Experience and digital space

Short answer; No. Long answer; It’s a bit more complicated than that. With digital media, the ontology is often concentrated on viewing the relationship between the consumer, the media and the culture of the media. The digital part is significant. While there are now few generations that have grown up in a world that never lacked the digital component, it is still relatively new introduction in historical scale. Nevertheless, it is present everywhere nowadays and digital elements in out life most likely will keep growing as the time goes by.

Timothy Druckery, a theorist of contemporary media, even went so far to argue that it would not be possible to describe or experience the world without technologically digital devices. He argues further that the evolution from mechanical to technological computer  culture has been more than just a series of new techniques and technological advances, that it is more about the evolution between dynamics of culture, interpretation and experience. Much like Druckery’s collegues, he argues that representative works are based on experience, and it would be hard to argue against that.

Video and computer games are based on experiences people have. First computer RPGs had their roots in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns people had, and this applies to origins of Ultima as well.  Miyamoto has stated that The Legend of Zelda his goal with the game was to have the game feel the same way as if you were exploring a city you have never been in before. You can almost see the overworld map as a city layout in this sense, where certain paths are alleys, larger open areas are parks and numerous dead-ends permiate the game. Or maybe that’s just me. Satoshi Tajiri, the name behind the Pokémon franchise, based the game on his own experience with bug catching. Japan has a history with kids having bug catching as a hobby, and the latest big craze was during the 1990’s. When you consider how a kid has to cover creeks, run over rivers and search the forests for new bugs to catch, you begin to see the adventure and the excitement that Tajiri wanted to convey in Pokémon. You also begin to see where modern Pokémon has started to veer off, emphasizing plot over adventure. There was a good article how Yu Suzuki put Virtua Fighter’s developer through martial arts training each morning in order for his men to animate a punch or a kick right.

That is not to say a game can be created without any experience in subject itself. Hideo Kojima has never been a spy or a soldier on a battlefield, but he nevertheless put his experience from Western movies into use in Metal Gear. You can see the change in certain visual in Metal Gear Solid 2  when they got an actual military advisor on the team. For example, Snake no longer pointed his gun upwards and overall how characters began to handle weapons changed. Small, but rather significant change when you consider how much Metal Gear games depend on the whole experienced soldier schtick.

Nevertheless, all the above mentioned games are representative of some sort of experience and allow the player to experience a sort of simulation of it. With any new sort of media there has been the fear of losing something important to humanity, if you will. With digital media the question of the consumer’s identity has become a question through the fears of how any new media might (or rather will) change our way of thinking and the way we live.

Without a doubt we have both real and virtual spaces as well as the identities that go with them. We have a wear a different persona when we are with our parents or friends, and the same applies to the virtual space. Since the 1990’s virtual space has become more and more daily thing to the point of Facebook and other social media becoming almost essential. However, even in these spaces we have a persona on us that is different from others. Much like how when writing this blog I have a persona on you don’t see in other virtual spaces, though it is overlapping harshly with everything nowadays. While there is no physical aspect to virtual spaces (they are digital and non-physical by definition) they nevertheless are real and can carry to the “real” world. However, we can always the space we choose to interact with, though this has led to the birth of extreme comfort zones where one must feel safe all the time rather than challenging oneself and broaden horizons. After all, nobody wants to get stuck in place for all eternity. Unless they get hit by a car and fall into three years of coma.

Whether or not digital media and virtual identities change our selves in physical form is a topic for a different post (it does, but the extent in which way is expansive), but I can’t but mention that experiences the consumers gain from digital media affects us just as any other similar source. After all, electronic games are an active medium instead of passive like movies or music and require the consumer to learn in order to advance. This has led some to argue that games promote violence through teaching violent methods.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are the two names responsible of the Columbine Shooting in 1999, and two years later Linda Sanders, whom lost his husband in the shooting, sued 25 different companies, like Id Software, Apogee Software and Interplay Productions, claiming that the event would not have happened if games with extreme violence like this wouldn’t exist. It was argued that certain games allowed the two assailants to train their shooting skills with precision and affected the two in a negative way. However, as we’ve seen multiple times over, games do not cause kids to go violent, and it would seem to be far more about the individual and their mental health than the media they consume.

However, it must be said that even when games are escapism from real world, they still are a product of real experiences. Playing may be just a game much like any other, but the more real world expands into virtual spaces thematically and ideologically, the less there is separation between the two. Ultimately, playing a game will affect the real world persona of the player, thought he question how much is very much up to the individual consumer. Games have been discussing censorship, violence and current topics for more than thirty years now, and for a medium that is about escapism to a large extent, that does not bode well. How much value we can put on a digital world that does not make use of its non-real capabilities and ties itself to the real?

Perhaps the digital personae we use has become less important as the melding of two worlds continues, and the identity we assume is an amalgamation.

ICD-11 video game addiction is being pushed without proper backing

Without a doubt certain percentage of people who play electronic games overdo their hobby. However, this is only for a small percentage of the overall enthusiasts and hobbyists. Furthermore, it would seem that problematic gaming, that is the consumption of electronic gaming that is detrimental to everyday life, itself grows itself thin in time and dissipates on its own. A longitudinal study showed this with 112 adolescents. I’ve already covered why the proposal for gaming disorder has no basis, but it would appear pushing for its suggestions into ICD-11 has merit to it. Merit that wouldn’t serve science, culture, markets or consumers.

Ferguson wrote that less than 1% of people experience video game addiction. His writing is a good read. Game addiction in itself is a very different nature from e.g. gambling. I’ve actually covered issues with pairing electronic gaming and gambling with each other previously, but to make short story even shorter, video game addiction is far more often a symptom of an underlying problem than the cause in itself. Ferguson’s own study supports this. Hell, there’s even a paper arguing against the very concept of video game addiction.

In a discussion between Ferguson and an administrator at the World Health Organisation acknowledged political pressure from countries, particularly from Asian ones, factoring in the inclusion of video game addiction into ICD-11. If countries are pushing its inclusion, that means scientific basis comes second at best and whatever political stance these nations have come in first. That is extremely dangerous, as adding video game addiction opens doors for other far more intrusive and harmful suggestions to be included under its umbrella. Considering video game addiction is extremely loosely defined and would require far more research than what it has, there’s no guarantee any of the future additions would have better research behind it.

You may be asking yourself what nations would have need or use for this sort of addition to the ICD-11. Some nations have reported more deaths from non-stop gaming than others, and mostly we hear these reports from either China or South Korea. In 2005 a 28-years old man died because his heart failed during a session of Starcraft, BBC reports. It is interesting to note from that article that despite Starcraft being a real-time strategy game, professor Mark Griffith only talks about MMORPGs, a very different genre of game. You have far less interaction with your opponent in Starcraft that you have in e.g. World of Warcraft.

South Korea has seen drastic changes in its electronic game landscape, and one of the more worrisome changes came around 2014, when some members of the government began to regard games as a detrimental pastime. South Korea has discussed to enact game addition bill to limit not only the amount of time people should be allowed to play, but also games themselves. However, when you have legislators directly comparing video games to tobacco and alcohol, there is something amiss. South Korean gaming culture is far different from any other, e.g. you can actually graduate to be an e-Sports player. However, much like any other person who has a career in “sports,” e-Sports players suffer from injuries as well. Seeing how the South Korean culture has almost twisted games and e-Sports into a national pastime, it’s no wonder a lot of young people are willing to give a chance to become a player worth millions of wons.

The thing is, South Korea does have a problem with gaming, but rather as we are lacking in evidence for gaming addiction (we have more researches saying against it as linked above), it is far more probable that the South Korean gaming problem is a symptom from an underlying social and cultural troubles. Putting legislation that equates games with drugs and alcohol won’t cure the problem, it will manifest itself some other way later down the line.

Passing a law based on game addiction is hard when you have nothing to base it on. However, if ICD-11 would recognize video game addiction as a valid illness, there would be no need for debating or researching the issue much further; after all, you can simply point out that it’s in the books. That would be injustice.

One of the gaming limiting laws has already passed. The Shutdown law was passed in 2011 and limits people aged under 16 from playing online games during the night between 00:00 and 06:00. While this would sound decent in principle, it is not the government’s job to do what parents should be doing. Furthermore, this law challenged in few occasions as unconstitutional. However, the law is still in effect, albeit nowadays parents can request the ban being lifted from their child.

China’s following this South Korean example with similar legislation that would ban gaming outright from people aged under 18 between 00:00 and 08:00, and would necessitate computers and smartphones to be fitted software that would track down law breakers. Both South Korea and China require their people to use their real IDs when accessing their gaming accounts. In case of South Korea, this is a necessity with many of their websites in general. However, in 2012 Real Name Rule was struck down and rejected by court. The law requiring the usage of users’ real names was introduced in 2007 to combat cyber-bullying. Again, this is treating the symptom, not the cause. Furthermore, as gaming is a million-dollar business, by accusing game industry creating addictive products, governments could push forwards for harsher taxations and other underhanded shenanigans to gain more from the revenues. This may sound like a foil-hat idea, but seeing how few years back we found game journalism colluding and attacking their consumers and recently CIA spying everyone everywhere, this isn’t far fetched.

Games of any kind, be it sports, card games or anything else, are addictive in their own way. For modern electronic games, it’s a whole mess to open why they could be addictive outside the usual action-reward scheme. This is because electronic games have more dimensions than gambling. After all, games are a tool to give leeway for people from their everyday life in an electronic way that supports social interaction through cultural landscape and aims to both challenge and please the players at the same time. They are not gambling, except Complete Gacha in Japan, as gambling quite literally requires wagering money or something else valuable under uncertain conditions for higher gains. Of course, games are designed to pull the player in and be enjoyable, but that is what every form of entertainment does.

If video game addiction would have something to be tied to, it would be escapism. Escapism is always tied to something else than the tool people escape through, and the question I must ask here; what are people escaping from if they are willing to kill and die because of video games?

ICD-11 proposal for gaming disorder has no basis

World Health Organization has a new proposal in the ICD-11 category, one which would add ‘Gaming disorder’ as a valid disease. The definition for this disease would be the impaired control over daily life in which video games would gain priority despite negative consequences. This is tied to Hazardous gaming, where a pattern of gaming that causes physical or mental harm to the individual or to people around of this individual. Hazardous gaming is essentially just a step towards gaming disorder.

I’m calling bullshit on this proposal as it is now.

You probably clicked the link above and read the short description for gaming disorder. Just from that alone we can surmise few problems the proposal has. First of all, the proposal includes only video games, leaving arcade and PC gaming alone, and hazardous gaming simply refers it as ‘gaming.‘ Granted, the terminology I’m using is more old fashioned in comparison, but using video game as an umbrella term for all electronic gaming is weak at best and shows the authors have little knowledge of the industry’s history. Because of this the proposal ignores the fact that games like pachislot, that is undeniably a video game if we were to use the modern umbrella term, are more dependent on gambling addiction than on the proposed form of gaming disorder.

To add to this, those who are playing video games as a career in some form would be singled out to have this disorder. Psychology as a soft science struggles with things like this, as case studies may not apply to the larger population and vice versa. Furthermore, what is considered harmful in these cases is somewhat open question again. The discussion about what is normal behaviour falls into behavioural psychology a bit too heavily and would be a discussion on its own. I would argue in this case that a person who would have symptoms of gaming disorder may simply be a person who is a hermit and finds solitude in his hobby instead of mingling with people. Whether or not he has a disorder would be questioned. Furthermore, if we were to change the hobby in an individual case like this to something like watching movies, would he then have movie viewing disorder? Such disorder does not exist in the papers and has never been proposed thus far.

There are no long-term studies that would support gaming disorder as proposed. Even short-term studies are hard to come by, and the few examples I had in my mind have eluded for me for the time being. However, the addictive action that electronic games offer is not much any different from other forms of similar activities, but these are not singled out as separate diseases for whatever reason. No other leisure activity like video games, or electronic gaming if you’re an old fart like me, has been singled out like this. While some could argue that gambling falls into this category as a singled out, the psychology of gambling is a bit too much to open here and has proper research basis to back it up.

Furthermore, 26 scholars have written an open letter, rebutting this proposal. You can read the whole thing at Research Gate. Their arguments is that inclusion for gaming disorder, even as a proposal, would have economic effects on the industry. Singling a media out like this would be akin to showcasing the harmful effects of tobacco, the difference here being tobacco’ negative effects had solid evidence behind them. Possible effects of this proposal would be adverse limitations on the industry at large. At worst, possible prohibitions and limitations of what sort of games and what content games could have could be realised. South Korea already employs harsh limitations on games as it is. Last UN’s CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) wanted to ban Japanese media that depicted sexual violence against women. Kumiko Yamada, the representative of Japanese wing of Women’s Institute of Contemporary Media Culture, responded to CEDAW’s proposal by stating that their view on the matter was an absolute No. Translated version on Niche Gamer. The reasoning to Japan’s response was that first of all, they are fiction and do not threaten real people. Second reason was that these fields are filled with women, and such ban would do the exact opposite what CEDAW’s aimed at, as disallowing these women to portray fiction whatever they wished would create new venues of sexism towards women. If this proposal about gaming disorder would pass, it would mean limitations and even bans similar to this would come to pass under the guise of population health concerns.

As the open letter states, passing the proposal could lead into a moral panic. Gaming in general is no foreign to these, as the industry’s history is well marked with controversies regarding violent games, and more recently about games with sexual content. This would tie itself to the aforementioned limitations and bans, when in reality no good evidence is backing up.

As such, if the proposal would to pass, it would be met with harsh criticism and high scepticism from both common population and scholars. The open letter goes even further and states that passing gaming disorder would harm WHO’s reputation and medical community in general, would dramatically reduce the utility of such a diagnosis, especially when it is not grounded in proper evidence base. Singling games out from the rest of the media out there would open a Pandora’s box of behavioural disorders, where any and all activities from sports to gardening could be diagnosed as a behavioural disorder, saturating and demeaning the whole field at large.

The question you may have now whether or not I am deluded enough to say that there is no disordered gaming. That answer would be No. There are numerous ways a person may end up playing games more that it is healthy, but in numerous researched I’ve read the core reason is more often than not somewhere else. An action in itself can be just a symptom, and singling our excessive gaming in itself disorder would put a patient in possible danger if the underlying reasons are not solved and properly treated. The proposal’s worst case scenario considering health could be treating a symptom while completely disregarding the cause.

Monthly Three; Boys, girls and electronic games

While many of the fears from the late 1800’s and early-to-mid 1900’s still persist when it comes to electronic games, those who play games and are most enthralled by them has not changed too much since then. Things changed with the advent of Golden Era of games, especially with Pac-Man, a game that attracted both men and women to play. Pac-Man as a character was largely a non-descriptive blob despite the game’s and character’s name.

I’ve talked about Industrial revolution being the main dividing point between arts, crafts and design, but when it comes to games it also created a cultural point with boys’ and girls’ cultures. According to E. Anthony Rotundo (1994), the industrial revolution separated boys from their father’s work environment, leaving them for their mothers’ to take care of. Boys moved outside from there, as motherly care usually emphasised good morals, pampering and kindness. Boys’ games and plays often were almost the opposite of this with physical contact with surprising aggressive attitudes. Going against mother’s command was a way to show that you weren’t a momma’s boy, and building from that onwards is a sort of step towards independent manhood. Regardless of how wild these games were, boys would return home to their mothers. One could say that unlike the Freudian Oedipus complex, boys’ fight against their mothers’ culture.

Rotundo contrasts this against girls’ culture, which is tied to their mothers, which have lived in a sort of symbiosis with each other. While he boys’ “adventure island” had a confrontational setting, girls’ had their own place within the “secret gardens.” While girls tend to favour for more socially interactive game with less or not emphasize on competition and physical contact, the concept of secret garden, a secret place reserved only for them and their fantasies. It should be noted that a lot of books for girls are the opposite of this thinking, where their normal lives are broken by a fantastic individual of sorts and their lives see a change, often at the cost of that secluded place. The differences between classic boys’ and girls’ literature is that boys had the heroes travel far away, while the girls’ literature tended to emphasize on staying home. Through that the stakes were different; for boys the adventures were physical like their games, whereas girls’ adventures were more about the psychology and emotions.

It’s not hard to see why electronic games would end up seen as a boys’ hobby. It is far easier to create a game that’s based on competition and rules rather than a game that requires methodical interaction between characters. A game is easy to program to offer a direct challenge the player needs to achieve, like destroying alien invaders than it is to program to reply to inquiries in a naturalistic and sophisticated way to counter the player’s emotional state.

The question whether or not there is a difference between boys’ and girls’ is cultural at its core. American game developer Purple Moon was known for developing games aimed at girls of age 8-14, and their Secret Paths series could be used as an archetypical example of what is generally seen as a girls’ game.

Secret Path games showcases some traditional symbols and images associated with girls. The cursor in the example above is a heart or a ladybug, there is no physical conflict in itself, and whatever action there is leans on metaphysical than physical. Interestingly, despite Purple Moon’s games tend to be simplified in how things are presented, they still manage to make better use of progressive values than most games we have nowadays.

While Purple Moon’s games were designed to be more about places of relaxation, where girls could pour out their stress and observe things with their hearts, so to speak. Each character has their own secret, and it is up to the player to find the secret paths that are laden with gemstones and other artefacts that give social, emotional and psychological strength. These visuals and pathways are representative of the characters’ plight, and the stories these physical environments contain encourage the player to try things out in their own social life. It’s not hard to see why the founder Brenda Laurel called their games as friendship adventures.

Similarly, Theresa Duncan’s Zero Zero is another example of a game that ties to girls’ culture.

While Secret Paths can be regarded as a continuation to the secret garden idea, Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 novel Harriet the Spy, is about another sort of play space for girls; the city. Within the book, Harriet observes her city’s, her microworld’s she creates, citizens and their complex interactions and how she changed them as she sees fit. This idea of creating a world and having total control over it is similar to SimCity. The difference between the two is how SimCity is more about playing god and micro-manage everything. To Harriet, creating this world is just the first step, and moves towards spying on the individuals to the point of breaking in real world buildings to understand adult interactions. The same contrast repeats here; there is no physical confrontation like there would be in boys’ novel, all the challenge comes from the human interactions and gaining information on the interactions.

It wouldn’t be too hard to see Harriet the Spy as a stealth game that has no combat. Zero Zero is essentially a computer adventure game version of the novel, where the player goes through the city and similarly seeks people’s’ stories. Despite this innocent sounding setting, Zero Zero and other games from Theresa Duncan do not try to be sleek and pat down the reality. On the contrary, Zero Zero‘s French are bored and tend to insult the player in a stereotypical fashion, as do the flowers. Women with strong make-up smoke freely and tend to flash themselves, promising an event in the Red Lights district.  The Sims has a considerable female fanbase, and in a way can be seen as a modern example of a game that allows the player not only play dollhouse, but also play god and decide the interactions.

Secret Path games and Zero Zero are good examples of two strong sides of traditional girls’ games. Secret Path games are very balanced and encourages the player to feel, so to speak. Zero Zero is an example of a game that shows the misshapen world in a very caricature fashion and encourages the player to seek knowledge and information that is hidden from them. Both are about exploring a physical space, but in the end both are about the players’ inner worlds.

Games like Pac-Man and Nights into Dreams are in neither space as such. Pac-Man‘s design as a character and game had no points to either direction, and as such I personally consider Ms. Pac-Man a needles exercise in hindsight despite it becoming extremely popular. Nights into Dreams on the other hand was designed to be androgynous from the get go, both in gameplay and character designs. It even has a boy and a girl character, Elliot and Claris, who have very different dreams for their life.

As games have evolved, contact between the two cultures have become more frequent. One could argue that open world games that contain as much non-physical social confrontation as they do physical are mixing these cultures. MMORPG’s and other games that offer larger interaction with real life people also supports the idea of supportive interaction between girls while offering brotherly confrontation and rivalry boys’ culture has. This sort of neutral space in gaming requires both sides giving something in, and in real life this can cause some argumentation and fighting between children.

Stereotypical girls’ games tend not to be remembered. Purple Moon folded in 1999 and merged with Mattel, and their games were not without criticism. Their games were called to be called sexist, stereotyping the characters and themes, a thing that can be extended to a lot of other girls’ games, especially Barbie games. The space where these games were set in was another major factor.

Space is a keyword here. The pinball culture if the mid-1900’s was very masculine and based on long-standing tradition of penny arcades. When these games began to appear outside their initially designated areas, e.g. pinballs in restaurants and shopping centres, it was seen as a positive progress as anyone, women included, could now access these machines. As games moved away from spaces that were largely seen as dominated by men like universities’ IT-departments and penny arcades, the view on them changed. Pinball is not associated with violent rebels any more, but as a classic game everybody can play. Similarly, the advent of Japanese games in arcades and the renaissance of electronic gaming after the second Video game Crash introduced further colourful and fantastic creatures to the electronic game culture. Pac-Man, Mario Bros., and their like, despite being competitive, offered visuals that weren’t all about blowing shit up, but also attractive colours and challenges that weren’t just about the abstract.

It should be noted that games like Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog and Abe’s Odyssey garnered players from both sexes, and both games shows that in the end, the player character doesn’t really matter as people don’t tend to see themselves in the character. If there is a character creation, sometimes people make themselves, but often it’s an admired, a fantasy version of themselves. They create a fantasy persona, and similarly each player character out there is a fantasy persona that the player doesn’t exactly identify with. After all, the player character is largely unimportant, the game world is what matters.

Perhaps the only truly neutral game between the spaces and cultures is Tetris. Tetris wasn’t just a game that can be described a perfect game and neutral, but a game that was everywhere. It was on home computer where anyone could play it and it was on the Game Boy where everyone could carry it with them. There is no true confrontation in the game, and despite the having a competitive goal in form of scoring, the gameplay is from neither world particularly.

Digital gambling?

It’s a thing you don’t hear much. I was reading a book this morning with family, and I heard something about games, be it digital or traditional (as they put) having an adverse effect on people who play them.  There was no true cohesion in what they were saying, talking about gambling and money games in general via mobile devices and such. Not until they started showcasing Counter Strike and talking about how that affects people too. They were speaking of esports.

It sounds so unnecessary. Electronic gaming seems to be a term these people do no simply use and in the views of those who handle addicted gamblers, digital gaming seems to be largely the same thing as their paper counterpart. What throws a spin to this whole thing is that the professional commentator of digital gaming in the show portrayed video and console games as a whole in the same light as gambling. All of them share the same points of decision-making and addictive qualities, she said. I had to question aloud whether or not this was an intentional narrative made to showcase that Super Mario Bros. is in the same league and Internet poker. In whatever game in general, be it soccer or the like, we go through similar thought patterns and have to discern the best outcome. We gamble and we may win or lose against the odds, there’s nothing special to it in of itself. Gambling addicts are a whole another thing, as are the people who sit days worth in front of the computer playing MMORPGs and start to get rotten feet.

The idea of labeling all electronic games under one banner is largely stupid, especially when digital game is, essentially, just a synonym for a video game. After all, a video game is a visual multimedia source that is combined with set rules and controls the player interact and commands, often to achieve a victory condition. Some form of money may be present, especially in modern mobile phone games, but that alone should not be contrasted to gambling.

The first thing I found about digital gaming as such was from Peluuri, an online site for gambling addicts. Without noticing it, those who consume electronic games in genera have been lumped together with gambling addicts. The reason isn’t hard to guess; news about some child dropping thousands into a mobile game for whatever reason still pop up frequently, and the fact that esports has brought the dimension of gambling into video game circuits.

Except, what the expert in the telly show was talking about the problems digital gaming brings with it, and the aforementioned website confirms her assertions. Problem gaming is defined excessive amount of time and/or money spend on money games, that have a negative effect on the person’s life, like his psychic or physical health, studies or work life, economy and/or human relations. …for those who consume computer games in large quantities, it was noted that they share similar problems with handling their emotions, channeling them properly or escapism via games similar to those who gamble. All this seems to give note that while site speaks mostly about gambling, the people who handle gambling addicts have dropped video game addicts into the same category because the majority of the addicts on either side share the same psychological problems.

Why the hell do people think games are the reason when even these help websites clearly say that’s in the person and not in the game that’s wrong?

Why the hell do they find a need to use digital gaming? What’s the point of using yet another term for something that already had two valid terms? There is now answer, but I’ll amuse myself this a bit. Video and computer games replaced electronic gaming at one point completely, and now that both of those terms have been dragged through the mud for a good couple of decades now, the current generation that doesn’t want to associate their research and intentions with any of have decided to choose a more diplomatic term. We do live in a digital age, after all.

The advent of esports of course seems to have played a rather large part in this. People gamble which team will win, and biased researchers will see whatever they want in the electronic/digital/computer/console game landscape. Is the person who contests in esports comparable to a person who gambles? Perhaps to a person who gambles at a tournament, but I’d make a comparison with a race driver more. Sponsors put money into the machines the competitor then puts all his efforts in. Esports is someone’s career after all, at least to some extent.

In the end, making it a game addiction when people don’t have any other outlet to channel their problems into is deceptive, blaming the thing that’s being used to channel things rather than accuse the person of wrongdoing. It’s the same with same when games are blamed to cause shootings. In the end, the individual person and his problems are always the key to everything. If gambling, video games, booze, driving, masturbation, rock climbing or any other activity worsens their life, why in the hell are their relatives and friends letting him ruin his life like that? Even adults needs help, sometimes forced.

Traditionally, gambling has been treated as its own thing while all other forms of addiction, be it sports or the like, have been their own thing. Mixing computer and console games give them the wrong connotation, and adding digital gaming as a new thing for the old doesn’t help. Not that the common consumer even cares about this, all they want is to have those drunkard failed gamblers off their block, and get those no-good video game nerds outside to breathe some fresh air and mingle with other people.

Music of the Month; Hero Story

When you put you think about it for a moment, we don’t have anyone who is like Jackie Chan at this time. He has made physical comedy and action into his own. Every strike, be on himself or on the opponent, has a smile with it.

We don’t need another Jackie Chan. Much like some regard Jackie Chan to be sort of continuation of Bruce Lee’s more serious fights, the cinema will be in need of somebody who would carry similar rough and real style in fights on the silver screen. He wants no trouble, but the audience sure enjoys when gets some.

I’m going to let myself loose with this one. I don’t give a damn how this post forms, I’ve drank a bit too much whisky after my work computer decided to screw with me.

As usual during the upcoming Christmas season, all and every day becomes a bit more hectic and there may be weeks where there may be lack of posts here and there. This also means that many parents will be purchasing their kids games as presents. I would recommend any parent or person buying a game as a gift to a younger one to pay attention to the recommended ages on the boxes. Much like with movies, games do have adult content you shouldn’t direct towards child minded people.

Thus, I find it absolutely idiotic that Target Down Under removes Grand Theft Auto V from their shelves. Why? The V2 .pdf doesn’t say, but it’s because it portrays violence towards women. Whoopdy fucking doo I say. Here’s the thing; GTA has always portrayed violence and it has never changed in that regard. Be it a woman or a man in the game, the player has all the freedom to blow their heads off if they feel like doing so. If modern feminism was concerned about equality, they would have raised other issues, but no. It has to be this damn politically correct comfy zone bullshit we have nowadays everywhere. Going to the petition that Target seemed to deem valid enough misses the point that everything they describe the player can do in-game applies to everything. What about all the men who have survived the violence in their lives? It’s incredible double think just to note the other side while disregarding the other completely.

In addition, the petition makes a point that games like GTA V, in all essence, encourage certain kind of thinking and causes violence via grooming. This is absolute horseshit. There are numerous studies that show the exact opposite. People with inclinations to violence will always be more violent despite what form of media they are exposed to. It takes mentally ill person to think the thing he sees in fictional setting is right. Only a stupid and ignorant person would assume people take everything at face value. It takes a special kind of idiot just to listen and believe rather think for themselves and search further information while challenging his views. Everything affects everything, and if we are to say electronic games affect people, we also have to take notice that all forms of media and interaction does the exact same thing.

In a sense, a lot of psychologists are wasting their time and effort on proving points everybody and their mothers can say through life experiences. There are better things to research on, like development of psyche.

However, there’s two more pressing matters in this one; this is censorship through pressure and obstruction of free market. Target continues to sell other games and DVD with similar content for whatever reason. I would have thought we already got over this ‘games-are-evil’ thing a decade ago, but it seems this generation that first time grew up with digital entertainment have no real fights anymore to fight, so they need to grasp every little bit they can challenge for whatever reasons they can think of. There are other battles to be fought and won, including making the macro economical situation better and teaching people to fish rather than give them the fish outright.

It baffles me why people would go their way out and take away something they enjoy, something that doesn’t harm anyone? Rather than concerning what media does to people, be it men or women, we should pay more attention to the people themselves, in the education they are given and in what sort of raising they are given. It’s not every day you hear news about a mug victim saying he had it coming for being a privileged person. This thing baffles me to no end. If a person comes up to you and holds you at gunpoint, taking your money, you have every right to call them a criminal and a bad person. Not to mention the mugged person has horribly mangled view of what middle-class is. Sometimes I wish we could take everybody, including myself, into somewhere else where the social norms we are so used to do not apply. Having only one point of view and sticking with affects anyone negatively.

Accepting certain universal truths is a good thing to do, like that the tree makes a sound in the forest when falling even if somebody is not listening to it and that a person who mugs you is a criminal and should be judged according to local laws, but we always need to remember that the view one holds can be completely contradicted by someone other’s and it is always good to understand why is that. We do not need to agree with each other in any point, but neither should we be forcing our views or actions on others that disagree. Informing and encouraging further information search should be something we do rather than becoming heralds of some agenda. Hell, go read the researches I linked earlier. There’s few things there that do not completely match the sentence they are linked in, and I fully encourage you to read research documents that argue otherwise. Information is power, and the more objective and valid information you have, the more powerful you are.

When you become a preacher of some word, you’re essentially inside a religion and enact the exact the same things certain religions have been criticised for doing. I can understand a religious person coming to be and asking if I have found God, because that is their faith and that is how their religion reads them to do. When somebody comes with a political agenda in their hands to convert me into their political movement, I often ask them to screw off. Except Greenpeace, with Greenpeace I usually have good chat what’s going on and what sort of crazy stuff these people have been doing as of late.

Ah, screw it. One more for the road.

HA HAA! TIME FOR MORE WHISKY.

Cookies, tomato sauce and fictional character personalities

When you go visit your local groceries store next time, check out the cookies section. I want you to notice all the different sort of cookies there are, from salty to tasteless and all the way to the most sweetest thing imaginable. Check the amount of flavours they have and how many of the cookies have a varying degree of chocolate. Some have huge chunks, some have small bits spread everywhere and some just have top of solid sweet chocolate. Naturally you’ll also find immense amounts of cookies that have no chocolate at all. Some may have strawberry bits, some may have blueberry bits and some may have bits of Love inside of them. I mean Blackcurrant.

Move to the sauce section, and pay attention to the amount of different consistency in e.g. Dolmio sauces. You got different consistencies in one flavour alone, from runny to very chunky. In the basic tomato sauce there should be around five levels of chunkiness, and one of the levels without a doubt is the one you personally prefer over any other.

There are numerous different variations of one thing because consumers do not have one thing they love. There is no best, only bests.

This applies to electronic games just as much as it does apply groceries. You have numerous different First Person Shooting games varying from runny to chunky in order to appease different sub-sect inside the customer group. Just like there are people who dislike tomato sauce, there are people who can’t get into FPS games and will opt for something else. Same with Role Playing Games, where you have the solid, crunchy chocolate ones in form of Final Fantasy, and then the foamy ones with chocolate bits thrown in there randomly in form of Dragon Quest. It is not uncommon to find people who prefer multiple options, but there are usually few options they’d always prefer over the many others.

Just like Muv-Luv has different routes for different girls, the reader selects those routes first he finds most preferable. There is no worse or best route when it comes to personal selection, but depending how well the route is written can be reviewed as per literary standards.

Certain things can be quantified and observed to see what is, purely objectively speaking, better over another. It’s not uncommon to see people claiming one thing being horrible and mass having shit taste because they prefer one thing over the other. That’s the immature way of taking it, and because we can only argue over our preferences and not facts, this happen every time a solid, positive experience is involved. I have observed arguments over the smallest things being better over another, like between two brands of ketchup, but we all know that such things are moot.

To some extent.

The ketchup that sells the most is most preferable, the best out there. However, there are numerous different ketchups that sell around equal numbers. The aforementioned bests. This is a highly interesting thing when you begin to look into this, because it’s not apparent at first. Actually, the whole multiple types of sauces thing is relatively new thing overall, as for the longest time the market people saw the best thing being what was stereotypically seen as the best, the most classic of tomato sauces. Nowadays it would feel weird not to have large selection one thing in different flavours.

When it comes to electronic games, the term experience with them is thrown out far too many times. The problem with a claim of a game being an extraordinary experience is that the claim is based on either marketing quip or a personal experience, thus lacking proper validity. It’s an opinion.

What constitutes as a part of the game experience is rather vague, and once again, up to individuals to determine. For some the experience itself is only the game’s play itself. In cinema terms, it’s watching the movie. Other people on the other hand may see the game experience as something a bit larger, starting from unwrapping/ unboxing the game to putting the game inside the machine and everything that surrounds this. Some dislike this whole physical thing just like some people have moved into having only digital game libraries on their consoles.

This entry actually got its start from a small discussion whether or not emulators offered a better experience than physical consoles. Emulator enthusiasts are ready to claim their side as the victor, and they’d be incorrect. However, before the physical folks start to grin, they’re the same. If we are to use the term subject, we have to keep in mind that it is a person’s subjective, personal reality over a thing. That can’t be denied by anything, and claiming that this person is wrong in his opinion or experience would invalidate the claimer’s own doings just as much.

We all know that emulators allow all sorts of interesting things that the physical consoles don’t, like upscaling, filters, further colour options, save states and so on. That can’t be disagreed with and these can be left alone if one chooses to do so. With emulators we have the issue of emulation and that is a quantifiable and we can compare the function of the emulator over the physical console. An emulator like ZSNES that runs on hacks and plugins with inaccurate timings, causing the game being played inaccurately. An emulator is supposed to emulate, and we can argue with a solid base that an emulator should be able to emulate the console perfectly in order to be considered to convey the same experience of the game. Then again, if you consider the physicality, then even the very notion of running an emulator throws this out of the window. You also have the number of people who don’t care about the accuracy of the emulators and concern themselves only over how well the emulator is able to run. With a real console you wouldn’t have compatibility issues, and that if anything we all can agree is a detriment on the emulators.

With emulation and physical consoles we need to remember that it is the console that is emulated, not the game. While there is an attitude that a console is not able to run a game properly due to the console being too weak, we need to remember that the game is made for the console. There are clear limitations given both in software and in hardware. Most of the hardware is set in stone, and the things like the controller sets certain limits. A NES controller can’t have the amount of functions that a SNES controller has, but that it not detrimental to the game itself.

In overall terms console games are programmed to their respective consoles and blaming the console for the slowdowns and such in the game is largely misplaced. As console games are made for a console, it is up to the game developer to see that the game is able to run on the given console. There are numerous way a skilled developer is able to get around the limitations a console offers, and with all and any console generations we’ve seen numerous ways how numerous limitations have been defeated in a way or another. If a developer finds a console too powerless for their designed game, they are always free to move to PC platform, which relatively speaking has no real limits. Then again, the PC platform then brings in the numerous different configurations it can have and is completely different can of worms. Or used to be, seeing how this and last generation of game console are dumbed down PCs.

Nevertheless, as a game is intended to be run on certain hardware and is designed to solely run on that hardware, emulation must reflect this. However, the older the console, the more tricks you will find, like developers using CRT televisions’ Rainbow Banding to make create effects in-game or have memory buffer zones in the overscan area. Some games are known to use the hardware’s limitations for the benefit of the game. Space Invaders is a well known title that abused the hardware’s incapability to play at best speed initially, but as the aliens die out the hardware is able to handle the game better, thus the faster movement of the aliens toward the end of the round. An emulator would accurately need to emulate the cycles and timings in the hardware, as well as their limitations, in order to create an accurate representation of the game and the hardware.

However, in reality most people don’t care about the accuracy or how well the emulator itself emulates the console as long as the game is playable. That is a preference just as any, and does not constitute as a valid argument in a proper discussion on the things despite many arguing otherwise.

As you’ve figured out, the people offering any product needs think of the multiple customers within the a group of customers. This seems evident in itself, but we all know that people mainly see their opinions and preferences over other’s. This doesn’t work when you’re trying to make a living. While you may be able to sell one type of product for some time enough to make a living, it is imperative to broaden the selection and your own horizons in order to expand the market and avoid oversaturation. Rarely it is the case of one person doing one product to a market for too long. Everybody will buy one sauce if only one variety is offered. You would find a sweet spot for selling a more chunky variation of that sauce.

The experiences and the preferences that go with them are individual. You’ll find people who share your preferences and have completely different ones. As they are subjective, neither is better over the other, and perhaps it would be best if we’d try to understand where they come from their stand. Of course, it goes both ways, and if the other guy calls your waifu a shit, be sure to respectively disagree.

Then you can tell him to go step unto cat shit.