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Posts Tagged ‘video games’

Can you see the future?

I am sure everyone has been bored on an airplane and opened up the latest version of SkyMall to check out the latest in gadgets and home accessories.  One object in particular always catches my eye: iWear VR920.  For the cheap price of $399.00 you too can have the world’s best-selling pair of virtual reality glasses.  Not only is the customer able to look like a character from The Matrix, but they also get to experience the wonders of a virtual reality. There has even been experiments if this virtual technology could be used with medicine to help patients psychologically heal from injuries.  Although the iWear glasses are sold on a commercial basis for personal use, advances in technology could discover a way to help patients recover from psychological events or help train combat fighters to decrease deaths.

With all new inventions, there are many faults in the product including the stability, and the graphics of the virtual reality. But like all new age technology, once the original is created it can only be improved from there. So who knows, maybe one day we will only communicate through a virtual world, or maybe the reality of Chew-Z and Can-D is not far in the future.  The Vuzix iWear glasses are able to track your head movement so the character reacts to your movements and provides to equivalent of a 62-inch screen from a safe distance of 9 feet.  These revolutionary glasses give the viewers a full immersion into the virtual world of the game of their choice. Not only do viewers get to experience their favorite games in a 3D experience, but they will feel like they are a part of the game.  The concept of virtual reality glasses brings a whole new meaning to the concept of gamer addiction as they feel they are physically in the game.

The technology of the virtual glasses can easily be improved with lighter designs, better graphics, and faster movement tracking technology.  After such advances in technology it is not far fetched to think that maybe one day we will be able to slip on a pair of glasses and join the Avatars of tomorrow in a foreign land where we cannot die and virtual cyberspace becomes our reality.

 

Video Games Are Not Art?

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

“Video games can never be art.”  This quote boldly stated by the renowned film critic Roger Ebert is a controversial one that has sparked an outrage all across the gaming community.  On April 16, 2010, Ebert wrote in his blog how gaming can never be art because “No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets.”  But is this necessarily true?  Why don’t video games get a benefit of the doubt?  I choose to disagree with Mr. Ebert’s statement because video games can possess more artistic potential than most poets can ever dream of.

I will begin to refute his argument by saying that there are several elements of video games that can be described as art.  Actually, video games are consisted of several forms of art: music, visual art, and literature.  Not only are they just stuck in there, they are combined to give the audience the chance to immerse themselves into the full fantasy that the developers provide.  A perfect example of this can be found in the game Heavy Rain.

The cover of the Playstation 3's masterpiece Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is a game that takes the player into the world of a murder mystery.  The story is delicately crafted to the point that it is comparable to Sherlock Holmes.  Also the player feels more immersed because not only is it an intriguing story, but you are in control of the protagonist and his outcome.  And in this game, every mistake you make can lead to the death of a vital character or even the protagonist.  Like a novel, the audience can become emotionally attached to the protagonist and maybe even more so because the main character’s fate is in your hands.  This complex game allows the gamer come to twenty different endings instead of just one general ending.  So, in the end, the game is actually several books packed into one Blu-Ray disc.

The visuals in the game are another homage to how artistic the game really is.  The graphics provide a more realistic portrayal of people and scenery than a majority of artists. And with the combination of voice acting and a score, the developers can achieve a production quality comparable to famous movies like Silence of the Lambs.

Video games may not have the praise of the famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci or filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, but that is because they are still in the early stages of their industry.  Games like Heavy Rain, though, show us the artistic qualities that they possess and deserve to be recognized as art.  But in the end, I cannot force someone to recognize video games as an art, it is a matter of the audience’s perspective, therefore Mr. Ebert has a right to his own opinion.

Modern Art or Huge Piles of Trash

I guarantee that games will gain notoriety to the point that they will be recognized along with other famous works of art like Primavera or The Shawshank Redemption.  In many ways, I believe they already have.  Pop quiz!  Who directed The Shawshank Redemption?  Who painted the Primavera?  Who wrote the novella Heart of Darkness?  Which company developed the game Halo and who is its main character? Try doing this without researching the answers.

The Blame Game

March 17, 2011 1 comment

Recently, violent acts of children and adult alike have been blamed on video games, but is this claim justified? One news story stated the reason a 17 year old shot his parents was due to Halo. Granted, there are some realistic bits of the game, but for the major portion this game is completely fantasy based.

Looking at this picture alone, one can see the futuristic display, weaponry, and armor; so how can the public easily connect the idea that something so different from reality makes a huge impact on the way people percieve our world and cause acts of senseless violence?  Part of the problem is that the gaming industry makes itself a large target to be hit for these type of accusations.  For instance, EA recently released a game titled Dead Space 2, which was advertised by one of the worst represenative commercials in the history of video games.

The main reasons why this is a terrible commercial stems from the target audience and how they labled gamers.  They categorize this game as something your mother hates following with comments from the mothers about how violent the game is, how it would make people insane, and how much of an atrocity it is.  Directly after making the game out to be some terrible monstrosity, the announcer says that the afformentioned traits are things that gamers LOVE.  This means that EA, the designers, intentionally made it look as if gamers were some sadistic bunch of lunatics and that the target audience was some rebelious bunch of teens. It is commercials and acts like these that feed the fire of hatred for games.  These acts are what makes all of the people and companies in the gaming community easy targets to be hit by the press and any court system as scapegoats for violence and acts of rage.  When the gaming community takes a few steps forward by making their industry more accessible to the public with innovations such as the Wii or family friendly titles such as the Kinects Pet Game, it is the acts of the companies such as EA that makes gamers fall down and slip backwards toward just beging a target to blame.

Attention Gamers: An Important Message About Socialization

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

As someone grappling with the techno-crazed reality of today’s culture, I naturally am terrified by the world of video games.  Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Gran Turismo…it’s all overwhelming to me, and frankly I have absolutely no desire to even try to understand what makes these games actually addictive.  However, I did receive my fair share of exposure to this foreign realm of virtual games this past summer.  During the latter part of my senior year in high school, I became best friends with three hardcore gamers, although I certainly didn’t know the extent of their gaming lifestyle upon befriending the quirky trio.  As I spent more and more time at their respective houses, I began to catch on to the daily routine for these gentlemen: roll out of bed, eat, play video games….play more video games, eat, and, you guessed it, play more video games (whilst eating).  Their particular drug of choice was Call of Duty, in which they would challenge each other to heated battles in the virtual “field” of war.  Their bloodshot eyes glued to the screen, it was only until I would peel their pupils from the glaring screen that I could finally force them to emerge into the warm California sun.

Oh, how wrong I was when I thought I had won by coaxing them out of their houses.  Much to my dismay, I was soon introduced to the haven for these hardcore gamers outside of their homes: Howie’s Game Shack.  I grudgingly entered the techno-sanctuary and was met by rows and rows of flashing flat screens and computer monitors, with sleep-starved boys in bulky headsets staring fixedly at them.  It is clear where the attention of these boys is fixed, and it is not on normal socialization. 

Someone should tell them that green flourescent lights don't produce an enviable summer glow.

 What I identify as so problematic is that since my initial exposure, I’ve found that these kinds of “game shacks” are very common, and are only growing in popularity.  It’s become a normal, fun activity for teenagers across America to spend their Friday night “going out” to a game shack to stare monotonously and silently at monitors.  And most problematic is that it is almost equated with a social activity because it is outside of the house and a gamer is in the company of other silent drones.  Honestly, gamers, a little regular socializing wouldn’t hurt.