First Play...Then WORK

As the days are counting down until break and the end of the semester, the New Media blogging is also coming to an end. Well I really enjoyed the semester and learning about the different subtopics of New Media. But yea here’s the last blog so I hope you enjoy it!

Wouldn’t you want to work in an office as comfortable as this one?
Well, I don’t know about you but I would. This week we discussed the blurring of work and play as mentioned in Nick Yee’s article. Google has created an environment where they have made the employees work in offices such as this one. I guess the theory is that if one’s comfort level is increased, one’s performance letter is also increased. If I had a choice of having fun at work I think that would make work more enjoyable. Some good counterarguments were brought up In class that questioned if this atmosphere of “having fun at work” would cause a distraction to the employees. I guess I see how this could be somewhat of an attraction but there could be worse distractions. (hahaha sporcle)
I worked at a law office in Brockton, MA over the summer and everyday my boss would assign me and my co-worker several tasks to be done by the end of our shift. Me and my co-worker would get on it immediately and soon later we would have nothing to do. (By the way, our shift was from 9-5pm) Eventually I got really bored and started playing solitaire and pinball. Every time I played, I beat my score and this would continue for hours. My-coworker later introduced Sporcle.com where you could play trivia games that have time limits. This game became addicting and after a while. I really didn’t want to get back to work. This reminds me of the discussion that we had in class about the “casual games at work”. These games include solitaire, internet checker, and pinball. These games serve as a good distraction that you may hide behind a word document or excel document if your boss is coming. I find it funny how these games do serve as a temporary distracter at work.
I think Google would have appreciated it if the time I used playing Sporcle was used doing their Image Labeler. I played this game for the first time on Thursday and I think that it is addicting. You’re determined to beat your score every time you play so I can see how these multiplayer online games create a level of intensity. Although I’ve heard of multiplayer online games, I’ve never heard of gold farmers. I think that the method of gold farming isn’t cheating, I see it as a source of income. When you are assigned a task you do and their jobs just happen to be playing games and beating scores and levels. It is just like any other job in a sense because every job requires motivation and determination to advance to the next task or level. Gold farming in my eyes is a just as much of a job as any other one.
The concept of work and play is being blurred because of its combination in most workplaces today. I think that it’s a step in technology. If employers want to keep up with technology and the digital Generation, it is important to combine both concepts of work and play. I think that ColdStone Creamery has already taken this idea and ran with it and I think it will benefit them tremendously. (I would work there.)
Well here it is…..final words
I would like to thank my mother, my father, Professor Aubrey Anable for passing her knowledge onto me and for her kindness. If It wasn’t for you, I would have never noticed the digital intimacy that surrounds Facebook, or the gold farming industry, or about cyberdrama. This is for you.
Thank you and a Happy New Year!
 Image Credit:

http://web.mit.edu/rwbarton/Public/google-image-labeler.png

http://parenting.leehansen.com/downloads/crafts/scrapbook/Christmas/happy-holidays-cntry.png

 

Gold makes the world go ROUND

The Labor of Fun was an interesting article I must say. The beginning quote really appealed to me especially when it said,
“Their transformation into work platforms and staggering amount of work that is being done in these games often go unnoticed.” (Yee 68)
I thought that this quote was significant to the article itself but it also made me realize how much effort is actually put into video games and how they can compare to that of in the workplace. I think that this is true because people spend hours trying to complete a mission or beat a level just as hard as when they have a deadline for work. This creates the irony that Yee is talking about when he says that
“…computers were made to work for us, but video games are blurring the demand that we work for them” (Yee 70).
Reading over the Labor of Fun I also had several questions. I was wondering how do producers utilize the demand for a product that will have its users playing it as often as they work tp their advantage? And with that, how do these demands help the producers make a game that is appealing to its target audience?
The Dibbell article was a bit confusing and repetitive. What I pretty much grasped was the idea of a Chinese Gold farmer and how they play games for long hours trying to beat the game and accumulate gold coins. I’m not sure whether I grasped the main concept but I tried. I just don’t understand how the million dollar corporations are making money off of someone playing a video game for about 40 hours a week. How did this name of the Chinese Gold Farmer come about? Aren’t the workers the main source of the economic value of the video game corporations?

Image Credit:

http://greg.org/archive/gold_farmer.jpg

 

Life is not a GAME

Although I am a female, I do love playing video games, especially racing games. This week’s classes were great because we talked about the concept of a play and the different elements of games. On Thursday, we played several video games in which we had to answer several questions to analyze the game as a game critic would.

The first game we played was Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. It was published by EA Games in 2002. The genre of the game is arcade car racing. As soon as we popped the disc into the Playstation 2, several images were shown. There was a cut scene that showed different cars racing or preparing to race. As far as I know, this was one of the diegetic machine acts because this was happening without the operator’s control. Following this cut scene, was the main menu where the operator was able to choose the mode in which they wanted to play. For example, you could cruise around (I think), you could race the computer cars (diegetic machine act), you could play two player and race against each other, or one could be the cop and the other would be the speeder. Then, the player/s could choose the color, model, and transmission of the car. They could also choose the location, the weather, and the number of laps. All of these things contributed to the structure of the machine and operator acts of the game. The most important and common operator act was the ability to drive. As well as the operator acts, there were several machine acts. Diegetic machine acts included cactuses, mountains, tumbleweeds, and the overall landscape. The music was also a diegetic machine act as well as the other cars that were on the road with the racers. A nondiegetic operator act was the pause menu where the player would pause the imaginary world that they were engulfed in. There were no human characters in this game, but in a sense they cars can be the characters. The player exists in the game as a car just like you would exist as a basketball player in a NBA Live game. It was pretty evident that this game was an arcade game because of the nonrealistic actions in the game. If you crashed into a guard rail, you car was not damaged but in reality, your car would be totaled. The landscapes could perhaps be realistic, but that would be it. There is a slight game/story relationship which exists in the cop mode. In this mode, player 1 would be the cop and they would be responsible for catching the speeder, or player 2. The cop has a time limit to catch or “bust” the speeder and as soon as the red bars increase, the speeder is busted. This may also reflect reality because cops to chase speeders if they do not stop. This game was fun and I would enjoy playing it again.
I have always played Grand Theft Auto Games since they came out and I must say that my favorite edition would have to be Vice City. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to play Vice City, but we had the opportunity to play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas which was also published by Rockstar Games and was released in 2004. The genre of this game would be third person action (or maybe shooter). There is a greater level of game/story relationship in San Andreas. The main character is expected to complete missions to earn money and respect. This may include robbing, killing, stealing cars from people, blowing things up, or doing drive-bys. This game most definitely diegetic operator dominant. You are controlling the main character almost always and you can make him do whatever it is that you desire. Some diegetic machine acts may include the random people who are walking, the cars on the road, the change of day to night, the wanted system (when cops chase you based on your wanted stars).Diegetic operator acts include changing cars, changing clothes, and changing the radio station. When you leave the game in its ambient state, the main character remains in the same place and cars continue to move along and so do the other people on the street which are mostly diegetic machine acts. The player has the ability to do whatever or go wherever they want. Cops are able to arrest the main character if they are breaking the law which also happens in reality. Cars are damaged is they are in a collision which also contributes to the realness of the game.
These two games are obviously different as they have different genres, publishers, and release dates. Need for Speed is more of a car racing game where there are more graphics, race landscapes, and no human characters. In contrast, San Andreas, you are able to step in and out of a vehicle and you don’t have to race, you can walk if you want to. There is more of a story to San Andreas, since you are expected to complete missions that connect, but in Need for Speed, you can choose what races you want to engage in. Although these differences do exist, both games have various amounts of interactivity. For example, Need for speed, you interact with the other cars by crashing into them and in San Andreas, you can engage in actions and conversations with other people. Both games also rely on diegetic operator acts more than non-diegetic operator and machine acts. What I found the most interesting is how a story can have such an influence on the amount of non-diegetic acts that can occur in a game. In San Andreas, the non-diegetic operator acts are decreased since it is a 3rd person shooter game versus the car racing game, where there are more non-diegetic operator acts such as restarting the race. I also thought San Andreas was a more realistic game as far as the graphics go. Need for Speed is a bit nonrealistic as it doesn’t reflect real life situations that would happen if a car were to crash.
I think we should play video games more often in class. It would be a great stress reliever and it would also be a fun way to learn about new media. Anyone second my motion?

Image Credit:

http://www.gamerevolution.com/images/games/ps2/need_for_speed_hot_pursuit_2/need_for_speed_hot_pursuit_2_002.jpg

http://l.yimg.com/jh/content/p/4/808931/grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-20050607061911196_screen001.jpg

 

Don't hate the PLAYER..hate the game

In Janet Murray’s essay, From Game-Story to Cyberdrama, she discusses the phenomenon of a story and of a game are constantly overlapping but also, how they are also part of a dichotomy. She mentions that “Gaming and storytelling have always overlapped…but there is no reason to limit the resulting form to the dichotomies between story and game…” (Murray 9). I absolutely agree with Murray and her comment about the concept of stories and games. It is usually the story that is developed then the game is a representation of the story.
Murray’s makes an argument that the player or the “participant” is constantly aware of the game but manipulates it anyway. In other words, the player manipulates the game and makes his/her own story. She justifies this by saying this story-telling is human nature. I do think that this is true because as a player, I try to follow the story of the game, but I also try to add my own experiences to it. I think this increases the interactivity of the user or the player with the game.
I thought it was interesting when Galloway says that “One should resist equating gamic action with a theory of ‘interactivity’ or the ‘active audience’ theory of media” (Galloway 3). This argument is totally the opposite of Murray’s because she believes that the player contributes to the interactivity of the game. And Murray also calls a game a “game” while Galloway prefers to call a game an “action-based medium” (Galloway 3). Aren’t these two things the same? Doesn’t the word game connotate an action or a group of actions?
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Wrap it UP.

I really enjoyed this week’s readings about social networking and peer production so I thought I would write a wrap (maybe it’s a spoken word piece) about it (don’t judge lol), so here goes:

Today’s communication is not about conversations,
Blabbing face to face ain’t cool, especially if you attend secondary schools
Words on paper doesn’t mean anything, it’s the words on the cpu screen that mean something
Facebook, myspace, twitter, and high five
All killing the personal one-on-one vibe,
adding people, following if necessary
I honestly think that’s just another way of saying..STALKING
Enough talking, lets Facebook chat,
No need for voice tones or telephones,
Just friend request me and I’ll talk to you
Then you could stalk me on your news feed, if you feel the need
Check my status, and who I’m friends with but don’t worry, we’re only going to be less then friends
Thompson calls them weak ties, but I call them apple pies,
You know what? thank the shift from the Industrial to the Information
For the disconnectedness that you may be feeling
 
I’m going to stop right there because I just embarrassed myself horribly. Well I hope you enjoyed it, but I’m going to talk about my experiences now. So I’ve always had this notion that interpersonal conversations would die soon with all the technology and I’d like to thank Benkler for somewhat mentioning this. I do think that the world has felt some sort of disconnectedness since the Information Age. My famous example is the one with the text messaging in the same room or text messaging period. I think a phone call is more sincere and intimate and I feel that the intimacy has been lost since the beginning of the Information Age.
 
But enough of that, I want to talk about my experience with social networking. My journey with social networking has been an odd one. I got a Facebook when I was in my junior year of high school.  I had barely heard of it until people asked me whether or not I had one. Later did I create one and find out the beauty of it. I thought immediately that it was way more mature than Myspace poor Tom). I began requesting friends and skimming the site to see what it had to offer. Later my number of friends had grown exponentially to what it is now, almost 900. It’s obvious that I do not talk to all of them, but I talk to some. I have friends, teachers, and family as friends on my profile. I tried to find out what was going on with everyoine all the time. I was always on Facebook. I thought that when I entered college, thjis obsession would have gotten worse, but it didn’t. I barely go on Facebook and if I do it’s to check my friend requests, inbox, or my wall.
 
On the other side of the spectrum, there’s Twitter. Twitter is to personal for me. I feel like it’s legal stalking, but that could just be me. I haven’t used the social networking site but I guess it works for some. Well, that’s all I have to say for now folks, but have a great TURKEY day and a safe break.
 
ENJOY!

FACE-book

The World of Facebook is one that is visited everyday by various groups of people from all over the world. The social networking aspect of the website is extremely successful as you may choose to continue friendships and relationships or establish new ones. I thought it was interesting when Thompson mentioned the concept behind the Dunbar number. The Dunbar number on average for humans is 150 people, this number represents the number of people one would be able to manage relationships or his words, “social grooming”. He ends that paragraph asking if “…people who use Facebook and Twitter increasing their Dunbar number, because they can so easily keep track of so many more people?” I thought that this question was legitimate and also raises a greater question. Shouldn’t the Dunbar number vary from individual to individual? Isn’t it true that some people are just simply more comfortable socializing with others and this may result in more relationships? I think that it does vary from individual to another but maybe that’s just me.

Thompson also gives an example of how Twitter and Facebook allow people who wouldn’t normally have time to engage in relationships a chance to maintain and establish new relationships. He mentions that traveling may have an affect on how well a person may maintain a relationship and these networks allow one to check in one other’s lives by looking at their news feed or following them on Twitter which is now available on cell phones.  I think that this makes it convenient for those who aren’t able to connect with people because of their lifestyles or occupations. It gives everyone a chance to interact with others and be aware of what others are doing. Whenever I think about communication and the future I ask whether this idea soon become a problem where actual communication will die because everyone will resort to the internet or texting or any other source of networking. Will people be so busy or lazy to talk to others that they will have to use technology to do so?
On the topic of awareness online, I think Thompson brings up a very good argument when he says that with the opportunity to expose yourself to the face of the internet by blog posts, and status updates, people are able to “observe you” virtually. This leads to a presentation of yourself online, and you are to make sure that that identity is the one that you want shown to other people. So my question is when does this get dangerous? With the “creation” of an identity in cyberspace where one is able to find out what you are doing everyday or every hour, wouldn’t this become an easy way for a perpetrator to violate you? I think that this is why this generations’ individuals have developed a sense of paranoia in a sense that they have to be careful what is revealed online because EVERYONE is on the internet.

Image Credit:

http://www.techipedia.com/images/facebook_news_feed.jpg

 

 

Ti77anY BigBoots

My Second Life experience was one of a kind I must say. Before playing the actual game, the images looked similar to the computer game SIMS, where you can create an avatar that may resemble you. You can also create a family, and choose to live in different neighborhoods where you can meet other SIMS and establish relationships.

I am always talking about the concept of teleporting. Me and my cousin are convinced that we can create a way where we can teleport things through different mediums, and I hope someone invents this soon. I was pretty fascinated when I entered Second Life and my avatar was able to teleport from place to place. I was also fascinated by the ability to fly which would obviously never happen in reality.
When creating an account for Second Life, my avatar was given an unusual costume that resembled an elf costume. I guess she kind of looked like one too. I was anxious to change her appearance and make her look like me. When we were given the option to change our avatar’s appearance, I stormed right into it. Little did I know that the choices were limited. I tried to change my avatar’s hair and it wouldn’t change. I also tried to change her eye color but it didn’t change. This made me think of Nakumara’s article and how a user has the ability or choice to create a new identity in avatar worlds. Although I did not want to create a whole new identity, I did want some of my features to be reflected in my avatar. It is indeed true that you can be whoever you want online because of the freedom in the digital medium.

 Second Life reminds me of current media ads that say “This is what you should look like” because you are able to subject to this advertisement as you create a second identity. You can add features such as enhanced lips, larger or smaller leg definition, you can be fat or skinny, and you can also be muscular if you want to. Second Life creates a fantasy, a world where you can be whoever you want just like what Nakumara was saying in her article.

To add to your image, you are given the option to buy clothing, skins, eyes with their monetary system called Lindens. When I went shopping, all of the clothing stores had very provocative clothing. As a result, I had a difficult time essentially creating “me.” I spent about 20 minutes looking for clothing and eventually I came across an outfit that was fairly cheap and descent.

Beat her to it....

I was really excited when I looked at the syllabus and it said that for this week, we would be reading essay and articles that covered the themes of race and gender. I am very passionate about issues that explore these topics and I was interested to see how these topics are represented in new media.

The first article that I read was “High Tech Blackface – Race, Sports Video Games and Becoming the Other” by David J. Leonard. Leonard explores the content of black men in the video game industry. He mentions that the video games only focus on the strength, masculinity, tattoos, and talents on the black athlete and not on their intellectual ability. I think Leonard had a valuable point there but where is the intellectual ability of white men or Asian men portrayed in video games?  Leonard also says that
“…sports games reflect a history of minstrelsy, providing its primarily white creators and players the opportunity to become black” (Leonard 1).
As radical as this idea may seem, it is right. Sports video games allow the players to encompass the life of a black athlete, allowing the players too “be black”. This infatuation comes from the society that encompasses poverty with the black race, leading the children to have no other outlet but to play.
I liked how Leonard chose to acknowledge the aspect of the black body in video games. He emphasizes the idea that black athletes master sports because of their genetic talents while white athletes have to work hard to achieve such standards (Leonard 2). I think that the video game industry does exaggerate the physical features of black athletes adding some types of “superhuman strength, endurance speed and jumping ability” therefore conforming to the stereotypes of black athletes.
I think that says it all for me about race in video games. In Helen Kennedy’s “Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis” , she analyzes the character Lara in Tombraider. She emphasizes the concept of using Lara Croft as a sexual  object for men and for women. I have noticed that in some video games, women are portrayed as sexual object as the character’s physical features are over developed. Why do video game companies insist on making this idea primary in their creations? Can’t the existence of women in video games serve useful purposes to the experience of the video game? Is it really possible to add masculinity to a female character in a video game? These are the questions that I think about when referring to women or gender in video games.
Image Credit:

 

Episode !

Life is now on the internet, including television. It is so easy to access television shows on demand where ever you go, as long as there is Wifi. I think that this week’s readings were interesting as they connected to me. I usually watch Family Guy episodes or clips on the internet via Youtube if Hulu. I can watch these episodes commercial free or fast forward through them, which makes it more convenient.
When I began reading Brian Stelter’s, Serving Up Television Without the TV Set, I suddenly thought about life without television or internet. Stelter commented on something similar when he mentioned,
“Forty years ago, new technology changed what people watched on TV as it migrated to color. Now new technology where people watch TV, literally omitting the actual television set” (Stelter 1)
Technology has helped us advance in our forms of communication and expression since the 1960’s. Now everything Is being transferred to the internet to help accessibility and interactivity. I know many people that utilize the internet all day and they say that it’s easier if they watch television online because they are already on the internet therefore they can just multitask all at once. As a college student, we don’t necessarily have time to watch TV but we are always on our laptops.  This allows us to have access to watch television online if we have time.
In Will Brooker’s essay, Living on Dawson’s Creek, he discusses the ideas of cultural convergence and media convergence. I have watched a couple episodes of Dawson’s Creek and I did notice that the show targets adolescents, and tries to advertise clothing lines and attitudes to their viewers. I know that there were a lot of American Eagle brand clothing and many people who watched the show, I assume went and bought some American Eagle clothing, This simple act makes a fan or consumer feel connected to the characters of the show. It is obvious that a fan would probably go above and beyond to buy things that resemble characters on the show. Brooker made this similar argument when he defines a fan and a consumer.
Brooker argues that a fans do go above and beyond looking at the latest websites, blogs, soundtracks, video games etc, but they also make their own communities and online sites, where consumers don’t literally immerse themselves into the shows. Overall, Brooker despises the idea of fans and I understand why. I do agree with his argument because I have friends who are perfect examples of fans.
My friend Kelley loves the television show Hannah Montana on the Disney network. She literally bought Miley Cyrus clothing, chapstick, candy, movies, and she also plays Hanna Montana video games. Recently she joined a blogging group where they discuss the hottest and most recent episodes and they predict what will happen next. Kelley has immersed herself into this world of Hannah Montana and I don’t think I could get her out.
I tried to think of a transmedia narrative that I was involved with and I guess I would have to pick  ABC’s So You Think You Can Dance. I have been to the 2008 tour in Boston at the BU Arena. I have watched multiple seasons of the shows and I bought a couple of shirts with the logo on it. I have watched several clips of the dances online and I’ve bought the book that has all the dancer’s on it and a brief bio. You may be thinking how is this a transmedia narrative and I would have to say that each individual medium brings something new to the table. If you watch So You Think You Can Dance, you see how the process of auditioning is done and the process of elimination is done every week. You don’t really get to know the story of the performer unless you look up their biographies online or in books. I bought the biography book and learned many things about the story of the dancers, For example, Season 3, Sabra had only been dancing for four years in New York and she became the winner. I would have never known this otherwise. The internet has also made it possible for me to keep up to date on SYTYCD, because I am able to watch clips of the performances I missed online.
This has probably been a weak example of a transmedia narrative but I tried. Have a good weekend and stay healthy.

Image Credit:

http://images.clipartof.com/small/16458-Black-And-White-Cow-Patterned-Person-Shrugging-And-Sitting-In-Front-Of-A-Red-Television-Clipart-Illustration-Graphic.jpg

 http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/sites/people/img/24638_hannah_montana_2.jpg

 

It's all about the T.V.

Yesterday I was watching an episode of “Family Guy” an adult swim show online and I thought “how convenient it is to have television shows on demand on the internet”. I thought that it was crazy that this shift in culture has become prominent and equally considered as television.

While reading this week’s articles, I felt that some of my observations were also acknowledged. In Stelter’s article, he mentions that watching television shows on the computer is now a common activity for millions of consumers. My question is wouldn’t this idea be true if the technology industry is advancing at a rate that requests a demand for accessibility for consumers? Wouldn’t it make sense to offer more options of watching television so more consumers would be able to watch the show whenever they wanted to?
This television industry is interesting to me. It makes me wonder how the directors of the episodes create television shows that appeal to people’s behaviors. How do the directors decide which shows would attract online viewers and consumers? Would directors consider using different advertisement methods to appeal to those viewers who are online consumers?
I really find the questions in Brooker’s article to be really interesting and his approach to answer these questions.
“To what extent has the nature of watching television changed due to dedicated websites that offer an immersive, participatory, experience? To what extent does this participation depend on audience gender, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic class?”

"Serving Up Television Without the TV Set" Brian Stelter

"Living on Dawson's Creek" Will Brooker

 

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