Choosing a Video Game

I don’t know how the whole selection process has been for you guys in terms of choosing a game for the semester, but it has seriously been a huge task for me. I went back and forth and back and forth with games so many times and finally decided on one, but now that I have been reading Gee’s book, I have started to have second thoughts again. I really resonated with what Gee said when he was talking about “projected identities” in video games. I really wanted to try this out and see if I really felt how he described in the book so I bought Skyrim and started playing and had the hardest time putting the controller down. I felt very much a part of the game, as if I were actually there. I’ve played plenty of RPG’s before but I was never fully aware of this feeling or really made much of it. It is for this reason that I am starting to debate whether or not I made the right choice in my video game for the semester. I chose FIFA 12 mainly because I wanted to learn about soccer (a sport that I know incredibly little about) and also because I wanted to have a game that could invite my roommates into playing. However, I played FIFA right before Skyrim and it was fun, don’t get me wrong, but the moment I turned Skyrim on, I was transfixed on the screen along with my roommates. We sat in the living room for a good four hours straight and loved every minute of it. After I finally was able to tear myself away from the screen to go out to dinner with some friends, I started to reflect on my experience and I thought more about what Gee was saying in his book. What if school was that exciting? What if we could create an environment that would motivate students so much that they would have to be torn away from their studies to eat? I’m excited to read the rest of Gee’s thoughts on this, but I just thought I’d share a little bit with everyone about my personal experience with the text this weekend.


FIFA: Soccer Sucks, So Why Are You So Good?

Soccer is not my thing…really, its not.  Lets just say that the highlight of my 5 year soccer career (I was a goalie when I was much younger) was saving a would-be goal by the best player in the league by being afraid of the ball, turning around, and saving it with the back of my head.  Being American hasn’t given me a burning desire to follow soccer because no one really cares about soccer here anyway.  Needless to say, I don’t watch soccer, don’t play soccer, and am bored out of my mind whenever its on TV.

So why am I so addicted to FIFA?  I started playing FIFA 2010 at the start of first semester, and it has been a revelation.  For one reason or another, I am intrigued by controlling little animated soccer players march up and down the field.  Seeing this game played prior to actually playing it personally, I knew that it was going to be fast-paced and would lead to some friendly competition with my roommates.  My distaste for soccer stopped me from playing initially, as I spurned the idea of playing a soccer game.  However, once I started, I couldn’t get enough.

So how can this phenomenon be explained?  Perhaps James Paul Gee would explain my enjoyment of playing the game through the notion of a “projective identity”.  But how could this possibly be the case!?  I hate soccer, so it would be inconceivable that I would relate to the players who I was controlling based on the fact that they are soccer players.  Maybe my study abroad experience in Barcelona had something to do with it (I always play as Barcelona, the best team in the game), but it seems as though there must be something else at play.

After sitting through the lectures so far this semester, I have been able to look deeper into my video game experiences and think critically about why I enjoy the games I like playing and what I could potentially learn from playing.  I know that I definitively learned the basic rules of soccer (I was always befuddled by off-sides calls) as well as strategies soccer players can employ in order to get into better position to score.  This game has really driven my interest in learning the rules of soccer and has allowed me to realize the intricacies of the game.  I now enjoy playing FIFA more then any other sport game even though soccer is my least favorite sport.  I attribute this to the fact that most of my friends play FIFA and if I want to play a video game with them that we would all enjoy, that would be the game they would choose.

>Getting destroyed for my first 15 games or so was pretty frustrating, but now I have advanced to the point in the game that I can play with my friends and enjoy the friendly competition.  I still don’t particularly care for soccer, but I know that I learned more about the sport then I ever anticipated.