Archive for December 9, 2010

Blog post of my choice

We need to talk about video games at Pitzer.

Absolutely, its imperative.

No longer should it be sufficient to only saunter in and out books and movies. Now there is a medium that forces us to participate! Video games don’t operate without explicit consent. More to the point, the way in which they operate/ and to that degree whether or not it is a successful venture into a digital world is largely reliant on HOW the audience participates. Indeed, can we even call them an audience anymore?

Schell discusses in his famous ted talk the power of video games. He hints that their advancement of the punishment reward system is applicable to our most mundane accomplishments. He asks us to imagine what could happen if insurance companies adopted this same model. Imagine waking up after a solid night of sleep 8 POINTS! and than you brush your teeth 5 POINTS! and then some whole grains 25 POINTS!

And in this nature you could earn points for being healthy. And these points in a very visible way would accumulate and manifest a discount on your next insurance bill.

These are stakes present in the video game world. Sensors and measures of everything.

This abstraction of a modern video game point model has been contested. Some reason that it is only applicable to fun activities. What these critics fail to understand is that these point systems are already being applied outside the video game realm, however poorly (think airplane miles and credit card points). These point systems encourage consumption with a reward. What they neglect in the competition and social nature of point garnering. To be concise, these point accumulations values need a public setting to encourage persons to gather them.

Take farmville. It has more users than all of twitter. It costs 0 dollars to play and is poised to become the most profitable entity in all of existence. How? Well farmville lets players see how their friends are doing. In fact, viewing the status of other farms constitutes a large portion of the gameplay. The genius lies in the pay per upgrade model. Farmville lets users purchase “farmville cash” with real money. Now if you want to be better then your friends you don’t have to have the black VISA card. All you need is 20 dollars, a few extra cattle.

Now for the seemingly hard part.
How is this specific to Asian Americans in Media??

1) Video games often cross international hands. Video games have a much more diverse consumption rate and should be accountable to their depictions.

2) China has seen video games become so popular it’s had to establish bandwidth and time limits. Their workforce was losing productivity at an alarmingly rate. Interestingly enough this ban has been touted as LESS effective then bans on missing work/having children. The Chinese gamer culture takes its video games seriously!

4) Japan and South Korea treat the most talented of their videogame players to award shows, 6/7 figure contracts. These persons are icons and wield as much power as other celebrities.

5) This media is wholly engrossing, and racialized depictions the user is forced to interact and interpret. In some cases these depictions could betray you, kill you, or fall in love with you….

Just imagine the conditioning possible.
I mean I’ll never trust blue people and that’s only because of RISK.

—-Ryan Hyman

December 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment


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