Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Response Paper - Do You Want to Date My Avatar?

My response paper consists of this post and the proceeding two posts. I can’t figure out how to link more than one video into a post so I had to post them separately. And for the record, I don’t game… my fiancé is the gamer and I fully blame him for knowledge I do have for this absolutely confusing area of his life. The things I am discussing are from the perspective of the outsider looking in.

            Consider your childhood. Chances are you or someone you know was fixated on the anomaly called “gaming.” Although back then the fad was game consoles with simple graphics, now, since the rise of the Internet, the growing popularity is the MMO. An MMO is a mass multiplayer online game such as World of Warcraft. This game specifically has become a widely known entity with its unique storyline and the ability for each player to customize their avatar to whatever they want. The web series, The Guild, comedically represents six individuals that play this game in a group which is a guild and the trials each of them have in relations to this game. The main character Codex starts off each episode with a brief webcam video wrapping up her thoughts on the previous episode. Throughout the seasons the characters put forth a unique identity. Codex is trying to learn how to mend her gaming life and her real life together while Zaboo, who has no masculine appeal, is love struck by Codex. Vork, the guild leader, is constantly trying to find ways to money gouge. Tink is the one in the group who loves to game, but doesn’t advertise it to the real world. Clara is a mother who would rather play her games than to care for her children or her husband. Finally Bladezz is a cocky boy who thinks far too much of himself. In this paper, I am going to argue that gaming has become it’s own culture and is the essence of radical romance.
            By watching the first few episodes, it will become blatantly clear that gamers have created a culture all their own. According to Chris Barker, “[M]eanings are generated not by individuals alone but by collectives. Thus the idea of culture refers to shared meanings” (42). Everyone who plays the video game has a shared understanding of the games concepts. Even the language used in the gaming world is unique with its own syntax. Gamers use lingo to abbreviate their sentences so they can type faster while in-game. A gamer might type, "Dood, I got totally owned while AFK. Need REZ to pown those newbs" which simply means that individual died while away from the keyboard and needs to be resurrected to get back at the new players who killed him. Theorist Raymond Williams believed the “...meaning of lived culture are to be explored within the context of their conditions of production. In this sense culture is understood as ‘a whole way of life’” (Barker 46). Gaming for some individuals is more than just a game. It has become their life. When the majority of their time is spent in game, it becomes their “way of life.” Since gaming is its own culture, we can also see their interpretations of what is masculine and feminine.

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