As someone who grew up around video games (my dad had an Atari and we also boast owning some of the first Nintendo systems as well as being Sony PlayStation fans), I have to talk about Turkle’s article. I loved reading it and understood it far better than the others that we have read this semester. Not only that, but I can relate to it.
I think what’s the most striking thing about Turkle’s article is that it’s from the 1980’s, and Turkle had no idea about the games that would be coming out years later – game series like BioShock, Diablo, Assassin’s Creed, The Elder Scrolls, The Legend of Zelda (I could go on but I’d be here for about thirty years) – all games that really take advantage of immersing the player in another world.
A popular concern that still remains (with my mom and the general public) is the addictive quality of video games.
Turkle states that “using analogies with television or with drugs, the popular debate about video games is filled with images of game players caught in a ‘mindless addiction’. Half of this description is certainly wrong. There is nothing mindless about mastering a video game. The games demand skills that are complex and differentiated.”
While video games aren’t mindless, I will admit that they do have an addictive quality to them. Like the little boy in her story, it’s the illusion of control that the player has when they’re immersed in these worlds. Once you step out of it, it’s gone, and the world becomes bleak again (some games are pretty bleak themselves but you can either live or die or start over in a lot of them but in the real world, if you got attacked by a Falmer you’d be screwed).
According to video-game-addiction.org, the top five signs that cause addiction to video games are 1) the high score, 2) beating the game, 3) roleplaying, 4) discovery, and 5) relationships.
I can’t say I disagree (as someone who completed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in two days); even the earliest games have this addictive quality.
I remember playing Galaga when I was younger and getting so into it that when I stepped away, it was like I was in a haze. The game is designed to make you need to be the high scorer. It’s the same with Sony games, and PC games as well.
I do have to disagree with Turkle when she says that you get so physically involved with a pinball machine, but the video game is more mental.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tilted my controller, pressed the buttons harder, swore profusely, kept alternating between sitting and standing, in the hopes that Link would just effing defeat Armogohma. I’ve seen other players do it too; you’re just as physically involved in playing a video game as you are mentally.
When you play a video game, once you learn the strategies necessary for game play, you develop muscle memory. And with each game, it changes.
I don’t know quite where I was going with this post, but I just really enjoyed reading Turkle’s article. I’ll just leave off with this – video games, while addicting, are kind of amazing (understatement of the century) and they hone your fine motor skills.