CP470 VGT SU14 Week2m2

After reading chapter 3 and combined with your knowledge of video games, how would you define games and game play?

What would a formalist analysis of your favorite game look like?

17 thoughts on “CP470 VGT SU14 Week2m2

  1. Aaron Miller

    Chapter 4: I feel that MMORPG’s have become even more insanely popular since this article was released and would have loved to see what the author had to say about games like World of Warcraft, which has a very intense fan base. I agree though that avatars on these games are more of a true reflection of how a person sees themselves than the version they portray to the world. In the real world we have so many limitations and have to wear so many different hats that it is difficult for someone to sit down and decide what identity is really their true identity. However, in MMORPG’s, players are plopped into a world that is free of any standards of how you are supposed to act, and the player is free to look and behave however they see fit. This sort of anonymity is why the internet is the perfect outlet for people to show their true selves. Obviously no one can truly act on the identity they create on MMORPG’s because most of those games are fantasy and are only slightly modeled on the real world, but it is still an escape and an outlet for expressing yourself and I feel that has a lot to do with their intense popularity.

    Chapter 8: As a gay man myself I probably should have enjoyed this chapter more than I did. Part of me does not like articles like this that seem to find any chance they can to complain about not being visible enough. With the Sims I do find it problematic that gay sims must be created and are not naturally occuring, this creates an unconscious belief within the player that homosexuality is not something that is natural but something that can be changed. However, The Sims was originally designed to be a simulation of real life, and the fact that same sex couples cannot get married is a reflection of how the world was when The Sims 1 was released. In the Sims 2 same sex couples could form a “joined union” which is more like a civil union and in the Sims 3 they could get married. This progression throughout the different versions of the game just shows the progression that our society has made through the years. I feel the game is just adapting to the world around it and I think if it wants to most accurately depict real life it can’t have gay couples getting married in a game that was originally released in 2000.

    I did however find what she said about the erotic triangle to be interesting though, especially in how it usually excludes women and homosexual players. I had never quite thought about the reason for the love interest in the game but when you think about the relationship between the player and the lead character it makes sense why in a somewhat homophobic culture why that would be necessary. I just find it really upsetting that game designers would rather alienate any female or gay players than make a straight man feel like he has feelings for a male character. I think that a straight man’s ego could handle the blow of having a crush on a video game character.

    1. Ryan Freels

      Chapter 4: Agreed. Not only is it place where people build how they see themselves, but they are free of other judgments, either because it is with a clean slate in a new community, or people that our with them might take it as a game and not question much if the player deviates from their thoughts on them. I have to wonder though, with things such as cyberbullying, will the MMORPG’s continue to be this place? Or will it to become just like the public, with one being judged by vicious players, even ones that think of themselves as the norm, and left without a safe place?

      Chapter 8: I see your problems with The Sims argument. One could certainly pose the argument that creating gay marriage when it did not exist would be sugar coating the real world situation. I think we should have games that reflect what things should be and act as a safe place, but I also believe we should have games that remind us that what things should be have not yet happened. If these don’t exist, we might become inactive with social issues, thinking of fantasy and forgetting reality.

      Yeah, I completely agree that the constant “traditional romances” are really depressing. I would like to think indie games would open up a space where more people when beyond that, and some have, but a lot of people our holding on to a norm that is limiting and alienating people. Even the game Braid, which I have mentioned critiques male hero, still makes the male character the primary subject.

      1. Pepperz

        Ryan, your comment “One could certainly pose the argument that creating gay marriage when it did not exist would be sugar coating the real world situation. I think we should have games that reflect what things should be and act as a safe place, but I also believe we should have games that remind us that what things should be have not yet happened” reflects an ongoing debate in literature and other art forms in regard to the function of “literature”. Some maintain that literature ought to be nothing more than a mirror that reflect the realities of the actual world as close to a 1:1 ratio as possible while others advocate the position that literature ought to enhance, heighten, or improve upon life. Your discussion with Ryan shows the intersection of the debate about the role of reality, representation, fantasy, and most importantly, social responsibility in regard to gaming. Moreover, this conversation itself is evidence of the growing legitimacy of game studies as gaming appears to be taking a similar trajectory in its development as other artistic mediums before it such as cinema or comic books.

      2. Austin Bennett

        It’s not already a vicious place? Remember way back in middle school, with Runescape? Oooh boy…
        good points though, very well thought out response to the future of MMORPG’s, just wanted to say that before I wrote anything :]

    2. Parrish Colbert

      I agree with your response to chapter 8, I am not gay but if the game is Sims ( A simulation of life) I feel that category should be an option from jump. At the same time The Sims might have foundd this problematic in the past because homosexuality was less accepted. Hopefully now or in the next Sims they embed this feature automatically because I’m sure you aren’t the first or only one who feels the way you do.

  2. Ryan Freels

    The chapters complimented eachother rather well. Thinking about postmodernism in igital games identities and the forced norm of heterosexuality reflects the postmodern crisis of the forced heterosexual identity. Despite that we have multiple selves based on time, environment, social setting, etc., with out being fully developed but being in the contiuing state of modifying ourselves into who we are, we have this forced norm that is oppresive and absent of full reflection of humanity. Granted, there my be people at large that identify with the hegemonic heteronormative male, but that is a group that is already far more represented than thse that do not identify with it, and even people that identify with it can not be full expected to act under its norms. It is an abstract concept we can not expect people to follow.

    While it is by no means a complete fix. I wonder is the abstractl animated characters are a saving grace in these games. For arguments sake, lets say a heteronormative female is playing Super Mario Bros. Even is Mario is an man with a mustache, the straw woman in question might picture him as more feminine in gender, being there is so little to idenify with. Again, this is no fix, and the overall set-up I still believe is more supportive of traditional roles, in the games basic story, design, and game play. We know what it is supposed to be and thus it continues a patriarchal culture.

    I would like to add though that personality can make characters more relatable alog with physical abstracts. Example, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic does not force unrelatable notions of feminine beauty. Rather there designs are totally unrelatible, except in which design we might personally prefer and what to identify with (going back into the postmodern of us choosing our sense of self. That being said, when viewing the show, there strong sense of personality and interests puts males in a position to relate to them beyond the gender binary they are taught to believe in. For women, it depicts a female with interests without sexual objectification, something that is hard for them to receive. It also becomes something more than the feminine decoration many people wpuld see them as without identity.

  3. Natalie Masucci

    Coming from personal experience, I believe that the reading about MMORGS is out of date. Much like stated before, games such as World of Warcraft and Wildstar are so immensely popular amongst young people ,it can be seen as one of the futures of gaming. Yes, these characters do not reflect our true identities, but it is a nice escape from reality every once and a while. It is allowing a player to reflect a side of them they never knew that hide and cannot use in the real world. In my opinion, it can be a more healthy outlet to do this. The player can release their own creativity within these games as well which in itself is pretty cool.

    When it comes to sexuality in gaming, this is where I take a stand. I personally have never played a game that features a homosexual person as the lead playable character. I do understand that if you look back in history they were never even featured in games before and to now see them in games is a big step, but how is that even fair? Games often have a heterosexual male trying to rescue some damsel in distress ( another argument I will save to later in this discussion) with the same love story told over and over again, just in a different game . Developers might be scared from backlash from people who do not believe in gay rights and may stop there for those reasons. I understand that, but thats not acting fair at all.

    My biggest pet peeve within the gaming community, however, is how game developers can be so sexist. Just within the last month Ubisoft announced that they wouldn’t even set a playable female character in their new Assassin’s Creed game because “it will take too long to develop”. Personally I take this as a stab to women. Not many games out there even let you play as a woman within the game, and often if they do it is highly sexualized. This is allowing female gamers to lose their identities within the gaming community and within games. How is this like the real world at all? Being a female in a strongly male populated gaming industry really sucks because I get all these sexists jokes told to me based upon these games. If this sexist behavior is already affected how women are getting treated now, how much worse is it going to get?

    1. Ashley Cradeur

      Natalie I think you bring up a great point when it comes to how sexist video games are. In my post from Module 1 I talked about how many of the popular games on the market today embody the male power fantasy. The three most popular/ bestselling video games on the market are Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV), Call of Duty: Ghosts, and FIFA 2014, all of which fulfill the male power fantasy in one way or another. But what’s even more interesting is that according to Video Gamer Demographics 2013 (http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/esa_ef_2013.pdf) 45% of video game users are female, and this number keeps getting higher. I hope video games become more diverse because women are not the only under represented demographic. One of the reasons I think MMORPG’s have been and are still very popular is because these types of games allow under represented demographics to express their true selves in the gaming world which they are unable to do in other games.

  4. Parrish Colbert

    I agree, at first MMORPG’s were looked at as a nerdy platform and very complicated but as time has progressed they have been much more widely accepted in the modern gaming culture. Chapter 4 clarified for me that unlike other games that is stricken to a specific story or series of events MMORPGs give you more freedom to make your own choices that eventually changes you (your character) and the world around you. I feel as long as there is that connection between players there will be cyber bullying because that’s our world works and creating an avatar for yourself doesn’t really change that. Game companies have found ways to try to curve the bullying like being in safe mode or friendly mode where other players can’t harm you, but there are always ways around.

  5. Pepperz

    Miroslaw Filiciak’s article on hyper-identity focuses on MMORPGs as she argues these kind of games necessarily requires “interpersonal interaction” and “do not alienate” as MMORPGs are “the first interactive mass medium to unite entertainment and communication in one phenomenon” (Filiciak, 88). Though other games such as Sims that aren’t MMORPGs do allow one to construct an avatar identity to interact with the game, MMORPGs is special as the addition of a communicative element with “real” people produces the essential component to any identity–a social other to which to present an identity.

    Filiciak’s essay de-emphasizes the usual explanation of video games’ mass appeal and allure by pointing to escapism. Filiciak’s greatest achievement in her essay is to problematize escapism as an explanation for game appeal. She suggests instead that Baudrillard’s concept of hyper-reality may explain its widespread use. As a reaction against the “post modern lifestyle” which has obsoleted old, traditional social structures and their roles in identity formation, and instead, replaced the family and the traditional relationship with territory with a more fluid and fragmented experience, thus requiring the individual to more actively construct their identity. For Filiciak, one’s avatar identity on MMORPGs becomes more “real” than one’s actual identity. So for Filiciak, Videogame is not an escape from one’s identity, but rather a life boat, anchor, or perhaps umbilical cord to one’s reality and identity given the condition of consumer capitalism and the postmodern human condition.

  6. Jennifer Machura

    I really enjoyed these two chapters because it’s delving more into the sociological and psychological aspects of games. Chapter 4 reinforced conclusions that I have already drawn about MMORPG’s (such as the user and their avatar’s identity become one, with the user losing themselves by becoming submerged in the game). Along with Aaron Miller, I would be interested in what the author would say about the popularity explosion of World of Warcraft, as well as the users who are so enveloped in the game. It’s really become such a phenomenon and, although I have found myself pretty obsessed with other things, I don’t understand how a person could be addicted to a game. I remember watching the documentary Second Skin (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/second-skin/) and wondering how people could put their whole lives into something like that.

    Chapter 8 is very interesting to me because of the subject matter. I have always been intrigued by how gender is portrayed in video games, and this chapter brought to light a lot of things that I wasn’t aware of. I had never really read into how dominant heterosexuality is in games, and how to be heterosexual is to be “normal”. I thought about all the games I’ve played and all the games I’ve read about or watched others play, and I could not think of one main character who was gay. Maybe I’m missing something (I haven’t owned a console in years), but I could not think of one. I find it ridiculous. Just like how women are represented in video games. For the most part, it seems like they’re either passive flowers waiting to be rescued, or they’re smart, aggressive heroines….but they’re barely dressed. I realize this is old news and I know that the video gaming industry has to worry about their bottom line and everything, but it seems like by treating heterosexuality as the “regular” thing to be (and if you’re not, then you’re an outsider), they’re subconsciously hammering these assumptions into players’ heads.

  7. Garretkay Willis Bonner

    What I did think about both of these chapters is that were compliments and they were both based on a certain point. The idea behind being able to insert oneself into a game as an avatar and also how for the most part in both MMORPG games and something like Final Fantasy a person is given the right to step into the shows of a character and play out what they are going to do. Also comparing MMORPG games to the Sims it should be pointed out that some of the differences there is the Sims allows for the option of “playing God” where as in multiplayer you are one person watching the actions of other players not in your control. Otherwise another main difference is how they let you create your character the Sims can be someone as realistic as possible and MMORPG usually have fantasy characteristics. The gender issue is one that does leave room for thinking as the erotic triangle helped to point out who that though games can be rated broadly such as Everyone, Teen, etc. there is a specific audience that is actually intended to be behind the playable character.

  8. Clayton Goodman

    MMORPGs are much more than a game. They really are a place where people can come to connect with others in an environment that is open about being a game. If you have ever played one and looked at the open chat streams they rarely contain content about the game. Even though I have never really been caught by their pull, MMORPGs can be addicting. The player feels that if he is not online then he/she not with his friends (even though he/she might have never met them personally. I have known cases where the persons other self in the game is more tangent to their online friends than the reality of the person controlling that personality. Just as furries will merge with their other persona, virtual avatars are the heart and soul of the player. Not to mention this is a great scenario where men and women can throw off the shackles of their gender and live life as the opposite sex in a safe environment.
    Pepperz what about Animal Crossing? I have never played the game but I here that can have similar affects as an MMORPG. People tend to think of the animals as real people. However, New Leaf allows village visits from real people I suppose.

  9. Chelsea Spence

    For Chapter Four, I agree with what everyone has said above. I really would like to know what the author thinks of World of Warcraft, since it is so popular nowadays to even be referenced often in movies and popular TV shows, like The Big Bang Theory. Creating these characters can help express oneself, but also allow the person to be who they want to be.

    As for Chapter Eight, I would also like the author’s opinion on how Sims has developed from the first series to The Sims 3 or even The Sims 4. As Aaron has stated, although you couldn’t get married in the first one to another member of the same sex, in the second one you get get a joined union and in the third you can get married. I feel it really has changed due to the public’s acceptance of homosexuality, and although it is still not fully accepted, we are much closer to it than we were when the Sims started.

    1. Austin Bennett

      Can you marry same-sex in the sims now? That’s incredible if you can! I really liked what chapter 8 was saying with the notion that some male gamers choose to play as a female character so that they can desire a male character, if that is a facet within the game itself. I’ve just never thought of it that way. And I haven’t played too many games with typical heterosexual fantasy endings where the guy gets the girl, but I figured it is the vast majority. Anyone else know a game with homosexual themes? I can’t think of any :/

  10. Austin Bennett

    WE are making the Matrix. Instead of a curtain pulled over our eyes, we’re in the process of pulling it down over ourselves.
    MMORPG’s are becoming increasingly more immersive, and I know several people who are more comfortable participating in them than they are holding a conversation with someone in the real world (that’s such an odd thing to say to me). I’ve never played one outside of Runescape (bracing for impact), but even back then the politics and experience were incredible, even for a free game! I’d really love to start one btw, if anyone has any suggestions.
    But I like what was brought up in chapter 4 about the creation of an identity within these worlds, and an almost diminishing identity in the actual world. Paradoxical, the author called it. As I mentioned above, some people are more comfortable with a veil pulled over there lives where just their voice and actions can peek through. It begs many questions about reality and how some games can seem more desirable than the material world. Like Pandora, on Avatar. But that hype train has left the station, and I think we’re interested to see where it goes, but not dying to get back to it, unlike Azeroth.
    Didn’t know that the term or understanding of “self” is only 200 years old, and now some people are defining it by how they interact in another world. You ever see those World of Warcraft wedding photos? LOOK THEM UP NOW. Some people just can’t leave the digital world behind them. It’s a wonderful commentary on how incredibly sucked into it we’ve become, almost like a symbiotic relationship. It also comments on how they perceive themselves, or their identity, as part of simply a strain of digital information. I read today that a guy reached lvl 90 in WOW without choosing a side, which I heard is supposed to happen usually around lvl 15. They said it’s very rare that anyone does that since they have to stay in the beginner area, and for reaching such a high level he put in 170+ DAYS of gaming. Maddening to me, but typical to some.
    Our sense of identity has taken on multiple personas in this generation, as we can define it by more things than ever before. Mother. Father. Sister. Brother. Uncle. Dragon Lord.

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