Module 2.4

Play with me ! Having fun with media.

This week was all about gaming with 2 very different readings. The first was “The war between effects and meaning: rethinking the video game violence debate.” by Henry Jenkins

Jenkins’ article discusses the anti-social aspects of gaming including “violence and sexually explicit” game content and the effect these games can have on the gamers. This raises the question, should we shield our children from violence thus making it more shocking or do we desensitise them making violence a part of their lives? Every action can/will have a positive/negative reaction.

Quoting Limbaugh and company as seeing “games as having social and psychological effects” but doesn’t all of life have a social and psychological effect on people. Doesn’t the daily news with it compelling content have social and psychological effect. Daily newspapers, social networking, the internet are all having varying social and psychological effects.

Jenkins wants the reader to understand the distinction between effects and meanings. “Effects are seen as emerging more or less spontaneously, with little conscious effort, and are not accessible to self-examination.”  “New meanings take shape around what we already know and what we already think, and thus each player will come away from a game with a different experience and interpretation.”

Finally Jenkins states that “the burden [is] on the user to make choices and explore their consequences” within a game. The reading finishes with Jenkins discussing the positives of classroom games for learning. This articles main focus was on the effects of gaming on the young and impressionable.

The second reading this week was “Claiming a stake in the videogame: what grown-ups say to rationalise and normalise gaming.” by Helen Thornham

A look at how adults see their use of gaming technology as a “social” thing and not something they do by themselves “like nerds”.

Thornham states that according to a BBC survey in 2005, the average age of a gamer in the UK is 28 and 51% of gamers reside in the 35-50 age group. Games are “set up as escapism, fantasy and play by theorists and the industry alike, but are claimed by adult games as serious, rational and logical pastimes.”

Thornham’s investigations showed that most adults not only owned gaming consoles but regularly played games with friends but none of those interviews would admit to regularly playing games by themselves.

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