[iDC] game culture (?) (!) (%#@)

Andreas Schiffler aschiffler at ferzkopp.net
Sat Jun 23 10:54:28 EDT 2007

> Reality is a convention. And games are simply another form of reality, 
> thus, another convention.
Sure, but when there are multiple parallel conventions of reality and we 
should be worried about the development of a issues when game-realities 
become so pervasive: the creation of monocultures around certain 
conventions, the inability of the players to make judgements about 
realities, the poor quality of 'mashups' in VR.

Take for example the latest debate about the classification of 'Manhunt 
2' in the UK and its use of a cathedral for a FPS gorefest.

Here the Christian establishment has evaluated the 'reality' offered by 
the game from their point of view. This can certainly be done from other 
points of view and the focus of my analysis is simply on scientific 
accuracy rather than social convention as above or aesthetic value as 
many do.
> . I have learnt a lot about space by playing /Super Mario /and/ 
> Zelda/. Doug Wilson has more coherent and useful thoughts on the 
> matter 
> <http://www.stanford.edu/%7Edewilson/papers/Thesis_Douglas_Wilson.pdf> 
> (PDF link)
Doug's theses has indeed some interesting insights (albeit a few 
mistakes are present as well), but the analysis centers around a 
particular viewpoint which is spelled out right in the first quote.

“Critics of virtual reality warn that technology-based 'psychedelics' 
will produce a
disembodied race, a culture that ceases to value the body, nature, or 
physical reality in
general because the alternative will be so persuasive. I believe that 
the reverse is true.”
– Brenda Laurel, Computers as Theatre

Call me a VR critic in these terms, because I see the disembodiement 
happening to some degree with sciences in general and game physics in 

> And according to James Paul Gee 
> <http://www.amazon.com/Video-Games-Teach-Learning-Literacy/dp/1403961697>, 
> games are really teaching devices, tools that teach us how to think.
I totally 'dig' Gee's analysis. But there is an inherent danger in a 
game's ability to act as teaching devices. What if they teach us 
"intelligent design"? Or movie physics? Or that gravity should feel 


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