Level Up!

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New month, new season, new topic : Video Games. Next level in Dikult103 class is understanding games so discuss about their history, aesthetics, culture and the impact on our society. Let’s begin with a simple question : what is a game?

“A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.”  Salen and Zimmerman

Playing games involves a large part of human brain and attention. The majority of the videogames now have action as first feature and the reason behind this choice is the lack of action and adventure in people’s routine. Humans have always been curious creatures that wanted to discover new dimensions and realities. Video games seem to feed and fulfill this primordial desire but they can affect us in direct ways in our real life. Games affect our moods: they offer a range of emotions that make us feel satisfied and increase our self esteem. Games may communicate ideas and values like in strategy and war games. Recent studies determined how people playing often video games are able to make important decisions under pressure and with little time available.

Video games and games usually reflect our world : everyone is in competition with everyone else and wants to prevail in every field like job, sport and life in general.

There are three main types of players :

Casual Gamer: a casual gamer has a casual attitude to gaming. It is something of a light hobby, used primarily to unwind and relax. This person won’t really know very much about gaming, as they will not actively attempt to research anything. Their motivation is more about relaxation over “challenge”.

Social Gamer: A social gamer is one who is motivated by connecting with other people through gaming. Their gaming habits are determined by their social circle. They tend to play multiplayer games ranging from first person shooters like Call of Duty, MMOs like World of Warcraft, MOBAs like League of Legends, and cooperative worldbuilders like Minecraft. They are drawn to games with a strong online community.

Specialist Gamer: The specialist is a less a hobbyist and more of a passion player. The specialist gamer knows what they like. What sets a specialist apart is the focus on getting the most out of their gaming experience. They are not looking to play every game, they are looking to truly and fully play every part of specific games.

Expert Gamer: The expert gamer is not specifically someone who is highly skilled at games. Rather, they enjoy reading about games, researching games, and following the video game industry. The expert gamer enjoys reading gaming-related websites, posting on gaming forums, watching trailers and “Let’s Plays”. They love game conferences (by watching them live or attending them in person) in order to know about as many games as possible.

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I identificate myself as a casual gamer. Super Mario bros. and Super Mario Kart were my favourite video games. I used to play nearly everyday alone or with my friends. They were just an easy and funny way to escape from my routine and school. I also liked the aesthetics of this games that are so colorful and imaginative. I appreciate the feature that other players in my room can join and compete.

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But be careful! Every game that offer the possibility to escape from reality can easily bacame your own kind of reality, and like using drugs it is difficult to stop. So I suggest to get involved in real games with real players. In one word : sport.

 

Welcome back! What gamer are you?

Finally done with the vacation and back in class. This week we started with… wait for it… computer and video games! We were informed about four different types of gamers: Casual, Social, Specialist and Expert. When we went through this in class, it made me wonder, which of these different types am I?

So lets begin with the first one, Casual gamer. I didn’t start playing games casually, I started head on playing strategy games at a very young age, so that could be why I am always trying to reach new heights and challenges. Then there are my two older brothers who also are gamers and that are most likely the drive for my competitivity when it comes to games.

I wish I was more casual and could just lay back and relax with some games, but I get too much into the game and end up “game ticking” them. Game ticking is the practise of using the minimal time possible to excecute commands, everything from using spells or spawning a mount. For example mounting on World of Warcraft. You can start moving with the mounted speed before the mount even appears, you start moving the same game tick as the server sends the information to your client that you are mounted. You don’t save much time, but it’s much more of a satisfactory thing. Unlike where the practise origins from, Runescape, where if you are using the game tick methods you can save more then four times as much time as you would have spent normally, and get the same rewards from it. But it is also a lot more demanding than using the full time. You can read more about game tick manipulation here: Oldschool Runescape Wiki – Tick Manipulation

Anyhow, back to the subject! I would say I am not a Casual gamer as my dedication to games are too strong and takes over in the end. But as for Social gamer, I don’t think I could be playing games without the social aspects. There has to be some sort of human interaction while playing games for me. It doesn’t have to be directly in the game, it can be either in real life or over a communication platform like Discord. So for the most part I play games that are online and have an active social front like World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Oldschool Runescape. I really like singleplayer games, they have their own world, but to me they are too mentaly tiring as they are missing communication.  Without a doubt, I am a Social Gamer.

As for the Specialist Gamer, which I connect to speedrunning and people who dedicate themselves to play the games more then average—-

 

This is work in progress, didn’t get time to finish it. It will be completed on Monday, 12. March 2018.

 

 

It’s just a game theory!

With technological inventions like the television and the computer, a new art form was created. Games are a perfect mixture of technological intuition combined with the creative mind of a person. In the same way the computers have developed with modern technology, games have followed the pattern of the computers. For each year that goes by, new games gets developed that stun the world with its creativity, complexity and attention to detail. The gaming world is truly growing a rapid pace.

Games can be played in many different ways, and that creates many different types of personalities, also called gamers. What kind of gamer would I categorize myself as? Well, i tend to have many of the same traits as a casual gamer. I love to just relax and enjoy a game without having to push myself to any limits. However, i wouldn’t say i lack gaming knowledge (also called being a noob), so i would also identify myself as a specialist gamer. There are certain genres i play most of my time, like racing, football or maybe strategy. And when i play those game, i love to challenge myself. So i would describe myself as a mixture of a casual and specialist gamer. It all depends on the game, i guess!

Ian Bogost’s comments on games made me have a new look at the aspect of playing games. To treat the aspect of the game as they are, and not how we vision them. Respecting the way the creator made the game, and respecting everything involved in the game. If you are hit with a challenge, you have to appreciate the mechanics of the game, you can’t adjust everything to your liking, that way you would never understand the game and learn anything from it. A real gamer uses what is in front of him.

You can see some of the same concept described in the phrase “magic circle”. The mechanics of the real world doesn’t exist anymore, it’s the world of the game that counts. And that is kind of why I and so many others love games so much. Maye it’s because you can be yourself in a game, and experience something that you could never do in the real world, or to test how you could handle yourself in a different world. Games really do test your imagination and creativity, and if you can see the vision of the creator, and how he wanted to create the  game.

That’s all for this week… Oh, and if you understood the title of this weeks blog post, you get +1 point from me!

Video games (!)

As we finally return to DIKULT103 classes after a 2 week break, we kickstart a part of the course i didn’t even realize would be a part of it. The gaming-related part of the course. This obviously excited me from the start. I’ve been a lover of video games since early primary school, and i have touched on them a few times in my blog posts so far.

Gaming is hard to define. What is a game? And what type of gamer are you? Two topics that were discussed durings this weeks lectures. Mia categorized us into four different groups of gamers, and the nature of each group really made wonder which one i actually fit into. Or if anyone who plays games manage to only relate to one of them.

We start of with the casual gamer. Someone who perceives gaming as a hobby used to relax. Doesn’t really know much about gaming, and primarily plays stuff on their phone on their free time for example. No specific motivation, just relaxation. A category i cannot relate to at all, to say the least. I barely touch mobile games.

Then the social gamer. A gamer whose motivation is to connect with friends and strangers through the gaming medium. What they play is often decided by their social circle. FPS multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Battlefield or MMOs like Black Desert Online and World of Warcraft (or just any multiplayer game) is popular amongst these guys. And i definitely fit into this category. Playing games alone is fun and all that, but the experience is often enhanced when you have someone to share it with. I didn’t really experience this category personally until a few years ago, which i will explain to later in the post.

The third category is the specialist gamer. The specialist is a passionate video game player. A specialist gamer knows what type of video game they like, and want to get the most out of their experience in a certain category of games. I definitely fit into this category as well. Ever since i discovered video games i have played a wide variety of them. But i seem to find myself constantly returning to the FPS genre. Every time a new Call of Duty or Battlefield game is released, i play the hell out of it for at least a couple of months. And when a new FPS game hits the scene, i am most likely going to try it out and even put a good amount of time into it (examples of these games: Titanfall 1 and 2, DOOM, Rainbow Six: Siege).

And last but not least, the expert gamer. Not necessarily a skilled gamer, but definitely passionate about them. When not in front of a gaming console, they spend time reading about them, researching possible new games to play and follow the video game scene in form of conventions and e-sports events. Another category i can definitely relate to. As i’m writing this post, i’m actually watching a live Call of Duty e-sports event, one of many that takes place throughout the year. I also watch a lot of Youtube videos, no matter if they’re just let’s plays, funny montages or helpful tips to enhance my own skill in a specific game. So on some level, i relate to three out of the four categories Mia presented to us.

Back in the day, i was much more of just an expert gamer. I played a wide variety of games, did a lot of research on them and always found myself excited looking into what was next. But i definitely took a step into the socialist and specialist categories during September 2014. The release of “Destiny”.

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Destiny: The beautiful mess of a game

I wanna talk a little bit about Destiny in this blog post. In a couple of weeks i’m gonna present a game showcase of this very game during one of the lectures, and i couldn’t find a more perfect example to talk about than this game. So i’m gonna bring up a few things here that i might not be able to fit into the showcase due to a limited presentation time. I had seen a lot of videos and articles about this game in the weeks up to it’s release, and i was extremely hyped about it. It presented itself like a blend of the traditional FPS genre and the time-investing MMO genre. And it was made by the company that gave us the brilliant series of Halo games, Bungie. What was there not to be excited about?

The release date came around, and i had it in my hands a day early because the pre-order came in early. The first few days with it in my possession ended up consisting of waking up, going to school, getting back home to eat, and then play it until my eyes couldn’t take it anymore. I absolutely loved the gunplay, and the world we were put into was graphically beautiful. But as the days passed, i was starting to have my doubts. I completed the story campaign, and found myself disappointed. The story made very little sense. Some of the secondary characters had stupid dialogue like “I don’t have time to explain why i don’t have time to explain”, and the final boss was basically one of the mid-game boss fights, but this time there were three of the same big guy. And after completing the story and reaching the “endgame”, the part of the game where you’re supposed to put in the most time and grind your way to the best guns, seemed empty and full of unfulfilling repetition. After completing the campaign, you only had a certain amount of things you could do. Strikes, which were missions playable with 3 people with tons of adds and a big boss to defeat at the end. They all felt the same, and gave out little reward. Nightfalls, which were harder versions of the strikes with modifiers like extra solar damage or extra melee damage, that were your only source of upgradable gear at release but forced you to party up with people beforehand. And then the Crucible, the PvP part of the game, randomly dealing out either terrible rewards or a great gun out of nowhere.

I lost interest quickly. I played it from time to time the following months when i was bored. I even had the season pass, which meant i had access to the two following downloadable content packs. And that’s when things started to catch up. Most of my friends had given up on the game already, which meant i had to resort to finding random teammates through sites like reddit or http://www.destinylfg.net/ to find people to do the endgame activites with. When the second downloadable content pack came out, titled House of Wolves, Bungie introduced a new mode: Trials of Osiris. This was the competetive PvP part of the game, where premade teams of three people matched up and played against each other in a survival gametype where if you died, you had to be revived. And you had to win 5 rounds to win the match. And by playing this you could earn exclusive armor pieces or weapons related to the game mode.

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Again, all of my friends had given up, so i had to find random teammates. Every weekend i would go on earlier mentioned sites and find teammates, often with little success. We would win a couple of games, lose a couple of games and then disband and never talk again. It all changed during the summer of 2015, when i met some random people and actually made it to the highest honor in the game with them, the Lighthouse. You had to win 9 games in a row without losing to make it there. The weekend after that, they invited me again. And ever since that, i had a big group of 15-20 people to play Destiny with daily. Bungie continued to take critique from their audience and continually improved and added to this game, and it kept people playing. Especially the people who loved the Crucible partr of it. I played the two following expansions with them and even through those for nearly 2 years and over a 1000 hours in-game, and still to this day we play different games with each other.

I’m gonna save the rest of my Destiny talk for my showcase, but this is just an example of how one gaming experience can change your own gaming personality, and how a big community of helpful people can exist purely because of a video game.

Living in a digital world

There is no doubt that the world is different today than it was 100 years ago. New technology has opened doors for communication, on a completely different scale than what we might think would be possible 50-60 years ago. The creation of a medium that facilitates collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard to geographical location has made the world «smaller». New technology opens up many doors for opportunities, but can it also have a negative impact on us as human beings? Does the technology make us vulnerable?

The digital world we live in is the result of many innovations and technological advances. All of these things help to change the world from what it once was. It is obvious that the standards of life and education are improved, like many other things that include our needs and wishes. Despite all that, the negative impact of this new world filled with new technology is often overlooked.

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The benefits and results are seen throughout the world. We now have navigation systems in cars that can be installed so that we can drive the right way. In addition, the formation of data-processing materials has made it much faster to access data for businesses, and reduce the physical work needed to acquire information. The Internet and social media have made it possible to communicate over long distances and to a larger audience. Our mobile phones are getting more advanced over time, now we can watch tv and surf the web. There are many technological innovations that contribute to an improved living standard for our society. It makes our lives easier and better. We want all the latest technological products and equipment. The effort to make life easier is the driving force behind our progress. However, this world can come with a price.
It’s not just positive consequences of living in a digital world. With the help of the new technologies available, it has become easier to spy and hack people’s personal information. For example, a small store can have many items that will help people spy and get information from others without them knowing it. Cameras, microphones, etc. can be used to spy as all of this has a network between them. Furthermore, the possibility of cyber crime has also increased. More and more people get knowledge of hacking as it is easily accessible via the internet. The power of society is far greater than one would expect, the judiciary can not prevent every internet crime and capture all the people who do it. The Internet started as a good intention and contributes to education and communication, but it is still important to keep in mind that the digital world has created a new platform for crime.

Vulnerability is thus something that has increased in the individual in the formation of the digital world. People have become more dependent on digital duplications today. We check the phone when we get up and before we leave and we use the internet to find information and to communicate with others. These habits make us vulnerable, for what happens if the power goes or the internet disappears? Have we given up the old digital world? It’s hard to say just how today’s people would react if all of digital technology had disappeared, but it would have changed our everyday life drastically.

One of my favorite games – Diablo

This week we are going to talk about video games. For this blog post, I have decided to write about one of my favorite video games – Diablo. A game I have played since the early 2000’s. I will be talking about Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, because I have played them a whole lot more then the first Diablo game. Diablo is a game I’ve always enjoyed, because you can move around freely in the world, and because you can level up and build up your characters skill and armor!

The first Diablo game was released by Blizzard entertainment in 1996. The game is a fantasy based role game, where you play a warrior of your choice to battle evil. The point of the game is to get closer to Diablo, which is the lord of terror. Diablo is what you would call the “main boss”, you fight allot of bosses to get to the main boss. He is the reason why demons and monsters roam the earth. When he dies, all evil dies with him. On the way you have to fight monster, do missions and to build your character stronger along the way. Another thing that I like about Diablo, is that it’s a good story line to it, when entering a new level you get a backstory of why things have become the way they have become. In other words, you get a little movie clip between the levels you have finished.

I started playing Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, which came out in 2000 as mentioned. I also tried the first Diablo game as well, but that was not as fun as Diablo 2, because the graphics were not as good. My dad played Diablo 2 at the time, and that’s how I was introduced to it. I played through the game when I was about 10 years old. Not to mention that the game is quite violent for a kid that young, because you have graphic props in the game, for example you have disemboweled bodies lying around the game and heads hanging on sticks. There is a reason why the genre for this game is called hack and slash, because the only thing you do is to kill.

Diablo 2 characters

The photo above, shows the characters you could choose from in Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. You have the amazon, necromancer, barbarian, sorceress and paladin. If you have the expansion pack, you get the assassin and the druid. All characters have different skills based on their class. For instance you have the necromancer, who can summon the dead, or you have the druid which can turn into a wolf and summon animals to fight by his side. The amazon, barbarian and the paladin are better with weapons, and they achieve much stronger damage skills with either bow, sword or axe.

Diablo characters

In this photo you have Diablo 3, which is the newest of the game series. As you can see you have a different selection of characters, but you always have the “classic” characters that appear in every game, they have only changed their appearance. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls is the best of the three games after my opinion. Reaper of Souls is an expansion pack to the game which came out in 2014, where you get new monsters, new land and new advantages. The graphics are of course much better, you can do more stuff in the game, you have cool new characters like the monk, demon hunter and witch doctor, completely new classes introduced to the universe. Compared to the other games, you can actually chose the gender of your character, which you could not do in the previous games. Something else that is worth mentioning about Diablo 3, is that you use a forum called battle net (you need this to play on PC), where you get automatic updates in the game! Which makes the game more exciting and it never gets old in a way.

Down below you have a game play portraying the monk and how he/she fights! The monk is one of my favorite characters. When I first played Diablo 3, I chose the monk because I wanted to try a new and different class then what I use to play, plus you get the story of your character when you start the game, which get you to know your character better. The monk’s special skill is fighting with hands or staff, and can do powerful martial art moves and teleport.

If you would like to try out this adventurous game, you can play it on Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, PlayStation and Xbox. The game will change your life, check it out! I recommend this game, even if you don’t game.

The one where I become a gamer

“Every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming is a huge part of our culture. You can ignore or embrace video games and imbue them with the best artistic quality. People are enthralled with video games in the same way as other people love the cinema or theatre.” – Andy Serkis

This week we´ve started to read and study the concept of video games. I´ve never considered myself to be a gamer, and to be blunt with you; I didn´t expect to take a lot away from this part of the curriculum. It seems like it always has been this negative stigma around gamers and video games in general. Gaming has therefore never been something I´ve reflected very much on. When I sat down to brainstorm this week’s blog, a few things dawned on me.

29134247_10156227801959516_1770845439_nFirst of all; I am a gamer myself, and have been a gamer for the majority of my life. The oldest device that I can remember playing on as a child was this old-school game that my mother bought on a plane once (see picture to the left). There was not much to the game, but I still found it very fascinating. I also played “Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire” on PlayStation 2 when it first came out – although I was too scared to finish it because I knew (spoiler alert!) that Voldemort was going to show up by the end of the game, and I was not ready for that. I additionally nagged on my parents to get me a silver Nintendo DS for my eleventh birthday. Even though I most of the time just used my Mario game to play poker instead of the actual game, because I couldn´t get past level five, the game still kept me company for long flights and car rides.

Another thing that was a big part of shaping my childhood was The Sims. I have an older brother who introduced me at an early age to this new and magical world of building houses and making families. I started playing The Sims 2 before I could even read – which lead to a lot of mistakes while playing. One time I made my own family as sims and was horrified when the child protective services came to get my sister, I failed in school, and my father couldn’t get to work because of a dinner plate that was in front of the door. My mother was horrified when I went around the neighborhood and announced that my sister had been taken away. Besides those mishaps, I do believe that playing The Sims helped me spark my creativity, and making different characters and planning out their futures has been a great resource to take with me when it comes to my creative writing. I also had to quickly learn how to read essential world like “feed” and “do homework” quite rapidly.

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Secondly, there´s honestly nothing wrong with being a gamer. As I mentioned earlier, there is a stigma around video games. There´s this stereotype of a person with zero social skills that just spend all their time alone in their room playing video games. That may be true in some cases, but I believe that those cases are far and few between. Playing games is a way to develop your cognitive senses, and also gives you the opportunity to make friends from all` around the world. If there´s one thing that I will remember from this week is that there’s so much more to a game than what meets the eye. There are hours and hours of work put into every little aspect of a game, and I´ve defiantly gained more respect for the gaming community.

That is it for this week. Now excuse me as I´m off to embrace my gamer side.

Emma

Video Games

AAA, RPG, DRM or MOBA – I had no idea what we were talking about, when we had started our second phase of #netnarr. Yes, I really felt like a noob (haha), but for real gamers it was like their second mother tongue. And here we are: Welcome to the next chapter: video games!

„… A game is a system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.“
–  Salen & Zimmerman, Rules of Play

But even if I’m not a specialist when it comes to video games I think it is still an important topic in the field of digital genres. Additionally, several disciples like the anthropology, sociology, psychology, educational science as well as media and communication sciences have all their own perspective. Therefore it has great relevance in research, although it is heavily criticized in science. Namely, studies could prove that video games cause deadening, overweight, reading and attention deficit, sleep disorder and mental enfeeblement especially to children and adolescents.

Thus, there is always a discussion between researchers, if video games effects violence or not. Despite, or perhaps because of that video games are of special interest for science and research. Accordingly, it is interesting to take a look closer to the impact of video games, because beside the risks of gaming there is also potential.

One of those potentials for educational science for example are learning games which are really popular these days, because children grow up with digital things around them and that’s why there are used to it. Besides, studies could prove that particular games can increase the memory capacity of children, because some games have complex structures where you have to solve tasks and problems. In addition, video games can help kids to read faster, because sometimes you get instructions from the characters in the game. All in all the gamers have to search, negotiate and try different approaches to advance which can improve their planning and problem solving skills.

And also from the perspective of psychology it is interesting to explore this field, because then you have a better understanding for the motifs and needs of gamers. So the question is: What is the motivation? Is it the sense for competition? Gratification?  Or the human urge for collecting things?

Moreover, a researcher from the communication science is more interested in the interactivity between gamers, as one can see online in multiplayer games. How does the communication work? How do the gamers participate? What is the difference between online and offline?

But video games are not only important for science and research. They are also relevant for the whole society, as you can see if you take a look on human history. Humans like to play games and they are willing to pay a lot of money for that as several game productions prove. Therefore video games are no longer just childish free time activities, but a social phenomenon that needs to be explored.

 

Video game history

We’re finally diving in to the video game part of this course, which is probably what most people were looking forward to. We’ve only had 1 lecture about video games so far, but it’s been very interesting and I can’t wait to learn more.

The most interesting thing I learned during that lecture was the history of the very first video game to be created: Tennis for two. Tennis for two was released in 1958 and was a multiplayer game where two players would compete in a game of tennis (obviously). I think it was really awesome just to see how simple video games started compared to how video games are these days. It was also very interesting and cool to learn about the first video game console, the Odyssey which was released by Magnavox in 1972 and was based on Ralph Baer’s “Brown Box”. We also learned about how video game industry came to be because of Pong and how the industry evolved further.

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There was little competition in the start, but Japanese companies would eventually enter the market and be dominant after Space Invaders was released in 1978. Japanese companies would also make cheaper and better electronics. Japanese companies would only become even more dominant after Namco released Pac-man in 1980 who ended up being the very first gaming superstar. Pac-man was, in contrast to other games at the time, not a violent game. preview0001.pngDD4BED9C-542A-47A0-90A4-4A77AD1D2BBCOriginal

I’m really looking forward to learn more about video games and video game history next week as I really find this interesting since I am a gamer. It’s fun to learn a little about the past of video games and consoles. It’s a little weird to see how much video games have advanced since the release of Tennis for two. Early games didn’t have 3d graphics or advanced mechanics. They just did the best with what they had and so it evolved from there.

The roots of inspiration

This is gonna be the first of two blog posts today. Before we went on a two week break due to a series of unlucky events, i got massively distracted the weekend we were supposed to post our 4th blog of the semester and i just completely forgot about it. Mia reminded us that this was the week we were supposed to put up our 5th blog post, and as i quickly scrolled through my own blog i realized i was one short. So today you’re all lucky enough to get a double post. I don’t remember much from the week i was supposed to put up this very blog post, but i did remember that was the week where the studio visit with Emilio Varavella took place. So with a lack of memory, a rewatch of it was absolutely necessary to get a hint of inspiration. And inspiration is mainly what this post will be about. Varavella is an artist with lots of amazing art and from what i’ve seen through my life and experienced myself, acquiring an interest in something like art always requires a sense of things like exploration, research and inspiration to develop your own style of doing that very thing.

When Varavella took student questions from twitter, he talked about his own inspiration and interest in art and also his first encounters with technology and how it all shaped him. All of this made me think of my own encounters with the same stuff, and where it has put me today. I was born in 1997, so the internet was still very much a thing, although quite fresh. And the same thing goes for cellphones. My family had internet before i was even born, and when i first got my hands on it it was on a big white bulky desktop computer running Windows 2000. I didn’t get to use the internet on it for while until i was around the age of 11-12, but before that i did get to play games on it. You had the classics on it like Minesweeper and Solitaire. I remember my first video game experience being a PC version of the game show “Do You Want to Be a Millionaire” (that’s a classic for you, huh?). Me and my sister would use encoclypedia books when we ran out of lifelines to get all the way to that sweet, virtual one million dollars. This might have been the start of my video game addiction, which will be the subject of my next post.

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When the day came around where i was finally allowed internet access, i didn’t do much else in my spare time. Few of my classmates were allowed phones yet, so we all resorted to a specific medium to keep in touch outside of class when we weren’t able to go outside or lived too far apart; MSN. The conversations we had on there weren’t exactly packed with content, though. They always went something like this: Person 1 says “hi”, person 2 says “hi” back, person 1 asks “what’s up”, person 2 says “not much, you?”, and person 1 says “same”. And that was just about it. One of the things i always liked doing with MSN was change my status bar. It was a tiny bar under your name you could edit and put in whatever you wanted to represent how you felt at the moment, imply what you were doing so no one would bother you with a conversation or just put random stuff in. I always liked messing around with smileys in that status bar and rearrange them into several different combinations to create my own personal kind of art. Looking back at it now, it was probably a predecessor and one of many inspirations to my current interest in graphic design.

When i was picking something to study for high school, it took me ages to find out what i wanted to do. But at the last day of selections, my final choice fell on “media and communcation”. And boy, am i glad that i did. I always had an underlying fascination for creating things in the form of videos or graphic art, but never really had the tools or courage to do so. But when i started studying the subject, i finally had the tools. We always created a variety of things during my 3 years of high school, such as animation, short films, and photography with all the Adobe programs and high-class equipment you could imagine. But every time that we had a end-of-semester exam where we got to work on something of our own choosing, i always did something related to graphic design in Photoshop or Illustrator. I loved taking movies, video games or TV shows and creating my own posters or different kinds of art related to those things. Luckily i have managed to dig up some of these works, all saved on a hard drive because my laptop back then had zero space (and all the files from said high school work obviously took up a lot of space quickly). I’ll show off 3 examples, simply because i have way too many to introduce in one blog post.

The first piece of work is a simple poster for the ever popular TV show Breaking Bad. This was pretty much the only TV show i had fully completed back then, and i loved it to death. The poster pretty much just consists of the main actor’s names and the distinct outfit of the main character in the show, Heisenberg. This was my distinct style of graphical work back then: Take characters and enhance their traits by removing everything else and focusing on the distinct traits.

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The last two pieces of work come from the same project. For an “exam” i wanted to do more of these kinds of posters, but one obviously didn’t qualify as enough work. So i made five posters, all revolving around the movie The Avengers. And the same distinct traits as the Breaking Bad poster come up again. The first one specifies one character in the movie, Thor. This was the single character poster i was pleased the most about at the time, because of the difficulty of selecting what traits should be pictured in the poster to not make it a complete mess. The other one shows off all 4 characters i made a poster of in a simplistic way. Obviously, there are more Avengers, but i only had so much time.

Thor poster

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As you can tell, most of my inspiration comes from work done by others. But seeing what other people have done, often inspires me to reach up to that level myself or do something completely different on my own with the same idea. I haven’t done much of this after high school, but i still got all my Adobe programs and this trip down memory lane might inspire me yet again.