January 2010 Archives

I know... I know...

| | Comments (2)

"So remember: Simple is good. Writing is not something you have to embroider with fancy stitches to make yourself look smart." Zinsser

This is something that I struggle with constantly. I tend to write lenghty, complex sentences that are longer and really more descriptive than they need to be... which would be fine if I were writing the next, great American novel (I really do hope to become a published author one day...), but a tendancy that will not serve me well as a journalist or magazine writer.

As mentioned in my goals paper, I hope that this course will help me improve my skills as a writer of news as well as help me determine what good news is and helping me gain insight into the inner workings of the Setonian. Zinsser gave some sound advice, now it's up to me to implement it...

Swords are dancing on the screen in front of your eyes. Your blades become an extension of your sinewy arms and your enemies begin to fall to the ground around you. The fighting stops, the smoke clears and your character can be seen standing victoriously surrounded by an enclosure of fallen warriors, her long red pony tail blowing freely in the wind. Heavenly Sword for the Playstation 3 is a brutal, M-rated action game that places gamers in the tabi sandals of Nariko, a deadly warrior who must battle through an army of enemy soldiers in order to save her own life. When playing this game, it does not matter that the lead character is female-- nor does it matter if the person playing the game is male or female-- Nariko's chained blades and extensive repertoire of combat skills give gamers the sense that they can handle any challenges the game throws at them.

While some may argue that the skimpy clothing video game heroines often sport is chauvenistic, there is no denying that portraying women as strong, fearless warriors helps to shatter the stereotype of women being seen as the weaker sex.

 Older games that were more popular in the seventies and eighties typically bought into the dated notion of women being inferior to men. Even newer entries in Nintendo's Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda franchises follow this unfortunate tradition with Mario always having to rescue Princess Peach and Link always fighting to save the Princess Zelda. Disturbingly, these are not the only instance of the tendancy of games to portay women as weak and incapable: "The covers of the 47 most popular video games available on Nintendo portray a total of 115 male and nine female characters-a ratio of nearly 13 to one. Twenty of the males strike a dominant pose; none of the females do. Three females (a third of the total) are submissive-being kidnapped, carried off, or cowering behind a man; none of the males are. Thirteen of the games have scenarios with women kidnapped or having to be rescued as part of the game. Another 11 are based on sports like car racing, where gender discrimination generally is not an issue. Some games include the rescue of men, but not one man is rescued by a woman" (Provenzo 31). 

However, games like Bayonetta, Metroid, and Resident Evil all feature strong female leads that do not follow the "damel in distress mentality and even more games are allowing the player to completely customize their characters, even choosing to play as a male or female character throughout the whole game.

Torrie Dorrel, senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Sony Online Entertainment, asserts that "women are out there in significant numbers playing MMOs, action games, first-person shooters. . .What is lacking in the equation are women behing these games" (qtd. in West). Dorrell has a valid point: if female gamers want to have more of an influence over the games they play, then more women should enter into the field of game design. 

In spite of the lack of women in the game design field, there are still a rare few that are starting to cause a stir in the industry with "the emergence of female-oriented game design" (Dickey 786). One of the first games made and marketed specifically for girls was Barbie Fashion Designer which, despite selling fairly well and making gamers and industry professionals more aware that females do play video games, the game was also labeled as sexist for portraying "stereotypical female interests" (Dickey 788).

Not only have the gender roles associated with women been altered, but also the gender roles traditionally associated with men as made evident by shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which emphasized embrassing the new metrosexuality of the "modern man" in order to please one's girlfriend/wife. While I am not suggesting that video games are the sole factor in this shift, they are one of many factors that stemmed from the Women's Rights Movement and, more recently, the "girl power" movement of the nineties. The media's "new conceptions about women as strong and independent forced men to renegotiate their own identities" (Tragos 542), resulting in a more sensitive, gentle and-- to some-- more effeminate modern man.

The "cultural messages" that media portray "impact children" (Dickey 789)-- who are still learning what it means to be a male/female-- and video games are no exception. As a result, the gender roles that were previously associated with both men and women have shifted. Our society's focus on stereotypes and gender roles is quite complicated, however. For example, while society does not want the next generation of women running around in tube tops and mini-skirts and it condemns the gruesome violence that is often present in video games, society also frowns upon games that promote stereotypical female activities and values such as make-up and fashion design. Society must relinquish its obsession with stereotypes and the general fear that is associated with being in violation of ones gender, for example, will disappear. After all, there are still female designers in the fashion industry, but there are also now female soldiers, doctors and gamers. The women portrayed in video games and other media are only attempting to please both the traditionalists and more modern men and women of society with their characters' "strong and beautiful" (Tragos 541) duality.

Works Cited

Caplan, Scott, Mia Consalvo, Dmitri Williams and Nick Yee. "Looking for Gender: Gender Roles and Behaviors Among Online Gamers." Journal of Communication December 2009: 700- 25. EBSCOhost. Web. 13 Januray, 2010.

Cheryan, Sapna, Paul G. Davies, Victoria C. Plaut and Claude M. Steele. "Ambient Belonging: How Stereotypical Cues Impact Gender." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2009: 1045-60. EBSCOhost. Web. 22 January, 2010.

Dickey, Michele D. "Girl gamers: the controversy of girl games and the relevance of female-oriented game design for instructional design." British Journal of Educational Technology September 2006: 785-93. EBSOhost. Web. 22 January, 2010.

Eglesz, Dénes, István Fekete, Lajos Izsó and Orhidea Edith Kiss. "Computer games are fun? On professional games and players' motivations." Educational Media International June 2005: 117-24. EBSCOhost. Web. 13 January, 2010.

Nariko; fr. Opening Cinematic/Level, Heavenly Sword. Ninja Theory Ltd. Namco Bandai. 12 September, 2007.

Provenzo Jr., Eugene F. "What do Video Games Teach?" Education Digest December 1992: 56-9. EBSCOhost. Web. 22 January, 2010.

Tragos, Peter. "Monster Masculinity: Honey, I'll Be In The Garage Reasserting My Manhood." Journal of Popular Culture June 2009: 541-53. EBSCOhost.Web. 12 January, 2010.

West, Matt. "Wooing women gamers--and game creators." CNN. 28 February, 2008. <http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/02/28/women.gamers/index.html?iref=a llsearch.> Web. 18 January, 2010.

 

Videos Links

All videos are courtesy of www.YouTube.com

 

Portfolio 3

| | Comments (0)

Coverage:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/01-20-10_discussion_wilson.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/fight_or_flight.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/straying_from_the_norm.html

Griffingate Thread- Final thoughts on the course:

"I didn't know what to expect coming into this class. I took a few on-line courses in high school and I hated them. I think that the blogging aspect really helped create a community with the students in the course which is tough to do in an environment in which the students do not interact face-to-face. I am most proud of the broad general knowledge about the history of video games that this course has taught me. I thought that I was in-the-know before I took this course, but I now feel more knowledgeable about my favorite pastime. I think that the last section of the readings in which the students were the facilitators for the discussions worked very well and should be implemented throughout the entire course the next time around. It made everyone participate more because we all were in the same boat of wanting our discussions to go well so we were more likely and willing to participate in other discussions so that our fellow students would participate in our own. Overall, I enjoyed this course and I liked reading the students' blog entries so that I could get to know them a little better..."

Depth:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/straying_from_the_norm.html

Interaction:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/fight_or_flight.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/straying_from_the_norm.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/dr_jerz_playing_bloggers_advoc.html

Discussion:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MattTakacs/2010/01/the_great_debate.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaKrehlik/2010/01/taylor_discussion_intro.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/ElizabethSwartzwelder/2010/01/technology_and_game_design.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SusanCarmichael/2010/01/indie_game_design_wilson.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaKrehlik/2010/01/a_future_for_indie_games.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KeithCampbell/2010/01/wilson.html

Timeliness:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/01-20-10_discussion_wilson.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/fight_or_flight.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/straying_from_the_norm.html

Xenoblogging:

I think that a lot of the discussions during the assigned readings led to the students helping one another gain an understanding of the topics covered in their blog entries.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/straying_from_the_norm.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/ElizabethSwartzwelder/2010/01/technology_and_game_design.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SusanCarmichael/2010/01/indie_game_design_wilson.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MattTakacs/2010/01/the_great_debate.html

Wildcard:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/straying_from_the_norm.html

 

 

Straying from the norm...

| | Comments (2)

I enjoy playing indie games. I have bought and downloaded several independently developed games from XboxLive and I also enjoy many Flash games available on the internet. When I play these games, I feel that I am doing my part to support smaller developers and individuals who want to create games, but lack the funds and technology to create big budget titles.

Having said that, big gaming companies can also create smaller, less mainstream titles that stray from the established first-person shooters and action game franchises that sell so well. I think that when bigger companies release titles that may not appeal to everyone or do not have an established fan-base, they are taking a big risk because they pour a lot of money into the games that they create and the companies have no way of knowing if these smaller or newer games they create will sell well and make them a profit on top of what they spent developing the title.

One of my favorite games that falls into this category is Okami. While the game's publisher Capcom is by no means a small fish in the video games industry, developers Clover Studios was a smaller studio with a great idea that Capcom took a chance on by publishing. In Okami, gamers control a canine deity with the ability to restore color to the world it inhabits by defeating enemies and progressing throughout the game. Most of the combat is fought using the dog's tail as a calligraphy brush... players use the analog sticks on the controller to motion the dog's tail and create symbols to unleash attacks. This is far from anything that was selling at the time of its release and, much to everyone's surprise, Okami was both critically praised and fairly well-recieved by the gaming public.

Games like Okami and Alien Hominid (which started out as a Flash game until O-3 entertainment published the game and released it on the Gamecube and Playstation 2) show that the big games industry and independent developers can actually work together. There has been a lot of talk on the blogs in this course about how it is unfair that the techonology to develop cutting-edge games isn't widely available to everyone (I'm guilty too), but there really are games out there (and big games publishers) that prove otherwise.

Fight or Flight?

| | Comments (4)

"In relation to us as humans it is not uncommon to ask ourselves what we would do in a critical situation."

I think that Keith picked a good discussion topic for the class. When I am playing games online, such as Halo 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, etc. I usually react by charging into the action and just trying to win outright. Granted, in games like Call of Duty, strategies like ducking behind cover are essential, but I don't usually shy away from fire fights. This is the exact opposite way I would react in real life. If I found myself in any situation involving guns I would probably just run and hide! I think that is why games are so fun, they allow us to do things that we couldn't actually do in real life...

01-20-10 Discussion: Wilson

| | Comments (0)

"Though many video games scholars and journalists tend to train their sights on `big gaming', there is a vibrant and varied sector of independent game design, production and distribution. Indie gaming is not a unitary field and, as well as producing a diverse range of games, indie designers occupy a range of positions vis-à-vis mainstream video gaming."

I think that this quote raises a valid point. Even though professional game programmers and indie programmers are no longer working with the same technology (as they were in the days when text-based adventure games were the pinnacle of cutting-edge gaming experiences). This can be seen on networks like XboxLive that sell indie games developed by smaller studios or even individuals that can be downloaded to an Xbox 360 console.

Have you ever played any indie games? What are your favorites? Have you ever made your own game? Do you think that the video game industry is better or worse off now that the techonology to create cutting-edge gaming experiences isn't available to everyone anymore?

EL250 Portfolio 2

| | Comments (0)

Coverage:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_160-223.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/making_due.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/sometime_before_cathode_ray_tu.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/diy.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/more_to_pac-man_than_meets_the.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/the_sims_mundane_nah.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/video_games_shifting_ideas_abo.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/el250_research_topic.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/more_educational_games.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/dr_jerz_playing_bloggers_advoc.html

Depth:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_160-223.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/video_games_shifting_ideas_abo.html

Interaction:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_160-223.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/making_due.html

Discussions:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SusanCarmichael/2010/01/value_in_super_columbine_massa.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SusanCarmichael/2010/01/a_rock_band_case_study.html

Timeliness:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_160-223.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/making_due.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/sometime_before_cathode_ray_tu.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/diy.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/the_sims_mundane_nah.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/more_educational_games.html

Xenoblogging:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SusanCarmichael/2010/01/a_rock_band_case_study.html

I think the slight disagreements that took place in the comments on this blog entry really got not only the commentators, but also the author herself thinking about the claims she made in the entry.

Wildcard:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/video_games_shifting_ideas_abo.html

I was upset that no one commented on this blog (though it was posted later in the day so it's my fault). I really took a lot of time in writing this entry and it is something about which I am passionate. This blog entry helped spawn my research paper topic.

Dr. Jerz: Playing Blogger's Advocate

| | Comments (2)

This was an interesting social experiment Dr. Jerz played on his students... it was also a good way to get them to care about blogging. When people are emotionally connected to something or have a memorable experience with something they will want to partake in that activity more often and more whole-heartedly. I actually wish that I had such sentiments toward blogging! I have never been someone who could dedicate myself to keeping a journal (I would start and then after doing two entries, the book would be left untouched for a couple of months) and I feel the same way towards blogging. I really enjoyed the quote from Mortensen that Jessie Krehlik had in her blog about how Mortensen didn't like having to constantly check and respond to comments on/about her blog. I feel the same way sometimes with classes that require blogging. Having said that, there are (on rare occasions) times when I actually gain great insight into other people's minds by reading their blogs and that is the one thing I do appreciate about blogging: while I don't like the idea of talking about my own ideas, I find it fun to read the ideas of others!

EL250

More Educational Games...

| | Comments (3)

Fatworld is yet another example of an educational game, such as the ones we were discussing at the beginning of the course. While I wouldn't necessarily run out and buy/download a copy of the game myself, I can see the appeal that it could have for others and it is also very exciting for me when positive games like this one come out because there is absolutely no bad press that they can bring for the industry (not that there really is such a thing a bad press anymore).

I also found it interesting that Dr. Jerz called this game, and others like it such as SimCity, sandbox games. I have only ever heard that term used to describe non-linear action-adventure games like Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown, but it makes sense to me now that I think about it...

EL250 Research Topic

| | Comments (0)

   I plan on writing a research paper arguing that games, while still a little sexist toward women, have helped shatter previous stereotypical notions of gender roles in our society. I will use three peer-reviewed academic articles I have found on the subject as well as a number of video games with strong female heroines to support my claims. This topic was actual spawned by a blog I wrote recently.

   I think that this is a worthwhile topic to cover because so often the opposite side of the argument has been made; that games are sexist towards women because of their over-the-top, sexy portrayal of the female body. While I feel that there is a valid point to that argument, I think those heroines are actually more empowering to women... at least they aren't stuck in a kitchen cooking or cleaning... and I feel that if a majority of female gamers were offended by these games, then they just wouldn't play them.

Say what you want about the big-chested, drop-dead-gorgeous femme fatales that are the central characters in many video games today, but one thing you will NEVER find them doing is vacuuming the living room or cooking dinner for their men! Yes, the physical representations of video game heroines is sexist... they are designed to be appealing to male gamers (an unfortunate trend that came about when it was considered uncommon for women to play video games and one that stuck around)... however, what these kick-ass female characters do for women is kind of shatter traditional stereotypes associated with outdated notions on gender roles. Laura Croft, Bayonetta, Joanna Dark, Samus Aran, et. all are tougher than most of the male characters in the video game worlds they inhabit and they are the ones going cave diving, vanquishing demons, sabotaging an evil corporation's plans and pulverizing hostile aliens (respectively), not the men. Now that it has become more common to see female gamers, those players can now play games with protagonists that they may be able to connect with better than they would with a prickly, old, recently-back-from-retirement spy (Sam Fisher *cough *cough). There is a great article entitled "Monster Masculinity: Honey, I'll be in the Garage Reasserting my Manhood" by Peter Tragos (it is available on EBSCOHOST for anyone who is interested) that talks about traditional gender roles in our society and how as they gradually shift, it is becoming both easier and more difficult to just be a man or a women: "Contemporary gender roles have new expectations in which women are both strong and beautiful and men are both strong and sensitive. These emerging definitions may seem progressive, but they have essentially created a double burden for both men and women in that each is expected to maintain traditional roles while also assuming characteristics from the opposite gender" (541). After finding this article and writing this blog, I think this is the topic I am going to write my research paper on... and I'm pretty excited about it because even though there are still sexist portrayals of women occurring in video games today, they have come a long way (note Laura Croft's significant breast reduction in her more recent games) and they usually do portray women as strong, confident and capable human beings.

The Sims... Mundane?! ...Nah!!

| | Comments (0)
I thought it was very interesting to read Consalvo's opinion about The Sims games and how they are boring and mundane and fail to compell the player. I have always enjoyed The Sims... at least in brief, 15-minute intervals. I also found it interesting that most of the game series' players are female. Consalvo compares The Sims to a dollhouse in an attempt to make sense why gamers, particularly female gamers, are drawn to The Sims. She also points out why she enjoyed playing The Sims as a single player game rather than the online entry in the series because she had more control over the characters in the neighborhood instead of having to worry about stepping on anyone else's toes. The social component that works well in MMO's like World of Warcraft for example is just not conducive to The Sims...

More to Pac-Man than meets the eye...

| | Comments (1)

"When a ghost looks ahead into the upcoming tile, it must examine the possible exits from that tile to determine a way to proceed" (Pittman).

Jamey Pittman's work (I don't know if it's a long essay, a book, or what?) really made me appreciate Pac-Man and have an even greater appreciation for the complex games of today. So much code and time and effort was put into simply having the ghosts move around the game board that I can scarcely imagine what it takes to make an on-screen avatar in one of today's games move through the perfectly contructed, ornately decorated virtual worlds that programmers create. If I thought it was a challenge to create an interactive poker game in C++, I can't begin to fathom what it takes to design a more complex game experience in an even more complex code than the long outdated C++...

D.I.Y.

| | Comments (2)

"Successors to 'Adventure' were among the best-selling computer games of the 1980s. Even after the commercial market faded, hobbyists continued to play, review, and create interactive fiction."

In Jerz's Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave, the author does a good job of explaining the origins of interactive fiction, how those games evolved over the years, what goes into creating such experiences (time, effort, code, etc.) and offers an interesting take on how one can apply text-based interactive fiction in real life (like exploring caves). My favorite quote from what I read in the text (above) alludes to how people in the 80's just picked up and created their own games from their own offices or living rooms. This must have been exciting; everyone had the same technological capabilities, therefore, with the proper know-how one could create a state-of-the-art game from their house! That is not the case anymore. Modern PC's and consoles have become so complex that you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who is capable of creating anything that could compete with games that are on the market today...

"The screen is relatively new on the scene, however. Plenty of algorithms and even some programs that we use today predate the widespread use of cathode ray tube displays. Early interaction with computers happened largely on paper: on paper tape, on punchcards, and on print terminals and teletypewriters, with their scroll-like supplies of continuous paper for printing output and input both."

I think that this quote from Montfort's piece brings up an interesting point about not only games, but technology as well. We have been discussing how we take games for granted and often do not appreciate the time, effort, and programming that goes into it. While we are talking about things like programming, why not take the time to also appreciate how long it's been around?!

Making Due?!

| | Comments (2)

"By recognizing the illusory nature of their control over the story's narrative, players realize that they are not creating anything new."

This statement does not make text-based, interactive fiction games any more appealing to me than the bland interface. I want to be able to have an effect of the world I am exploring in a game, not just interact with it! I can't really think of much else to say about Keller's piece... it did do a good job of explaining interactive fiction, but since we already discussed it in the course, this reading just felt a little redundant...

Koster 160-223

| | Comments (5)

Chapter 10: "We have better and better graphics, better back stories, better plots, better sound effects, better music, more fidelity in the environments, more types of content, and more systems within each game. But the systems themselves tend to see fairly little innovation" (166).

We have been talking about graphics in modern games and my NGJ article we just had to submit is about story in games, but maybe Koster is onto something when he suggests that in order to improve the gaming experience, the fundamentals (programming, etc.) should also be enhanced along with those other elements.

Chapter 11: "Games thus far have not really worked to extend our understanding of ourselves. Instead, games have primarily been an arena where human behavior- often in its crudest, most primitive form- is put on display" (174).

Koster needs to stop swaying back and forth so much... Now he wants programmers and developers to have games teach us about ourselves and about life... which would probably be done easiest through the more cosmetic concepts in games... the ones he said in Chapter 10 should be put on the back burner so that the core of games could be examined and improved. This is a little inconsistent, but perhaps Koster is just guilty of caring about games and wants to offer as many tips as he can on how to improves video games...

Chapter 12: "Most importantly, games and their designers need to acknowledge that there is no distinction between art and entertainment" (190).

This passage confirms that Koster does care about the industry in which he works and is offering many suggestions on how it and the games it produces can be improved and can earn its place in our cuture...

EPILOGUE: "The challenge game designers face is "how do we create games that do not have one right answer?" (211).

I enjoy this passage because recently games like Mass Effect and Fable 2... along with more non-linear sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto IV... have created open worlds where players decide how they play the game and often those decisions can have tangible repurcussions of the game worlds. Kill of a major player who used to give you side jobs in GTA, then they aren't there any more and there is less money for you to earn... Do evil deeds in Fable 2 and the villagers in each town will cower as you approach and be less likely to work with you... Choose which party member to save in Mass Effect- the warrior or the tech- and the party configurations you can choose from for the rest of the game will be altered... 

EL 250: Portfolio 1

| | Comments (0)

Coverage:

What is fun?

Everything bad is good for you... response to Johnson.

Response to Civilization 3 review.

Response to TimezAttack.

Response to StrongBad on video games.

Video I posted in response to choosing a case study.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/a_culture_all_its_own_1.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/the_social_dimension_of_fun.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/video_games_as_art_an_early_ap.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/saturated_franchises_hard_to_a.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/what_makes_a_video_game_review.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/doom_and_myst_a_blast_from_the.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/pac-man_nomadic_wanderer.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/ajami_vs_shanahan.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/my_game_review.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/aye_this_be_the_land_of_advent.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/bad_news_sells.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/looking_through_the_window_at.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/for_the_greater_good.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_x-47.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_48-109.html

Depth:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/saturated_franchises_hard_to_a.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/what_makes_a_video_game_review.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/ajami_vs_shanahan.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/bad_news_sells.html

Interaction:

Everything bad is good for you... response to Johnson.

Response to Civilization 3 review.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JeremyBarrick/2010/01/el_250_video_game_journalism.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KeithCampbell/2010/01/compare.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaKrehlik/2010/01/wrights_theories.html

Discussions:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/saturated_franchises_hard_to_a.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/what_makes_a_video_game_review.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/ajami_vs_shanahan.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/bad_news_sells.html

Timeliness:

What is fun?

Everything bad is good for you... response to Johnson.

Response to Civilization 3 review.

Response to TimezAttack.

Response to StrongBad on video games.

Video I posted in response to choosing a case study.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/a_culture_all_its_own_1.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/the_social_dimension_of_fun.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/video_games_as_art_an_early_ap.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/saturated_franchises_hard_to_a.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/what_makes_a_video_game_review.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/doom_and_myst_a_blast_from_the.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/pac-man_nomadic_wanderer.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/ajami_vs_shanahan.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/my_game_review.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/aye_this_be_the_land_of_advent.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/bad_news_sells.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/looking_through_the_window_at.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/for_the_greater_good.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_x-47.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/koster_48-109.html

Xenoblogging: I think that even though we weren't using our blogs yet, the discussion boards at the beginning of the course were a great, quick way for us to provide input and feedback to one another and we really did a good job of developing interesting conversations and helping each other understand the concepts.

Everything bad is good for you... response to Johnson.

Response to Civilization 3 review.

Wildcard: Most of my blogs were read (at least the ones that I really cared about) so I chose to put my entry in which I posted my game review. I was really proud of it and would have liked more people to have read it.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2010/01/my_game_review.html

Draw Your Own Map!

| | Comments (3)

I have to say that the "Get Lamp" trailer interests me... I think it would be worth watching (and it would also be exciting to know someone who was featured in something I was watching). I think that the documentary would give me a little more insight into what makes interactive fiction so engaging to certain people...

Having said that, I still don't think I could ever get into it... I mean, DRAW MY OWN MAP?!?! I just want to pop into a game and start interacting with the world! I don't want to draw my own map based only on text in order to do it. My father plays Guild Wars just about everyday. Near the desktop computer in my house are piles and piles of papers with notes he takes on items he wants to acquire, quests he wants to do or has completed, etc. It's crazy! That just reminded me of the interactive fiction players and their binders with their hand-drawn maps and I thought I'd share it...

Back to EL250 site.

Zork... I Just Don't Have it in Me...

| | Comments (2)
Maybe I'm too pessimistic. Maybe I've been spoiled by lush jungle environments and huge, fully-fledged worlds where everything has a nice bloom effect around it. I just don't think I could play a game without some sort of graphical component. In high school, I took a C++ programming course and after creating a few small text-based games in C++, I can say that text-based games are not for me. I like to feel immersed in what I am doing whether that be playing a game, watching a movie or tv show, reading, etc. I do all of those things to escape reality for a little while. Typing things into an interface and getting only text back in response is not the kind of experience I look for in games. I do however applaud those people out there who can just lose themselves in this kind of experience. You have a much more creative mind than I ever will!

I enjoyed the introduction of this concept... I never thought about it before, but I often look at things through a window... I think it's kind of a judgemental way of looking at things though... even though as Dr. Jerz pointed out, it's objective and more academic, kind of... I like to observe trends in society and then examine them. I am also guilty of throwing myself into the equation and looking at things using the mirror perspective. I think that as selfish American human beings we all do this at some point or another. The whole lense concept, while I now grasp it, I'm not sure that I employ it very often...

I really enjoyed today's lectures. They kept my interest and attention the whole way through because I had never been introduced to these concepts before...

Koster, 48-109

| | Comments (3)

"Back in 1976, a company called Exidy scored a first in video game history: its game Deathrace was taken off the market because of public concerns about the game's violent nature. Deathrace was loosely based on a movie called Deathrace 2000. The premise involved driving a car to run over pedestrians for points."

I hate when stores pull M-rated titles because special interest groups (controlled by over-protective, loud, obnoxious parents, who at protests seem more violent than the games they are protesting) throw hissy fits. All the hootin' and the hollerin' that these groups stir up over violent games they don't want on the market only draws MORE attention to game (which probably wouldn't have sold as well if they'd left it alone). For example, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas's sales went through the roof the minute the "hot coffee" mod was exposed and featured on every news channel in the country! If they were smart they would try to cover up news of the game instead of giving it more publicity!

Koster, x-47

| | Comments (2)
These opening chapters were a relatively quick read. It seems that many people who write books on this subject always talk about the same thing, but Koster actually had a few things to say that I hadn't heard before. He talked about being bored.. something we can all relate too.. and something I didn't expect to read about in a book that centers around video games either! In fact, these three opening chapters are more about frustration with games than anything else... from his openness about how he gives up on things he cannot figure out to talking about noise and finally echoing what Johnson had to say about games being like puzzles and teaching us how to perform certain thoughts and actions in real life... Koster takes a unique approach in discussing the medium of video games.

For the Greater Good...

| | Comments (0)

"And there I was--making games, rather than contributing to society."

I think that this quote about Wright's grandfather shows how most people from previous generations view games (and many other new forms of media and entertainment). However, people need to laugh and have fun, especially in difficult times while our country is at war and is experiencing a recession. Games are not only becoming a larger part of our society (clearly as I just saw what had to have been a seventy year-old women on the bus the other day playing a DS) and they are an important one at that.. they provide people with a much needed reprieve from reality! So I'm glad Will Wright didn't take his grandfather's judgements too much to heart... keep on keeping on, Mr. Wright!

Bad News Sells...

| | Comments (4)

"In short, contemporary media regularly construct discourses of fear and panic" (Williams and Smith 3).

This quote about sums it all up, doesn't it? The media typically reports bad news... or extremely happy news... there really isn't a happy medium. No one wants to hear about how the world is just okay... so the media is charged with reporting on (and often causing) the next big epidemic or other panic-causing events...

I, for one, am sick of violent games getting a bad rap because people who shoot up schools happen to play them. I have been playing games all my life and have never done anything like that!

For someone who takes gaming seriously though, I have to say that it is strange to see games being treated as a scholarly subject in this book. (Which I know is very hypocritical of me!) I argue with people all the time in defense of how games have become an artform and then kind of scratch my head when they are being discussed on an intellectual level... It is sad that immoral deviants and immature, impressionable youths are the seen as the stereotypical gamer... especially now (as the introduction points out) that so many different people are gaming and it has become such a major facet of popular culture... 

"Aye, This Be the Land... of Adventure!"

| | Comments (2)

Before I begin, I wish that someone could confirm that they got the reference to Pagemaster that is the title of this blog entry!!

Anyway, all dorkiness aside, games like Rogue (and even Rogue-like games) and Mystery House paved the way for modern adventure titles like the Legend of Zelda games and more in-depth RPG games, such as the Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, utilize a similar text-based way of dealing with dialogue with other characters in the game. The system in these games is more developed (with actual buttons on the controller/keyboard that control player movement), but the text feels very similar to something one would read in Rogue. It's fun looking back at games from the early days of the industry to see where modern games and genres have their roots...

Back to EL 250 course site...

Ajami vs. Shanahan

| | Comments (6)

I enjoyed reading both reviews of Jedi Outcast. Ajami's review is much more traditional, albeit a bit dry. It focuses on the facts and tries help gamers (and parents of younger gamers) learn what they are in for before they go out and purchase this game. Ajami's review is not overly formal in any way, but it does feel stiff when compared to the piece by Shanahan.

Shanahan's review of Jedi Outcast is much more informal; it feels like something that my friend would send out over instant messenger to me regarding the new game they had just played. While the colorful language Shanahan employs would not be used in a review by someone working for a respectable website or magazine, I do think that there is an inherent honesty in the piece to which the field of new games journalism should pay attention...

Back to EL250 course site.

My Game Review

| | Comments (0)

Darksiders Review

While Darksiders brings nothing new to the table for gamers who are familiar with fantasy action/adventure games, it executes all of the elements it does possess well enough to warrant a look.

The instant players pick up the controller, memories of past Legend of Zelda and God of War games will come flooding back. Darksiders plays so much like an amalgamation of these two games, one cannot help but wonder if the developers at Vigil Games were creating more of a tribute to some of their favorite games rather than creating a fully-fledged new gaming experience.

Darksiders, unfortunately, cannot compete with the either of those venerated franchises in any aspect. The story in the game is not completely unoriginal, but does not have the depth or time-tested formula possessed by games such as Zelda. You play as War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. One of the other four horsemen set off the apocalyspe before it was ever meant to happen and frames you for the crime. The game picks up 100 years after the apocalypse and it is War's job to find out the real traitor.

The game is easy enough to navigate and control as you move War throughout the post-apocalyptic world. The areas the player will traverse look like a mixture of ancient, overrun ruins sprinkled with touches of our modern day society, such as wrecked cars that War can pick up and toss at his enemies. Character design is decent and has a slight comic book feel to it. The horsemen and other friendlies you will encounter have proportionate bodies with large feet and hands and the angels War does battle with on his quest look like something out of a hair-metal music video from the eighties. This graphical style serves the game well though because it shows that it does not take itself too seriously.

Darksiders does a good job of breaking up the button mashing action (not that there is anything wrong with that) that gamers are used to being forced to play through in games like Ninety-Nine Nights or Dynasty Warrior. It offers up new weapons and different components to the gameplay intermittently throughout the experience to keep the game feeling fresh. For example, eventually War is allowed to ride on his flaming horse which is, of course, implemented into the next boss battle the players face. While these components are appreciated, they are never fully integrated into the game and end up feeling a little underdeveloped.

As a reward for slicing and dicing your way through the hoards of enemies you will face, players are rewarded with upgrades for their weapons, an element of the game that, while slightly rewarding, would have worked better if War himself was able to be leveled up and his own skills improved.

If you already own all the blockbuster titles that came out this holiday season for your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 and are hankering for a new experience, then this game just might satisfy your needs during its short ten to fifteen hour single player-only campaign. If you are desperately searching for the next great action/adventure game, this is simply not it.

Pac-Man = Nomadic Wanderer

| | Comments (1)

I cannot stress enough how much I LOVED the example in the third video lecture that Dr. Jerz provided about Pac-Man representing nomadic life and how the power pellets represent the limited resources of the ever-moving nomads. I think that I just wrote Pac-Man off as being a simple, yet fun game without any real depth (the video in which Johnson compared the simplicity of Pac-Man to the depth in a Zelda game also convinced me of that). I think this example was a smart way to introduce the concept of game theory to the class.

 

Doom and Myst: A Blast From the Past

| | Comments (2)
I had played newer entries in the Doom and Myst franchises, but I had never sampled the originals. This was a fun break from the work in this course, even though I am still having to blog about it... Dr. Jerz mentioned the primitive graphics of Doom in this section of the course website, but it is important to remember that these graphics were cutting edge back when they came out! I think that playing these games, not only gives us insight into what people saw as cutting edge and entertaining back when the games industry was younger, but also the fact that these games still provide entertainment can also help us see that graphics are not everything when it comes to having good old-fashioned fun with games!

Saturated Franchises Hard to Appreciate

| | Comments (2)
The LEGO franchise of video games, which now feature Batman, Rockband, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter titles, is old news in the video game industry by now and thus, are becoming harder and harder for gamers to appreciate. When companies over-use and IP that they have acquired, such as a video game franchise like LEGO, they are only doing it because previous games in that franchise have sold well and, of course, the company wants to make more money. The newer entries, unless particularly well-developed, in a franchise may not add any new gameplay elements to the game, they simply have a facelift in the graphics department and maybe a change of setting (like moving the LEGO characters from Tattooine to Gotham City then over to Hogwarts) which makes them hard to appreciate because they are essentially the same experience in a different package. This is why Richards' review of LEGO Indiana Jones is so different from Rothstein's review of Myst. Myst was a new IP on the market and delivered a gaming experience that had never really been seen before. It was easy to get excited about something that no one had really experienced before!

What Makes a Video Game Review Good?

| | Comments (2)

I love game reviews. I often read a number of them on a game that I am considering owning before I purchase it. Ign.com is a great site that not only provides game reviews, but also previews, cheats, walkthroughs, and anything else you can think of involving video games. Their review of Bayonetta for the Xbox 360 is just on example of a good review that can be found on their site.

A good video game review lets the players know what they are in for with a particular game without giving away any major plot points. Ign's review of Bayonetta first compares the game to other action titles such as Devil May Cry and God of War and then instantly states that Bayonetta is better than those titles; a bold statement that immediately lets the reader know that Bayonetta is a great game without the reader having to go through the entire article to find that out (in keeping with the inverted pyramid style used in writing articles in professional journalism).

The review typically addresses the things that all games have in common: controls, graphics, story and replay value just to name a few. The reviewer can either compare the controls, for example, of the game in review to other similar games or just explain them right out. While reviews are opinion pieces, the reviewer should still remain rather unbiased... simply stating whether or not they think the game is worth playing, listing both the positives and negatives of the game, and not talking about personal feelings about the developer/publisher/etc. (example: if a Nintendo fan reviews a Sony Playstation game, they should not be harsh on the game just because it is not made by their favorite game company).

Also, Ign.com and other gaming sites now have video reviews, during which the editors/writers not only tell the viewer about the game, but also show them clips of the actual game in action. I often prefer to watch these instead of reading through the written review when I am online. Ign.com features a video review of Bayonetta which you should also check out... the same mechanics of a written review are intact, but exciting visuals that drive home the point the reviewers are making about the game are added!

Back to EL250 site.

Video Games as Art: An Early Appreciation

| | Comments (2)
The Myst review by Edward Rothstein for the New York Times was one of the earliest, widely-read arguements for gaming as an art form. I do believe that video games have evolved over time to become a truly artistic medium, however, unlike traditional art, we are able to move through and interact with the artists' creations... it's pretty exciting. While Myst is still revered in the industry as a trail blazer, more modern games such as Mass Effect, Ico, Fallout 3, and Bioshock feature such beautifully developed worlds, fully fleshed-out characters, and/or eye-popping graphics that they are undeniably works of art.

Response to Students' Case Studies

| | Comments (1)

I really enjoyed the video that Matt posted... here is a link in case you missed it:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/3d_game_engines

It provides a brief history of 3-D gaming engines that should interest most gamers. While I maintain the opinion that graphics do not matter all that much as long as a game has tight controls, an interesting premise or story, and just keeps me entertained, they do go a long way in making a game more immersive and fun... as well as helping the title to sell more units!

I also enjoyed Beth Anne's article choice... here is a link:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2004-01-28-videogame-fracas_x.htm

It ties in nicely with the YouTube video that I chose to post and addresses violence in video games today. I truly feel that, as long as the gamer is a certain age and is mature, that the amount of violence in a video game does not matter. This article gives the opposite point of view... however, there are no studies that can prove a direct correlation between video game violence and real life violence. Scientists cannot prove whether people become violent because of violent video games, or if people play violent video games because some of them already have a violent nature... This is a topic of great interest to me...

 

Sample Entry: EL250

| | Comments (0)

Not sure what we are supposed to do here... I guess this is just supposed to demonstrate that we understand how to post and create blogs?

Here's a link to the video on blogs intros in case anyone needs any help!!

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL250/2010/01/05/

The SOCIAL Dimension of Fun

| | Comments (0)

From what I have read so far, both reading ahead in the texts and on the course blogs and responses, I do agree that fun means different things to different players. However, as the title of this section states, there really is a "social" dimension to fun... I think that is why multiplayer games, whether you play on the internet or on the same screen with each other, are so popular. Don't get me wrong, like Matt, I really do enjoy single player games... I think that they often have more immersive worlds to explore and stories to unravel than other games that choose to focus more on combat, controls and multiplayer (not that a game can't have all of those things...). As mentioned in the lecture for yesterday, one of the things that is part of what makes a game a game is a sense of accomplishment. While there are definitely ways to reward gamers in single player experiences, nothing quite beats the satisfaction of owning your friends in a match in one of your favorite multiplayer games...

A Culture All its Own...

| | Comments (1)
I enjoyed these opening lectures... particular the second video on the culture and theory of video games. I found the first video a bit redundant as I am pretty sure we all know what games and playing are... though props go out to Dr. Jerz for coming up with a pretty solid definition for those words... it's often difficult to define the most simple of things.
I think that now more than ever, games are becoming part of popular culture. In the beginning of the industry, video games were played only by a small group of people, mostly young children, in their living rooms or arcades. The arcade business boomed during the eighties and that was a big part of video game culture back then. Now, with many different kinds and ages of people playing video games on their computers, game consoles, handhelds, and even cell phones, video game culture and regular old pop culture are slowly starting to merge together.

A Culture All its Own...

| | Comments (0)
I enjoyed these opening lectures... particular the second video on the culture and theory of videogames. I found the first video a bit redundant as I am pretty sure we all know what games and playing are... though props go out to Dr. Jerz for coming up with a pretty solid definition for those words... it's often difficult to define the most simple of things.