Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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CATS Log Book Entry 6- TED Talk- Sherry Turkle, Connected but alone?

This is the second of the TED Talks that we was asked to write up upon for further research as part of our “Contextualising Digital Cultures” topic about the area of “Futures”.

Sherry opened with her daughter texting her “you will rock” and went on to say I am a person who loves getting texts I am part of the central paradox but I will go on to say too many texts are bad for you. 20years ago she did her first TED Talk and was going to be on the cover of wired magazine for her work.

Those devices in our pockets are so powerful they don’t only change what we do but they change who we are. some quick examples are texts during work, school, meetings etc. which is referring to how texting is taking us away from the social aspect of life, the importance of real life connection and eye contact is key to build us as a human being, we are setting ourselves up for trouble. I strongly agree with this as I hate the idea that if I for example said to my friends “want to go play football at the park” that they would reply with through text message or some form of communication “im ok, we can just go on fifa” this is taking away social interaction we as human beings believe we are still interacting but when really we are hiding behind some form of screen so we are alone, and that is removing us from an important aspect of life which is interaction with other people/ social skills.

We are alone but together as we are connected through social networks, contacts, messages etc. but you only want to pay attention to the bits that interest you as if  you are hiding from each other. Sherry calls it the “goldilocks effect” not too far, not too close, just right its controlled to their liking, its a problem for the younger generation as they don’t develop any communicative skills. She talked to a 18 year old boy who texts for nearly everything and he said to her “…someday, someday, but certainly not now, I would like to learn how to have a conversation…” which makes you think what? how have you not got them skills its a aspect of life, and the answer is edit and delete and perfect what we say though social communications, conversation is now connection. People think that all those tweets, texts, posts add up to one big communication but they don’t as they remove the understanding and the learning of conversation with others effects the conversations we have with ourselves. Its so vital for children to interact with others to avoid segregation but if you would rather “text than talk” it allows people to chose to ignore you and that no one could be listening behind the technology.

Socialable robots is the term she used, we are losing so much confidence we think that the computers care for us that’s why things like Facebook are so appealing to make us feel like we are being listened too when actually its removing us. Its pretend empathy.

We now expect more from technology and less from each other, as technology appeals to us best when we are vulnerable so it gives is an illusion of companionship as we are afraid of real life companionship and its problems whereas the computer seems to be the centre of a perfect storm as we never feel alone. “Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved” but connection is a symptom rather than a cure it shapes a new way of being to try make yourself understand you rather than feeling we connect to try bring a feeling causing isolation.

“All we will ever know is how to be lonely” as the lives on the screen isolate you rather than make you communicate. I do agree with her to some extent as yes the devices are used to connect to others to talk but that doesn’t mean that us as people are becoming purely connected through these devices, I know I myself would rather talk to someone than text as it breaks down the barriers and allows you to bond with another people to create a friendship or possibly more. But if we recognise our vulnerability to technology then we will truly see that the virtual worlds are not truly us the human life is us.

If technology is used properly it can lead us into the future and our dreams it can make this life “the life we love”.

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CATS Presentation Evaluation

For my presentation I had to create a timeline of the history of gaming with key moments in that timeline with links to each topic. The 3 topics I chose was Pong, How Nintendo saved the Games Industry and The Evolution of the PlayStation. The key content that I addressed in my presentation was that each 3 topics are iconic in there own way and it works perfectly linked as without the previous topic the next wouldn’t have ever happened. Pong is the first commercially successful game which incidentally caused the beginning of the gaming industry, yes there was games before but Pong was the first one to be commercially successful making Atari Inc. the main runners in the games industry. Without Pong doing this Nintendo wouldn’t have come about as Nintendo entered the market originally with a variation of home pong on a home console.

Thus leading to my 2nd topic Nintendo saving the game community after the video game crash of 1983-85 with rules such as the Nintendo Seal of Quality and the limitation to 5 games a year to prevent flooding of the market which resulted in them dominating over 70% of the market. So this was probably the biggest turning point in gaming history.

Which then incidentally links to my final topic of Evolution of the PlayStation, without Nintendo saving the games industry this would have never happened but that’s not Nintendo’s only involvement in the PlayStation. Nintendo worked with Sony and Phillips to create a CD-ROM/ Cartridge system called the Play Station (notice the gap this is how Sony escape Nintendo’s grasp) but when the operation went sour Nintendo closed it but behind there backs Sony continued and launched a few systems, dropped the SNES port closed the gap in the name so Nintendo had no hold on the PlayStation. Which is now currently with the Ps4 the fastest ever selling console in the UK.  This outlines my PowerPoint briefly and points out key factors showing the links.

I felt like my presentation went well I turned up in a Christmas jumper and funny Santa glasses to lighten up the mood in the classroom before I began so people might be more engaged in my work. Once removed and professional I felt I delivered it well to the class, I must say I did stumble a few times when speaking and had to refer back to the screen for words but I tried to make as much eye contact with everyone to engage them in the talk. I used my own personal experiences with certain features to bring slight humour to the PowerPoint as it was quite information heavy and less visual but I still felt I made it work. Things I learnt from researching this topic was that I learnt that I myself do have a good knowledge about gaming history as most of my topics I knew enough detail about to expand on without script whilst presenting, things I gathered such as statistics and key facts were useful to help make an addition to my knowledge as its something I can use in the future being my chosen career path.

The improvements I would make on my PowerPoint would be mainly the way it was portrayed, I did feel when I was putting it on the projector that it was more text orientated than visual so if I included a few more pictures as a visual aid maybe it would have helped assist the talk better. Also I would like to improve on my personal presentation skills I was referring back to the screen a few times and this could have been avoided with say some little note cards of speech which would have given me a much more strong body language than I felt I had.

Other information I would include is a few videos to help me present, I did have a video on the PlayStation topic but due to timing I didn’t get chance to use it so if I cut down the information I could have shown some video with some narrative information. Other than that I felt for my topics that I covered them well in my script and presentation, I presented it like everyone in the audience was completely oblivious to what I was talking about so facts and information was all given to not a patronising level but an informative level.

I felt that I have learnt some very useful key statistics for my chosen topics which will definitely be relevant in my other work, I have learnt how to improve and mould my presentation skills to assist me to present in a better way should I need to present my work in the future, I learnt some interesting facts about the likes of how much Pong earned a day $400-500 which was un heard of in the coin operated system industry previously and things like a survey in the USA found that more of them recognised Mario to Mickey Mouse at the time of Super Mario Bros after the game crash. Overall I am really pleased with my outcomes from the presentation I felt I did a good job and gave the audience enough information as well as my own personal views/experiences to assist them to a more personal level of the information.


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CATS Log Book Entry 5 Addition- The Virtual Revolution- The Birth of the Internet.

As part of Session 5 of our CATS lecture, we watched a video called “The Virtual Revolution“. It is a documentary that the BBC made and the particular part that we watched dealt with “The Birth of the Internet“. The episode started talking about how the internet came to be, specifically, how businesses took advantage of the internet. But then it moved to the topic of how the internet collects and uses personal data.

It goes on to explain the internet and all its supposedly “free” aspects such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. But the video address and explains how they are a free service to us. Its all done by the world of Advertisements, websites and businesses need to get themselves out there and the most efficient way of doing that is by advertising your own business. amongst other ways such as:

The internet has dramatically impacted the business world in the last few years and this trend will certainly continue well into the future. Many companies have discovered the advantages of having a presence on the internet and have successfully addressed corporate objectives by integrating their web site as part of their business strategy.

A web site can generate awareness and provide a world-wide store front for your company while automating many business procedures 24 hours a day. Let tech help your company benefit from the many advantages listed below that are available with a well designed and marketed site on the World Wide Web.

Establish a presence– Over seven Million people have access to the World Wide Web with more and more added every day. Your business can’t afford to ignore this many potential customers. Become an active member of this new and growing cyber-culture by developing a web site. Your company can easily and inexpensively expand with a new store that is open 24 hours a day in one of the fastest growing cities in history.

Networking– Develop lines of communication that promote contact with potential clients and organizations. What an easy way to pass out hundreds or thousands of business cards advertising what you do and how your clients can contact you.

Provide business information– Like any printed form of advertising, your web site can post your business services, hours, location, phone and e-mail for the public to view, but unlike the traditional advertising mediums, your web site can have instant communication with information about your company that changes regularly. A restaurant may allow customers to check on reservations for availability, search the menu for vegetarian dishes, and see what the chef has posted as the special of the day to help them quickly make an informed decision. Information on how and why people should use your company, frequently asked questions, and more can all be just a few mouse clicks away.

Service your customers– Your customers can have access to business information and services that may not be available any other way. Your clients can be from anywhere in the world and shop in your store like never before and from the comfort of their homes. Even if you have a large inventory, anyone can easily and quickly search your database and locate the exact item that they were looking for and purchase it online.

Conduct business– A web site does not have to make money to be considered a successful endeavour, but it does not hurt to generate some type of income. Your web site can provide your customers with the tools needed to locate the exact product that they are looking for and the forms needed to purchase any item or service online. This can occur automatically without draining human resources 24 hours a day

Provide files to download– All pamphlets, brochures, advertisements, and even a demonstration video of your product or service can be down loaded from your web site. Anyone interested in your company will have access to files that can be designed to print beautiful informational brochures, complete with pictures of your staff, or tables and graphs of information about your company. These same files can have links to picture, sound, and video files to enhance your ability to deliver an interactive and effective introduction to your company’s products and services.

So Google is run by people paying more and more to become that related add at the top of Google when you search, otherwise you don’t rank as high as others in the advertisement ranking. The way that Google works and relates advertisements to you is through the method of Cookies. When Google was originally pitched it was pitches as an advertisement free service but it was quickly shunned as it would work the money would drain away from processing and funding it eventually shutting it down. Cookies use tiny mini internet spiders called meta- crawlers to gather up all your recent search history to give you the most related and specific advertisements e.g. I searched for a suit jacket in topman and soon as I went on my social network site Facebook page a advertisement on the right under “suggested adds” showed that exact suit I clicked on as a hyperlink to try get you back there. It is done by Google’s system called “Ad words” they also use a similar process to function your searches by matching your words typed with words in the site and views of the site etc. to tailor to your exact needs.

An example of an invasion of privacy is when AOL released a list of searches by 650,000 people using the AOL services. A journalist was then able to find out exactly who this person was just by using the information from the data released by AOL and a phone book. So even though legally they are required to protect your information in this case that was violated and everyone’s search terms were revealed.

Websites that involve shopping now use certain features similar to Googles “Ad words” for example Tescos do it to show you when you search for a product what other people bought alongside this item or what they viewed in similar products. This allows people to be sort of drawn towards other products that they may not have considered e.g. a TV is what you want but they suggest a stand or even a surround sound unit to go with you TV. Its all very clever and well organised.

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CATS- Critical Perspectives Task- GTA and Feminism.


GTA Then and Now still women’s role remains unchanged.

For my Critical Perspectives essay I am going to choose GTA V created by Rockstar very recently in 2013 and the issues surrounding how women are portrayed in the game.

GTA is a game that has caused much conflict with its challenging morals and different take on reality of the world where you can freely do pretty much everything you shouldn’t do in the real world. It is a game that involves you playing as your given characters to partake in violence, drug deals, heists, races, murder, assassinations, stock market manipulation and much more which is incredible illegal in real life as it is on the game but in a game you don’t have real life consequences, this particular game is the 11th instalment in the series although it is labelled GTA V (five) which makes it one of the most successful games franchises ever especially with the success of GTA V hitting 1billion in sales in just a week, people like to feel they can live a life of crime with no consequences and that’s this game despite much debate on its morals. But aside from the main protagonists which are incidentally 3 men, the role of women in this game is one that sparks much debate in the way of feminism. Women in this game are never portrayed as the protagonist and you never at any stage control a female character to play the game in the story mode. Females in the game are mainly seen as prostitutes, issues, and inferior.

Things weren’t looking good right off the bat. As errand boy gangster Franklin you quickly meet Tonya, a crack head who offers you sexual services to cover for her boyfriend by towing cars (services which you don’t accept). There’s also Franklin’s aunt who goes on powerwalks with other middle-aged women where they run and chant “I am woman, hear me roar!” The implication seems to be for the player to think “Hah, look how silly women are when they think they’re empowered!” its all purely sexist in its portrayal.

The ladies in the life of Michael, the retired bank robber, aren’t much better. There’s his wife, an ex-stripper who does literally nothing but scream at him every time she’s onscreen, and cheats on him frequently off-screen (tennis teacher and yoga teacher both resulting in Michael’s angry rampages). And there’s his daughter, obsessed with nothing but making it big on the reality show “Shame or Fame.” and was also caught in one mission by you Michael her father on what’s said to be a boat which shoots pornographic scenes which you pull her off to the anger of some gang members. Objectification of women is absolutely all over the portrayal of women in this game and its wrong.

Most of all shocking is when you first become the third of the playable characters which is Trevor and he is having sexual activities with a girl who has a boyfriend and when the boyfriend says he’s had enough of Trevor’s ways being aggressive he gets killed by several stamps to the head.

As time goes on you continue meeting psychotic women, like Mary-Ann, the fitness-addicted side-quest giver who you race as all three characters while she laments being 39 and childless she is self obsessed in her appearance and always speaks in a patronising tone of voice about how your character is a man and how men think. And of course there’s the funhouse full of strippers you can ogle as any of the three male leads, and if you’re charming enough, you can actually take them home, get their phones numbers and call them round for a free dance at anytime. online you can even charm them through you headset further getting you to speak in that way to women degrading them to try and pick them up for a dance. This could have effects on the real life as men who may have got too enthralled in the game may treat women and speak to them as the game has encouraged him to do causing much problems and harassment orders.

The only woman you would say is “normal” in the story would be the wife of Martin Madrazo who I met when I kidnapped her as the character Trevor and he eventually grows extremely fond of her threatening her husband the most powerful man in Los Santos to treat her good with a whimper as he walks away (showing a feminine side to him). Possibly the random women you retrieve purses for or vehicles when they have been stolen as they are extremely thankful and one even gave me 100,000 shares in her company and a free suit for my character.

Overwhelmingly the game has a terribly negative portrayal of women. But also the game has a terribly negative portrayal of men too. Really, the characters of Grand Theft Auto are all pretty awful people, no matter their gender. GTA 5 is no exception.


The introduction to be a playable female character in the online version of GTA V could be a sign that times are changing and maybe in the next instalment of GTA there very well could be a female protagonist as the question for this one was 3men surely there could have been one woman.

 “GTA V has little room for women except to portray them as strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humourless girlfriends and goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at.”- Carolyn Petit- GameSpot Reviewer.

In conclusion the overall view on women in GTA V is that of a demeaning nature as they try to portray the men as the superior sex in multiple different dialogues as previously indicated. Women are constantly objectified with sexual connotations and actions like the strip club and how easy it is to be talking to them in a degrading way due to the games encouragement. But its not all bad even thought the majority of women are portrayed in a sexist way the emergence of the playable female character in the online multiplayer could suggest changing times. This concludes my critical perspectives essay.


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CATS Log Book 7/8 Critical Perspectives

To conclude semester 1 of log books we did our final lectures on Critical Perspectives.

Our 7th and 8th CATS lectures were about “Introduction to Critical Perspectives”. This lecture began with some simple questions in relation to critical perspectives and its role in technology:

  • How do we use technology?
  • How do we interact with it? Physically? Mentally?
  • How does this effect us as a subject?

The definition of the subject is “a person or thing that is being discussed, described or dealt with” or “a thinking or feeling entity; the conscious mind; the ego, especially as opposed to anything external to the mind”. We then went back to the TED Talk that we watched by Sherry Turkle which I have already written about separately.

I then learnt that critical perspectives can be used to help develop analysis of society and culture. And we can identify key perspectives within cultural studies that can also help us to think about ourselves as subjects (producer/audience) and society. I We were then introduced to two key theoretical perspectives Psychoanalysis and Feminism.

This is where theory becomes a very large part of thinking critically as its such an important area for us to understand the history of the subject we study. We use the theory to help us to understand and then think critically about cultural production, its content and meaning. Critical perspectives give us the capacity to form our own thinking and make up a part of the toolbox of skills necessary to advance further.

At this point, we all split into groups and watched two game trailers. We were given two key theories and an image of the game to assist us with this. We then had to use our understanding of Critical Perspectives to analyse and study these theories in the image and videos then to feed back to the class our findings to collectively see what we may have missed. The games we were given were Silent Hill: Book of Memories for Psychoanalysis and Tomb Raider for Feminism.

My group came up with the following suggestions (with me trying my best through Skype due to my injury):

Silent Hill: Book of Memories

  • Creating a personal avatar – puts the player into a more personal state of mind that this is them in the game.
  • Avatars created resembled teenagers which means they are of an adolescent mind-set. Adolescent mind-sets are more easily manipulated, and this puts the player into that mind-set. It also suggests the target audience of the game.

Tomb Raider

  • There is a question as to whether the design of Lara Croft is objectifying women or if the design of Lara Croft causes her to be a feminist icon, this was due to the original first ever female character being large chested really skinny and overall a sort of sex icon which she still is.
  • Designed by men in the mid 90s, attitudes have changed since then so was it purely aimed to attract men.
  • In the newest game the latest instalment to Tomb Raider, Lara is designed to be attractive, despite being battered and bruised which makes her more relatable as she is no longer indestructible and perfect she really does take a beating most levels (spike through the head was the most gruesome of deaths I was involved in)
  • Appearance was changed to be more relatable for female gamers, from a large pointed chest perfect figure to a more natural beauty look.

Using critical perspectives will help in the analysis of most cultural artefacts as it helps you with:

  • Representation
  • Stereotypes
  • Character Design
  • Narrative
  • Concepts/Motifs
  • Experience
  • Genre and Stylisation
We can use cultural theory/ critical perspectives to help us understand and think critically about cultural production, its content and meaning.

At this point, we were introduced to Sigmund Freud. Freud was an Austrian Psychiatrist. His career in psychology is very important as he invented the therapy of psychoanalysis. Freud graduated from medical school in Vienna in 1881. Freud’s ideas in the field of psychoanalysis continued until being forced to leave Austria to seek refuge from the Nazis. He moved to London in 1938.

We went on to cover what exactly psychoanalysis is. This can be summarised by the following quote.

“Psychoanalysis is a theory of the human mind, a therapy for mental distress, an instrument of research and a profession. A complex intellectual, medical and sociological phenomenon”- Ivan Ward and Oscar Zarate, Introducing Psychoanalysis, 2000

We learned that over time, Psychoanalysis has shown:

  • The relationship between sexuality and human motivation
  • The hidden meanings of psychological events
  • The importance of childhood
  • Psychic conflict as part of the human condition

We then were introduced to two notable feminists, Linda Nochlin and Griselda Pollock. They are both “Feminist Art Historians”. We learned that analysts in feminist circles suggest that the cultural system and it’s writing of history have institutionalised sexism. We also were introduced to the concept that the very idea of “The Artist” and “Art History” could be viewed as a construct of masculine nature. The idea behind feminist theory is that female artists are and have been ignored and “written out” of cultural history.

What is feminism?  well its the issue of rights for women first became prominent during the French and American revolutions in the late 18th century. In Britain it was not until the emergence of the suffragette movement in the late 19th century that there was significant political change. A ‘second wave’ of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood; seminal figures included Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer. Feminism still continues today with push for rights in workplaces and pay amongst other things.

We then looked at exactly what feminism is. The definition of a feminist is “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. We then learned that gender is largely a social construction and feminism allows us to think more critically about these stereotypes.

In relation to games and new media, these following quotes illustrate the current state of gender in the games industry.

“Today there is a ‘general recognition that things are more complicated in terms of games and gender and that the older stereotypes are often being perpetuated by the games industry and a certain hardcore contingent of players but do not reflect actual player demographics or interests.”- Steven E. Jones, The Meaning of Video Games, 2008

“Despite the increase of female players and women entering the industry, the stereotypes and the industry itself still need major renovations.”- Casell and Jenkins (1998) / Kafai et al (2008):

An example of a feminism and how its portrayed in a video game would be that of Mario, in Mario he is always on the hunt to save Princess Peach a beautiful blonde haired princess who is captured by a big bad guy. This is stereotypical that the man needs to saved the woman as she’s too frail and cant save herself. It is the video game industry that is still using these questionable stereotypes in certain games, only up until Lara Croft the lead female role in Tomb Raider was a woman portrayed as the hero and used as the lead character.

This concluded our final log book lecture as in proceeding weeks we are presenting our presentations of gaming timelines to the class. I learnt that some things I just didn’t pick up on in games like the role of women are actually there if you look properly, a little further research I did on this was women’s roles in Grand Theft Auto none of them are lead and they are all objectified or portrayed as weaker than the main antagonists, this being a already controversial game with its content has given me another angle to pick problems at now when previously I thought nothing of it.


CATS Log Book 6- TED Talk Jane McGonigal The Future of Gaming.

This is an addition to my Log Book 6 as further research on the “Futures” topic in our Contextualising Digital Culture series. This video is  TED Talk from Jane McGonigal who talks about the Future of Gaming and how it can make a better world.

Her name is Jane McGonigal she is a Games Designer who has been in the industry for 10years, she opens with a statement of what she wants to do which is “to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is in a online game” from her research she found out the world plays 3billions hours of gaming a week but that is actually no where near enough to be solving all the worlds problems, the world doesn’t game enough. Sounds mad as most people have a lot to do outside the world of gaming but she wants 21billion hours of gameplay every week which is 7times the current amount if we are to survive the next 100years on earth.

A phrase she used to describe an image of a captured game face of a gamers on the very of an “epic win” an epic win is a term I use a lot in my gaming time as it refers to a huge/ awesome success in your gameplay its a shock of your capabilities in game, recently for me it was finally defeating the Master difficulty on Resogun PlayStation 4. This was used to contrast the face of people who solve the real worlds problems which we see as a bore as its not as much as a “epic win” as in the game world, I think this insight is a fantastic way at looking at things the passion of “epic wins” achieving what you think is the impossible why cannot that be used to bring out the best of us in the world today. Collaborations in games of how 100000’s of people are ready online to assist you in your future endeavours, like a quest on a massive online multiplayer role playing games people from all over the world might want to join you due to their particular skill sets. We don’t get that enough in real life.

Another quite humour related thing she said was the level up reference, in games we level up e.g. +1 strength +1 vision etc. so we have a sense of achievement every time we play games which gives us progression, whereas she said “im not going to go off the stage with +1 speaking +1 crazy ideas…+20 crazy idea you don’t get that in real life”. Its so inspiring to be on the verge of a epic win people spend so much time gaming to achieve that so if that was incorporated into real life achieving.

The 10,000 hours of success theory was then mentioned, referring to research that young gamers now play by the age of 21 on average of 10,000 hours of gaming so this is a parallel education to school. So what do gamers achieve and what they learn? well gamers are always made of these 4 superpowers:

Optimistic: they always think an “epic win” is possible.

Social fabric: gamers take a lot of trust to collaborate and work with someone else so collaborations in real life are much easier for gamers it builds stronger co-operation.

Blissful productivity: we know when we play a game we are more happy to work hard than relax on something we want to focus and be inspired into.

Epic meaning: gamers want to be world saving heroes so meaning to life with an epic objective will bring the best out of people who game more.

Gamers are “super empowered hopeful individuals” they believe and want to save the world but are confused to think they can only do it in the game world when they can do it in the real world with these 4 superpowers combined.

“We have to make the real world more like a game” I cant help but want to jump up in joy at this statement from her, gamers are so underestimated in all areas of life and sometimes are shunned or rejected due to their gaming activities when its actually games have been proven to increase all your reactions and give you these superpowers as Jane said so we are the future of the human race. Games are used to get away from all the worlds bad like hunger, famine, drought, disasters etc. what she references is making a world real life game where everyone is given a adventure from e.g. a roll of a dice it will give them a sense to achieve the “epic win”.

She rounded up with 3 survival real life simulated games which the first one was “world without oil” where they use your current location to gather feeds of data about cost of oil and what you have to do is solve how you can live without oil “if you emerge them in an epic adventure most of the players keep up the habits they gain in the game”, the 2nd was “the global extinction awareness computer” it made everyone collectively decide on the future of energy, health, food, security and social safety net it made people come up with over 500 insanely inventive ways of the human race future, and finally the 3rd game is “evoke” “if you have a problem, and you cant solve it alone, evoke it”- African proverb. If you complete the game you will be certified by the World Bank Institute as a social innovator working with universities all over Sub-Saharan Africa to imagine there own world saving social enterprises.  All these games are simulations of getting people to achieve the “epic win” in a simulated real life situation, especially with the last game making you a certified social creative is fantastic.

“Gamers are a human resource that can be used to save the world”. Let the world changing games begin.

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CATS Log Book Entry 6

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.