In response to “Goodbye, Cruel World” from The Escapist Forum: What a very interesting article. This reminds me of my first few years at uni. Ridiculous devotion to my units, and then a marathon of gaming or swimming to relax and let it all fall away. My scores were through the roof. Course, not much of a social life, but it was some type of gamer-monasticism. There was only games (Soul Calibre 2, Hitman, Civilization etc), peaceful swimming at night, and study.
Years later came across another productive combination. Short but frequent periods of sleep, and alternating between writing my thesis and gaming. Ignoring other distractions could get a huge amount done in a week of this.
Video games are at their core are just another form of stimuli. If we accept the statement “energy flows where the mind goes” then we see that by focusing on physical or emotional pain it can be exacerbated, by focusing our thoughts away from the pain we can alleviate it to lesser or larger extent. More than that various stimuli, including video games, can open our minds to fresh points of view that can make coping with painful situations much easier.
Of course, in so far as video games are concerned, the cure can be more poisonous than the disease. Getting “T-Bagged” by some guy in an online Halo 3 match, being constantly bullied by a bunch of players in an MMO, or the sheer frustration of playing any Ninja Gaiden game, is enough to make a person’s pain go from bad to devastating.
Too as beneficial as playing a game like Flower on the PS3 could be it still doesn’t compare to actually being out in a real meadow, amongst real flowers and a cool breeze blowing across your face.
In response to “See No Evil” from The Escapist Forum: I don’t believe that any game can address these issues without coming across as preachy. People play games to have fun, not to be lectured about the nature of good and evil, especially a historical good and evil. That’s just painfully awkward.
Imagine a game where a person participates in the Babi Yar Massacre, or executes Polish officers in the Katyn forest, or rounds up ‘Comfort Women’ for the pleasure of Japanese soldiers. The notion is grotesque, but without such involvement, how do you give the full impact of these terrible events?
That was an exceptionally well written, thought provoking article. When he wrote the bit about playing as a jew during the slum rebellions my first reaction was disgust and surprise. The idea of playing something based on that serious a topic instantly offended me. Then I stopped and analyzed the emotion and realized I had no problem using an imaginary flame thrower, or a gun mounted bayonet in a game, and aren’t those terribly serious situations? There’s an obvious disconnect here. Why can I watch the atrocities of the holocaust in movies, but can’t play it in a game? Oh wait, there it is. No matter how much we try to intellectualize the medium, in its most base form, it’s still supposed to be a GAME. And no one wants to play a game about real world suffering, despair, and loss. It would be disreapectful to the survivors, and wouldn’t do any real justice to the horrors that were committed.
In response to “Hard-Wired for Gaming” from The Escapist Forum: Unlike most of the posters here, I cannot say that I have an autistic cousin of whom this reminds me…but, like everybody else, I CAN say this article was a great read, and I regret missing it the first time it was published!
It’s articles like these that shrug aside the tired stereotype of the antisocial gamer, smacking the uninformed upside the head and crying, “LOOK! There are people playing video games in order to immerse themselves in the social world – not escape from it!”
That was a cool article. I myself “suffer” from Aspergers (I have never liked that way of putting it) and gaming has been one of the ways I dealt with it. Through joining online communities that didn’t suck and by playing games that made me think more I have got to the point where people apparently don’t see it in me.
The other thing I found was that by getting games that matched with interests of mine (Cars, military stuff and music) I was able to sort myself out much faster and deal with things easier. I know if I ever have kids and they end up with it I will be using games a lot to teach them various things
In response to “A Nation of Pirates” from The Escapist Forum: I’m a Canadian-European dual citizen, and I can report that rampant piracy is also commonplace throughout Europe, even in G8 nations that should “know better”.
It is commonplace to see exactly the kind of operations you describe being conducted in the main street in full view of everyone, including police, who walk right by — or even stop to shop. Most Europeans I know own few (if any) legitimate audio CDs or software, but rather have enormous libraries of pirated works, which they are always proud to show off to guests. It’s a different mindset, and one that needs to be changed.
I often these people why they expect the creators of the content to keep making more if people are just going to pirate their works. Their responses generally quantize to three kinds of rationalizations:
1. “I wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase software legally. So they are not losing any money.” (Untrue: These people would just have to be more discriminating in amassing their collections.)
2. “It doesn’t matter, the titles are overpriced and the artists/studios make too much money.” (Untrue: Even major studios and artists have trouble breaking even with titles. And small and indie players — the source of some of the most important creativity — cannot afford any piracy, period.)
3. “Everybody does it, and I want to do it to , so get off my case.” (At least this reason is honest.)
I used to live in the Middle East, and can trump any street vendor story. It was commonplace at the time to go to the local shopping mall and go to a PC games store, and find almost entirely pirated products for sale. Photocopied boxes of all the latest releases, for a low price.
Before that, you used to have to go to a Computer store and take some floppy disks with you (or buy some from them) and they would copy games or other software onto them for a minimal fee.
This also happened with videos.
Availability of legitimate software and videos was as good as zero, the only option being to import at great expense. Importing would also fall foul of customs officials, who would occasionally seize your imports if they contained too much violence, anything sexual, etc..
In response to “Bushido and Beamsabers” from The Escapist Forum: So, the main point of this article is that Japanese games are influenced by Japanese mythos? Wow, what an eye-opening piece of journalism.