Tag Archives: #JOUR101

Playing an Interview

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I was lucky enough to sit down and interview a good friend and gamer, Dion. Who spends his time working at a game store, hanging with friends and always pushing himself to be better at the games he likes.

Here is part of the transcript of the interview:

James: You have multiple high-scores in multiple games, have you ever thought of competing at an international level?

Dion: I honestly don’t think I am good enough. Like don’t get me wrong, I would love to get sponsored and travel, representing Australia and a gaming company. I am just happy to hang around home, I like my job and I am happy with what I have, I feel it would be too much responsibility and it would take the fun out of the games.

James: You first picked up a controller when you were 2? What makes games so appealing for you?

Dion: Well that’s what my Dad told me and I was just in a trance ever since. The appeal is probably everything, if that makes sense. When you buy a game you always want to see what is going to happen next. Like if you were to watch a TV series or read a book, you always want to see how it ends. I always buy games; don’t always have time to play all the ones that I own but the ones I do play would be mainly due to the game-play. If I get sucked into a game and it keeps me entertained it is one of the best experiences.

James: One of your best games is Guitar Hero, but it has come at a cost?

Dion: Yeah, sadly. With Guitar Hero you need to have fast fingers, quick reflexes and the ability to multitask. You pretty much play the Guitar section from music. From all the effort needed to be good, I got arthritis in my hands and fingers. So when I get a new game I can’t play it for as long as I would as it starts to get painful, so it has affected my skills.

James: You have been playing games for over two decades, how much has changed from the games you use to play to the ones that are out now?

Dion:  I would say everything, like the graphics have changed, the game-play has changed, the fans have changed, and the companies have changed. The gaming industry is in constantly synchronization with the improvements of technology, so everything except the personalities like ‘Mario’ [Nintendo’s mascot] would change.

James: There has always been this idea that violence in video games causes aggression and violent behaviour in people. Have you experienced it or even believe it?

Dion: There have been studies that show that there is a link, so can’t really object to it. I would also put it to the expectation of changing technology. Like when you create a violent game, the next game has to be even more violent, and then if there is a competitor then that game has to be even more violent. I haven’t personally seen aggressive violence, like when you get a bunch of guys sitting around playing a multiplayer game there is going to be a little bit of banter, but nothing over the top.

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Changing details – adding pixels

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The picture isn’t blurry, it is just very pixelated. Duke Nukem 64, released in 1996, is the game, and it shows the technology of which a game use to be made from – very pixelated, bland colour scheme and graphically unrealistic.

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Smooth colour scheme, lots more pixels, shade, smoke/fog/dust, a lot of detail. The game is Medieval II, released in 2006. This image shows the change in gaming quality in 10 years and the improvements that were made.

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Words with Friends – a very popular game for smart phones and Facebook users. This game shows how simple a game can be and how popular it can be. With a simple design, easy playability and with the ability to play with friends from anywhere in the world.

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Pokemon Black 2 is the 5th generation game of the Pokemon series. Pokemon started in February 1996 in Japan and has major success internationally. Pokemon is the second-most successful game franchise, first being the Mario franchise. Pokemon has maintained a strong backing of fans and the creator of Pokemon has said that “Pokemon will never end”.

Internet: making or breaking a game

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The internet is a widely used tool that can make or break a company merely from a bad product or a bad reputation.

Internet and gaming have come together in many ways, such as being able to play multi-player games from consoles over the web, an easy way to view up-and-coming products from gaming developers and companies and also a powerful tool to talk and banter about games and game play.

When there is a new release the internet would be the avenue to get the word out. This is a very handy way to popularise a game, especially when it is portrayed on gaming channels such as YouTube or spoken about on influential, well-known blogs.

Just as there is success there is also downfall, when the release of a product is known to be a ‘flop’, where the expectation of popularity for the released item is nowhere near the actual quantity being sold after the release.

Nintendo is one of the biggest gaming companies around the world which has always had success but it is no stranger to failing. With products such as the Nintendo 64 (N64) –  overall it was good and had just as much popularity as it does now, however the N64 was still driven by cartridge used games, even though CD’s were being used for games. These cartridges were chunky and grey and they were easily obstructed by dust. This created the fond memory of having to blow on the cartridge and inside the console in attempt to play the game.

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‘The GameCube’, this cubed, purple coloured plastic was released to rival Sony’s PlayStation Two. With the look of a child’s toy and the only Nintendo console not be released with a Mario game starter, avid fans were displeased. From the change of cartridges came little disks, easily broken and easily lost.

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The GameCube and the N64 both had displeasing qualities, they were still purchased knowingly that there will always be another console released, another console that would give the fans what they want.

I talked to a reputable salesperson at a gaming store. I was interested to know what sort of games fail or succeed, in his opinion. “If your looking for something that is worthwhile and isn’t going to bore you the first time you play it, it would depend on what sort of game you like and what sort of features you would want in a game”,”you need to know what games interest you… the gaming companies can only do so much in an attempt to please everyone”.

Extra Links:

How to create a successful account on YouTube:

http://wp.musicalwolfe.com/2011/08/03/gaming-on-youtube-how-to-get-popular-get-partnered-and-get-on-machinima/

Top 10 Nintendo Fails, YouTube opinion:

Gaming Aggression: Playing out an act

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Gaming has become a relaxing and socially viable part of everyday life. 90% of all Americans play some type of game. This has brought up the concern of aggression in our society.

Gaming has always been around for me, I have always been in the vicinity of playing or watching someone who is playing a game. I haven’t always seen aggression in playing the game from myself but when I watch other people they act out a violent behaviour.

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Researches have done extensive studies about aggression, imitation of violence, gender differences and competition when playing video games. This research has shown that violence has a positive connection when playing video-games and also influences people’s aggression towards other, when comparing those who play to those who do not.

When a game is about “how can we get information from this person”, “how can I steal the required item, when there are people blocking my way” or “I need to get to this destination as quick as possible”, the game always is meant to be pushing the player into a physically violent scenario in order to get to the target.

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This aggression is known to come out in social situations especially when playing a multi-player video game. With video games constantly changing and being able to use the internet to play worldwide. Depending on the genre of the game, there will be violent expressions of success or failure. When playing a first person shooter, where the objective is to assassinate someone else, over and over again, this is seen to influence aggression in the person playing and also challenges the perception of reality, shoot someone, they get up, so shoot them again. This scenario provides a gateway for vulgarity and gloating, feeling happy for killing another person.

I talked to a group of my friends who are into gaming, of any sorts. One of my friends responded with, “the violence we find in video games can come out as aggression in our daily life, but it would definitely depend on the age of which people play the game and the understanding that there is around violence in games”, this sumed up the understanding that there are age restrictions on gaming for a reason and that there is a need to always teach kids the difference between what they do in a game and what actually would happen in real life.

The youth of today are known to be more desensitized to the violence that occurs in games and also in real life. This shows that in order to make a video game popular that follows the trend of violence, the creators of the game have to come up with more violent and obscure ways to appeal to their target audience.

Extra Links:

YouTube series which is about anger and gaming (Language warning, volume warning):

BBC news on aggression on children:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16099971/ns/technology_and_science-games/t/does-game-violence-make-teens-aggressive/

ABC overview of violence and aggression in gaming (PDF):

http://www.abc.net.au/technology/images/general/docs/041111/Literature%20review%20on%20the%20impact%20of%20playing%20violent%20video%20games%20on%20aggression.pdf

S.O.P.A: Stop Online Piracy Act

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Stop Online Piracy Act gives power to the government and the entertainment industry to censor anything that would be seen as copyrighted material.

On October 26, 2011, by US Representative Lamar S. Smith, a bill was introduced that would change the internet. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) deals with the expansion of law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.

SOPA has the potential to create government funded sectors to place censorship on anything that would be seen as “wrong”. Anything that has a connection to copyrighted material or counterfeit goods would be censored or shut down.

This will give the US government the permission to give censorship to the entertainment industry. Any material on any website that the entertainment industry sees as infringement of copy right would be shut down with the owner/creator of that website, being put in jail for five years.

With a lot of material being copyrighted, that is from international countries, the US has proposed SOPA. There was the need to take care of ‘pirates’, since little can be done at an international level, action will be needed at home.

This is done by tracking pirated websites or popular websites such as YouTube with many user submitted videos with copyrighted music and game content. By having mandatory rules which shutdown or place heavy restrictions, to censor the internet and track websites. This has said to “infringe on free speech and freedom” as it doesn’t have specific details and what could be considered as “wrong” can have many interpretations. It has also been said, “how far will they go, if this bill gets passed?”.

By censoring the internet, the US government would sue any individual that relates to an infringing website, merely by mentioning, linking or posting about one. The Government also has the ability to “cripple new start-up [sites]… they [US government] feel isn’t doing their censorship well enough”, this discourages internet users and also puts a strain on new bloggers and web-site owners.

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I had talked to a YouTuber that was familiar with S.O.P.A and the potential mess it will create. She is a performer on YouTube who uses other peoples music and sings along with them. She said “If S.O.P.A gets passed I will have to start all over again, instead of being able to entertain my viewers weekly I will have to do it only a few times a year with high restrictions – everything would have to be my original content”.

Extra links:

What SOPA means for Australia:

http://www.reloadmedia.com.au/searchstrategy/the-big-issues/what-sopa-means-for-australia/

Overview of SOPA on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDX8Lyl16Qs&feature=BFa&list=PL3B0BF0172B7D9BD2&lf=plpp_play_all

Famour Youtuber talking about SOPA:

YouTube: a game for business

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YouTube is one the most popular websites on the internet. It is the 2nd most used search engine, the first being Google.

YouTube is a video-sharing website which gives people the opportunity to popularise themselves or what they like, to a potential mass audience. It has provided an outlet for individual expression and creativity.

YouTube has created a new way to involve people in games. There are channels and videos dedicated to providing news, information, walk-through and strategies on games. An example is the “Let’s Play” videos which invite the viewer into sharing the adventure, of playing the game, the triumphs, the fails, the frustration and the relief of finishing a game.

I spoke to someone who was an “addicted fan” of YouTube. They tell me that Let’s Play videos are something that they enjoy watching, as it gives a “bond” over games. “To see someone have the same difficulties as you [in a game] is hilarious to watch… when they get mad and angry, when they get annoyed and frustrated… it is hilarious to watch”.

With the popularity of YouTube, successful channels that appeal to a wide audience and have hundreds-of-thousands of subscribers get the opportunity to earn revenue for their work through ads. This is seen as an incentive to continue making YouTube clips and growing a business foundation with partnering to YouTube.

YouTube only holds responsibility for its website not the business foundation in which a Channel would create for itself. This has caused a problem that the idea of “amateurs” or people with no or little business management running a successful business could be taken advantage of. In which either close friends or other businesses may corrupt or be unprofessional. This would hinder and publicly shame people who do not know what they are doing.

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The people who use YouTube are popular by being in a public eye. This causes the expectation, to always be public about problems, about every aspect of someone’s life, which causes the problem of Privacy.

The content on YouTube is user submitted so it is up to the individual for what they want public, however when there is popularity and an audience to adhere to then, it does become an expectation and a job and not just a hobby.

Interesting links:

The Yogscast (popular gaming channel):

http://www.youtube.com/user/BlueXephos/featured

Lewis’ (owner of the Yogscast) outlook on some unprofessional behaviour:

https://yogscast.com/showthread.php?55245-A-Response-to-Peva-and-Tinman

A fans opinion:

http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/1117682-the-yogscast-discussion-peva-tinman-ridgedog-and-lewis/

Tennis for Two with Mario

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Did you know?

The first video game ever created was played on a machine called an oscilloscope during the Cold War in 1958. An oscilloscope is used to measure the voltage and frequency of an electric signal.

The man to thank for it all is William Higinbotham, he called the game “Tennis for Two” in which a ball represented by light would bounce from one side of the oscilloscope to the other over a vertical light representing the net.

William Higinbotham regretted being known more for creating the first video game rather than his work on nuclear non-proliferation. In-which he stood opposed for the spread of nuclear weapons helping create the “Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” enforced in 1970.

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What makes a game “good”, Mario style?

It has always been an interesting and heated discussion about what makes a good game, or even buying a game in the first place, from its playability, characters, storyline, replay ability, constant updates, achievements, and franchise and advertisement portrayal.

I asked people that work at game stores, people on gaming forums and people that play games on Youtube. They all come up with different opinions, the most popular responses are “the game has to be challenging”, “the storyline of the game needs to make sense” and “If I enjoy playing the game then it doesn’t really matter”, some I agree with and some I do not.

I have always been a fan of the Mario franchise (Mario has appeared in over 200 games and sold over 210 million units, 2009) and so have a lot of other people that I talk to. I hear about the “linear format” of the games, the “idea of always being the hero”, the “multiplayer aspect”, the “nostalgia aspect” and even the different characters that share a unique relationship style to Mario.

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The Mario Games expand over a lot of different genres such as platform, puzzle, racing, party, role-playing and sports. With-in each genre there is multiple games which follow directly after each other, such as the party games, Mario Party, Mario Party 2, Mario Party 3 etc. all the way to Mario Party 9. The basic idea of the games is the same.  Four players travel around a board, designed with positive and negative events, playing mini-games, battling it out to gather the most of the desired object, stars and coins most of the time, with the player with the most wins.

The image of Mario has been a financial success, both in Japan and internationally. Mario has become a culturally identity when talking about video games and the advancement in modern gaming.

I had asked a group of 14 years olds what comes to mind when talking about gaming, the majority responded with “Mario” and also his failthful companion “Yoshi”, who is a dinosaur.

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Extra Links:

William Higinbotham:

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/03/07/030712-opinions-history-tennis-egan-1-3/

The popularity of Mario:

http://inventorspot.com/mario_video_game

The History of Mario, Youtuber commentary: