Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

CATS Log Book Entry 6

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This logbook is the third instalment of the “Contextualising Digital Cultures” with this time we look at the “Futures” side to it, my previous 2 log books were the previous sessions on Contextualising Digital Cultures covering Histories, then modernism/new media and now futures.

I was attending a social event for my games design course during this lesson so I was unable to see the PowerPoint and take notes due to Platform Expos but I have downloaded the PowerPoint from Moodle so that I keep up to date with my notes and primarily be using that to complete this logbook.

First of all we identified some key themes to the topic. These themes were:

  • Cyber Culture- the culture that has emerged from technology.
  • Gamification- the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to
    other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
  • Social Media- websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

Then we went on to expand on each of these themes individually so firstly we have Cyber Culture. It is a relationship between science and cultural/ media studies that can be representations of human, technology and the future. An example of a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body, would be Terminator’s hand from T2, 1992 or even more recently Elysium with his exo-skeleton. another example of this would be Cyberpunk fiction which is a genre of science fiction set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology. A more iconic version of Cyber Culture would be the HAL 900 from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey an artificial intelligence system which used its controls of the electronic environment to try kill everyone, this may imply that when this was filmed in 1968 that the fear of what could go wrong with futuristic technology is trying to be shown in this movie as a sort of warning of what could happen in the future so they thought, its now 2013 and no robot has tried to kill us all. A final example would be games related as Artificial Intelligence system Angelina Project at Imperial College London was used for construction of the game which was achieved by creating tasks for the computer to complete so a self game designing AI.

Moving onto Gamification which is the Use of game techniques, styles and mechanics within a different context as its used to solve problems which apply to everyday life scenarios. Then I was introduced to some examples of Gamification which included: Pepsi, who used SoundOff a ranking leaderboard system to reward people for commenting their opinions on recent events which some was exclusively featured because of it in advertisements with the option to also share it on your social networking sites. Below is an image of Pepsi’s SoundOff.


An example of Gamification related to my course would be that one of my tutors has Gamification in his blog which when you return, read posts, watch videos and like posts you earn points to become his most favourite follower. Another example is an iPhone app called “Epic Win”, which is a task management app that rewards you based on tasks completed.

Then finally the topic of Social Media is covered. Social Media is the use of things like Facebook, Twitter and BBM (Blackberry Mail) to communicate socially to your friends and family. how has it affected how we interact? How will it shape the future? was two questions that was asked to everyone on the first slide, well we all know how much debate and conflict some of these social websites have caused with the freedom of speech element of posting whatever you type, yes it can be reported and taken down but its being able to get it out there in the first place which causes the issues. For example the London Riots 2011 the rioters used BBM to communicate to each other which was the only messaging service the police failed to check to try and discover who was behind the riots so Facebook and twitter etc. was all analysed for little to nothing in the way of information when it was all on BBM.

Another issue of an ethnical area is the controversy over the suicide rates of workers at the Foxconn production plant in China. Which is a free text messaging service for the iPhone with 1million workers covering 90million iPhone uses and 17 suicides due to poor working conditions at Foxconn.

This concluded the session with a couple of TED Talks to watch and write up about on the future of social media and future of gaming from Sherry Turkle and Jane McGonigal which I will do in a separate document.

Author: Jason Pook 3D

Current student at Hull School of Art and Design studying Games Design.

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