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The Influence of Video Games (The 1975, Cyanide & Happiness, DJ Play My Song) [Daily Bloggity Entry #6]


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The Influence of Video Games (The 1975, Cyanide & Happiness, DJ Play My Song) [Daily Bloggity Entry #6]

Posted February 27th, 2014 at 2:00 PM by El Héroe Oscuro


Date: 27 February 2014
Time: 9:36 AM ET
Mood: Relaxed

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was a short essay I wrote in the Fall of 2013 for one of my college courses. It parallels video games with the psychosomatic effects it can have on the individual, and is organized by ESRB rating system.

THE INFLUENCE OF VIDEO GAMES

“A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.” - Jane McGonigal

Video games: noun.) games played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a monitor or other display. But they are much more than that. Much, much more. They are extraordinary technological devices that whisks away the user to magical realms that are only limited by what the imagination can conjur. In video games, your dreams become reality, where the thin line between the possible and impossible becomes intertwined in a mesh of magical beasts, high speed chases, and reenactments of historical events. In one instant you can be battling a horde of viscous Orcs while the next you could be throwing the final pitch in front of millions of people to win the World Series. This is the greatest thing about video games: the boundaries are limitless, and you are there to witness every beautiful waking moment they offer you.


The first video game ever made was created in 1958 by a man by the name of William Higinbotham. Titled "Tennis For Two," the game involved a bright light from an oscilloscope which was hit back and forth by the turning of dials on analog computers that simulated a tennis raquet being swung. Since then, video games have used this as the cornerstone and have become much, much more intricate. Stretching from the Atari 2400 to the NES to the current generation of consoles, video games have aged like a fine bottle of wine, the experiences bein enhanced with age and the advancement of technology over the last few decades. Today, video games immerse their audiences through high definition graphics, motion sensing hardware, intricate and artistically beautiful level designs, and hard-hitting plots that were once thought to be impossible to fathom.


It wasn't until 1994 that the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system was erected in which gamers could get a good sense of the content in video games may be. The Internet didn't make it's way into people's houses until the late 1990's, so back in the day the only way to hear what games were like was either by magazine subscriptions like Nintendo Power or by word of mouth. The ESRB rating system took on the task of providing concise information to the masses on the content of video games so that parents and gamers could make informed choices of what they or the kids should or shouldn't be playing.


As an avid gamer myself, this essay is a dedication to the positive and negative influences that video games can have on the mindsets of people. It applauds the characteristics that make video games great, as well as criticze the damage that they might be imposing on young adults. The essay takes on the challenge of analytically decoding the ESRB rating system used for video games and how each rating affects the experiences that gamers may encounter.


Rated E for Everyone:

"Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language."

The human brain. Weighing around 1,350 grams and being 140 millimeter long, 93 millimeter high, it is an extraordinary anatomical organ. Surrounded by a thin layer of white matter that appearss pink to the naked eye, the squishy substance that is the brain is the single most important organ in our bodies (next to the heart of course). While yes, it is composed of many many different organs that help our body including the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and the prefrontal cortex, the most important thing is that it's what makes us, us. It gives us our imagination, produces our dreams, and maximizes our creative potential. However, not everyone accesses these profound abilities, or at the very least attempts to conceal them from the public. It is like a treasure chest, just waiting for that explorer to come along and uncover the riches that lay hidden in its depth. How can we unlock these powers? How can we build on these powers?


Video games are the key to these chests. They are more or less like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece contains a fragment of your imagination, speratically bouncing around just waiting to be caressed. As you slowly but surely connect each piece with one another, you are able to see the fruition of your work come alive. And when you finally place that final piece to the puzzle, they give us that overwhelming joy of being able to see what we have accomplished, whether that may be completing a level on the greatest difficulty or witnessing your friends play an overworld which you spent hours upon hours to create from scratch. Video games give us that overwhelming freedom and sense of control that we only dream of having in the real world.


Video games that are rated E means that they are games that can be played by all ages. They are games that strive to capture those jaw dropping moments by eliciting artistic worlds that you would only see in your wildest dreams with a wide range of colors, exotic beasts, and magical prowess. The games make you unlock your inner hero and immerse yourself into the action around you, the developers not only allowing you to dip your fingers in their surreal world but hand you the reigns to create your own story and add your own chapter to the existing game as well.


The frontal lobes of the brain are what are called the "decision makers" of this central nervous system organ, which are in charge of action related to planning, reasoning, social judgement, and ethnical decision making. Until the age of 25, these cerebral organs are not fully developed, meaning that what the brain is suscepted to at a younger age will affect it's outcome later on in life. Because of this, it can be said that many E-game developers strive to positively push along this process by giving their audience the freedom of exploring their abilities and potential. They strive more from the experiences and connections you can make with the game rather than follow the same path of game mechanics that are deemed "popular."


LittleBigPlanet is an exceptional example of such a game. You are SackBoy, this clumsy little adventurer who travels across his home of LittleBigPlanet, a world that was created by the dreams of humans (and respectively so). Your goal is to traverse through each beautifully landscaped world, scaling from point to point by solving puzzles and riddles, putting your mind and reflexes to the test in this dippy and loveable video game. As you continue your adventure with SackBoy, you start to create this loving connection with the silly protagonist, sharing in his excitement when you finish a level and mulling over his failures when you can't get past a certain point. When the campaign is finished you are longing for more and thankfully, the developers granted you your wish. After witnessing all of the beauitfullness and wonders that LittleBigPlanet had to offer, they give you the the reigns to create your own worlds; to create a sequel to the book you thought you had just finished. With that the possibilities are endless with your little friend, and with your imagination running wild you are able to continue your endearing friendship.


E-rated Games like these enhance the imagination of the player. It gives them the freedom to explore the potential that they have and all and all increase the confidence of the gamer. If they are able to create these luscious detailed worlds in these games, what's stopping them from chasing their dreams in reality? In such a competitive world as today, confidence is everything when it comes to achieving greatness. All it takes is that little boost to give the drive to the person keep on going, and it can be said that video games such as these do just that.

Daily Music - "Sex" by The 1975
Spoiler:

Rated Everyone 10 and Up:

"Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes."

The big 1-0. While it may not seem like such a milestone for adults when we reflect, it has always been a big deal for little kids. This is the time period when they are developing their interpersonal skills with other kids of their age by making friendships with one another. This process of building friendships involves a wide multitude of skills including being able to cooperate with one another, build communicution skills, and being able to understand one another's capabilities and potentials. As such, it can be said that this is a very critical period in the lives of many children, as it prepares them in making relationships with one another before going out into the real world.


Today's world is ruled by being able to interact with one another electronically. The applications of social networking in the last couple of years has become an integral part of everyday life nowadays, whether it's through text messages, Facebook, or video chats. As such, these interactions can be made from across the world through the use of the Internet. Nowadays we do not have to meet in person to get things accomplished; we can stay in the confines of our abodes and further our interactions with one another. While this may seem disparaging for some people at the thought of not talking to a person face to face, it is the unfortunate trend that our world has become. Many people work from homes nowadays or are making conference calls across the world, which is actually very convenient for people who cannot make these trips. Our world is becoming much, much smaller thanks to these interactions, and the people who created the technology for these trends should be applauded.


Video games rated E 10+ are games that work on continuing this build of interactions with one another. Like E rated games, these kind of games still key into giving the user the freedom of exploring their games as they feel fit, but it's much more than that. Developers work on being able to share your experiences with others and to build on the friendships that are already being laid down. Developers also work on creating games which incorporate teamwork, where people need to work together in order to obtain a common goal. Because of this task, it helps gamers build a vital characteristic of trust as well the ability to be able to work in small groups and work together in order to obtain a common goal. Furthermore, they do this by still giving you the freedom of picking your own paths. Numerous games E 10+ games allow you the freedom of being acble to dictate one's own actions, where actions you take will have rewards and complishments. As a result, these kind of games build on the trait of being able to work out issues in a sensible way which teaches you the value of being able to listen to other people's ideas as well as your own.


Mojang's hit indie game Minecraft is an exuberant example of this. Coming out in late November, Minecraft is classified as a "sandbox game," meaning that the limits of what you can accomplish in the game are as far as what your imagination can conjure. There is no purpose in the game, no main mission, rather that you create your own story. It is a game centered around building, where you mine your own materials and build monuments and skyscrapers - there is no limit to what you can do. Mojang made the experience compatible with other players, meaning together you and your friends can share your experiences. Whether it's through building a beautiful and adorned house, battling hordes of zombies and skeletons, or just traversing the deserts and plains of Minecraft, it's a great way for friends to work out dilemmas that may be encountered, collaborate their ideas , and have their frienships blossom while having an amazing and rememberable time in the process. The game is a true testament to what successful teamwork can accomplish in a world where the possibilities are endless.


Video games like Minecraft exemplify how we are training the next generation to cope with the advancing technology. This ability to be able to work together with other people online will become a great asset for the user down the line, thanks to the fact that at an early age when the frontal lobes - the control organ for planning and organizing - are still developing they will gain the abilities and confortablility of working with people over a connection. The individual will be able to communicate efficiently over a wireless network, as well as be able to develop intricate and innovative new ideas thanks to the freedom that video games have allowed the user's imagination to generate. Paired together, thanks to E 10+ games like Minecraft, these gamers will become forces to be reckoned with.

Daily Comic - "WHERE IS HE?" by Cyanide and Happiness
Spoiler:


Rated T for Teen:

"Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language."



Oh, puberty. The most dreaded time for parents, and rightfully so. It is the point in time when the little angels start turning on their parents by having crazy mood swings, start questioning about the birds and bees, and your wallet becoming increasingly more and more empty. Of course, this is all biological (except for maybe that last part). The brain is part of the nervous system, which works hand in hand with the endocrine system, a system that produces and delivers hormones throughout the entire body. During puberty, as the gonads and ovaries continue to mature, the brain signals the increased production of sex hormones in these places: testosterone in males and estrogen in females. As a result, males especially due to testosterone, are showing signs of being more aggressive and violent.


However, it's not all bad for the parents. As kids start to mature, the parents are able to slightly loosen the parental grip on them. The children are able to start finding their hobbies and likes, as well as being more susceptible to the world around them. Teenage hood is a period in time which allows children to start exploring their surroundings, like how an adult animal leave a herd for the the very first time. They are able to dip their feet in new waters and test out new experiences, such as sports and such. As a result, these new experiences start to build a new confound trait in people: competition. Young teens - especially athletetes - are like mountains goats, whom ram each other for dominance in a herd. They enjoy being able to exclaim that they are dominant over another thanks to their profound abiliites and the fact that all of their hard work has payed off.


Video games that are rated T tirelessly work to capture this demographic. Developers of T games, such as EA Sports and, create games which pit people one on one with one another, where in the end the person with the greater skill prowess will come out on top. As a result, it creates this friendly competitive nature to video games, giving people a sense of what hard work can accomplish as well as being able to experience what defeat feels like and how to actually cope with it. While this is all in the realm of television and actually doesn't have nay profound impacts if you win or lose, it does teach teenagers how to deal with competition. In today's ever-competitive world, video games teach kids how to deal with competition so when it does appear in their lives they are ready for it.


EA Sports is the champion of T rated games when it comes to competition. This developing comapny has created a vast multitude of games over a wide range of sports - football, hockey, basketball, etc. - which give players control over a specific team and the ability to control their own fates. The multiplayer experience is what really draws in the gamers though. Thanks to today's technology and EA's good use of it, players are able to play against other gamers all around the world in a competitive manner, where the user is able to be check what their rank is worldwide. Because of this, EA has created this friendly competition amongst friends, where friends can compete with one another to see who has the better rank.


However, cooperation is not the only thing that T-rated games is introducing to teenagers. The introduction of violence is being included into games now. Day after day, teenagers are being suscepted to many different violent media outlets, including movies, TV shows, and music. As a result, video games have jumped onto the band wagon. Developers take what they believe teenagers are being most suscepted to and transform them into video games, an easy way for them to gain a quick buck. Most noticeably is the Batman series. Thanks to the overwhelming success of the revival of the Batman movies in the late 2000's, developers have taken the success of Batman and made his butt-kicking self into two video games: Batman Arkham Aslyum and Batman Arkham City. In both cases, your job is to track down the Joker, an evil maniacal crook whose whole purpose is to destroy Gotham city, the overworld in which you reside in. In most cases in the beat-them-up game, your job is to punch and kick your way through enemies to go from point A to point B. Because you have to do this to progress through the game, performing air assassinations and stealth attacks, gamers are being told that it is okay to perform these kind of actions. But is it really okay that gamers have to kill others to play video games? And how will it affect them psychologically?


How are we supposed to tackle these issues? Is it okay that we are allowing our kids to be presented with something that says it is accepted to beat up humans? Will this be reflected through their future endeavors? These questions - and many more - arise because of games like these.

Daily Video - "DJ Play My Song (No Leave Me Alone)" by parody artist schmoyoho
Spoiler:


Rated M For Mature:

"Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language."

​While the sun may be rising for advancing technologies in today's ever-fast world, it is starting to set for the gaming industries. Each year, more and more video game companies' sales have rapidly gone on the decline, causing many games to flutter and sink like a rock trying to stay afloat and many game companies going into bankruptcy including 38 Studios and THQ. In today's tough economy, avid gamers are finding it more and more difficult to find the extra cash to buy a new $60 video game,meaning many people wait for game prices to drop or just buy the used versions of the games for a smaller price. Because of this, companies are visciously scrambling like wild animals to find the next big thing to help boost their endangered quarter sales and apease their unimpressed audiences. They are constantly looking for the next "big thing" to save their companies from peril, no matter the consequences that may come with them. What have many of these Gods fallen to? Violent video games overwhelmed with spewing blood, strong sexual content, drugs, and a bombardment or obscenities.


The ESRB rating system ranks that M rated games are for kids age 17 and up. But is this age too low for these kind of games? As stated before, the brain's decision making centers of the brain are the frontal lobes. These anatomical necessities are not fully developed until the age of 25, meaning that actions made by the individual may be analyzed as a reflection of the person's environments and what they are leaving themselves suscepted to. Because of the brutalic and viscious nature that M rated games can exemplify - which will be discussed later in detail - can we conclude that video games have a negative reinforcement on our neural activity? Or are concerned parents just being paranoid of what their kids are playing nowadays?


Video games are rated M for multiple reasons. As the ESRB rating system states, games that are rated M is because they "may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language." In most cases, developers are sacrificing creativity for these type of games, where gamers are mindlessly blowly apart AIs and n00bs in a bloody array of flying guts and F-bombs for their own amusment. They are creating destructive worlds where it is perfectly okay to obliterate your opponent and light them up with a full magazine from an AK47 without a second thought.


The Call of Duty franchise is a prime instigator of violent nature, whether it may be through their campaign missions or throught the infamous multiplayer. Labeled as one of the biggest and best selling first-person shooters on the market, Call of Duty enables you to break yourself from reality and immerse you in a killing simulator, where the purpose of the game it to move from point A to point B while killing as many people as possible that may block your way. Treyarch and Infinity Ward, the developers of this franchise, confuse their audiences by blending in quesitonable missions. One mission specifically, you play as Joseph Allen, an undercover US agent who has infiltrated a terrorist group who has to set fire onto civilians in an airport. You actually play as a terrorist, painting the floors with people's blood without a care in the world for the flames of the innocent lives you are extinguishing.


Is this kind of gaming supposed to be fun? Or should it be a question of our values? If an older brother has their younger sibling attempt this, how do you think they will react? These are just some of the questions that should be being asked. Particularly this scene, it had a mixed review (shockingly). Some people hailed Infinity Ward for pushing the boundaries on games, while others questioned how far a company would go just to make a quick buck. Is this really necessary in video games? How far will we go to play video games before we put our own health at risk?

[the way the project was set up, we didn't need a conclusion sooo...this is awkward.]

‡ As always, the "Daily Bloggity" is self written by myself and includes just some of my opinions on different mediums. If you have a subject that you might want me to touch on, feel free to PM me or comment below! I would love to hear some of your ideas! Tune in tomorrow at 5PM Eastern Time for the next edition of the "Daily Bloggity!" Cheers! ‡

- elheroeoscuro

Spoiler:

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  1. Old Comment
    Spinosaurus's Avatar
    Good stuff. This should be an entertaining read.
    Posted February 27th, 2014 at 2:04 PM by Spinosaurus Spinosaurus is offline
  2. Old Comment
    El Héroe Oscuro's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Spinosaurus View Comment
    Good stuff. This should be an entertaining read.
    Thank you very much!! I had a fun time writing it for my class, hope you like it! ^_^
    Posted February 27th, 2014 at 2:19 PM by El Héroe Oscuro El Héroe Oscuro is offline
 

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