What Drives gamers?

What really drives gamers to keep playing? Is it the competitiveness of the levels or the feeling of accomplishment in goal? I feel like a gamer has to have both of those elements to remain in tune with whatever he or she is playing. Some say that a status or reputation has a lot to do with it. That is true because no one wants to be known as a loser or have low stats. No one would want to play you or have you on their team if you have low scores or rankings. It is kind of like life. You won’t get a job if you have had a bad past or dont have the credentials required for it. In a online article I read from (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/what-drives-gamers/723548/), they said that gamers are “engaged and happy”. I believe this is true because if you are not satisfied or find any type of enjoyment in the game, you lose interest. Then you decide to find another game that is more suitable for you. For most creators of games, they look at these key factors of gaming. They want to create something more appealing to someone and yet have a challenge. sometimes it may be the graphics that attracts them or just the game itself. Regardless of whatever it may be, creators look at what will possibly drive this person to play.

-aquashia anderson

Female Power Gamers

In the study Women and games: Technologies of the gendered self, Royse et.al. argue that it does a disservice to women to lump all of them into the category of ‘women who play games’, because there are different gaming behaviors that manifest themselves in different ‘types’.

The study then goes on to address an interesting type of female gamer: the power gamer, or “the gamer who embodies ‘femininity’ while performing ‘masculinity'” (Royse, et.al., 2007).  According to the study, “Power gamers place high importance on gaming and engage in it frequently…appear more comfortable with gaming technology and game themes and…gaming is better intreated into their lives,” (Royse, et.al., 2007). These types of gamers thrive on the competition, challenge, and ‘pleasantly frustrating’ nature of games because “competition provides an arena in which power gamers are able to define and extend their definitions of self and gender,” (Royse, et.al., 2007). These women often elect FPS (first-person shooter) games because, according to the study, “one of the most salient pleasures for women gamers is the opportunity to engage in game combat, a space which permits them to challenge gender norms by exploring and testing this aggressive potentiality,” (Royse, et.al., 2007).

Power gamers are also very aware of the gender stratification that sometimes is inherent in the game code.  “Despite the fact that typically, FPS games are played by males and have violent intent, several of the [power gamers] indicated that they consciously chose this genre for its unabashed aggressiveness,” the study argues (Royse, et.al., 2007).  The authors go on to argue that “Power gamers are certainly not oblivious to the hypersexualized representation of female avatars and they do realize that such representations pander to male fantasies,”  but that these fantasy elements, although representative of gender inequality, do not deter many power gamers (Royse, et.al., 2007). In fact, many female players in the study “indicated that they purposefully choose and create characters that are feminine and sexy as well as strong,” (Royse, et.al., 2007), mimicking the dichotomy that women have to straddle in the real world between being powerful and being beautiful.

Royse, P., et. al. (2007). Women and games: Technologies of the gendered self. New Media & Society9, 555-576.

People who don’t play games are weird!

In his article, Identity and Information Technology, Steve Matthews discusses the way in which social networks, in real or virtual space, work, stating “In choosing to present myself outside the mainstream…I do in the first instance exclude the possibility of relationships with certain kinds of people.  There are many contexts where such exclusion may take place,” (Matthews, 2008).  One such context is the rejection of video games.  Whether single player (L.A. Noire), local multiplayer (Mario Kart), online multiplayer (Call of Duty Team Deathmatch), or MMORPG (Star Wars Old Republic), video games are a social activity.  They permeate our society via the news as well as pop culture, and they foster relationships which may not have been possible without their existence.

So why do so many individuals, (for the purposes of this blog post) primarily females, reject video games so vehemently? Many of the women studied in the article Women and games: Technologies of the gendered self rejected gaming because they believed that playing video games for pleasure was a waste of time that could be spent being what they called ‘social’, (e.g. going out with friends, spending time with family) or ‘productive’ (e.g. cooking, cleaning, studying).  What these women fail to realize that playing games is inherently social because of the ubiquity of video game technology in our society, and that video games are just as valuable as any other recreational activity.  However, Royse, et.al. report that “Non-gamers also speculated that players came addicted to computer games.  These women viewed gaming as an asocial and solitary activity and believed most gamers to be interpersonally inept.” (Royse, et.al., 2007).  They also attempted to differentiate themselves from other women who play games, by aligning themselves more heavily with traditional social expectations of females, which to them, means to “include interpersonal activities which are ‘interaction based’…Non-gamers viewed gaming as a ‘solitary’ activity which attracts individuals who lack interpersonal skills,” (Royse, et.al., 2007). Royse, et.al. postulate that “by comparison, then, non-gamers imply their own interpersonal competence.  Ironically, despite non-gamers’ interpersonal competence, their self-definitions construct a gendered-split-sphere arrangement that is quite long-established,” (Royse, et.al., 2007). Strangely enough, these women do not feel that they are placing themselves in traditional female roles, and insist that they challenge these roles and that they, too feel the effects of sexism.  It is surprising that they placed a focus on cooking, cleaning, shopping, and family as a priority over gaming, and viewed games as masculine, as well as a socially undesirable activity, when many women play games, and many individuals play games socially.  These women, according to the study, had little understanding of gaming technology, and were unable to see how games or gameplay had any bearing on or value to the real world, which leads me to believe that they have yet to stop and think about it.

There has not been much research done on rejection of gaming in men, because video games are much more pervasive in the male community, but I will say that the Virginia Tech gunman a few years back rejected video games, and we all know how horribly that turned out…people who don’t play games are weird.

Matthews, S. (2008). Identity and information technology. Information technology and moral philosophy, 142-160.

Royse, P., et.al. (2007). Women and games: Technologies of the gendered self. New Media & Society, 9, 555-576.

Do Game Avatars Inhibit Relationships?

Part of our identity as humans is the concept of a compound sense of self.  As Steve Matthews states in his paper Identity and Information Technology, “as self-reflective beings, we have a sense not just of who we are, but of the ideal person we might strive to become…as narrative agents we provide reasons for our future selves to best continue the story we have so far established for ourselves,” (Matthews, 2008).  Matthews goes on to argue that “…this theory of narrative agency is inadequate unless it recognizes the possibility that autonomy comes in degrees.  Our identities are almost never fully under our control,” (Matthews, 2008).  Ultimately, we are a reflection of how we see ourselves, as well as how others in our community see us. That concept of community can venture into the gaming community as well, especially in MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, Second Life, or The Sims, where people often develop significant relationships with others via their avatars.

Matthews argues that these relationships are not as valid as close connections made offline because he argues that avatars are a presentation solely of the individuals’ ideal selves and not of their community-constructed whole selves.  He states, “Technology that disables our capacity to both be seen and to see the other, within a relationship, for the good of that relationship, and which enables us to come across as something we are not within a relationship, risks its derailment; in such cases, technology also risks something that is a proper source for identity construction,” (Matthews, 2008). Here “proper source” means the community-constructed identity that Matthews earlier mentioned.

However, Matthews advocates avatars for relationship-building in one context only, arguing an exception for “technology which led to a person’s being more fully seen for what they ideally would like to be, if the unwanted attribute had hitherto prevented the person from successfully engaging with others in the social world,” (Matthews, 2008).  This exception can accommodate those with physical or mental disabilities, as well as people who have trouble making attachments in the real world because, for example, they are painfully shy.  In those cases, he argues, avatars can aid in relationship development and displaying the truth of oneself to others.  However, with whom are these individuals building supposedly more honest relationships? Only with each other, or with individuals who are only displaying their ideal selves? I wonder what Matthews would have to say about someone who falls under the exception building a relationship with someone who doesn’t.  Is the relationship between the two socially inhibited, or is it socially enhanced?

Matthews, S. (2008). Identity and information technology. Information technology and moral philosophy, 142-160.

Gaming and Google Glasses [Warning: Mild Violence]

This has got to be the coolest post I’ve made so far. The video above imagines gaming combined with the power of the Google Glasses. If you don’t know what those are, check them out here. When I first saw Google Glasses, I didn’t think about how they could work for video games. But the potential for augmented reality and gameplay is amazing, as evidenced in the above video. We are talking about an entirely new level of realism in gaming. Who knows what could be at stake? Sure- there’s a few issues to tackle…It might be strange to see a bunch of kids running around an abandoned building complex shooting fake guns and what not. But hey- at least it takes the idea of physical game play to new heights. Google Glasses could easily be the cure to childhood obesity (among other things)! This takes the idea of Wii Fitness to an entirely different level. This technology is probably way off in the future, but good to know companies like Google are thinking about it.

The Banality of Evil in Video Games

According to Hannah Arent, the concept of the banality of evil is rooted in the logic that “in totalitarian states, bureaucrats are alienated within the whole machinery of the state, performing activities that lead to atrocities by blindly following the orders of the political apparatus that does not allow, nor provide, any feedback: “He did his duty, as he told the police and the court over and over again; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law.” (Sicart, 2009)

Miguel Sicart’s article The Banality of Simulated Evil discusses the Arent’s concept in the context of virtual environments, namely video games, where the players’ decisions are ultimately scripted in the game code, giving the programmer complete control over the environment.  Sicart argues that the banality of evil is “determined by the necessity to keep a system running without discussing the moral nature of the orders received, rather than guided by evil intention” (Sicart, 2009).  It is easy to apply this political theory to video games.

Essentially, the gamer is placed into a situation where he or she does not receive moral feedback about any actions taken within the world of the game.  “In this context,” Sicart argues, “desensitization could be defined as the crisis of ethical tools that agents have to evaluate their conduct” (Sicart, 2009).  This is true in the case of the controversial Columbine High School video game.  In the game, players are cast as a hybridization of the two aggressors from the real-life tragedy, and are instructed to buy weapons and approach the school.  They receive no moral feedback on the purchase of weapons.  Then, when they are presented with a fellow student member, or other individual on school grounds, the player’s only options are to kill the person who just approached them, or forfeit the game.  Most players choose to kill the individual with whom they are presented.  It is rumored that the only way to win this game is to kill every person on school grounds, but are players who win evil?

On the other hand, Sicart presents the type of situation that may be brought about by playing a game such as Mass Effect 3.  Games fitting into this second type “taunt players with ethical decision-making; understood as choosing between two or three options of varied ethical alignments, from good to neutral to evil” (Sicart, 2009).  Mass Effect presents these players with decisions like this through all three of the games in their series, with each subsequent game recording the saves from the past games and using those to determine the settings for the current game.  This means that players were led to believe that their decisions had repercussions in the world of the game, and that they did receive moral feedback.  However, as Sicart argues, “These types of ethical game designs are fundamentally flawed because their alleged ethical simulation is placed dominantly in the procedural gradient: ‘evil’ is not understood as a dominant semantic condition but a procedural one–it is a state in the machine.  Thus the ethical agents are not required to use their ethical values as agents” (Sicart, 2009).  This becomes painfully obvious in the ending of the game (*****MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!*****) when all of the choices the player makes in the game amount to which color explosion he or she will see when the universe drastically changes.  “It is then,” according to Sicart, “a process similar to the banality of evil concept: agents are deprived of their ethical capacities in favor of a procedural external system that will evaluate their choices” (Sicart, 2009) and code them into a colorful explosion of light that engulfs the Normandy.  So much for choice.

Sicart, M. The Banality of simulated evil. Ethics and information technology, 3, 191-202.

Call of Duty on the Wii

I own a wii at home and would love to experience call of duty on the wii one day. It seems cool and very exciting. Here is a video of some of the things.

I feel like it would be much harder to control compared to a other game consoles that use a controller with easy to use buttons and are built for that type of gameplay.

PC vs Console

I never liked playing games on the computer, but playing the virtual game from class was a big change. I honestly felt a little connected and I actually knew how people addicted to computer games felt. However, I felt it was a little to slow as far as waiting for my avatar to move or fly or just construct some type of building. I would rather play at home games with a console because everything loads quicker and doesn’t freeze up as much or at all.

Today, online console games are quite common, with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service leading the way. Sony also has big plans for online content for the PlayStation 3, and consoles are now starting to get game downloads and other applications formerly only available on the PC, such as Web browsers. A few titles can now be played across platforms, such as Final Fantasy XI, in which PS2, Xbox 360, and PC users explore the same online world.

However, PC always offer more games online than a console would ever. Consoles perform only one task really well, where PCs can be used for an extremely wide range of things. Some console manufacterers are trying to make them a little more flexible, but it will clearly be a long time before they support the staggering variety of applications that can be found for PCs.

PCs are always on the cutting edge of gaming technology. The current generation of consoles with high-definition capabilities did briefly narrow the gap, but well-equipped PCs continue to offer superior graphics. Computer monitors can be found with considerably higher resolutions than HDTVs, and the latest multi-core processors and dual GPU solutions make it possible to build a remarkably powerful game system. Even if a console offers incredible technology upon its release, there is no way for it to compete with the rapid hardware advancements that have become a way of life in the computer industry.

-Aquashia Anderson

Are video games virtual reality?

Phillip Brey, in his study Virtual Reality and Computer Simulation, argues that virtual reality is made up of four components: a virtual world, immersion, sensory feedback, and interactivity (Brey, 2008).  A virtual world, according to Brey “is a description of a collection of objects in a space and rules and relationships governing these objects.  In virtual reality systems, such virtual worlds are generated by a computer,” (Brey, 2008).  He defines immersion as “the sensation of being present in an environment, rather than just observing an environment from the outside,” (Brey, 2008).  “Sensory feedback,” Brey says, “is the selective provision of sensory data about the environment based on user input.  The actions and position of the user provide a perspective on reality and determine what sensory feedback is given,” (Brey, 2008).  And “interactivity, finally, is the responsiveness of the virtual world to user actions.  Interactivity includes the ability to navigate virtual worlds and to interact with objects, characters, and places,” (Brey, 2008).

There are also multiple definitions of virtual reality.  The narrower definition of the two “would only define fully immersive and fully interactive virtual environments as VR,” (Brey, 2008). Under this definition, most commercial video games would not be categorized as virtual reality.  There is, however, “a broader definition of virtual reality” which Brey defines “as a three-dimensional interactive computer-generated environment that incorporates a first-person perspective.  This definition includes both immersive and non-immersive (screen-based) forms of VR” (Brey, 2008).

However, I feel as if these definitions are both too narrow to encompass commercial video games which I see as virtual reality.  For instance, World of Warcraft is played in the third person, but it is still 3-D, immersive, interactive, and computer-generated.  It holds players’ interest in the story line, and can be completely immersive for players, to the extent that they lose touch with the outside world, forgetting to eat or sleep, and forgoing relationships with people in the tangible world.  Just because the first-person aspect of the definition may be missing, I still feel it is appropriate to call WoW virtual reality.

I therefore propose a third, more broad definition.  In my opinion, virtual reality should be defined as something computer-generated with an immersive, interactive virtual world.  this would encompass video games, so by my definition, video games are virtual reality.

Brey, P. (2008). Virtual reality and computer simulation. Himma and Tavani, 361-384.

Kinder, Gentler Video Games May Actually Be Good For Players

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606113403.htmIs this believable??

I read a recent articles that says how some people believe playing violent video games can make the person playing more aggressive and violent, the opposite can happen as well.  The articles talks about how game players can choose games that will provide a positive experience as well.  An example of a relxing game would be “Endless Ocean”, the articles states.  In this game, players take the role of a scuba diver, exploring an ocean habitat for sea life and sunken treasure.  Along they way, they encounter a variety of marine species during the game, including sharks.  But in this game, these sharks don’t harm the scuba diver, as they might in a violent video game.  Two studeis were done at Ohio State (ew), to see if playing relazing computer games would actually make a person feel more relaxed, and put them in a better mood.  I will paste the link to the article so anyone can read about the studies.

In the end, the results were quite clear, according to the article.  Relaxing video games made people kinder and less aggressive.  Do you believe this??  I’d love to hear comments!

healthy habits

parents should lemit their kids time on playing vidoe games. kids should spend more of their free time playing sports and playing with friends which would help more with their body and mind.

some practical ways to make kids’ screen time more productive.

Limit the number of TV-watching hours:

Try a weekday ban.

Check the TV listings and program reviews.

Preview programs

Use the ratings.

Use screening tools

Come up with a family TV schedule

Watch TV with your child.

Talk to kids about what they see on TV and share your own beliefs and values.

Find out about other TV policies.

Offer fun alternatives to television


Scott McCloud Ted Talk

Here’s the link to the Ted Talk Professor Fishman mentioned in class:


He talks about comics. Starts out kind of depressing but picks up from there I found it pretty interesting.

Addictive Video Games

There was aan article done by Media Literacy specialist named, Dr. Charles Undergleider. He wrote about the addiction to video games and what parents should do to try to stop it. He feels that parentas can decrease the addiction to video games by incorporating different activities for the kids to participate in. Reading and playing sports are extra activities that he mentions as peoeple good options rather than playing the video game.

Dr. Undergerleider makes the point that basically parents need to take control and supervise their kids. However, I feel that if they are constantly being supervised by their parents then they will begin to do mischievious things. These michievious things include playing the game when the parents are not home adn spending mulitiple hours on the game. I feel that if parents do not want their children playing violent games then they should not buy them. Typical elementary and middle school children do not have jobs so they are being supplied with the games by their parents. Parents should take the initiative into making sure that the game is age appropriate and for their childen.

The Professor of Computer Science, made teh remark that video games can be positive for children. This is a true statement but I think that all video games can be positive for children. Regardless of the games that a child plays, they will still have to use strategies and crititcal thinking to decide what to do to stay alive and/or get the next level. Bottom line is that it is not the child’s fault if the video game becomes addicitve but the parents because they are in fact the parents and have control of what their kids do.

This article heighlighted a few great points and if you are interested in reading it then please click on the following link:


Who Done it?

Reminiscing on the semester that was I remembered the lecture we had on research methods, specifically the video we saw about the two teams passing the basketball and you were supposed to count how many passes there were.  But did you notice the bear?  This video is a great example of being too focused on one idea and forgetting the big picture.  The only problem now is that it’s too old.

Like most other people in the class, by the time Professor Fishman asked us in class I had already seen the video multiple times.  Still appreciating the simplistic genius of the clip I wanted to find another video describing that idea but one that hasn’t reached the popularity of the nonchalant bear.  So I went to the only reliable source that’s left… the internet. After searching YouTube for a little while I came across another video that take the bear to the next level.  It’s called Who done it? And it starts in the classic detective scene.  There has just been a murder and the detective has just rounded up all the suspects and has begun to question them, asking what they were doing when the man was murdered.  Your job is to listen to the suspects tell their stories and figure out who done it.  Sounds simple enough so why don’t you try for yourself:

Why Most People Don’t Finish Video Games


I found this article from 2011 and thought it was really interesting when I read it. It talks about how video games are not being finished completely.  A production contractor for Activision, Keith Fuller stated “What I’ve been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube.  It’s not just dull games that go unfinished the article states.  Just last year, only 10% of avid gamers completed the final mission in Red Dead Redemption, shocking right??  And this was according to the VP of marketing at Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions.  The question the article poses is who’s to blame for this problem?  The developer or the player?  Or maybe it’s our culture?  The answer, the article states, is all of the above.  I pasted the article above so anyone can read the rest of it!  It’s so interesting!

Designers: master one game, or else

In a new Gamasutra feature, Gameloft’s Christian Philippe Guay suggests some simple ideas for getting better at making fun games — by breaking them down into component elements.
“We have to be aware of what has been done before, as it is important to not repeat past mistakes,” writes Guay.

To design fun games, he writes, “I would suggest to any designer to take one game and spend enough time to master it. There are things that can only be properly understood once they’re truly experienced.”

“In reality, the more we master an experience, the more others become alike, because everything in this universe is based on the same principles. We realize that the same mechanics are used, but in a different context. By doing this, it becomes easier to create interesting gameplay mechanics or learn how to fix them.”

There is one important consideration, though, Guay does suggest.

“I tend to think that to study the greatest games of all time would help us to better understand how to make better games. However, those games are often so engaging that we might not see how to make greater things, because when we play them, we aren’t thinking critically about how they’re constructed; we’re experiencing them as players.”

The antidote?

“However, if we play the worst games, then everything frustrating will jump in our faces. Then we will see what needs to be improved, and that forces us to be creative and find how to fix those problems.”

The full feature, in which Guay breaks down fun into seven different layers to offer his take on the essential elements of game design, is live now on Gamasutra.


Hacker School: collaboration unleashed

In school, I found that the classes I learned the most in were the ones where I had to work in a group with some people smarted than me. People that would challenge my ways of doing things and how I thought about problems. This is essentially the idea behind Hacker School, a New York based group which brings together programmers with a passion to program and has them work together for 3 months to create what they want. If accepted to the school, participants gather together 4 times a week for 8 hours a day and code all sorts of projects and in a variety of languages. Learning is done not from lectures and speeches but from collaboration with other schoolmates who have experience in the area. Collaboration is the key as students build off each other as they branch out and try different languages or create additions to open-source projects. This is how I sort of thought college would be before I started. These “incubators” of talent produce some great ideas and really hone skills that have been left unattended by work or undiscovered through college. At hacker school programmers program because they love it and have a vision of something they want to build not for a grade or a paycheck. At Hacker School, there are no grades or classes, only progress.




Algebra, Warthogs, and badges: how gamification motivates learners

When I was in second grade, we had to learn our multiplication tables. Pretty standard stuff 2*2=4, 9*9=81. But our teacher added in a twist, one of the most motivating twist somebody can provide to a group of 7 year olds. She gave us sundae toppings for each set that we “mastered”. learn all the ones 1*1,1*2,1*3… earn a scoop of ice cream. the 2’s another scoop, 3’s whipped cream, and on and on. Our toppings were given to us as construction paper cutouts we placed on the wall and at the end of the unit we got our sundae with all the fixings. Now years later I realize today, that I was a victim of gamification. Before gamification was even a thing, before zynga and cow clicker addicted the world. My second grade teacher was a gamification hipster. Back then they just called it motivation though. We had the “leader board” on the wall with our names on our bowls with our topping badges on top. We even cranked the motivation up a notch by racing each other to see who could finish the tables the fastest and the most accurate. I remember one day at school racing through this multiplication table ( I want to say it was the 5’s but I don’t remember that much) and finished first. After racing up to my teacher’s desk to turn it in and have it graded and got two questions wrong. One of my best friends got up there just after me and had it all right, “beating” me in this battle of wits. Man did that suck in my mind. I still got my topping but had lost the battle. Next time I got them all right and was done the fastest, and that caramel sauce tasted that much sweeter.

This new craze of gamifying learning is nothing revolutionary. Kindergarten and elementary teachers have been masters of it for years. bribing students in every way they can think of, tempting them with class outside, extra recess, story time. All these rewards for doing our work and all this fun we have while learning of all things. People wonder why kids love going to school when they are little and slowly become cynical about its value and enjoyment. It’s cause the teachers stop trying to make learning fun because they have to get through the mandated lesson plan. But there is always that one teacher that manages to squeeze it in, that one teacher who is everyone’s favorite. And now people are heading back to those tried and true methods.

Badges, points, levels, leaderboards, all these gamification “tricks” are being re-integrated into education for everybody not just for little children. Complete one of Stanford’s open online classes and receive a certificate showing you passed or even passed with honors. ” “Badges” are a teensy step in the right direction, but clearly are only motivating to the weak-willed (guilty!) and easily impressed (ditto!). Soon, someone is going to discover a way to apply the crack-like effect of well-designed games like World of Warcraft to the educational realm. I want to learn algebra about as much as I want to spend eighteen hours killing and skinning virtual warthogs” as it says in the article. Online courses like codeacademy and skillshare provide these benefits to their users as well as many other sites. self- motivated learning is growing at a massive pace as more and more sites give access to college lectures, tutorials, books and all those other things one had to go to class to get access to before. Now users can go their own way and get badges to show all the places they have been and all the things they have learned. All through such a simple thing as a construction paper cut-out of a cherry to put on top.

source/inspiration: http://plasticresume.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/skillshare-codecademy-and-the-gamification-of-education/  linked in the article and very related: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

Colbert Report: interview with Richard Hersh

I don’t know if anybody else saw this yesterday but Colbert did and interview with Richard Hersh as he talks about how colleges need to change and need to challenge students to think and grow through college and not just earn degrees. UM also gets a shout-out as one of those schools doing it right.

watch it here: http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:412127