Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blogging is hard.

Today I'm going to bullet point a project that I'm working on. In Helvetica!

Video Games and Morality's Effect on Immersion.

(working title I guess.)

So here are the elements I've been examining:

- The different ways that game developers create a completely unique (on a good day), immersive gaming experience. (FPS, Decision-based games, realistic violence, 3D design etc etc etc)

- The use of moral dimensions in decision-based games to create a more immersive gaming experience-- and how it fails to do so.

- What elements are more effective at creative immersive gameplay and why.

It all has to do with your world vs. the world the game developers have created for you.  They're both separate (but equal) universes that exist on different planes of reality. One being virtual, on a single disk (or 12 if you have an XBox HA!), the other is "our" (quotations important) living breathing plane of reality (so one is more equal than the other). 

In the section where certain elements of morality in video games makes the experience more immersive I'll primarily use the comparison of Lara Croft and Nathan Drake.  Both popular and attractive "archeologists" that have recently been pitted against one another as not just marketing ploys, but as literary tropes. As a result, developers of the new Lara Croft game are specifically targeting not only Lara's past flaws as a gaming icon (the iconography*, they argue, actually impedes on the immersive experience. Interesting!), but the flaws of her male market rival, Nathan Drake.  Drake, who after one Uncharted game series installment immediately shows up Croft in personality, physical ability, attractiveness (from a character model design standpoint, duh), and ratings.

The developers of the next Tomb Raider installment seeks to break down Croft in front of the players; humanizing her, and overall just making you feel downright bad for her (that's where morality comes in). <<< The result, they hope, is that Tomb Raider will be more original and immersive as ever.  The two universes (yours and the game's) are forced to collide, thus immersing you as a player.

Two other games that do this are Heavy Rain and Shadow of the Colossus. I don't know if I'll have a lot of space to discuss them, but I'll prolly post that section here in addition to the rest. And I'll cover their significance in a later post.

At the same time, and I'll have to do more research on what Naughty Dog has to say about Croft and Eidos, Naughty Dog is breaking down Drake more and more each installment. He's never going to be the unrealistic demi-god that is Lara Croft. In fact, part of me feels that the villain (Katherine Marlowe) of Drake's next adventure is a sort of nod to Croft... which is pushing it... a lot, I know, but I see the connections and I roll with them.

(sorry about the formatting!)

As an aside, what makes Croft (somewhat) more interesting than Drake, is that she's a character all on her own, whereas Drake, has often been described as a cross between Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Not that I'm knocking Drake in the LEAST, he's incredible... trust me.  I'm extremely excited to see our Croft Demi-god turn into the female "every-man" character I've been hoping to see more of.

*did I use that word right?

Some history on the Croft legacy

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune trailer
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves trailer
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

See what I'm talking about the progression of VULNERABILITY. I'm so vulnerable, you'd think I was ruur'l!  immersion! yay!

Probably another project altogether. Vulnerability = "believability."

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Enjoying the simplicity of old things?

Maybe this is why I'm positively obsessed with haikyo.

People like to pretend that Japanese culture is simply impossible for foreigners to understand.  I would say that it isn't, but I also haven't been there.  BUT!  At the same time, part of understanding another culture is abandoning your own predetermined ideas of how the world works, or rather, should work.  Cultural relativism people. It's cluttering your mind.

I suppose it's in a similar vein with all this talk of "feelings."  People also carry the burden of "emotional relativism," which probably isn't a real word.  I would equate understanding and empathy with the ability to understand another culture. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


You know, the world is a very big place, and it's not just likely, but in the scope of the universe humans are very very very insignificant.

Yet for some reason, I continue to strive for relevance.  Because at least on a personal scale, I might be able affect people's lives in some way. 

Which is to say, if they let me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"You Know When It's Real."

Maybe it's okay to post about my real life considering no one actually reads my blog anyway.

But real life is complex.

It involves real people, with their own real lives and their own real privacy that I'm not willing to violate.  I can write in a journal with all my deepest darkest feelings pouring onto the page.  Future readers might think I'm melodramatic, or they might cry with me.  Of course, under the condition that someone might actually read it.  And in all likelihood, no one will.  TLDR.

But as a kid, I had the tiniest hope that if I died early, someone would pick up my journal and suddenly really genuinely care about what I was feeling at that moment.  Something that even to this day is terribly rare in my life.  I had to learn, in order to cope with life, that people will never understand your deepest darkest innermost feelings, and I later learned that it's okay. But something that I've always wanted people to understand is that something I've always wanted was to know someone completely. And in knowing them, they, too, would know me.  Platonic or romantic.

In this quest you'll find that people are usually very busy.
Too busy, in fact, to understand the importance of understanding.
The importance of empathy. 

How comforting it is to tell someone everything you've ever needed to say without having to worry about how the other person feels.  Interconnectedness in its most complete form.  It's the most warming sensation to be able to trust someone completely.

But at the same time, people are scared of it because it forces you into a realm of vulnerability.  How can I trust someone with everything I am? 

Well that's life.  All great thing have to come at some sort of sacrifice.
Even if doesn't last a lifetime, it's totally worth fighting for.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I have an incredible aversion to studying.

Terrible terrible...

In fact, as you'll see in the time stamp, I should be asleep, and I should have finished studying several hours ago. And yet... I have note even begun. I know the material, I suppose, but the longer I postpone sleep, the more trouble I'll have recalling the information I collected whilst in class.

I hope I get an A.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blogging... In General.

Popular media likes to play up the concept of blogs and "blogging."

Like, "ANYONE can spread their message! Blogging is a grassroots revolution in news making and the spread of ideas, it fuels globalization!" That's a made up quote, but I don't really feel like it's an exaggeration of what the news channels and books about blogging are actually saying.

They haven't noticed, or simply ignore the fact that one needs a massive reader base to get their "message" out. Be it everyday ramblings about their life, political views, general news, celebrity gossip, or information on the way someone lives their life (like a soldier's wife's blog, or someone studying overseas). They have to update often and well, to retain their reader base

The MAJORITY of "bloggers" are people like me. People with little to no readers regardless of content. It becomes more and more difficult everyday. Especially for someone like me, specifically, because I really don't have anything interesting to say. I don't write about interesting things, and I don't lead an especially interesting life. I could write about all of my problems, and the drama that surrounds me every day. But that would not only demoralize my character, but would also dwarf the gravity of these problems. "Here is a painful memory, and/or event. I'd like to talk about it, but only with strangers. I'm also going to write about it... Writing it will make you able to empathize with my specific problem, even though you don't know me, or the people around me." But I lead such a fortunate life that writing about my "problems" would make me hate myself!

I understand that a lot of people don't have people to talk to, and need an outlet for their issues, but I do have people to talk to, and it undermines the friendships I hold dear.

In essence, a blog, for people like me, is really about jotting things down. You're bored and you have something you'd like to say, or you're feeling creative and need an outlet. Or something bizarre happened (or you have a "bizarre" thought), but you can't call anyone because it's incredibly late and you can't wake them up for something so silly and insignificant. But it HAS to be said!

So this is for people like me, who lead uninteresting, but otherwise good lives, and who blog because they simply can.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last night I had a dream where I lied about something and did it really horribly. I wonder what anxieties about my ability to lie says about me as a person...