I looked back to the first post for this course, I had a deep review toward those viewpoints that I made for video games and gamers. I do realize my attitude and views toward video games and gamers have changed throughout the process of this course. In my first post, I do make a relatively prejudiced judgment toward video game and gamers that I mentioned them as undesirable social group. But, I think I have the excuse for it as firstly, I never have immersed into any hardcore games. And secondly, I was just an “outsiders” who learn fragmented pieces of information from secondhand report materials, also failed to look at meanings of video games and controversies built around it in a comprehensive and coherent way.
Throughout time, I began to have sympathy toward video game industry and their consumers as I rarely find mass media out there that are accustomed to claim themselves neutral, offer impartial judgments and sensible description toward video games and gamers. The mainstream media continuous to devalued video game as only being a source of destruction threatening social well-being. It is true that video games caused addition and have the agency of violent. However, I think that mainstream media has been overweening and narrow-minded where most media materials including academic journals have coherently merely condemned video games and making biased judgments based on pre-constructed stereotype of gamers. I feel sorry for video games industry by some point in the way that if violence and addiction of kids are problems caused by video game, why there is rarely research on solution treating in response to that? For instance, someone from those mainstream media should address the issues with a neutral point of view and perhaps start working with school to teach kids the right attitude coping with this new exciting media form: video game. I think video games deserve more social respect and recognition. At least, media industry should view it without seeing it upon previous prejudiced judgments and continuously distort video games and gamers.
However, after this course has finished, I am still uncertain whether the mass popular culture has “othered” video game or the video game has other itself from the mainstream group due to its unique characteristics that distinct it away from others.
This week’s lectures have got me thinking into how video games and gamers have been addressed in mass popular culture. It is widely known that representation of games and gamers in popular culture has been controversial since video game itself has embroiled with a variety of concerns over race, ethics and social orders all the time. After seeing a number of extracts from films and TV series that contain portrayals of video games and gamers, the repetitive messages that passed onto me have reinforced the pre-constructed stereotype of video games, where gaming and gamers are seen as potential threats to social well-being and moral values that indecently alleged that people should all stay away from video game because it is simply destructive. For instance, in the extract of CSI Miami we saw in the lecture, a gunman who is addicted to violent gunshot games and replicated his virtual world experience by committed a serial gunshot incidents in his real-life. Video game is seen as a source of destruction that disorientates players’ state of mind causing them unable to distinguish between virtual world and reality. Also, in the other series of CSI New York, the stereotype of gamers is reinforced by depicted them as a disconnected and problematic social group in contrast to the self-righteous CSI people. These negative portrayals of video games and gamers have sufficiently indicated that mass popular culture is intolerant and disagreed to the fact that video game is part of it. This has also revealed that video game has yet received reasonable amount of recognition and respect from the public.
After playing Midas for a few rounds, I am confused and feeling frustrated as I have been stuck in the middle of nowhere.
The banner of the game at first says “she waits for you everyday”. The placement of a boy and a girl seperately on the two ends of the screen with blocks of baffles in-between has made me interpreted that my assigned role in the game is the boy and, the ’embedded narrative’ would be that I have to overcome all those setbacks in order to be with my girl. I started to move my ‘avatar’ up and down …and forward to cross those baffles. Eventually, the baffles became harder and harder to cross after a few rounds therefore, I finally realised that my own destiny that is, my ‘emergence narrative’ will be based on my ability to overcome those setbacks, which will determine how far I could get in this game.
Nevertheless, I was not able to immerse into that game as in the third round, I stuck myself in the middle of nowhere. I found difficult to cross the increasingly steeper baffles and I was trying to go back to make a new start. However, it appeared that the game is pre-constructed not allowing players to go back but pushing them to proceed based on their ability. As a result, I was trapped and have not got the ability to overcome those setbacks. This made me question myself and reconsider my initial purpose of playing game. “Why do I have to feel frustrated?” “ I supposed to relax when I play with games”. I said to myself.
This gaming experience reminds me that academic research we have been came across so far in this course often praise that the video games immersed players in to a “magical” virtual world where they can make their own choice, which granted players control over their decisions and outcome. However, my experience of playing Midas did not fit into this ideology. I find it frustrated in the way that I cannot go back to the beginning and have to take the responsibility of proceeding based on what I did. I do not feel like that I got the power to choose or take control of anything!! The game certainly has the agency of stress that make me want to stop playing, which leads back to my initial concern: if I cannot relax and enjoy myself, why bother to play that game?
Back in 1996 when I was three, my dad bought the first computer for our family. The computer was the newest model at that time that has a really thick monitor and a tall host. I had my first experience of playing computer game in 1997 when we had wired broadband at home. One impressive game I played is a spaceship themed 2D game that I got to use left and right keys on the keyboard to move my spaceship away from the space fire in order to survive and proceed to the next level. This experience gave me basic understanding of gaming in a virtual space, also a sense of competition and desire to conquer in video games.
However, I do not have much gaming experience with high tech. video games that have been technologically advanced rapidly from time to time and increasingly varied in forms in the recent decade. However, I have friends who are addicted to video games which I found influential in a way that led me to develop my own value and understanding toward computer game. I watched others playing video games and noticed their behaviors rather than actually playing them myself. Therefore, I would call myself an observer of video games and gamers. There has been a time that I could not understand why people are so attached to video games and I did have prejudice against heavy gamers on a certain extent. For instance, my previous flat-mate who is a heavy gamer used to roar loudly at night and woke up everyone in the house when he lost in a round. I used to think gamers are not socially attractive as all they care about is the game and they rarely want to consider anyone or anything other than it. However, this paper has provided me new insights that enabled me to look at video games and gamers from a different angle. I feel like I begin to understand the state of mind of gamers as we discussed a lot on agency in game this week in class. I learn that video games can provide gamers a sense of power that enables them to decide and drive their action. I reckoned that video games give players the feeling of empowerment and satisfaction as they can achieve targets or goals in the virtual world that can never be achieved in reality. I know there are still a lot of notions and concepts of video games that I yet to find out. I believe my value and viewpoints as an observer of video games and gamers will change by the end of this course. I am looking toward learning more aspects of video game and its culture as well as the game industry throughout the semester.