Am I a gamer!? Who would have thought…

So, I want to talk a bit about video games.

We are soon in mid march, and spring is still nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, we are moving on from digital art to video games. Now, as I have mentioned before in an earlier blog post, I do not consider myself to be a gamer. However, in this weeks lecture we were presented with four terms or categories of what a gamer is, or can be, and to my surprise I found that I actually fit into a couple of these categories.

A short description of the categories of gamers mentioned in class; Casual Gamer: Is a person who plays games to relax and unwind more than for the challenge of it. For the casual gamer, gaming is more of a light hobby. Social Gamer: For a social gamer, connecting with people is important. Games with a strong online community is favoured. Specialist Gamer: Is very focused on getting the most out of the games they play, and they know what type of games they like and stick to those. Expert Gamer: This person is not necessarily a very skilled gamer, but is someone who is into everything game related.

I found that I had elements from quite a few of these although neither one fit perfectly. I love to play a few games, but I am not doing it for the challenge but rather for the experience of the world and the story of the game. I am quite relaxed about gaming and it varies how often I play games. I choose the games I play based on the atmosphere the game has. The visual aspect and the music is quite important to me when I am looking for new games to play. I know what I am looking for, and what kind of games I like to play. I also have to say that I am in no way a very skilled gamer, but I have been called a completionist and yes, I guess I am exactly that.

I think one of the reasons I never considered myself to be a gamer is that I have only just recently started playing video games. I used to play more when I was younger, a lot younger. My favourite games at that point were Super Mario bros, Little Samson and Sonic the hedgehog. Another reason I did not consider myself to be a gamer is the meaning I put into the word “gamer”, to me a gamer was someone who sort of embodied all of the categories mentioned above. I have now discovered that the meaning behind the word and what a gamer actually is, is a lot more complex and that I actually can call myself a gamer.

 

I do not think that I am alone in having this stereotypic view on what a gamer is, and I think that is a bit sad. Many gamers might be excluding themselves from this quite wonderful community because they do not realize that they are actually a part of it. Much in the same way that I did.

I also quite enjoy searching for new games to play, and I really enjoy watching “let’s plays” of games I already enjoy or of games I might like to play. I am also a bit picky so at the moment I have only found three games that I love. Unfortunately one of them is way to hard for my poor skillset and underdeveloped patience, but it is so beautiful. Having to try to get past a challenge ten times or more is just not going to happen, I get way too infuriated when I can not get past the challenge fast enough. I hope that one day I will be able to play Ori and the Blind Forest, without possibly throwing the Xbox out the window.

I have mentioned one of the games I enjoy playing in an earlier blog post, and that is the game Child of Light by Ubisoft. Child of Light is a platform RPG game, and what I enjoy about this game is the atmosphere created by the subtle watercoloured artwork, the music and the storyline. I also like games where you explore a world and discover hidden treasures and other useful things that will help you further along in the game.

 

The next game that I want to mention is Seasons After Fall by Swing Swing Submarine. This is another game that I love to play, much for the same reasons as Child of Light. Again, the atmosphere of the game is a very important aspect. Seasons after Fall is a platform game where the challenges mostly consist of solving puzzles.

 

The third game I really like is Ori and the Blind Forest by Moon Studios GmbH, this is a platform-adventure game. This game is challenging, and I do not have the patience or the skillset to even get remotely close to the end of the game. However this is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. It draws you in, and it is beautiful and calming as well as very challenging and nerve wracking at the same time. I will play this game, I just need to develop my hand- eye coordination a bit more, as well as my patience.

 

I think I have made it quite clear that the sensation of the game is rather important to me as a gamer. To me games are as much an art expression as anything else, and I find that the visual and atmospheric aspect is what creates the illusion of being a part of another world, and what draws you into this great reality escape. Now, I love books, movies, cartoons, tv-series and art in various forms, but there is something different about games. They feel alive in a very different way, and this might be the due to the fact that they are much more interactive than most other media. Because of this, the immersion of a video game is typically stronger than that of other media. Most likely there are several factors that create the uniqueness of video games, however, I will not go further into those now.

For now I am quite excited for this new theme, and for exploring video games aesthetics, and writing more about this topic for next weeks blog post.

Also, go and check out my contribution to the “make” #SelfieUnselfie

 

 

 

 

Update and a bit of Video Games

I just wanted to come with a quick update on what is happening on my blog and in course since I haven’t blogged for over 2 weeks. So, we have started on the gaming side of the course and as a gamer myself (at least when I had time to play games) I’m excited about this. I will be presenting a game for this as well which I will talk about for next week’s blog (actually this week’s blog since I’m late with this one).

This is my computer sett up

I kind of just wanted to talk about what I see in games and my thoughts around them. Too me games have been a lot of help. It is a distraction form real life sometimes and of course I have gotten a lot of friends online and in the community where I live. Other than that, I will say it have helped me with learning and maintain me English language capabilities. So, in that respect I think video games have a lot of utility. But this isn’t by far the only thing that games can offer. Just to list some more of the positive things with video games like hand eye coordination, creativity tool, immersive storytelling and so on. After reading some blogs in this course that are not that much of gamers themselves I noticed that some of them was still talking about the stigma that have followed games as long as games themselves have been in existence. It is a bit surprising to me to see that some still think that this stigma is still surrounding gaming as a culture. I did myself experience this stigma, maybe to a lesser degree than some others have, but in any case, I thought this stigma was fading away and it as of course. It was just that the type of stigma that was surrounding some years ago still has relevance in this day and age.

For last I just wanted to talk about what we did and are doing in the other course I’m taking which is dikult 104. We have started ever so slightly to learn about programming. A little bit of javascript, but what I wanted to talk about is BAISC, a programming language which was used for, for example Commondore 64. Why this? Well we are learning the basic (see what I did there?) of programming and the history of it. Learning this programming language is actually useless since it is not used anywhere, but it is fun. So, I made a extremely simple “game”, if you can even call it that, which is of course text based, (yes this is how far back we have gone in history) since that is the only thing you can do with a Commondore 64. Everything you do is text based.

Commondore 64

Looking forward to having the presentation tomorrow for those that is taking this course (in Mia’s class of course) and hope it is at least interesting.

#SelfieUnselfie

Selfie.

Even though a selfie, an image is supposed to say more than a thousand words it is still a challenge to, and even maybe impossible to portray your whole authentic personality in one single photo.

Why is this a challenge? Because any one personality is so complex and layered that a picture of ones face is simply not enough to tell the story of who a person is.

Sefie endelig avgjørelse
What’s in a name? What’s in a face? How much of the true authentic Evy-Ann is communicated through an image of my face alone?

Your face is like the icing on a cake, it does not communicate too much about what went into making the cake. In a similar way ones face and appearance might give you a clue to a few aspects of a person, but there is still much left hidden.

Can you tell from this image of me that I love books and reading? what kind of books I like or that I really enjoy food and cooking? How about that I have a partner and a cat that I love very much or my level of crazy catladyness? And indeed everything else that is me. A lot is not communicated through this one selfie.

Unselfie.

In an attempt to let the cat out of the bag, and reveal a bit more about who I am I figured that my rather unsorted messy bookshelf would a good representation. It reveals a lot of what I like to spend my time doing, you have my cooking books, my fantasy books, books collected from various studies, art books and sketch books, my partners books… And indeed the fact that i have attempted to keep a sorted bookshelf and it ending up a bit messy and overcrowded is also quite descriptive of my personality.

29066343_10156087282267674_8783484827883012096_o.jpg

All of the elements mentioned above give a deeper depiction of all the different aspects that shape my personality. This is still just a little piece of who I am. As in real life it takes time to get to know a person, and understand who they are. Two images from my life is not nearly enough to get the full picture of what my personality consists of… Another aspect is, how do you know that this is even my bookshelf? How do you know that this is authentic and not just a way that I want to depict myself online that is not really who I am? In order to be able to judge whether this is authentic or not I think one needs more than a few pictures.

Title number 5

First week after the winter break is now over, and it felt good getting back in routine after a week off. This is the week we start with the subject Video Games, something that I have been looking forward to, I think this can be a fun couple of weeks with a lot of interesting lectures. I guess I would classify myself as a social-gamer, I play games on a regular basis, and it is something that I have been doing for a couple of years, its always been a hobby which I have enjoyed very much. I remember one of the first gaming consoles that I owned, and it was the PS2, and at the time I lived in Spain, so I bought FIFA 2002 with Spanish audio. I didn’t fully understand Spanish, but I played the game so much that I just knew what to press.

I am also looking forward to the peer game presentations, I think it’s an interesting and cool way to do lectures, making the students talk about what they want the rest of us to learn about. I think I know a little bit about all the games that will be presented, but I am looking forward to learning some more.

We also had the Arduino workshop this week, since it got canceled before winter break. And I didn’t know anything about Arduino, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was quite fun, I have done something similar in high school but that was long forgotten, so all in all it was better than I thought it would be.

Online and Offline Gaming

In this blog post I want to talk about offline and online gaming, and about gaming community. I’m not really into gaming myself, but I have tried gaming here and there. Usually I find it enjoyable, but mostly I find it time consuming. Since I do not know much about gaming, I asked two of my friends who plays video games to share their opinion and experiences on gaming.

First, we need to define the differences between offline gaming and online gaming. So, the main difference between offline and online gaming is that in online, people gets to communicate and play with others through internet, while offline gaming can only be played with limited number of players and can be played without the internet connection.

I asked two of my friends some questions surrounding about gaming, and for anonymity I decided to name them Player 1 (online gamer) and Player 2 (offline gamer). Questions and answers below.

What kind of games do you play?

Player 1: “I usually play first-person shooter and MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) video games.”

Player 2: “I play different type of games, but mostly role-playing games (RPGs) like The Sims, Skyrim, Mount and Blade, and Assassins Creed.”

Why do you play?

Player 1: “I play because I think it’s fun and I do it for pastime”

Player 2: “I play to get away from reality for a little, to have other things to think about since I’m in tough situation right now. Before, I played to have fun for pastime.”

How does gaming make you feel?

Player 1: “I don’t know, it doesn’t really give me any special feelings, and I don’t get very attached to the game”

Player 2: “I get a good feeling when I play, and I get to be able to live into the games. The thoughts from reality somehow “disappears” while I’m playing because I focus on the game and what to be done there. When I struggle with a “mission” and finally get through it, I get this sense of achievement, but when I lose I get irritated and upset. One can also live into games, for example, when I played Red Dead and thought the ending was very, so I started crying. The saddest part is that when you play a game and completed it, it may make you feel a little “empty” for a few days.”

Do you like playing with other? why or why not?

Player 1: “I like playing with others because it is more enjoyable to compete with other people. It is much more fun to play base on your skills and nothing else. I also think it’ fun to play single player sometimes. Things I like about playing with others is to play as a team and to be social at the same time”

Player 2: “I don’t’ really like playing with others, I am very shy and afraid to make fool of myself in front of others online. Therfore, I usually play alone.”

When did you start gaming?

Player 1: “I started playing in 9th grade.”

Player 2: “I started gaming when I got my first pc which was on primary school, but I then I only played kids games. When I was between 15-16 years old, I got PS3 and started gaming more and got my eyes up for games.”

Do you have any concerns about online gaming?

Player 1: “I don’t have special concerns about it. It can either contribute to negative and positive things. The only thing that may concern me, is that one can become addicted and use much time in it.”

Player 2: “I’m a little worried about the younger generation and games. I work at a school and hear children down in 2nd grade talking about GTA and other 18 year limit games. I also noticed that children may be more violent in playing, where they play war with firearms and other things. I think kids do not fully understand the difference between real world and the game world when they are so young. I also have a younger brother who plays a lot online, and sometimes I sit and watch him play. He often plays with people who are much older than him, and he has many “friends” he does not know online. When he plays with friends he knows, I’m surprised by how rude they can be to each other online, for example, they use bad languages, and if someone does wrong, one can be banned from the game. So, I think it wise to have safe internet use.”

Do you consider yourself addicted to gaming?

Player 1: “A little bit, maybe. When I have other things to do, I do those things, but when I do nothing, don’t see the problem of gaming.”

Player 2: “I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to games, it can take several days for me without playing games, and if I play I do not play more than 2-4 hours in a day. I know someone who plays almost every day and you almost need to unplug the computer for that person to get out of the game.”

In my opinion, people play for different kind of purposes. One may do it for fun, escaping reality or many more reasons. As I observed in the interview and with internet research, people who are more into offline gaming are more about the experience of the game itself, trying to live into roles, completing to see its ending, and not worrying about how they should play with others. Meanwhile, Online gamers states more into competitiveness, working together and socializing with other online gamers.

One ting that regards online gaming is that it builds a community. Player 1 mentioned that in an online community, there are diverse types of people/gamer. There are what they call the “Squeaker” which is probably a child playing online. Some are called for “Salty” who are usually a grumpy and unpleasant players. As player 1 told me, the online gaming community are filled with these types of gamers, since the others don’t do much of themselves and that they are  mostly found in a MOBA and first-person shooter games.

Reflection V: «Good luck, have fun»

playerunknowns-battlegrounds-screenshot-2018-03-09-23-14-07-42.png

It’s often difficult to start a text, any text. Whether it’s just another blog post, text to someone you adore, that paper you should’ve started on days ago, or answering back in the in-game chat.

So, I brought up a chunk of trivial examples to end with the topic of the blog this week – gaming. It’s usually easy to break in with some ‘fillers’ to soften your fingers across the keyboard; even though it often results in rewriting the text. I’m going to stop the warm-up here, I hope.

This week has been focused on video games; some history, some vocabulary, and some insight from the business by a developer in the class. I’ve made some notes and churned my thoughts around some feelings I have regarding games, because I am sort of a gamer.
It’s been a loaded term, “gamer”. If you tell people ‘outside the community’ that you’re a gamer, then you’d often be regarded as a loner, nerd, someone without social skills or ambitions. It may look like the stigma is slowly breaking apart, and that’s maybe because of mobile games. So many ‘non-gamers’ spend hours on their phone playing simple games. Wait, did you write that non-gamers game? Yes, because the stigma goes the other way as well. The Internet community of ‘hardcore gamers’ shun the idea of mobile gamers, because they don’t know what true games are.

What are true games then? There are lots of definitions available and most of them are valid in my opinion. Just like with any other form of entertainment, there are genres for most every taste. Some love story driven fantasy games played on a computer monitor for proximity, some love a fun car game to relax with in the sofa, and others like to exercise their reflexes on a mobile phone.

We should embrace play and creativity. I believe it’s important in our hectic society. How games affect us has been discussed for many years and the debate is often renewed every time a youth is caught doing violent acts towards others; it had to be because of violent video games!

game-violent-lag Aristotle used the term ‘catharsis’ for the act of purging emotions and relieving emotional tensions, and it’s believed that playing video games can help people in just that. However, like any theory, there are arguments against it. So I can only speak from my own experiences at the moment.

I do believe that most people can achieve some steam to be released in playing games – either violent or non-violent. Just like playing violent games can help some to release aggression, it’s been said that aggressive music can also give the same affect – as I’ve experienced myself.

Art in general can create a framework where we can pour our emotions into.

This framework can have many benefits. I recently saw a TED talk about how the game Minecraft can help kids with autism to communicate and learn in a safe space. That’s one of the bad things about the online community, lots of players bring toxic behavior to the forums, comments on videos, and in-game chat. I guess the steam must go somewhere, but the pipe has been going the wrong places for far too long. I learn today that Ubisoft is developing an automated system for detecting hate speech in chat and banning players. Maybe we’ll see a universal system for keeping the community clean without falling into too harsh censorship.

I’ve got so much to say, but I always stray and start to run down another path – which can be a side-effect of reflection. I guess that I’ll have to keep some content for the next post also.

I do want in my final words to sum up some of my thoughts on escaping to the realm of video games. Like I wrote in the beginning, about the way gamers was and sometimes still is portrayed, there are a lot of people that do escape to a virtual world as therapy; either offline or online, or just watching other people play on Twitch or YouTube. One of my favorite players and streamers goes by the alias JackFrags. He sums up some of my thoughts in a recent video he made.

 

“Good luck, have fun” or just “glhf” is often said before an online match starts, and “gg/good game” when it ends. Toss on a “wp/well played” if the match was fun.