Thursday, April 8, 2010

Friday 11 am Section

After attending Wednesday's lecture I immediately thought of the family dynamic present during my childhood. My brother, Stephen, would definitely be categorized as a 'hardcore gamer'. He has been playing videogames as long as I can remember. Starting with SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog and continuing throughout the years, to more difficult and challenging games. I think back to what Professor Chun said about the gender barrier between the games and realized that it is more flexible than one would initially believe it to be, at least in correspondence to my upbringing.

When we were kids, my parents raised us almost equally. I often hear my dad say, "That's my boy," when I do something particularly manish but that's just the way it is. I climbed trees, I played sports, I got into fights at school and played videogames. Above is a picture of Stephen and I playing a Co-Op of Halo on Legendary. Not to brag or anything. But I have found that over the years, to us, the "fun factor" as described by Jenkins is not based on the graphics of the game, but rather, the ability of the game to make us become invested in it. This investment is made possible through the gameplay, music, story, but most importantly, the characters.

For example, when playing Final Fantasy VII for the first time I was absolutely stunned. I fell in love with the characters and had such a large emotional investment in them that the graphics didn't even matter. Rather than my first celebrity crush being Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt, I fell head over heals in love with Zach Faire, a supporting character in FFVII, without even knowing what he really looked like or sounded like because they didn't have the technology for voice overs yet! It was the writing that made the game. However, in Final Fantasy X, when the graphics were unlike anyone had ever seen before, and it was the first time voice overs were introduced in the FF world, because the characters (mainly Tidus) were lacking in growth and development emotionally, they relied heavily on the visual and audio aspect of the game. Both Stephen and I were indifferent to FFX. I did not get chocked up because of the graphics or flashy costumes just because I'm a girl. However, I truly think that is only because my parents did not implement gender stereotypes upon either of us growing up. I looked up to my brother and wanted to be involved in whatever he was doing. It affected my childhood in a negative way unfortunately because of the gender roles so heavily present in our society. Obviously I had more guy friends than girl friends and the girl friends that I did have were also outcasts to a certain extent. Eventually I picked up some of my own habits and interests that were more 'feminine' according to the status quo and played sports which helped me bridge the gap in my school. Once highschool came around people started to realize that these self implemented barriers we've placed up around us are actually made of air and can be easily torn down. I will continue to play games that interest me regardless of graphics because the pleasure I receive from the game itself is more important than visual stimulation. However, if a kick ass game has some killer graphics then obviously I'm all for it.

PS: Here is the conversation that Daniel Valmas and I had on Weds lecture.

Daniel Valmas: What was your experience with DD?

Alexis: It reminded me of when I was in highschool and these girls were playing cake town and it was the same exact thing. I remember our guy friends were like, "What are you doing? It’s so pointless."

Daniel: Yeah, I already read the article so I paid attention to the narrative. I don’t think the narravite contributed to the game but just made the game sexist in a way. Why is she leaving the male dominated business world where she’s making a lot of money? It has nothing to do with further on in the game.

Alexis: Exactly, like why can’t she make it in the business world? Is she not smart enough?

D: And why can't we decide what she does? We only have like one option for her to pursue. How was the gameplay for you?

A: I really like video games and was really in the zone. I found it very rudimentary and easy.

D: I thought it was very easy too. Someone asked me a question and I was like, "I can’t talk right now, I’m trying to feed these people." My ability matched the difficulty of the game so I was able to ‘lose time.’

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