Author Archive

JStor goes to Padre

Spring Break ’10 is already here, hard to believe I know, but time flies when *you’re having fun,* however that may be!  Anyway, I have been thinking about how to approach the WRI for the rest of the semester (in order to fulfill the class credits!).  I have been researching on Jstor articles and studies on the effectiveness of video games on education.

I was surprised by the initial JStor results.

At first, I was expecting to find and begin reading testimonies for and against the usage of video games for education, which I did find.  But what was unusual were the articles that referenced the effectiveness for games to be used in the professional setting to teach skills or train professionals in areas that they should already know.  From this, I am beginning to draw my initial hypothesis that games for education are not only helpful in adolescent primary education, but also in the professional workforce.

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Bad Company 2, the FPS, & participation

Who’s played it yet?  C’mon, it’s pretty cool, let me say… but what I think is interesting about the new Battlefield is that this FPS, i think, is furthering the bounds of its own particular virtual world.  The first Call of Duty (remember back to before xfire & punkbuster were implemented!) set the stage for Activision (and then subsequent developers) to create their own virtual representation of the WWII battlefield.  In this case, as are many others, the developers used realistic recreations of sites, events, and battles to stimulate the realistic effect on the gamer.  The long series of Call of Duty games all seem to consist of similar attributes of game design and world design: guns are modeled the same, textures are similar, body movements, sounds, fonts, etc.  We may think little of this because it’s obvious: same game, same developer (well, sorta), same stuff.

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Human Nature eh?

What’s interesting about the responses from some of the surveys, is that they often times cite instances involving immature, racist, and d-bag’ish gamers.  When I read these, I often can think back to experiences when I have heard or read similar words of degradation, sometimes these were directed to me personally.  But then I think more and ask whether the gamers who ignite these feuds actually mean what they say?  In the same way that I accuse those who participate in the bigotry, I could probably accuse myself of similar actions, the only difference: when I said it, I was being sarcastic and trying to prove a point.  Though, it makes me wonder, when I recall my past instances (we were all immature at one point in time, remember haha) I can justify my actions, somehow; but equally so, do other gamers justify their actions, too?

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In reviewing and analyzing the raw data from the survey results, it is becoming apparent that we all notice the barriers that restrict our interactions amongst one another.  Many of the responses were critical of the language barriers within games but also praised new technologies, especially FFXI’s auto-translator and Google’s new aim at providing live translations.  How developers will treat these emerging trends is still unknown to us gamers, but it seems more than reasonable to suspect that games in the near future will help foster cultural transactions.  But the criss-crossing of cultures may sometimes present challenges.  First, it is obvious but important to note the differences in cultures and cultural norms; how someone interprets communication will nevertheless be unique to another gamer on the other side of the world, how we cope with these (sometimes) “radical” differences to our own is daunting and mysterious, in a way.

Some respondents reported that cross-cultural interactions should not be forced upon the gamer, but instead it should be an option, or an opportunity.  Some gamers may choose to stay in their guilds or play with gamers that they enjoy playing with.  As some noted, isn’t that the point of a game: to have fun?

Question #4 on the survey asks, “In general terms, how do you feel about the ability to interact with players from other countries in virtual worlds? Do you view this as a good thing? Do you view this as a bad thing? Does it matter to
you at all?”  Lucky for us, many view transnational interactions as a good thing, but many are critical or mildly skeptical of it.  As stated, language is a vital issue when analyzing interactions amongst gamers.  Gamers responded saying that they wish communication were easier and more efficient with non-English speakers.  Some gamers felt that broken English took away from their gaming experience, while others praised inproper English, some referring to personal experience commenting that they used games to learn and improve their English skills.  Many made friends in the process–even, get this, a couple got married after meeting through online games, take that e-harmony! (FFXI btw, I believe)

Yet, in this futuristic world we live in (yes, at least I think it’s futuristic!) the boundaries of reality and alter-reality (virtual worlds) are becoming less and less vague.  Technological Singularity poses new questions for the future of humans and humankind… but an essential aspect of the survey responses suggested that gamers just wanted to play with other gamers, other human gamers.  With the question of singularity unfolding, what does it really mean to be human and how will this definition change–it inevitably will?

Lots of questions surfacing with only hints of answers on the way.  Hopefully more research will provide more results alluding to progress.

Posts will be published on the WRI blog and This Blog’s Worldcorrespondingly.

Dimples and Digits & This World’s Blog

Like every blog, there must be that infamous first post.  It is vital, and necessary.  The first post is where the world starts… or at least where the author wishes for the blog’s world to start.  Unlike almost everything in life, a blog can remain unchanged regardless of the very real and dynamic events occurring in the outside world, which many call reality.  But it seems that with the advancement of “globalization” (oooohh such a big word, something that idk if anyone truly understands!) and inter-connectivity, reality of the past may not be the reality of the future.  Scary, isn’t it?  But like everything, except for this blog, times are dynamic and life goes on.  I believe that we must actively investigate, interact, and initiate critique to make the realities of this world “better.”  And that is why I am working on the Worldplay Research Initiative… Continue reading