For the last two classes, we have discussed Gaming. I found it very interesting that while I do not game myself, I understood much of the information being presented. I was able to make clear connections to some of the ideas, terminology and culture references. Part of that is due to my brother being a bit into gaming, my watching of the Big Bang Theory and my reading of Ready Player One (super cool website design by the way!). It probably also helps that I am geeky in the sense that my job revolved around tech so I hear about many things that kids are doing whether I participate directly or not.
Things that struck me during the course conversation was the way that my professor kept the conversation flowing between all of the elements around gaming that many people argue about. Addiction, social acceptance, management of time, gender roles, third place and more. I think all in all we had a good representation of these elements and roles they in the gaming world.
One topic we spent time on was the idea that gaming in the past has been seen as something that teenage boys do in teenage boy bedrooms in the dark. When we looked at old ads for some of the original game consols this was the way it looked. This image is changing with new game advertising. The new ads are showing more adults in social settings with “everyday” lives playing their games. This is sending the message that gaming is for everyone. Some of the games are for “loners” started possibly because in the early years of games only one person could play on a console at a time, but with new server and web-based games, it is possible to be more social online.
Also, the new focus in gaming seems to be on the social aspect. This is where a “third place” comes in. Many games have areas or chat rooms that allow the users to socialize and “hang out” with friends that have within the game. This is where I think many people get “worked up” about gaming is because they do not understand the culture. Instead of trying to understand it they criticize it. This is true of many things in life people who don’t understand something immediately assume the worse.
But like everything, it is about balance. Gaming is no different if your life is gaming all the time, then no that probably isn’t good, if your life is about gaming for a bit of fun or stress release then go for it!
It is also interesting to me that many people are getting into the nostalgia of gaming. They are buying retro games and playing them with friends at home or in third place. They are actually changing the solo isolated relationship that those games had by bringing the games into a more social context. I also wonder if a bit of this is due to people’s willingness to spend long periods of time on one game. If you game in a social context you are possibly less likely to get bored with the game.
I wonder if the games like Settlers, if they did not have the third place like elements, would the users still be playing them? Would the game hold the user’s attention? I found this in Farmville. After a few weeks, I was no longer interested.