Lesson 7 violence continued and avatarPresentation Transcript
Lesson 7: ViolenceLeading onto the avatar
In what ways do audiences operatedifferently in a post-modern world?Salen and Zimmerman articleHomework: research Salen andZimmerman
Second Life:“We create avatars to leave our bodies behind,yet take the body with us in the form of codesand assumptions about what does and does notconstitute a legitimate interface with reality– virtual or otherwise.” (Rehak, in Wolf and Pearson 2003:123)Create avatar, move around island, talking toother avatars connected to real people, whoare doing the same as you.Business, entertainment and education areclamouring to develop more and more virtualland & spaces to do more virtual activities.Benefits are in cost, efficiency and time.
You can trade real money in Linden Dollars & then buyand sell in Second Life.At The Serious Games Institute in Coventry businessesare supported in running elements of their work in thisvirtual world.This is an example of a video game template being thestarting point for serious commerce.In post-modern media terms we want toknow what is going on when someonetakes on this virtual identity, in relationto the previous quotation from Rehak.
Duality and boundary-blurring = definitely PMIs it a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game)? It is not actually a game.BUT it is a large group, online, sharing virtualexperiences = it challenges traditional concepts andtraditional gamers.“With all video games there is a defined ‘objective’ and for video games asopposed to multi-user online games a narrative as well. A user must ‘do’within this environment and has specific goals to achieve at all stages…andreceives feedback and rewards when each goal is achieved. These users oftenfeel initially disenfranchised when they enter the Second Life world becausethey are not immediately greeted with a narrative and set a goal or task. Theyfind the concept that they can simply ‘be’ in this environment rather ‘do’ alienand sometimes intimidating.” (Bennett: 2006: 6)
Consider games that also offer ‘be’ rather than ‘do’.Post-modern games – always involve interplay oftasks/goalsNon-strategic ‘hanging around’ could be seen as a moveaway from this.Second Life being influential – moving games designersaway from narratives.(We will study future movements in gaming at the end ofthe unit)
Link to Baudrillard –In a post-modern culture we are able to designourselves – fluid/temporaryChange our identity in ways previous generationscould notArgument: this is not a substitute or escape fromreality, but an extension of it – extendingexpression of ourselves beyond physicallimitations
Protagonist – the hero of a play or a novel, and oftenthe focal point of the narrative.In many digital games, there is one central characterwhich can be regarded as the game’s protagonist.Often called the avatar (from Sanskrit avatara –incarnation of deity).
Sex, Lies and Avatars :http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.04/turkle.htmlSnows famous phrase delineating "the two cultures" - science andthe humanities - got it wrong from the outset. In the house of thehuman mind, there are many mansions, many cultures. The Britishphysicist and novelist presented his two-cultures idea to greatacclaim in a 1959 book. Who then could have foreseen that Snowgot it wrong because he was a modernist?A generation later, it takes a postmodernist to guide us through themany mansions Snow failed to imagine. That postmodernist may wellbe Sherry Turkle, the cyberspace explorer and professor of thesociology of science at MIT. No matter that Turkle calls herself not apostmodernist but "a modern woman telling a postmodern tale."
Her postmodern tale is about computing - the technology, she says, thatbrings postmodernism down to earth.Turkle is author of three seminal books - Psychoanalytic Politics, TheSecond Self, and her most recent, Life on the Screen - each ameasured, meticulous, and ultimately mind-reordering exploration of theways people think about themselves and their worlds in thesepostmodern times. What is real? What is virtual? What is living? What isnonliving? Of the many selves I am, who is the real me?For postmodernists like Turkle, no unitary truth resides anywhere.Postmodernism celebrates this time, this place; and it celebratesadaptability, contingency, diversity, flexibility, sophistication, andrelationships - with the self and with the community. Modernism coexistswith postmodernism, which makes sense if you think of modernism asthe spirit of the Tofflerian Second Wave (all those railroads andsmokestacks that we still use and need) and postmodernism as the spiritof the Third Wave.
So Newtonian physics is modern, but quantummechanics is postmodern. Biology is mainlypostmodern, and so, maybe, are the national andglobal economies. Modernist birthday parties hadcakes, candles, presents, and games; the maingame at postmodern birthday parties is watchingand commenting on the videos just shot. Amodernist always wore a tie with a jacket; apostmodernist throws a well-tailored jacket overa T-shirt. Modernist Walter Cronkite could endhis newscast with "Thats the way it is." DanRather must end more tentatively with "Thatspart of our world tonight."
Mainframes were modernist, but computing slipped intopostmodernism when people got personal computers. Computingcontinues its postmodern odyssey through the Internet to the mostdramatic extreme: the creation of online communities containingonline personae.With its screen surfaces, its learning by doing instead of learning therules first, its hypertext (no one pathway through the text is the correctway or the best way), computing now is as postmodernist as it gets.Its characterized, as Turkle puts it, by "the precedence of surfaceover depth, of simulation over the real, of play over seriousness.” For philosophers who have lamented the lack of objects to representthe postmodern condition, computing now offers the information of theInternet and the connections of the World Wide Web; the windows,icons, and layers of personal computing; the creatures in a SimLifegame; the simulations of the quantum world routinely used inintroductory physics courses.Handout on simscity
Computing also offers pluralism, different things for differentpeople. In Life on the Screen, Turkle returns to one of the peopleshe interviewed for The Second Self. "Computers have changed,times have changed, Rafe has changed," she writes. "But I couldalso write: Times have changed; Rafe has changed; computershave changed. In fact, there are six possible sequences. All aresimultaneously true. There is no simple, causal chain.” Postmodernism. Right in front of you. Your laptop embodies newways of thinking, carries you to them (or them to you), and opensyou to them.Alongside Turkles claim that computing is what bringspostmodernism down to earth, we can put what Jay David Bolter,author of Turings Man and Writing Space, once mischievouslyremarked: that the computer has transformed the knotty difficultiesof postmodern theory into the trivially obvious.
Hyperidentities• Transformation of culture• MMORPGs revolutionary in game medium• Argues against games alienating people• Experimental arena to watch mechanisms increasingly found in everyday life• Combines entertainment with communication (first mass medium to do)• Culture of simulation