Saturday, April 14, 2012

online play

Dear Jason Tanz,

     I never even knew half these games existed. Like who would have ever thought of creating a game called Bacteria Salad where players must grow and sell tomatoes and spinach as quickly as possible while containing E. Coli outbreaks with the game ending when too many people violently poop themselves? I seem to have mixed feelings about Bogost's comments. I don't know if I quite agree with his belief of the potential of video games. I can't be persuaded to believe that they are tools to educate and enlighten, to “disrupt and change fundamental attitudes and beliefs about the world.” I don't think immersing players in a foreign experience can help them understand the challenges and choices that others face, whether it's cash-strapped diabetics trying to be healthy or agriculture-supply-chain managers because players know they will have no consequences since it is just a game and not real life, so it's not really helping them understand the challenges because they may choose one option just to see what would happen. Players are just blatantly choosing whatever choice just for the heck of it.
     Your article definitely helped me understand why games with titles like Happy Aquarium and Restaurant City are so popular by the millions, despite the fact that they have none of the strategic complexity or button-mashing action of traditional video games. It's so crazy how viral these games can become. Some games like Farmville encourages players to publicize their every action on Facebook news feeds and pester their friends to join them. It also provides a feeling of connectedness, of being in the loop and of playing with each other. I remember when I first didn't know what Temple Run was, and everybody was playing that on their iPhones; the only reason why I downloaded it was because I felt left out and wanted to discover what the hype and addiction was about. Also, the only reason why I downloaded the game Draw Something was to play my friends. But at the end of the day, “it is very interesting, clicking nothing. But then, we were clicking nothing the whole time. It just looked like we were clicking cows.”



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