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Category Archives: Essay

I used to be a big fan of Dilbert. I enjoyed the humor, and Catbert, and when I worked in an office the strip really worked for me. However, I find a hard time enjoying someone’s work when I see their personality and don’t like it. Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson for example. Also Kevin Kline. So now it comes down to Scott Adams, I can’t read Dilbert anymore.

A few months ago he wrote a post, since removed, saying in a nutshell that the world is unfair towards me, and that men need to suck it up and stop complaining. Short form, that doesn’t seem bad, except that in his diatribe about men’s rights and women’s right, he makes it clear his view point is that women need to be given in to, not because our demands are rational and there is still an inequality in the world between men and women, but because we are irrational, and there’s no point in fighting it.

So, here we are again, with Scott Adams seeing the men of the world as victims.

The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn’t ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, “Here’s your square hole”?

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There has been a lot of talk recently, and for a while now, about video games vs. movies.

As a gamer (and someone who considers herself a hardcore gamer, though that definition caries from person to person), I can see the trend of comparing video games to movies as troubling: video games are inherently different from movies, and I’m not very comfortable with the idea of comparing them to one.

As someone who studies, and consumes, media however, this comparison seems natural.

Video games, in their current iteration, are necessarily visual mediums. The graphical capabilities of these machines is tremendous, and video games have always been moving in the “more realistic” direction, under the simple idea that a human should look like a human, and the  better something looks, the more immersive it will feel.

This is, of course, not a universal approach, nor should it be. One of my favorite games, Psychonauts, uses a more surreal/cartoonish approach to its characters, allowing a game that should look graphically dated today, as clean and fresh as when I first played it, on the XBox… before the 360 was even announced.

Anyway, back to the point: Video games are a visual medium in today’s market. Because of that, and because we are humans, it is only natural to compare to whatever medium is closest to it. That medium is, of course, movies.

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I do this thing called “going back to college after 5 years” so every now and again, I have an essay to write. Recently I had to do an ethnography on gaming, and chose to do mine on Paw live streaming playing King’s Quest VII.

This essay is solid B+ material, and would have probably warranted an A if I had referenced some of the readings we’ve done.

I decided to put this here since, in my view, it was a successful paper, and it might be  an entertaining read for some people… even Paw said it was “Good stuff!” so, my ego bolstered, here you go:

Meta-Games in a Socialized Single Player Game

“It looks like you could use a hook,

Too bad you have an empty book”

Video Games have always been a social experience: crowds at arcades, best friends, MMOs – gamers love to share games, even single player games.  Years ago, a gamer would have the benefit of one “backseat gamer”: someone to tell the player when to jump, refill health, or look out behind them; someone to write down the password, or remember key facts; someone to suggest a puzzle solution. Now, with the internet making it possible to connect with people around the world, people have found new ways to share video games: the live stream them.

“Paw” and “PushinupRoses”, the internet handles of two video contributors for That Guy With the Glasses (http://www.tgwtg.com), decided to stream a play-through of “King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride” – a single player graphic adventure game published by Sierra Online in 1994. Along with Paw, and a few other people commenting along to the game (in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fashion), there was a chat room where friends and fans (roughly 80) could also comment along.

I observed a few interesting things

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