Friday, November 27, 2009

The ethics of videogames

Key Links
Video Review Xbox 360, XBOX 360 review The Orange Box, Info , Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Creatures in the Half-Life series;images Game Spot, Half-Life Images Wikipedia, Half-Life (video game)

Key Books and Articles

Craig Alan Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, Katherine E. Buckley - Games - Oxford University Press (2007)
Mainly Focus on the influence of violence videogame can bring.

Barry Atkins, More than a game, Gritty realism: reading Half-life, 2003
The analysis of different game in the book are convincing and distinct.

Mark J. P. Wolf,Bernard Perron, The video game theory reader, Playing at Being, 2003
GIve me a brief understanding of that video game industry affecting people's ideology.

St├ęphane Natkin, Video games and interactive media: a glimpse at new digital entertainment, Preface, 2006

Geoff King, Tanya Krzywinska,Tomb raiders and space invaders: videogame forms and contexts,I.B.Tauris, 2006
This book focuses on key formal aspects of video games and the experiences and pleasures offered by the activities they require of the player.

Case Study

  • Maker of the game: Orange Box

  • Name: Half Life

  • First released :1998

  • Detail :

  1. Provide:
    Valve Software--constructing the model
    Steam Platform--Allow players to exchange information through texts, voice, images etc.

  2. Expansion: three expansions: Opposing Force, Blue Shift, and Decay

  3. Game’s setting
    Protagonist was called Dr. Gordon Freeman. He is a physicist. Once he has failed an experiment, then an unexpected "resonance cascade" happened. After that, there was lots of alien life-forms from other worlds (Vortigaunts, Headcrabs, human-liked) in his working country. The place he worked was a secret underground research facility which is in New Mexico. The name of it is Black Mesa Research Facility.

  4. Story’s background
    Someone said that it was Simulating a possible near-future environment.People there is experiencing the new century.
    This game's story makes knowing references in popular genre, however, it generated a totally new model for the game-fiction.

  • Interesting Part:

  1. Innovation of narrating

  2. This game valued both immersive action and story telling which is unusual for the other games. It uses scripted sequence rather than cut scene.

  3. Key Quote: "Increase immersion and to maintain a smoothly-flowing experience that keeps the player's interest”

  4. Because of its innovation in the story telling, the protagonist follow the chapter flow and can seldom be interrupted.

  5. The story progress neither depends on the levels nor grading between scene to scene. It is quite a special different from the other games.

  6. The “Boss” in the game is not expected as they occasionally appear in chapters
    Therefore it is a very fluent story which gives player a sense of compact and tight.

  7. Players are then easily indulged into the videogame's virtual world.

  8. Innovation of acting the protagonist
    As it is a first person shooting game, you are him and can see what he sees.It is a first-person perspective, so you never see character’s face and voice

  9. Ways to play

  10. To be people's hero and to attack the alien invaded. As the plenet's sources are depleted and populace are reduced, you are the only can use power to fight against the invaders. When all friends count on you, the things to do is to save the place and confront all the invaders furiously.

  • Key issues the videogames raised

  • Keyquote: As..."Violencecontent in video game is criticized, which is related to ‘moral panic’ subject...‘computer games cause violence’ discourse is mostly psychology-based "
    ---Flew, Terry and Humphreys
  • We have the duty to look at those issues. First of all, we have consider the following points in order to have a brief understanding of the problems Half life has given.
    Questions here...
    Does Half Life offer us a fictional world…
    With Moral?
    With Ethical complication of the adult world?
    With anything mistaking?
    Teaching people to be reliable as being a hero? Or by contrast, to betray and be violent in order to survive, to rescue?
    We can explore them by considering at three aspects.
    1)Freedom for choices
    2) The imitation of real world
    3)Use of real person’s characteristic

  1. Freedom for choices
    •The only way to survive in such a danger planet, to save the place is to use weapon
    •Generally, most of the people will chosse to survive by seeking help from others or cooperating with another
    •But…in this game, if you want to open a crucial doorway and the game terminates to escape, you should first sacrifice someone; kill a scientist, soldier of guard
    •In videogame....these is no accommodation of humane motives

  2. The imitation of the real world
    •Techonology provide us an virtaul wolrd but with a real historical background. Like the Black Mesa Research Facility is similar to Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    •The protagonist studied in University of Innsbruck which is a real school in the real world.
    •It (somehow) sways players impression and understanding towards the actual world.
    Key Quotes:Technology”…leading to a view of the world that always satisfies the player/ spectators. The danger is the use of this knowledge to control customer habits, moral attitudes, or political viewpoint.”
    --- St├ęphane Natkin
    Analysing this quote:
    • Customer Habits : to express, to voice there feeling, to vent
    • Moral Attitudes : Use of violence is an heroic attitude?
    • Political Viewpoint : The enemy against our land, the New Mexico??

  3. Use real person’s characteristic as the game’s players
    •The sophistication of character’s feature easily makes people get indulge into this virtual world
    •correlate the affairs happen in the game with the real world
    •It is challenging people’s origin

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cory Arcangel: super-Mario Clouds

A work of art by Cory Arcangel

The original videogame: Super Mario

Features of the game:
-The clouds and the eyes-catching blue sky are came from the Mario Brothers
-Clouds slowly move from right to the left / left to right
-All the main characters in the Super Mario have been removed, although they are the significant subject leading players to play the game
-The background music,which is supposed to make player more filing into the game, is removed too
- The audience/players can only imagine they are playing the Super Mario videogame when looking at the slow motion of the clouds which illustrating you are moving in that digital world

Art or not?Why?
I think it can be called as an art. Firstly, the image is still appealling, like the nice contrast of the white and blue, although most of the character used to appear in the Super Mario is missing. Secondly, it makes me think when I can JUST look at the moving clouds in such a slow motion. It is which could also allow me to have enough space and time to remind my memories and emotion when I am playing the Super Mario. This is the new idea and perspective for me to look at a videogame.

Are Digital games art?

a)Art is......
-"purchased in art galleries by art intellectuals"
-"criticized by art critics"
-"concerved in art museums"
-"not sold in any toy shops"
-"an interactive medium"
-"not formulaic"(should be original: exception appropriation taking other art; re-presenting in a new way to create new meanings)
-"aesthetically interesting"

I mostly agree the last one that art should contain aesthetic quality.
It is not acceptable to feel disgusting and horroble in a so called work of art.
Pleasure should be aroused in percepting an art.

b)To be considered as art, videogames need.....
- content to give people a new idea or messages
- aesthetic qualities to give people sense of pleasure
- to make people feel things
- to outweigh its consideration of utility and saleability
- to do something that other art forms will do
- to have an artist who has received adequate publie recognition
- to do something to pursuade people to believe it is an art form

Computer games is art as it creates new depiction of images,new meaning to us.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Game revolution

a)According to the film, what are some pros and cons of playing videogames for individuals and sociteties?

Pros for individuals:
-Widen one's horrison/ range of knowledge
-Players can be educated through videogames
-One can feel relax when playing videogames
-People's emotion can be expressed through images of the screen
-Player's speed of think is fasten and improved
-Change players mind of thinking

Pros for societies:
-Our world can be constructed in a better way in the digital realm.
-It can have a more hamonous atmosphere as people can easily speak through the media. Their pain can be released. Less complain is produced.

Cons for individual:
-Players can do whatever they want in the videogames to become more violent
- Violent part of human's brain is activated when people playing videogames
-Some kind of ideology is built like Racism
- People is difficult to distinct the reality and virtual world as both of them look very similar when containing common elements like practical materials and emotion arouse

Cons for society:
-People is addicted to the videoames, therefore, less time can be spent on dealing social issues
-The surrounding environment in society becomes the parody and satire. People make copy the affairs happened and make fun of it
-People treat things not in a serious manner

It is also worthy for us to think if games should be more like fantasy and less like real world war.

Beatles' MTV in a digital format

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Technologised Bodies

1)"“To what extent are we already experiencing a man -machine symbiosis that has turned us into cyborgs [or posthuman bodies]?” Christiane Paul (Digital Art, p 166)

When you simply look at one person who is wearing glasses, you can realise how have we been experiencing a man-machine symbiosis. Another example is like those who want to own an attractive body's line, they would choose to wear a case in certain shape for a long term to help improve the body line. Also, the disabled people would use wheel chair or some kind of externally mechanical legs to support their steps when they walk.
These man-machine symbiosis appears generally and commonly in our society.People rely on machine and it is gradually not easy to seperate them. I believe we have already experience a man-machine symbiosis in a high extent.

2. What are some pros and cons of becoming a cyborg?

Frankly speaking, machine like mobile phone, glasses even the prosthetic-fake arms etc., helps human a lot in terms of increasing convenience in tackling problems in daily life. It, in a certain extent, reduces our use of time as, lets say, there can be three hands doing things concurrently. It also allows human to do something they are not used to do because of its hazard and danger.
Being too addicted in using mechine, human becomes dependent.
Out cells and organs may no longer adapt to the condition once the machine is abandoned.
Human body's function become worse and worse.
The attachment may harm our body once the connection between human and machine is handled badly.

3.What do you think of Stelarc’s work?

After I have seen his work, prosthetic fake arms, the first impression araised in my mind is that it looks like a character in the film (Spiderman) called doc_ock. He is a scientist and professor. He has invented a prosthetic arms which is able to be attached to human's back bone. It functions as people's another pairs of arms. At the end of the film, he realised his failure of electronic terchnique which has led to his death.

sp3_doc_ock, Yahoo
(accessed 28 Oct 2009)

Stelarc's work totally gives me this sense of terror and horror. It disobeys the natural law of human structure. Especially for the work (so-called work of art) in which a third ear in grafted onto his forearm, it is extremely disgusting. Organ is in a wrong possition, but the artist even the public says that it is a work representing contemporary art media. Appreciated by somebody, I disagree with his presentation of art and think he is just self-mutilating.
Look at the video below....
It is shocking and provocative!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Although it is not so related to the topic per week,
it is so can't I put it here!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Online Identities

Introduction of my friend 's identities:
Here comes Cindy Wan.
She showed me her various online identities, such as the one in HK Discuss forum and My Space, Facebook, MSN and ICQ, Xanga and Blogspot, the email boxes....Gmail, Hotmail, Lingnan...etc.
Obviously, she is just like the others in HongKong; more than one online identities she have gotten and they let her do different things through internet.

Introduction of my online identities:
I have totally 13 online identities. They are used in Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, Lingnan U and the online blog like Xanga, Blogspot. Also the communication flatform like Facebook, MSN, ICQ and some specific web sites such as Youtube, iYellowbus, HKartists, HKflash.
I can use different identities in various webs. The advantage is that I can change my identities often to suit my different wants.
Sometimes, an identity is required to be approved to access some of the specific regions in the web. It seems that you are one of their guest and belonging to a group.

Online Identity by Aaron Darc

"Aaron Darc on Online Identity",Google.
(Accessed Oct 21, 2009)


(Accessed Oct 21,2009)