature, to simplify and summarize. And now what am I supposed to think? I advocate interaction. I advocate losing yourself in a book. Or a movie, because, honestly, I can lose myself in “Casablanca” every time I watch it, as cliched as that may sound. So how can I really argue against losing yourself in an interactive film?

Maybe it’s the high-score, beat-the-level aspect, which triggers an addictive/competitive thing that still makes me a bit leery. Maybe it’s the fact that a game takes so much longer than a movie. Maybe it’s the kids who lose sleep or the people who shell out large amounts of money the second a new game or a new system comes out.

Or maybe it’s just sour grapes, because, after all, I’m the person who can never get past the second level.

Original post by Alyssa Johnson

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I’m an old man who plays video games.

April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on I’m an old man who plays video games.

Seems the textbook has once again wandered into the Areas of my Expertise.


Easy mode: Stop now

Hard Mode: Read half.

Nightmare mode: Read all and comment.

“She neither claims nor manifests enjoyment in any simple sense. one is inclined to say she is more “possesed” by the game than playing it.”

WORLD OF WARCRAFT *cough* I loved WoW. It was great when i was sick for 2 weeks with the flu and couldn’t do anything but left and right click. However any other time, its a chore. It seems that gaming today has evolved into some sort of super-skill based system. WoW has you level up for at least a week (powerleveling max speed), and most of that is needless grinding mobs (Killing monsters) or stupid quests. To say you like leveling characters to 70 in WoW is like saying you love doing accounting for a large corporation, and when you’re done, you do it again except this time Fire spec’d.

As far as other games go, guitar hero, Super Smash Bros. and guilty gear come to mind as games that I need to train at and play daily to keep my skills and hone new ones. I love the games, but after playig for 8 hours straight it just feels like repetitive work that needs to be done. If i don’t finish my work i’ll be destroyed at conventions by people who spent more time on the game than i did.

The addiction part of it really comes into play as i’ve seen people quit their jobs, not go to class, and even sell their bikes to keep playing WoW. There’s been reports from the east coast about families that have forsaken their children to raid and keep playing. It’s almost sad how people get addicted to things nowadays.

Now the second paragraph.

“A world you enter”

Second life, as much as i hate to even put it in this post (Sorry Dr. C), is something of an escapist game. It lets you be whatever, whoever, whenever , wherever you want to be with any new intention or feeling you want at that given time. A middle aged house wife in Utah could be a 27 year old girl traveling in a virtual japan landscape. However this leads to the obvious (Sorry Dr. C) bastardization and emergent sex that the intarwebs are so famous for, and i’ll save you all that page and a half of research.

As far as WoW goes, i have much further experience with that, and i really think that having avatars that aren’t human really opens up a whole new world of understanding and community. I was in a guild where we just had fun most of the time, and it was suggested we get on Ventrilo, a sort of voice based communication system. It was then i found out, as did they really, that our guild leader was a 40 year old married woman, the second in command was a 10th grader, and i was a freshman in college. Hiding behing different avatars with ageless features leaves alot *OUT* of community, and sometimes thats a good thing. I’ve really never wanted to go back on Vent again.

There was a game that launched with the Nintendo Gamecube, Super Smash Brothers Melee. I would go as far as to call this my generations pac-man. I know all of my friends played it, and every person i’ve met has their own style of play. Now it was mostly PvP (player versus player), and people tore apart this game. I mean they went into the wiring and found exploit after exploit. They slowed it down and found “Oh at frame 32 of this attack he’s invincible”. People are so intense and adamant about their favorite characters, and so engrossed in advanced techniques that the game has split into two factions. Pro’s and casual gamers. Pro’s use advanced techniques that require almost inhuman fingers to pull off, tapping a button so lightly and then flicking the control stick back and forth. It’s almost an art. Nintendo recognized this fan base, and even went as far as to delay the sequel almost 2 years to perfect it. This was a cult following, and Brawl, the sequel, was to be called the Wii’s first Killer App.

(Yeah sure we can go and say that wii sports is special and everyone plays it… but really… You go play wii baseball and tell me that theres some skill in the pitching, and if you make a sound arguement i’ll bake you a cookie)

As far as the pinball dance… i can definetly say that i myself will shake a controller when i’m playing a game, to try and make it move more. Pitching the controller down never makes your plane go down (Shhh… no flight games on the wii yet that i care about), and even though i know it i still continue to do it.

It was always a goal to get to the top of videogames back in the day. I can remember going to arcades with my friends and playing Time Crisis 3 for hours until we beat it and go the high score, no matter how many quarters we spent. Seeing “MP3″ at the top of the list was always such an amazing feeling. Knowing every kid who got beaten by the machine would see my intials at the top, its exhilarating.

I remember the good old days of computing. Back on windows 95 and windows 3.1. The best were the old conventions. I remember going once and getting a floppy. Thats right. A Floppy. It had a modified version of Doom, where all the enemies were replaced by sprites of Barney the Dinosaur. And god knows having a younger sister who watched that purple menace everyday i held a little bit of resentment twoards him. Can’t really do that anymore, thank god for Garry’s Mod, even though people don’t make games like that anymore. There was a game called “The specialist”, based of the amazing Half Life engine. Though after a little bit Valve actually aquired it, and took it over. I miss those days.

So you know mario right? Nintendo’s mario? Y’know why he looks like he does? Back in the day the graphical restraints for the first game he debuted in, he was given a moustache to seperate his nose from his face, overalls so arm movements were visible, and a hat because hair was hard to draw.

And Joust was stupid.

Oh he did not just bring D&D into this… D&D is pretty much the neanderthal of modern RPGs. Be it a direct port like baldur’s gate, or Diablo, or a more complex system like Kotor, D&D changed the face of gaming forever. Hell, i’m playing a second edition game right now, (Priests FTW). Originally it spawned MUDs and text based games, really simple ones with really simple rules. The good old ones. Makes me feel so old. When trees were just ASCII art made of T’s…

It really was a problem about open endedness and replayability back in the day. But in todays 80+ hour RPGs, with hundreds of sidequests and solar systems of places you haven’t been, its almost assured that an A-rank game will provide you with near endless gaming fun. Under my bed right now is a SNES. Along with it i keep the 3 best games of all time, in my humble opinion. Earthbound, Final Fantasy 3, and Chrono Trigger. The best RPGs and games, save for maybe Final Fantasy 7. These games i can repla endlessly. Chrono trigger is also the only medium that i’ve found that can correctly do time travel. Prove me wrong english majors. I will defend that statement till death.

Oh theres gonna be more. Its just that spending the last three hours switching between reading the text, writing this monstrocity, drinking red bull and training my pokemon has gotten me a bit tired. I can tell you for certain that video games adversely affect your sleeping habits, and man stat based games make working out so hard. I wish i could just dump all my points in STR and INT and just never get fat and get A’s.


Original post by mpena

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Video Games and Computer Holding Power

April 8th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Video Games and Computer Holding Power

As many of my classmates have pointed out already, Sherry Turkle brings up many apparent pros of videogames that I had never given any credit to. The idea of videogames as meditation, control, mental cleansing, etc., all seemed plausible. Ok, kind of. Somehow to my mind, it was ok when the disabled boy played videogames so he could forget his body’s imprefections. However, the part about the man who must stop by the arcade for 1-2 hours before coming home really seemed strange.

When I’m at work it’s not really my picture. When I get home it is my picture again. And after I play I can go back and share me. So, sometimes the games are a preparation for getting out and being aggressive in the rest of my life, and sometimes they are there for, um, getting bck into my own video game.

I mean at least he isn’t having an affair right? Haha. I could be wrong, but if my hypothetical husband was coming home late every night, and giving me that bizarre spiel, I would sort of take it as a sin of mental weakness, honestly. Why can’t you unwind by listening to the radio in the car on the way home like normal people? I feel like this man, along with the kids in the story, talk about video games as a kind of opiate almost. It just sets off red flags when people become so consumed with anything, claiming they NEED it.

Original post by Gwen

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Video Games and Zen

April 7th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Video Games and Zen

I think the connection that the older gamers had in the article the Zen and meditation practice was fascinating.  I’m very interested in meditation and the practice of centering and process-realizing.  I never really considered the ability of intense gaming to take the user to a meditative state.


Part of me thinks that this type of effect is only really possible in the older games (the games that the users in the article were playing).  Today’s games are more obsessed with graphics and interweaving story-lines, rather than the more simplistic, rules-driven gameplay and mechanics of the 1980’s videogames.


The users who achieved the meditative state are somehow missing a lot of the point of meditation and Zen practice.  As long as your source of centering and focus comes form an external source, you will always be bound and constrained by the possibilities and thus limitations of your source.


However, if your source of centering and calming is the self (as in many meditative practices), you need not rely on a plastic box of electrical parts, but rather your flesh box of electrical parts.  Meditation is also a practice which can (and should) be integrated into many parts of your day.  If video games were to be integrated to that point, I feel they would lose any meditative value at all and would just become habit.


I’m glad to hear that the 20 and 30 year-olds in the article are enjoying their gaming.  I just hope that they realize that video games is a shortcut to a Zen state which will ultimately dead end and grow tiring.

Original post by jeffzeiders

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The Video Game Let-Down

April 7th, 2008 by · Comments Off on The Video Game Let-Down

I thought Turkle’s article about video games was really interesting, I have never thought about the psychology behind these games and why they become so addicting for people. I know that the video game industry is HUGE and there is a ton of money to be made off of gamers these days– I have a few friends who are definitely hooked on video games, always buying the latest ones as soon as they come out, they have all the systems, all the newest accessories, etc…I can kind of understand the addicting qualities of video games, the gamer’s ability to essentially get lost in another world, completely immersed, and control the outcome of the game– a certain power comes with gaming.

One of the most interesting parts of Turkle’s article for me was a quote from Jarish about the contrast between video games and real life and how he feels after finishing a game:

“You feel sort of cut off. When I play the game, I start getting into it, and you start taking the role of the person…and then the game ends. And you have just put all of your energy into it. It doesn’t make me angry, more like depressed. You walk out of the arcade and it’s a different world. Nothing that you can control.”

He’s describing the sort of video game hangover…there’s a certain disorientation one feels after immersing yourself in a video game for a length of time. When you go out into the real world afterwards, you feel kind of let-down. You are no longer able to control what goes on around you and you are no longer highly stimulated by the action on the screen. It’s easy to see how people can get so addicted to those feelings of control and excitement that video games allow. But addiction comes with a price! $$$$ (and sometimes a loss of friends…)

Original post by etimberlake

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Video Games in 1984…

April 7th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Video Games in 1984…

Turkle’s article made me think of a million different things. First, I had no idea that Space Wars was the first video game. I always thought it was Pong. Obviously, Pong was the first video game to be mass marketed, but hey, I learned something new! Second, the constant involvement of video games, while at the time unacknowledged, is obvious to me as a psychology student. Kids with ADHD have trouble focusing on things like school (slower paced) while they can sit for hours playing video games. If these games were static, there is no way a kid would sit still for that long. And now for the heart of my thoughts on gaming…I’m scared for our future. If these kids are getting involved to the point of feeling that they enter into a world more real than the tangible, what does that leave for the Earth? Meeting people in a game, destroying a monster, saving a princess cannot substitute for human interaction, facing ones demons, or falling in love. At some point, you’ve got to differentiate between the game world and the real world…or else you become Neo choosing between the red and blue pills. If everyone becomes a philosopher, who is left to do anything else?

Original post by asteele

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Games are for children

April 7th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Games are for children

One thing I noticed about this article, though I guess it was appropriate for 1984, was that the author kept bashing pinball. Better than pinball this, video games do it better than pinball that. Well its because of jerks like her that we don’t have pinball anymore. Well, that and the fact that they’re extremely easy to break, wildly expensive to maintain, and not really that much popular. But frankly, the games that Turkle is talking about don’t really exist anymore. Well, not entirely. But this is a clearly dated piece, and unlike many of the other articles that we’ve read so far it hasn’t really come out to state something far reaching (or wildly incorrect) as much as its cool to read a scholarly text on video games. But having been someone who has read a bunch of them, a decided meh from this direction.

About the games that don’t really exist anymore, at the very end of the reading, she speaks of David, who makes the clear point about these eighties video games that they’re very simple and exactly what they are. Asteroids, Pac-Man, Missile Command, you name it, they are games that are a constant challenge, and the only challenge is more of the challenge that you’re facing. Arcade games, Atari 2600 games (and games of that generation, including from stuff like the Intellivision and the Coleco), and even NES games (throwbacks to this genre existed in every following generation, but it was no longer the norm), were all about that. You could make the argument that games are pretty much all the same with a lot of sexy new graphics. I probably would, but it’d deflate my argument and I’ve already written so many words. We see, though, that there are games that go further to recreate the DnD experience that was spoken of, more so rather than the arcade-zen experience.

Actually, now that I think about it, there’s all those rhythm games, and those are pretty much exactly along those lines of the zen thing. And that massive genre of puzzle games that is similar. And retro stuff like Geometry Wars. Still though, I’m going to make the argument that the main thrust of gaming right now is moving in a direction away from what he was saying, especially because there’s a huge difference between arcade games and games that run on your home system. An arcade game was designed specifically to swallow your quarters, and thusly the difficulty curve would usually let you get maybe one level in before it beat the poo out of you. With home systems, we’ve already made the investment by the time the game is sitting inside our respective console (or souped up PC). The mainstream gamers (which has moved away from a hardcore group of masochists, which is perfectly fine by me) so unless you’re playing a game that’s designed to be a throwback to that, almost every game now doesn’t offer much in the way of huge difficulty in the way that there will always be the existential dilemma (I was actually writing a short story about this) of the fact that you will always lose no matter what. Part of that was something that made those arcade games work.

If you want to watch a further discussion of some aspects of the difference between this classic era of arcade games versus us soft mushy people that need to “win” games to have our fragile self esteems held up by garish colored lights and fancy textures, I’d recommend renting the excellent documentary The King of Kong. Look it up, you lazy bump, I’m not going to relate the plot since people have done better on this internet, but I will say that there is some talk about what makes games of that era way different than what we see now. Its also really funny, and about way more than video games.

Original post by crowtrobot

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April 7th, 2008 by · Comments Off on RULESRULE

“you can postulate anything, but once the rules of the system have been defined they must be adhered to scurpulously. suuch are the rules for creating ‘rule governed worlds.’”

now let’s talk about this for a second.  i am fascinated by rules.  especially these types of “rules”.  the computer has rules just like everything but these rules can be created so that the rules themselves follow rules.  oh the random number generator.  its a rule but its unpredictable. it sets boundaries but those boundaries shift.  in the piece that i posted recently, Variations II, this same sort of rule dilemma came up.  In Variations II you are given transparent pieces of paper with lines and dots on them and are told to make measurements that will give you readings for all sonic parameters; however, exactly how to measure the lines and dots (other then being told to measure the perpendiculars drawn from the dots to the lines) and what exactly to do with these measurements, is uncertain.  Now these are some rules that i like.  You are still bound to the contexts of reality, and the context of the composer (john cage), and the context of your ability, and your imagination, and the natural properties of sound etc etc. rules exist but these rules allow for the expansion of the mind.  as john cage also said (ill paraphrase) the best way to get ideas is to make whatever you are doing boring.

The lawyer david liked “boring” games because they stimulated him more.  they were the most existentially engaging.  isn’t that the same thing as the most complex games, the games that devour your brain the most by having complex rules and worlds and stories and atmospheric properties?   the same rules exist for us in computers as they do in the real world.  computers are part of the real world and they are only extensions of ourselves, they are the mirrors that turkle was talking about; therefore, these natural boundaries will always exist because we can only go as far as we can go.  what this really means is that all experiences towards technology are relative.  jarish needs to experience technology in his way which is completely different from the way that david needs to experience it.  in the end technology is only so much a tool as our opposable thumb, we use it as it is applicable to our lives.  in my own opinion i think that the complex world is probably better suited for everyone because that is how things actually are.  logic is easily masked as illogic and the harmony of nature seems completely irrational.  can we not see how closely related these are.  the rules and the no rules.  we will find a way to stimulate everything with what it is we have.  then we get exhausted. then we take a break by finding new ways to stimulate what are practically the same thing.  we use this technology as a religion and a vice.  to soothe our aching mind I MEAN HOW COOL IS IT THAT DAVID SWITCHED FROM TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION TO VIDEO GAMES HALLELUJAH!!!

Original post by adamreadwrite

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