August 31, 2006

Boredom: The Game Makers Money Maker

"I took it's advice and i quit," Koster says on page 8.

I can relate to Koster on the subject of boredom. The word "game" is a noun that is used for a number of different things. If you ask someone to play a game, chances are they are going to respond with something along the lines of: "What sort of game?" There are bored games, video games, physical games, sports games, word games, made-up games, the list goes on. Specifically, i want to discuss my thoughts on video games vs. any other type of game. When playing a video game, the challenge lies in attempting to evolve your character and your playing skills enough to move from level to level. When one first starts playing a game, chances are, they aren't a pro. After logging hour after hour with ones' video game device, an individual may find themselves rising to the challenge without much difficulty, therefore not having to put as much energy into beating the game as they had previously. This is why video games can get boring. General video games, such as racing games, never tend to get boring because everytime you play, the challenge is still there: to win. Let us consider, however, the games with level after level, each one slightly more difficult than its proceeding one. Once a "gamer" becomes good enough at these sorts of games, they can fly through level after level, beating the game in no time. Once you beat the game, what do you do? Play it again? How boring. You are already accustomed to its tricks and treats, knowing what to expect and how to stay alive. When put in this situation, most "gamers" would probably go out and buy another game, putting their hard earned cash into the pocket of video game developers. I think that video game developers realize this. They look forward to people getting bored with a game because it means more money for the company in the end. It is almost as if video game developers use boredom as one of their key marketing tools, but it is something they don't have to develop or advertise, it is a natural occurence. Video game developers thrive on peoples boredom, knowing that a serious "gamer" will develop video game withdrawal symptoms and what better remedy than to buy a sparkly new game to try and beat? The challenge starts all over again when a new game is bought. In theory, this really doesn't sound like a bad deal for the developers, but for the consumers, let me ask you, after you beat a game and don't want to play because you already know how to beat it, what do you do with it? Take it to a CD warehouse and sell it? Keep it? Trade it? Doesn't it almost seem like a waste of money to even buy it? Depending on how much a gamer plays, after opening the package, the game may have a shelf life of only a few months.
When considering this and then comparing it to pretty much any other sort of game, to me, any other sort of game sounds like a better option. Board games for example, the challenge is always there: to win. The circumstances are usually different each time you play. Lets face it, the dice don't magically roll the same exact numbers every time you play, thus more than likely putting you into a different situation than you were in the last time you played. Physical games, tag and hide and seek, are always exciting. It is always a thrill to be running around and hiding from the seeker or the person who is "it". You can play in different settings, you can play with different people, it would be pretty hard to recreate the exact game twice. Now you may be thinking: "Well, video games can be played in different settings and with different people". This is true, but you will still be doing the same damn thing. Don't get me wrong, i enjoy playing video games, but i am more apt to buy something that continously presents me with a challenge rather than a level upon level game that i will eventually beat and get tired of.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2006

Internet, you win.

The internet: Widely discussed among the giddy high school students who were the first around me to use, and sometimes abuse, online technology. The main thing i remember from high school was all of the attention that was given to instant messenger. "I IMed her today and she said...." IMed? What does that mean? I remember thinking to myself that what these people were discussing was something that seemed like a futuristic stretch. Surely you couldn't just open a box and type to someone. It couldn't really be that simple. Any other form of communication was never quite so quick or efficient. The mail takes a few days to reach its destination and since it was the only form of communication I had really encountered, other than the telephone of course, I was skeptical of this supposed instant form of speaking...typing if you'd rather.
Despite the fact that cell phones and the internet were being introduced at a growth period in my life, I didn't grow with the technology. My parents didn't want a computer; they didn't feel the need to have something like that in our house. We also had no cell phones and no answering machine. The rest of our town, the rest of the world, was growing right along with the advanced capabilities of technology and I was stuck in a communication rut. Seton Hill University, higher education in general, has changed all of that. I was told i would get a computer when i went to college, and I did. When I started freshman year, I was aware of AIM and other aspects of the internet but I wasn't familiar with them in the least. I wasn't even sure how to download Instant Messenger onto my computer.
Once given a taste of the technology that I had been forcibly kept from, i began to spiral into a world of computer related topics and tasks. I was a member of literally, the first class to have blogs. I didn't even know what weblog was or what exactly I was supposed to do with my first official website. I began to use email, I became familiar with google, I understood what it did and what was meant when people talked about a "search engine" and I understood why google was placed into this category. I realized that I had the capability to share my writing with so many people if I were willing to do so by participating and bravely putting my thoughts out on my blog.
What was once something that was unknown territory to me has now become a main tool for all of my classes and a one of my main sources of communication with people that I rarely see, or even those that I see daily. I have even met new people through the internet, specifically through my blog. I had written an entry about Cedar Point and I had someone I didn't know comment on it and then use it on their own personal website without giving any credit to me. This person however, had also left me with, go figure, their screenname and email address in case i was interested in talking to them. I kindly asked them why they had not credited me with my work, and how they had even seen it. He, Jeff, had been searching for Cedar Point on google and my blog entry was one of the hits that came up. Although we have never met in person, Jeff eventually explained why he had not credited me, proceeded to credit me, and we still occasionally talk.
Any sort of writing or participation in anything now a days is going to end up being able to be viewed by others, mainly via the internet. When googling myself, the first thing that comes up is something that i actually wrote, a flash fiction piece called "Innocence". Several of the other things were related to me, but most of the hits weren't. I think i may have died previously, according to a certain google hit. I did find something interesting though, a site where you could find all the Rupert females. And I also found out that there was a link to the Hunter S. Thompson radio play I did with my Topics in Culture Wars class. I didn't even realize that the play was still available to listen to, nor did i expect to find a link to it connected with my name when searching google.
It doesn't seem like privacy is much of an issue with people anymore considering the wide array of information that can be found out about someone by simply typing their name into a search engine. It is also interesting to think about how the internet has come to the point where it is a main tool for most of my classes. In this technology war, i do believe the internet is the conqueror.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)