Professor Belli | Fall 2022 | City Tech

Author: Khandoker (Page 1 of 2)

Beginning of the end

The semester is already coming to an end. Feels like it went by in a flash. I read somewhere that time seems to fly when you are having fun but when you are recalling it feels detailed and longer. It also said time may seem to pass slowly when you are bored or not enjoying yourself but seems very short when you think back on it.

Well that’s enough commentary. Unit 4 seems much more straightforward and simpler on the surface and probably is and I am progressing steadily having already written about the most important thing I learned about myself this semester. I am also making small revisions to my Unit 1 but nothing major yet but I haven’t started on Unit 2. I am just not giving it enough time yet amongst all the other subjects and hope to get it done soon.

I am struggling with how I add the extra paragraph at the beginning of the revised units. Is there a right way to do it? Where and in what way do I insert it? I am also wondering about whether I am supposed to keep the cover letter as is or do something about it.

Other than that I am trying to incorporate the feedbacks Professor and others have provided on my units. At the moment I am not rewriting or changing much and only editing certain sections based on the feedbacks, which I must say is pretty time consuming and making me think is not the right way to go about it.

Hopefully I will do better in this unit than the previous ones. I still kind of believe Professor grading was a bit harsh :(. Still, I am determined to finish the semester on a high note. You may consider this a request of revaluation if possible (just asking mam).

Recoil control

As I researched and learned more about my research topic, I realised how confused and misinformed people can be about topics. This misinformation can ultimately lead people to misunderstand and misinterpret things, creating meanings and usage which might not be what it was originally intended for. The subject of ludonarrative dissonance is a topic which seems to suffer from such a conundrum. The term and its concept has been used and implemented far and wide but very few people seem to actually know or even understand its correct or proper meaning.

I intend to write a video essay, or perhaps a blog post, since making a video might be not possible but I will definitely try. I will primarily be aiming video game enthusiasts but game critics and developers could also benefit from it.

I will firstly do further research on my topic to form a more comprehensive perspective on it. If I do make a video I will have to write a script and gather content to create the material. I hope to create a well informed and informative piece of content which can provide a better perspective on a topic, I believe, most people think of subconsciously but not really understand very well. My biggest concern for this project would be finishing it on time. I also hope I do not provide any incorrect information which would completely defeat the purpose. Hopefully will be able to provide a comprehensive and interesting project worthy of this assignment.

Don’t quote me on this

Kyle Stedman’s take on “Annoying Ways People Use Sources” is both humorous and informative, doing its best to keep the reader egaged and interested. He presents his points in a relatable fashion using examples of things or situations people might be familiar with. The “annoyances” Stedman speaks of are rules of quotation everyone should keep in mind, especially students, both familiar and unfamiliar with using quotations in writing, as they are often guilty of these. Even still, Stedman does say even the best of writers do the points he mentions but they have to be experienced enough to use these techniques effectively by first following the conventions he mentions.

Paragraph:

the concept of ludonarrative dissonance has been increasingly misinterpreted and misused by the majority of the video gaming community. Journalist and writer Benn Dunn states in his article “…there have recently been increasingly common instances of the term being incorrectly applied to games it shouldn’t and is seemingly being used merely as a way to sound objective when negatively criticizing a particular videogame.” Using ludonarrative dissonance like this just to criticise a game someone does not like gives it a negative connotation and only serves to decrease its value causing people to not take it as seriously. This can especially be a problem if used by critics and journalists, the ones most people would rely on to get their news and understand of the subject matter. This has in fact already caused many people to dismiss the term entirely, viewing the term itself as a joke or taboo subject matter.

End of Gamingelion

Researching this topic has changed my perspective and thoughts on the matter multiple times throughout and has helped me better understand the distinction between gameplay and story. Video games can be a great story-telling medium and I do not think most people still really understand or see it from that perspective yet. Games by nature are difficult to pin down and understand, especially given that it is still a very young medium, compared to most others, and the studies surrounding it even more so. I will certainly say it is a topic that warrants further discussion, so that future games can capitalise on it. It is a potentially powerful narrative tool, exclusive to video games, which can really strengthen narratives if used correctly and can create a truly compelling and powerful story. Critiques and reviewers, as well as regular video game enthusiasts need to better understand the implications of ludonarrative dissonance and how games use it to shape the package. My research has shown most people often use the concept to improperly label games just to criticise or poorly review them. Improper usage of the term will only serve to drive people away from it and not take it as seriously anymore, which is definitely something we do not want as it is an important point of contention in many areas. The post by Clint Hocking, which many people cite as the origin of this concept, is something I believe is very outdated by now and a very subjective criticism of a great game. Some of the points he makes may even be a bit exagurrated and something most people would not notice but a blog is subjective after all and he himself states it to be a crude and shallow opinion. People have taken it out of context by several degrees using the concept to judge each and every game, often misappropriately so. Games do not necessarily have to be ludonarratively dissonant just for the sake of being so and many games and often purposefully be so just to create a more compelling narrative or gameplay experience. I have played many games which do exactly this and the narrative I have experienced in those games is something I have yet to see in many other media. The inherent nature of video games means some dissonance will probably always remain. The player should always be free to experiment with the game world and actually allowed to be dissonant if needed. I think it can actually serve to test how good of a world the developers have built, especially if a game goes the extra mile to address the dissonance experienced. To conclude I would say the most important thing would be to understand where ludonarrative dissonance applies and where it doesn’t and not to judge games solely by this definition as it would seriously narrow the scope video games could potentially strive to be. All you have to do is take a look beyond the norm, outside the traditional video games we normally think of to understand that violence is not the only medium of interaction and depending on how it is developed can truly be a beautiful work of art.

Heading for the source 3.0

Dunn, Ben. “The Problem With Ludonarrative Dissonance.” SUPERJUMP, 16 Aug. 2020, https://medium.com/super-jump/the-problem-with-ludonarrative-dissonance-625e7c67ed2. Accessed 3 Nov. 2022. 

qBen Dunn talks about how he feels the term ludonarrative dissonance is often being used incorrectly and objectively with the tagline “At what point does narrative consistency become more important than having fun?”. He describes several video games and explains how ludonarrative dissonance applies to those video games. He explains how some games do merit this criticism due to the story often saying things completely opposite to what we have been doing while playing, but plenty of games do not really warrant it due to the world or universe of that game not necessarily reflecting reality or the way we perceive things in the real world. He proceeds to talk about how ‘open-world’ games allowing us to do certain things does not necessarily make them ludonarratively dissonant since they are at the behest of the player and not the game itself and addressing this issue would mean the removal of the players mean to interact and experiment with the game world, citing the Grand Theft Auto series to be a common victim of this due to its open ended nature. Ben Dunn says while ludonarrative dissonance is a topic which does warrant discussion, throwing it around to objectively describe games people do not like only serves to make it meaningless in the long run.

Freelance writer and avid gamer Ben Dunn writes about ludonarrative dissonance with various examples and brings up some very valid points about the argument I had not really thought of. The tagline of his article “At what point does narrative consistency become more important than having fun?” is a question which brings the usage of this concept to critique video games into perspective. Video games being an interactive medium cannot help but allow its players to do with the world as they see fit. This will undoubtedly introduce many actions which may necessarily not agree or with the plot. Games being ludonarratively dissonant is has been a very contentious topic but I think it mostly applies to story-driven games and games which are trying to portray reality. Incorrectly using the term is also something he addresses and I feel is important as it would otherwise dilute its value and relegate it to the various other terms people use to insult video game they do not like.

Dunn also addresses plenty of video games which have been critiqued or even reviewed as being ludonarratively dissonant. He brings up Tomb Raider, which does indeed aim to portray the main character Lara Croft as a frightened and inexperienced adventurer but in many sections of the game we have no choice but to mow down hordes of human enemies, which completely flips the narrative on its head. He also compares this to another similar game Uncharted which is also often critiqued for being ludonarratively dissonant. The point he makes about the world of Uncharted being different to ours and not reflecting real world perspectives is valid, but the same can be said for Tomb Raider, both worlds being supernatural and mystical in their own rights. Despite this I think the point he is trying to make is still quite valid that games require ludonarrative consistency when they are trying to realistically portray the real world.

Talking about the Grand Theft Auto games, especially GTA IV, is something very contentious but I think Dunn has explained his perspective on it very well. The game is very gritty and tells the story of a broken man trying to stray away from life’s horrors. As dark as the narrative is, the players are still in control and can do almost anything they want, let loose in a fictional but realistic rendition of New York City. The GTA franchise is known for its open world and giving the player complete freedom with very minimal restrictions, so removing this aspect of the gameplay just to fit the narrative is impossible, and as Dunn puts it, the actions of the player are completely their own, especially if they are not being forced to choose between any styles of play, and should be seen as completely separate from the narrative. If the player however does choose to follow the narrative without deviating from it in gameplay they will find their actions very much coinciding with the narrative and can actually experience the game for what it was meant to be. This brings up another point that games are not necessarily just a story-telling medium but an experience as well, allowing us to do things many of us would normally not even consider, like in this case skydiving from the Empire State building or driving a car inside the subway.

Heading for the source 2.0

Franklin, Chris. The Debate That Never Took Place. YouTube, Errant Signal, 30 Jan. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBN3R0m31bA. Accessed 2 Nov. 2022.

This video by Chris Franklin owner of the YouTube page Errant Signal provides a brief history of video game criticism particularly on the debate, or nondebate as he puts it, between ludology and narratology in video games. The study of storytelling falls under various fields of study and thus, narratology combines these elements into a single study. Similarly, ludology had been coined by senior video game developer Gonzalo Frasca, “We will propose the term ludology (from ludis, the Latin word for ‘game’), to refer to the yet non-existent ‘discipline that studies game and play activities’. Just like narratology, ludology should also be independent from the medium that supports the activity.” But at some point ludology and narratology were misinterpreted to be at odds with each other and there seems to have been a pseudo debate ever since. This misunderstanding seems to stem from the idea that looking at games as a system opposes the idea of looking at games as a story or that they must be at harmony with each other for a game to be proper. Despite this being long debunked, the fall out from it still remained and critiques, reviewers and even players had gotten into the habit of distinguishing between gameplay and narrative when judging games. Franklin also references Clint Hockings original blog post about BioShock, which brought the term ‘Ludonarrative dissonance’ into public use, saying how it has been reduced to a joke term due to its continued misuse and overuse. He states looking at a game’s system and its story separately is unfair and unjustified, since we do not do so with any other medium, like films or books. He also states how this way of thinking has become increasingly prevalent, given terms like ludocentrism / ludofundamentalism have been coming up and are being used to talk about games that focus more on gameplay rather than story. Franklin states we do not compare the cinematography of a film and its narrative against each other when judging them and it should be the same for video games. He believes pitting story and gameplay in opposition to one another might actually be detrimental in the long term since games should not be defined or restricted by terms like these because afterall, video games are a medium of their own and should be allowed to grow and flourish in its own way.

Chris Franklin provides a well informed analysis about the history of this debate and provides a great perspective on the matter. I believe his title already says a lot, referencing how it is a debate that never took place but people still believe in. As Franklin says in the video we don’t compare the cinematography of a film and its narrative against each other and the same should also apply to video games, which I also believe is true. . Video games are a separate medium and we should not look at it the same way we look at other forms of media, since video games have the unique element of interactivity. Video games also do not yet have a very long history as a medium so limiting it to be defined by terms like this will ultimately not allow it to flourish, discouraging experimentation and creativity. The fact that not all games are not set out to accomplish the same goal also makes this a point of contention. Some games purely focus on being a good experience not really focusing on the story, while there are others games which play out more like a movie than a game, as well as all the other types in between. This video really got me thinking about my perspective on ludonarrative dissonance. While maintaining ludic and narrative harmony might be important for games that wish to tell a compelling and powerful narrative, not every game needs to follow this. Being too focused on merging gameplay and narrative together might ultimately make video games as a whole lose its identity.

Genre navigation

I believe all of us are familiar with genre of some kind or another. The media we consume and the things we like more than likely influence what we are familiar with. Having seen and observed a lot of media throughout my life time I believe I am familiar with a large number of genres. But of course there are some genre more dear to me than others. What are primarily shaped this would be my interests and hobbies as well as some good old research.

A genre I particularly love would be science fiction, particularly the cyberpunk. While I have been interested in science fiction for a long time, the cyberpunk genre is something I got more into more recently. I love movies that explore scientific concepts and probabilities and delve into the laws of physics. I also like to watch science related videos and particularly like watching the Vsauce YouTube channel which I believe really brought about my love for science. While science fiction in general is more difficult to describe the nuances of, given it encompasses a very wide subject matter. While not always featured, the fear of the unknown is something prevalent in most science fiction. Creating an entity or situation beyond regular human understanding gives a sense of suspense and dread while still keeping room to explain the subject or object of the movie later on. Also most science fiction is usually not comedic in nature thought it might be comedic or have a comedic tone, like the movie Dr. Strangelove. Describing the rhetoric of the cyberpunk genre is more easier. I was introduced to the genre playing the video game (shocker I know) Dues Ex and movies such as BladeRunner. Most cyberpunk settings are set in a bleak dystopian future where humanity is extremely dependent on machines and controlled by a higher authority or sometimes the machines themselves. World building is one of the most prominent, if not the most important, feature of the cyberpunk genre. The settings are often very rich and vibrant, detailing the lives of the various people living in it and how they go about their lives sometimes even incorporating these details into the story to create plot devices and compel the audience. The plot in cyberpunk stories is most of the time very stoic and gritty showing every side of the human nature and how they can easily be influenced.

Another genre I believe would be useful for my Unit 2 research is research narrative. My topic is mostly concerned with facts and actual research which can backup claims and provide context to the various conceptions and misconceptions we may have. Research narratives usually contain a large collection of sources as well as interpretations on them so that the audience can better understand them. Being able to access such a large collection of sources from one place is also a bonus since the source are usually cited so I can use them for myself as well.

Heading for the source

Hocking, Clint. “Ludonarrative Dissonance in Bioshock.” Click Nothing, 7 Oct. 2007, https://clicknothing.typepad.com/click_nothing/2007/10/ludonarrative-d.html. Accessed 31 Oct. 2022.

This is a post from the personal blog of prominent game designer and director Clint Hocking, who has worked on critically acclaimed video games such as the Splinter Cell and Far Cry 2, and has also been a part of industry giants like Ubisoft and Valve. He has also served on the Advisory Board for Game Developers Conference and is known for promoting games as an emerging medium and art form. This blog post is primarily a critique of the critically acclaimed video game BioShock. While the game has been critically acclaimed in reviews, Hocking critiques it on the notion that he feels the gameplay interactions do not coincide with the narrative interactions of the game. He believes the gameplay, or ludic aspect of the game, encourages the player to strengthen themselves and act selfishly, following a ‘Randian Objectivism’ ideology. The idea “seek power and you will progress” is the driving theme of the gameplay, according to Hocking, but key moments of the game allow the option to oppose this idea. Hocking’s gripe with the game is that the narrative or plot of the game does the complete opposite and urges that the player is selfless and strives to save the people around him. It tells a story critiquing an Objectivism mindset and how a society built upon such an ideology is doomed to fail, shown by the game’s premise. This ultimately puts the gameplay and the narrative at odds with each other. The thing Hocking finds insulting in all of this is that, whereas we have at least some choice in gameplay the narrative allows no such freedom, especially given that near the ending the player character is shown to have repercussions for his narrative choices, ones the player had no control over. He feels this breaks the internal consistency of the game not just as a video game but as a work of art, stating, ”The leveraging of the game’s narrative structure against its ludic structure all but destroys the player’s ability to feel connected to either”. He mentions how he feels video games as a narrative medium is still quite in its infancy and future games could learn from games like BioShock and successfully merge the narrative and ludic aspects in video games to truly create a compelling and powerful narrative. He compares video game narratives with the movie Citizen Kane which is considered one of the greatest and most significant pieces of storytelling in cinema history, and feels someday video games may yet find a similar piece to refer to.

This blog by Clint Hocking is widely considered to have brought the concept of ludonarrative dissonance to the general consensus and is in fact the where the term was coined, even though the concept has been around for much longer. This was put out at a time when regular people were not as well acquainted with the idea of ludonarrative dissonance and served to make this concept a hot topic when discussing games for a long time. Looking at the narrative and gameplay separately is an interesting perspective but it is not something we often do when discussing other type of media. It would be like comparing the cinematography and the narrative of a film at the same time. The game was very popular and highly acclaimed when this was written making this a hot take, something I believe Hocking was aware of, explaining how his writing is a critique and not a review. Hocking explains his thoughts and concepts in great detail, introducing a lot of interesting and fascinating ideas many would not think of. Despite this I believe it might be a little unfair to judge a game solely on story and gameplay dissonance, especially given the ramifications Hockings’s critique would have, even though he couldn’t have possibly predicted it. Having played the game myself, the idea that the gameplay encourages seeking power and being self-serving is something I had not considered before and made quite a lot of sense when I thought about it. Throughout the game we are given the opportunity to sacrifice characters which seem to be the most beneficial choice for the player, providing them with more resources and making them stronger, but the story (without spoiling it) greatly emphasises that doing so would not be the best choice and to spare them instead. We later learn this choice was in fact a narrative trap designed to steer the player into a bad ending. I would quote Hocking on this since he puts it better than I can, “the notion that rational self-interest is moral or good is a trap, and that the ‘power’ we derive from complete and unchecked freedom necessarily corrupts, and ultimately destroys us.” Allowing the player this freedom of choice served to enhance the narrative I believe and is a great commentary on the concept of Randian Objectivism. Given I am not an expert on video game design, I do not believe it ruins the experience as much as Hocking makes it out to be, saying he wanted to stop playing the game in protest, but I won’t say he is wrong in his perspective. Hocking being an acclaimed game designer and director makes his argument more compelling, but I believe games should be scrutinised by this concept only if they are trying to portray reality or telling a compelling narrative, which admittedly BioShock is trying to be.

Old source:
Carter, Thom J. “What Gaming Does to Your Brain—and How You Might Benefit.” Wired, June 2021.
https://www.wired.com/story/what-gaming-does-to-your-brain-how-you-might-benefit/.

The article by Thom James Carter for the “Wired” magazine explores the many aspects of video games on our mental health. Carter portrays his own perspective on the matter having struggled with gaming addiction while playing the MMO game “World of Warcraft”, and poses us with the question how gaming affects our heads and whether our minds can actually benefit from any of it despite potential drawbacks. He talks about gaming addiction quoting many sources and states that gaming addiction is just like any other addiction, how pleasant stimuli and rewards systems reinforce or encourage certain behaviours. He goes on to state how different genres of games are different and possibly have different effects on the brain. He uses the widely popular game “Fortnite” not only as an example for fast paced games but also because it is very popular with kids and younger players. While stating how the game can be addictive he also states some of the good points about playing fast faced games like shooters such as developing better spatial reasoning, decision-making and improving attention spans. He also states how the positive stress we feel from playing these games can actually be good for our brains by increasing our ability to focus. Carter follows this up with how the affects of video games on the mind are not yet very well known given its very short history. He shows some of the benefits researchers have found playing action games, such as improved reflexes, better focus, better at recognising and picking out colours and many more. He concludes that playing video games can be good for us as long as it is in moderation.

Carter quotes many people to make his points like cognitive neuro scientist Marc Palaus, who has a PhD from the Open University of Catalonia and Environmental psychologist Lee Chambers, as well as quoting many magazines and articles like from Polygon, UCI News, Scientific American, Men’s Health and many more. He also uses his personal experience playing games to facilitate his points as well.

Being a avid fan of video games and presenting his own problems playing video games makes Thom J. Carter seem very credible to talk about this topic. He seems to focus on gaming addiction quite a lot throughout the article due his own struggles with it and presents anecdotes often throughout the article. As a person who plays games himself I can understand most of the things Carter is saying but some of the terms and ways he says things may be difficult to understand for people not familiar with gaming. He provides some very extreme examples as well. The mixing of quotes with citations is actually done pretty well. Having played games for a long time Carter’s quote, “is often played up for headlines more than it is an actual mental health threat on its face.” is something I agree with. Media and news have often not been very kind towards video games in general and stories related to it often blown out of proportion.

The part about games like Fortnite is particularly useful to my research since it also mentions how it affects children. The game being particularly popular with kids games it a great source to explore when trying to find the effects of video games on the minds of young children. The example about a young child wetting herself due to her gaming addiction which I found very interesting since it shows how children could be particularly prone to gaming addiction. Being experienced with games, Cartier’s quote, “They can, however, have the potential to suck us in to a degree that isn’t healthy, which could potentially manifest as video game addiction.” His own experiences struggling with addiction allows him to make meaningful observation on everything he has written.

The effect of Ludonarrative Dissonance in video games?

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.

Curiosity kept the cat alive

I have been a curious lad as far as I can remember, always asking questions and trying to learn about things. I wanted to know about everything I laid eyes and ears on. How the world works? Why things happen? Why things don’t happen? Why are you reading this? I’ve always had a lot of questions even if I didn’t always get answers. I would sometimes annoy people as well with my need to know things. Science, art and technology fascinated me but I wasn’t only limited to generalised topics. I’ve spent a good part of my life gathering knowledge. Almost everything and anything can interest me. You could even say I am curious about curiosity itself. Morbidly curious, I believe it is the word. Thats what curiousity has always been for me. It has taken me to places I never thought existed and made me see things I would never have thought possible.

But if I did have to say there is something I have always been interested in it would be video games. As a kid, sitting on my father’s lap watching him play games like Mario and Space Invader amused me more than anything else. I played a lot of double player video games with my younger brother as well. I was always player one of course. The kids in the neighbourhood would also come over to play since I was one of the very few people with a PC in the early 2000s. In an age where the internet was not as prevailent, what ever games I had I would play them until I knew them like the back of my hand. It really fascinated me and I wanted to make it my whole life. The intricacies that go into making a video game is still something I believe cannot be achieved by any other form of media. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of friends who were interested in games as well. Discussing with them definitely strenghtened my interest in video games. We would ask questions about difficult sections of games little known facts and sometimes argue over our preferences and the best methods of approach, listening and discussing strategies then going back home to try them out myself. We would even discuss about the meaning and philosophy behind the stories in video games. I couldn’t possibly describe everything we talked about but I loved these discussions. It fueled my passion and I always wanted to know more.

While the sentiments may not have been exactly the same as they were in America, video games were blamed for a lot of things that went wrong in my country as well. Educational system did not affect my interest much but if anything gaming was not encouraged in regards to education. My parents have always blamed video games whenever my grades were not satisfactory. Even if I got hurt or there was an accident video games would take the blame. There have been times when my father would set no gaming as a condition if I wanted anything from him. It was very much an interested sustained in spite of the odds. The only reason I am still interested in video games and probably because of the friends I had and how good I am at gaming. Knowing myself this is probably an interest I will take to my grave and I hope it is something worth while.

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