Video Games as Art

Do you consider video games to be art? Despite what Roger Ebert says, the Smithsonian seems to think they are!

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will run an exhibit called The Art of Video Games starting in March of next year. They’re currently accepting votes (you can vote here) for the games that will be featured to illustrate the 40-year evolution of the medium, including some that are being played in this class right now!

Do you consider video games to be an art form?

Social Media and Sports

Social media is becoming an integral part of the way Americans watch sports.  During the final moments of this year’s Super Bowl, fans sent over 4,000 messages per second on Twitter.  Countless professional players maintain Twitter accounts in which they provide additional comments and opinions.  Fans constantly visit players’ pages and can interact with professional journalists, teams, or the leagues themselves.

The National Basketball Association is introducing a social video game on Facebook this week.  They are hoping that training digital basketball players will intrigue people.  The game, called NBA Legend, will allow Facebook users to create an avatar, join an NBA team, and follow a simulated career.  Different then traditional basketball games, players will not control the dribbling or shooting, but will build up attributes like speed and skill in order to compete.

The NBA has been trying to turn its social media connections on sites like Twitter and Facebook into new revenue sources.  This game is being released during the league’s All-Star week, which has been a time for the league to experiment with new forms of media and technology.  NBA also sees the new game as a way of keeping fans engaged in basketball even when no games are being played.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/for-nba-fans-a-way-to-play-along-on-facebook/?scp=5&sq=video%20games&st=cse

Technology and Education

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook today. It reminded me a bit of the ideas from the Collins and Halverson book we just read. The video also gives some interesting statistics about the average college student in the class that was surveyed.

What ever happened to the good ol’ days?

The new era of gaming has been set upon us, one that has broken all the other rules of gaming since I’ve known it. Flashback to the 1990’s, the game systems that were out were the playstation, sega genesis and the N64, Xbox was not even created yet. Times were good, playstation had the Final Fantasy games in their pocket, Grandtheft Auto, and of course Spyro! Sega had their trademark Sonic while N64 had Mario. Then the next gen of systems came out; Playstation 2, Dreamcast and the Gamecube. Dreamcast tries a revolutionary thing, they try to do online gaming. Sega had the idea of uniting everyone through the interenet and take gaming to a whole new level. One where people can play with and against each other from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately the world was just not ready for this advancement because normal people did not have cable internet and dial-up was just not able to handle gaming. This cost Sega dearly as the company went bankrupt.

Around the same time Xbox hits the market and also shakes up the world of gaming. Xbox gave rise to the Halo series and it rose to the top ranks with a single game under its wing. Xbox was marketed to older teens and adults, much like the Playstation was, while the gamecube was marketed toward younger children. Xbox started to give playstation a run for their money when they started taking titles from them such as GTA and spyro and eventually even final fantasy, all the while still able to keep Halo as their exclusive.

Flashforward and here we are today. A new generation of systems has come about us; The Xbox 360, Wii and PS3.The time was finally right and online gaming has been taken to new heights. Not only can you play online with each other but you can play gameshows from your console, even play motion sensor games with friends online! What a crazy world this has become eh? Prior to this new generation of consoles, gaming systems were only expected to stay current for about 4 years, during this time the gaming companies would be looking for new ways to improve their systems and come out with the next console with better graphics, better processors and pretty much better everything. The new consoles however are expected to be able to last up to 15 years meaning that we probably wont be seeing a new system come out until around 2015-2020. With the new ability to play on the internet companies can just update the systems with new patches, even games can fix bugs and glitches via the internet.

What I find most concerning is the fact that gaming seems to be taken to a new level of reclusiveness. It used to be that you would invite a friend or two over to play video games. You could play against each other in sports of shooter games or you could take turns playing RPGs and so on. With the new rise of online gaming I hear a lot of “oh, I’ll just see you online” when I aske friends to come over to play video games. There is a certain feeling that you get when two people are actually in a room playing together but now it just seems like people want to stay in the comfort of their own homes to play. It seems that with the new rise of party chatting and online playing things have been shaken up a lot. Not only are things different between playing with friends but it is also different because you are playing against people that you cannot see. This gives rise to the people who I call E-thugs; the people who are tough only in online settings. This is the kind of person that will trash talk your ear off even though you are doing multiples better than him, the person that everyone time they kill you or score on you will call you a noob and tell you that you suck. Sure you can block this guy but what about all the other thousands of people that you meet that are like this?

I used to play in tournaments for Halo 3 and when I was at the tournaments people treated each other with respect. Often times I wondered if these guys would be different if we were only playing online and had no face to face interaction, are these the guys that shove every kill down the throats of people less skilled than themselves?

With the new rise of video games comes a whole new set of problems. I am always respectful when I play competitive games. Whether I win or lose I always commend people on their wins, I am always the guy that says “Oh man that was an amazing shot that you had on me.” but more times than not, the courtesy is never returned. The new era of games is upon us and I say that new is not always better.

Basketball & Algebra

http://www.performigence.com/Pub/RealworldmathinNorthChicagoNewsSunNews.htm

This is an article that I read about a program called 4Real Math. It is a school program that was implemented in Chicago for middle school students in predominantly African American schools. This program teaches algebra through basketball. Although this technique  it isn’t a video game or another form of technology, it still is a great approach to teaching students algebra. Basketball is something that most adolescents are interested in. Relating math, which something that most students fall behind in, to an activity that they enjoy and have to drive to excel in, teaches kids that they can be good in math. “The sky is the limit!”  Another factor is that many students(especially African American) give up in math because they think they will never use it. Seeing math applied to real life activities proves to them that math is everywhere!

NCAA 11: An Experience Not A Game

Seeing this intro really led to an epiphany of sorts for me. NCAA is not just a game, in fact it is much more than that…it gives college students all over the world to feel like they have a personal investment in a game for the first time ever. When you can experience simulation football that seems so real that it takes you back to those faithful Saturday evenings there is something absolutely magical about that…This is the game that I have chosen to play for the semester and I cannot say that I have been disappointed in the least…I have even developed somewhat of an, dare I say, addiction to the popular college football videogame…When you have opportunities like playing as your favorite school, alma mater, or current institution and control players that you see in class every day or walking around campus, there is certainly something captivating and magnetic about this. Any college football fan should experience the phenomenon known as NCAA 11 and for those of us who are still enrolled at our respective universities that affinity is magnified…I sincerely can’t put this game down…even when i’m not playing it…

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