Dorm Gaming

We’ve read about the important social aspect of games and talked it about in class. There are online game communities, people get together to play and talk about games, etc. As such, it is not surprising that videogames are an important part of dorm life. Last year as a freshman, Super Smash was an important game for everyone to know how to play  and a lot of my male friends played Fifa. Super Smash time was an important study break for everyone. We would gather in a dorm room and losing players would pass of their remote to a waiting player. There were always two types of players: 1. The button mashers, who didn’t exactly know how to play, but eventually figured out a few moves and would otherwise just press a bunch of buttons (I was in this group) and 2. The people who actually knew what they were doing (i.e. the boys) Everyone in the room, not just the current players, was deeply involved in the game, suggesting moves to try and cheering for their favorite character (or person) often good-naturedly rooting for the demise of the reining champ.

Apparently, scenes like this have been common for many years, longer than I would have thought. I recently read an article about technology’s appearance in the dorms. Specifically it discussed a videogame tournament in South Quad in 1992, but before that, during 1980s was when videogames and other technology began to embed itself into dorm and student academic life. As the generation that grew up on videogames moved to college and into the dorms they brought their technology with them. One room in South Quad from 1991-1992 had “two telephones, an answering machine, four electric fans, two digital clocks, a shared sound system with CD-player and tape deck, a microwave oven, a refrigerator, a hibachi grill, two televisions, two VCRs, and 196 VHS videocassettes with a computer-printed alphabetic guide.” (It seems the roommates did not coordinate as to who would bring what…). In addition during this time personal computers were becoming more common. Here is the article: http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2011/03/story.php?id=7953&tr=y&auid=7910217

A possibly interesting talk on “Second Life” today at UM

There is a talk taking place at UM today, on the virtual body in Second Life. My guess, on reading the announcement, is that it is intended primarily for professors and graduate students and not for undergraduates, since these colloquium seres tend to be aimed at professors and graduate students. At the same time, I’m sure they won’t turn away any undergraduate student who shows up.
In any event, it is interesting to know that anthropologists are thinking about such things as Second Life!
The announcement is below.
The Colloquium Series in Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology and the
Program in Science, Technology, and Society welcome

Tom Boellstorff

Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

Editor-in-Chief, American Anthropologist

Placing the Virtual Body: Avatar, Chora, Cypherg

Monday, March 21

4 PM

411 West Hall

Virtual worlds are places of online culture in which persons appear as “avatars.” How might these socialities transform understandings of the body, online but also offline? Bringing together ethnographic research in the virtual world SecondLife, anthropological work on embodiment, and insights ranging from phenomenology to Greek philosophy, I work toward a theory of the virtual body. Emphasizing that avatars are not merely representations of bodies but forms of embodiment, my framework is centered on the constitutive emplacement of a body within a world.

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