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Videogames and Computer Holding Power, Sherry Turkle


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From a Montana Tech New Media Design class lecture.

Videogames and Computer Holding Power, Sherry Turkle

  1. 1. Videogames and Computer Holding Power Sherry Turkle – Referencing The New Media Reader, Wardrip-Fruin & Montfort
  2. 2. Original Publication of this Work: Turkle, Sherry. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. 64-92. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1984. This chapter is based on over one hundred hours of field research and on interviews (ranging from one to four hours) with 30 game players. Other Books by Turkle.
  3. 3. 1984 pop culture and technology trivia <ul><li>Aids Virus identified by French Immunologist </li></ul><ul><li>The first Apple Macintosh goes on sale </li></ul><ul><li>Sony and Philips introduce the first commercial CD Players </li></ul><ul><li>Sony makes the first 3 1/2&quot; computer disk </li></ul><ul><li>1984 Videogame titles </li></ul>
  4. 4. Turkle, Context and Backstory <ul><li>Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist. </li></ul><ul><li>Approached computing from the discipline of psychoanalysis ie how the computer enables people to enact personae that are different from the ones they use in non-computing situations. </li></ul><ul><li>Turkle was adamant that games can provide ways to take on different roles that are important to us psychologically. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Gist and Research Design <ul><li>Previous chapter was about the child as philosopher – Piaget’s theory of childrens’ emergence causality, life, and consciousness. </li></ul><ul><li>The gist of this chapter follows up her discoveries re computer holding power of games and the heart of computer culture is “constructed, rule governed worlds.” </li></ul><ul><li>This chapter is based on over one hundred hours of field research and on interviews (ranging from one to four hours) with 30 game players. </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter that follows deals with children making their own games. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Asteroids … Asteroids is a video arcade game released in 1979 by Atari Inc. It was one of the most popular and influential games of the Golden Age of Arcade Games.
  7. 7. A New Way of Life <ul><li>Protest against videogames carries a message about how people feel about computers in general. … Only one other gift of science has been so universally recognized as marking a new era of human life. That was atomic energy. </li></ul><ul><li>[re: community opinion when game arcade asks for licence.] “Let’s look at this thing more closely.” It feels like a chance to buy time against more than a videogame. It feels like a chance to buy time against a new way of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Videogames are a window onto a new kind on intimacy with machines that is characteristic of the nascent computer culture. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Embodiment <ul><li>The holding power of videogames, their almost hypnotic fascination, is “computer holding power.” </li></ul><ul><li>Videogames are something you do to your head, a world that you enter … something you “become.” </li></ul><ul><li>In interviews and when describing gameplay, children will express it as “You are Pac-Man.” </li></ul><ul><li>Players describe the (ingame) experience of being with one as less like talking with a person and more like inhabiting someone else’s mind. Conversation > Fusion. In PacMan, you are the mouth. </li></ul>
  9. 9. PacMan
  10. 10. Rules are the Secrets. <ul><li>For children, rules driving the videogames become “the secrets.” </li></ul><ul><li>Videogames offer a chance to live in simulated, rule-governed worlds. </li></ul><ul><li>Games as “child culture” (appreciation of logic of simulation) bridge into larger computer culture beyond. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a danger of infatuation with simulated worlds – for many people what is being pursued in a videogame is not just a score, but an altered state … Mediation With Macho … Cheaper than psychoanalysis. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Space Invaders “ Pong was a novelty but it set the stage for the arrival of Space Invaders – the game that launched the videogame culture.” “Culture” being the attitudes, beliefs, and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization. Pong
  12. 12. Your thoughts, Your Links <ul><li>Sherry Turkle on Colbert Report </li></ul><ul><li>Affects of Videogames on People . </li></ul><ul><li>Game Building Software </li></ul><ul><li>Alice </li></ul><ul><li>Cube 2: Saurbraten </li></ul><ul><li>Game Maker </li></ul>