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This is some background information on the things heard in the audio file. I will be quoting my own paper in this, as well as some of the writers that we have looked at over the course of the class.
First off, the idea that games rot your brain by desensitization: “the tendency of violent video games to cause in its players a lessened sense of disgust and pity towards violent actions or scenes” is how I defined this desensitization in my paper, for the violent actions in video gaming. Understanding this idea is central to what was heard on the audio file above.
To provide evidence for my idea, I quoted a study done by Dr. Grafman of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke where “young boys, ages 14-17, and showed them violent snippets of videos, giving them buttons to mark whether the videos they watched increased or decreased in aggressiveness”. They used this study of videos and applied it to video gaming, which I felt was a bit of a stretch. To sum up my apprehensions of the study: “it is a hard task to take this study, which only tested the effect of violent videos, and apply that same result to video games, which the experiment did not test. Nor were girls included in this study, so the results are not exactly true” for everyone. In any case, this is one example of how the perceived notion of video gaming causing desensitization may lead may parents (or like I said before, non-parents) to dismiss video games altogether.
Next, I commented on the release of dopamine in our systems, and the way video games may correlate to that. In another study that I looked at, researchers “compared video game addicts to former ecstasy users” in an attempt to “show the correlation between the traditional addicts and this new from of addiction, which the researchers believed did not get enough credit or thoughtful approach as did other, more common forms”. The way this was done, the researchers had both groups try their hand at a motor cross game, and the results were surprising for me to read. It was found that “playing a computer tank riding game can release dopamine in vivo in the human brain comparable to the dopamine released as a result of pharmacological challenge of amphetamines” (qtd from my paper). In this study, it was shown that people could become addicted to video games, or rather; train their brains to release dopamine (which makes us feel happiness) in regards to playing certain games. This is important to keep in mind when listening to the audio file, so you know exactly what I mean by desensitization of happiness. It’s not that the games necessarily make us feel less happiness. Our happiness does however become more controlled, and less spontaneous.
To elaborate more on Koster’s thoughts regarding change and the brain, I know we all read the same book, but I’m including what he said exactly to refresh memories. “The brain craves stimuli… This doesn’t mean it necessarily craves new experiences-mostly, it just craves new data…a new experience might force a whole new system on the brain, and often the brain doesn’t like that. It’s disruptive. The brain doesn’t like to do more work that it has to”. Koster says what I spoke of briefly perfectly. Those who are used to the system without video games find it hard to suddenly becoming accepting of something that seems so new and so different. They may not want to try and understand the new technology just as their brains don’t want to learn new patterns, so the easiest way to solve this problem is to label games as bad sources of entertainment. If they made it a social misstep to play games, then nobody will have to stress out over not being able to accept it.
Bogost instead looked at games not from the mental point of view, but the social. He understood that games have some sort of negative image, and the way to fix that for him, instead of fixing the problem as stated above, was by letting games take there natural course. This means he wants a world were “gamers will be an anomaly”. He also states “if we’re very fortunate, they’ll disappear altogether. Instead, we’ll just find people, ordinary people of all sorts. And sometimes those people will play videogames. And it won’t be a big deal, at all”. However, I think this is the exact kind of solution the problem in the paragraph above needs, and stated so in my audio file.
So here is the background information regarding the audio file. Perhaps you all could listen to it again, and see what new meanings you uncover?