What Can You Learn From Video Games?: Answers For My Mom

I was first interested in this Digital Media course because I believed that it would help me further understand how digital media can be used to communicate ideas and stories to people of the 21st century. I thought when I signed up that we would be talking about social media techniques and how it has changed the way people communicate and how it can be harnessed to drive specific messages. Surprisingly, that was not what I got from the course. I got so much more. 

I was intentionally shocked when I found out the class was about video games. I have never truly been into video games and I didn’t think it was for me. How could video games teach me how to strategically use media to communicate a message? My mom was shocked when I told her about my decision to stay in the class; and then confused when I told her about all I was learning. Still she would ask: “What can you learn from video games? And now that the class is coming to a close I finally have answers for her.

I found while taking the course that it has everything to do with message, audience, and community. Video games and the video game industry at large incorporate all of social media in order to create a community around a specific game, game console, or even further a community that already exists like the die-hard fans of the Lord of the Rings. 

Also, speaking of Lord of the Rings the class has successfully incorporated all kinds of media in relation to gaming from poetry to film in a way to show that all of media is connected and that Digital Media is just a new of shoot of media as a general form. 

I will be using the things I learned in this class in the future when I work in creating/producing content for television and the Internet. I have learned about the remediation of text and how that remediating a text can generate an already established fan base. I learned a lot about how to build, cultivate, and create for a community of people who want specific types of things (there it be games, franchises, or otherwise). I will definitely take a lot from this course and I am happy that I decided to step out of my comfort zone and learn about things is a really unique and different way.



Spartan 004, report for duty.

Everyone knows the place to be is somewhere like Reach. Imaging walking around in your two ton slab of steel riddled with the most advanced technology known to human-kind. No damage, no fear. Everything about that life sounds appealing. Imagine the adrenaline filled battles and the victorious triumph of slaying hordes of aliens. This life is particularly appealing to me because I grew up in a family that values honor. Come on, who wouldn’t want to carry have the strength and speed of a spartan tearing into Elites? Not only that, but you are feared by the enemy and revered by your fellow comrades. Of course there would be the threat of danger everywhere you went, but what’s life without a little bit of uncertainty? The top secret missions and access to top notch military technology. 

This live action teaser trailer was definitely the most epic thing that I have ever seen for a videogame. If the actual story and world of Halo hadn’t enticed me enough, this trailer definitely launched it higher. Living in the Halo universe could quite possibly be the greatest thing ever, provided it were possible. Who knows? Maybe the future holds a similar outcome for my own wishes.


Racism 2.0

A half-black, half-Korean man walks into a virtual bar.  It sounds like the beginning of a bad racist joke.  Hiro Protagonist, the sword swinging pseudo-ninja, tends to turn heads when he enters a building.  His appearance often limits him; for instance, he’s barred from entering New South Africa because he is part black.  While this sort of racism seems like a disturbing vision of our nearing future, it is not its most troublesome aspect.  No, the most disturbing form of racism demonstrated in Snow Crash occurs in our future virtual reality.

When Y.T. enters the Metaverse, she does not log on from a fancy, expensive computer.  She walks onto the Street using a public terminal and immediately, “people start giving her these looks” (Stephenson 220).  These looks.  Stephenson doesn’t need to explain them further; almost instinctively the reader knows it’s the look-down-your –nose, I’m-better-than-you, go-back-to-where-you-belong, kind of looks.  And why?  Because she’s using a ‘shitty public terminal.’  She’s a trashy black-and-white person.  The scene reminds me of Remember the Titans, when Big Ju, an African-American linebacker, walks into training camp for the first time.  Fortunately, fantastic Hollywood movies are all I know of authentic racism.  The movie represents a dark side of America’s history: the racially turbulent 50’s.  Is it possible the future holds our same mistakes, the Metaverse a bridge to our sinister past?

I’m scared to think that, in 2009, we are not far off  from being able to create the Metaverse.  We’re just missing the inevitable link.  In modern terms the Metaverse is like Videochat meets SecondLife (without the creepy flying).  Once these two ideas are connected, how far would be from Stephenson’s imagined virtual world? One of the Internet’s strongest virtues is the inherent anonymity it grants to users.  Hidden geniuses, too timid or ugly to speak to a room full of stockholders, can start a multinational without leaving their bedrooms.  But what if this anonymity ceased to exist?  What if everyone knew what you actually looked like when you logged on to cyber space?  Would you prefer to live in the real world, or the virtual world?  Or, more succinctly, what’s the difference?

Jake Karlsruher

Master of Glugnar, the Magnificent