Revision as of DATE: 25 Oct 2022, Title: “The affect of Ludonarrative Dissonance in video games?”
I have played a lot of video games. You could say it’s the thing I am most passionate about. Video games are often seen as immature or childish, but often, if not a lot of the time, the intricate and raw stories they can tell are truly marvellous. The narratives video games can create is one of the reasons I love them so much. It’s a unique form of literature, perhaps something other forms of media can’t really emulate. When watching a movie you, as the audience, are not really involved in any of the events unfolding on screen, the same goes for books or plays and the sort, there is a disconnect, but with video games the plot is driven by the audience themselves, namely the player. The events that unfold on the screen are usually due to us, the player’s, actions, making us live the story and take responsibility for the consequences, even if we often do not get a say in it, we are still the ones in control. Graphic and disturbing content is nothing new to the media but due to said nature of video games it often gets into a lot of trouble with the general consensus and mass media. But the interactive element of video games really make it a medium for storytelling like no other, creating immersive, powerful and compelling narratives all the while putting us right between it.
Not only do video games tell stories through the plot they are weaving but also through the way it has to be played. To explain simply, games aren’t exactly like reality where we can try out whatever we think of, there are limitations. As such, A specific set of systems or actions are allowed for the player to carry out in order to play and progress the game, called gameplay or game mechanics. The things we do and are allowed to do in a video game contribute to building the narrative just as much as the plot does. They create a narrative of their own reflecting the game’s world and the people in it. As in other forms of media, observing the actions and choices taken by characters can further explain the plot and the characters themselves, afterall actions speak louder than words. This applies to video games as well, but here the audience themselves are the ones having to perform these actions and go through with those difficult choices. This brings us to the topic we are researching here, Ludonarrative dissonance. Ludonarrative dissonance is when the mechanics of a game, i.e. the gameplay/game mechanics, do not coincide or reflect the plot being told by the game. When this gameplay, the ludic part, does not agree with the plot or story elements, the narrative part, that is when we observe Ludonarrative dissonance. Ludonarrative dissonance is a relatively recent concept coined by videogame designer Clint Hocking in 2007, though the concept has existed for much longer. People have used the term in various ways, sometimes improperly, and most often to criticise the realism of video games. A popular example of this would be the Grand Theft Auto series where the main character or protagonist of the game often does not come across as a psychopath or bad person if you listen to the story, they are sometimes likable even, but when playing the game the player can commit mass murders, violent crimes and many other actions which often do not fit the character’s personality or ideology. One moment you could be shown a scene of how the character abhors killing after seeing his fair share of bloodshed, but in the next moment you could be committing mass homicides of your own free will, since the game allows something like that to happen. Something like this can potentially take away the immersion of a game, making the gameplay and narrative fight instead of complimenting each other. Sometimes it can even make the story portray a message different than the one intended by the developer. While this phenomenon and its effects may not always be extreme, it can certainly affect how a game is perceived, sometimes even deviating it entirely from what the creators originally intended it to be.
I will be researching various examples of documented Ludonarrative dissonance in video games and people’s opinion on the matter. Since this is not a statistical topic most of what I find, as well as my own conclusion, may very well be opinionated. I expect most people to agree that Ludonarrative dissonance has detrimental effects on gameplay, taking players out of the immersion and making it a worse experience. I may discover certain games that have been ruined due this and will subsequently try to understand why people think so. I also expect to find games that may use this concept to their advantage instead, creating a more compelling narrative, playing with and subverting the player’s expectations. Sometimes it may also be a necessary device for making enjoyable gameplay or maintaining pre established game mechanics. Having played a lot of video games myself I will also use my own experiences to judge sources, since as stated this can be a very opinionated topic.
Revision as of DATE: 19 Oct 2022, Title: “How can video games help children’s mental development?“
A lot of my life was built around video games. Friends, family, work, school, entertainment, almost everything had something to do with gaming. So as a child who grew up playing a lot of video games, it always interested me how it might have affected me. Playing games and watching people play them fascinated me for as long as I can remember. So why are we, especially children, so fascinated with video games and does it affect the mind. As far as I have observed it is the same for most children and more recently even adults. Since the inception of video games it has been a medium like no other. From its humble beginnings as two dimensional polygons to the hyper realistic simulations of reality we see today, video games have changed vastly. Today, it is arguably one of the biggest mediums we have not just for entertainment, but in terms of e-sports, simulations and business.
It is no secret that news outlets and mass media have traditionally stigmatised and not looked very kindly upon video games. Video games have long been blamed for a lot of wrongs and problems in society. Shooting, violence, even general stupidity have all been blamed on video games, and most of this has usually been targeted at children. The unfiltered and uncontrolled way in which we consume media probably has negative effects on children and the way they develop. Gaming addiction among children has also become a problem in many societies. Children often fail to distinguish between fiction and reality as well when playing too much. There have also been links to people eventually becoming delusional and developing psychosis due to excessive gaming.
In recent years, however, there have been claims of several positive effects of playing video games. Playing video games lets children explore ideas and theories in ways we may not have been able to provide through other medias. Gaming has also shown to improve problem solving skills, creativity and reflexes. It is a medium that lets us experience and observe in a way to other medium can, allowing us to train and develop skills in a safe and controlled environment. Gaming is also fast becoming the future. A multi billion dollar industries with vast opportunities and jobs, constantly growing.
In case I do find contradictions to my expectations I will have to reassess my notions. I will try to first of all try to find the actual effects of playing video games on the human mind and work from there. Finding and studying several experiments and statistics on video games by credible and reliable sources will be key in establishing a proper outlook on the subject matter. I will compare these results and come to an unbiased conclusion as to how media actually does affect the mind, mental growth and our thought processes.
Original: “How media influences mental growth and development?“
DATED: 12 Oct 2022
As a child who grew up watching, listening and reading a lot of media and pop culture, it always interested me how it all probably affected me. Since the inception of entertainment people have always used it to make statements and present ideas. Media and entertainment are probably more prominent now than they have ever been and as time progresses can only be expected to increase. As such media is probably one of the driving forces that influences our thoughts and way of thinking in the modern world. Everyone consumes some, or more likely multiple, forms of media every single day. Movies, Music, Video Games, Social media, etcetera, etcetera , from children to adults, have undoubtedly become integral to our lives to the point some can’t imagine living without it. Perhaps the things we can learn from media cannot be taught by anyone else. It engages us and captivates us, but it would not be too outlandish to claim that consuming media can also be an addiction. Children glued to screens watching videos, teenagers tapping their phones completely unaware of their surroundings, even adults ignoring their responsibilities and watching stuff on their phones or TVs. Technology being more available may have a lot to do with this but I want to focus on the media aspect and its effect on the mind.
I believe media becoming more readily and easily accessible also has contributed to this greatly. I expect media to have both positive and negative effects on the human psyche. Consuming media probably opens new perspectives and lets us explore ideas and theories we may not have considered. It jogs creative processes and probably helps with writing and composition. I believe different kinds of media may also have different kinds of effects on people. I am especially interested in how video games affect mental development as it is probably the most interactive and unique kind of media out there. I am also interested how reading and watching content affect the mind differently.
In case I do find contradictions to my expectations I will have to reassess my notions. I will try to first of all try to find the actual effects media does have on human minds. I will try to find experiments and statistics on media by credible and reliable sources. I will compare these results and come to an unbiased conclusion as to how media actually does affect the mind, mental growth and our thought processes.