Reading Response to “A Rape in Cyberspace”

Julian Dibbell’s “A Rape in Cyberspace” brings up the rammifications of violence in a “non-violent” space. It is hard (for me at least) to define the scope and depth of digital violence. If you say something online, there are chances that you don’t mean it and are being sarcastic. However, it’s hard to note that you are being sarcastic without explicitly saying so (through the use of tags, an emoticon placed after the statement, or a direct statement right after you state it). With violence, you generally don’t get this kind of leeway.

I feel that there is a distinction between narrative and extra-narrative violence, even though I am unsure about the latter term’s definition. Narrative violence is one sided, there is nothing you could do about it but absorb it and define how you feel about it.

Extra-narrative violence, as I understand it, is another matter, as you are seeing it unfold right before your eyes as opposed to having it be completed before you read it. Extra-narrative violence has a bigger impact on your emotions and allows for you to interact with the environment. You have a chance to shape the narrative and stop the violence. You can also partake in the violence and make the situation even worse. It’s not set in stone, allowing for a range of actions and resulting effects.

Game Culture Watch #2

My beat is http://www.vggen.com, and it’s been updated since last time with more reviews for new games.  Under the “Top stories” category are the reviews for D1 Grand Prix and One Piece Carnival.  Actually, I found this rather odd because after reading both articles, the reviewers stated that both games were awful.  In addition, these games weren’t hyped-up games so I don’t understand why these articles were considered the top story.

In addition, there are four more articles under the “Top stories” section that I assume still qualify as top stories.  One of them is the World of Warcraft article I wrote about in my last entry.  The second one is a new one, and it is a review for Blade Dancer: Lineage of Light.  While I’ve never heard of it, I do suppose it is rather unique because it is a RPG for the PSP.  Normally, you wouldn’t associate a hand-held system and a long RPG, so I suppose it’s good news for RPG fans who own a PSP.  In addition, it got a reasonable rating of 7/10, so it must be a decent game in its own regard.  The next two articles are about Rayman Raving Rabids and Madden NFL 07, which are both previews.  This is somewhat relevant, because it shows how game developers are getting lazy and repeatedly releasing the same games with slightly new content.  This is probably because of the immense cost of developing a game from scratch, and the inherent risk of developing and publishing a game with no predecessor.

There are also six subgenres with less important news (in this particular sites point of view) that cover the latest news, latest reviews, latest features, latest previews, upcoming releases, and latest media.  Most of these subgenres are pretty straightforward, but I thought that it was interesting how four out of the five articles in latest features involved World of Warcraft.  I suppose anyone with any interest in game culture should keep a close on WoW, given its obvious impact on the gaming community.

In any case, I can literally go on forever given how much content is on this site, so I suppose I won’t delve into the million reviews that are on the site.

Game Journal #3

I am getting very tired of the characters in Final Fantasy X-2.  From a marketing point of view, I suppose that the developer felt having scantily clad women would be a strong selling point.  However, I can now assert that this seriously distracts from the gameplay.  Perhaps it is also loosely connected to why men are usually the main characters of most video games.  Simply put, I am embarrassed to play this game.

Quite frankly, scantily clad polygons dancing around on the television don’t turn me on.  However, they are most definitely capable of making me feel distinctly uncomfortable.  A couple of days ago, my roommate came home and watched me play for a couple of minutes.  His first comment to me was, “Dude this is the gayest game I’ve ever seen in my life, why are you playing as that skanky ho.”  I believe that this is very significant to why games have primarily male characters.  I could load up Grand Theft Auto and murder old people, and he probably would have said something along the lines of, “that’s freaking awesome.”  There is something distinctly embarrassing and “unmanly” about playing the opposite sex when she is so blatantly, for lack of a better word, “girly”.  For example, playing a female character in Resident Evil doesn’t elicit any such remarks, because there is nothing overtly feminine about her.  Sure she may have breasts, but she’s also a tough soldier that takes on hordes of zombies without fear.  Same thing with Metroid, because while every knows that Samus is a female, no one even seems to notice.  For all intents and purposes, these characters seem to be males with breasts.   In contrast, the characters of FF X-2 feel the need to hop up and down, bend over to reveal their breasts, and make seductive comments.  However, i find it interesting that I  probably would feel no discomfort if the characters of FF X-2 didn’t make such conspicuous efforts to assert their femininity.
Ultimately, my experience with my roommate made me realize how much uncomfortable it can be to play a game featuring a teenage girl.  In any game with a storyline, the designer is trying to make the player associate himself/herself with the main character.  Unfortunately, becoming a 13 year old girl every time I load up FF X-2 just felt a bit odd.  On the bright side, it can be very amusing.  I’d be lying if I said I hated every moment of the game, because I sometimes break out into laughter after some of the ludicrous statements that the characters make.  It’s hilarious to see what these designers think girls act like.  Or perhaps that is how girls act in Japan.  I have no idea, but this was the foremost thing in my mind when I played FF X-2 this week.