A little comedic interlude from all the serious talk of public policy, journalism and government.
With the financial system collapsing, the newspapers folding (and this democracy ending) and all things generally going poorly I am pleased to know that the hours I logged playing Doom in college will – contrary to my RAs admonitions – serve me well.
Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?
(It’s been a good, but long hard week – here’s something fun to close out the week and kick off the weekend)
I remember first hearing about Guitar Hero back in 2003 (I believe). A friend of mine was visiting his friend who happened to be a video game reviewer and had an early edition of the game. He said it was the most fun he’d had in a long time… and I thought he was crazy. I was thinking, no one is going to play this game.
Could I have been more wrong? Probably not.
I’ve just returned from Ottawa and Toronto where friends in each town have Rockband and I’ll admit, I’m hooked. Trust me, this is both a video game AND the salvation for rock and roll. It’s like karaoke on steroids. Everybody thinks they are going to hate it, and everybody ends up loving it. The secret is that they’ve found gateway songs and instruments to get people hooked.
Take me for instance. I, and I suspect many others, was initially a Rockband snob. I preferred the drums (delusional in believing they were somehow more “real” than the guitar – a thought I haven’t completely let go of). Heck I’m still way to “cool” to pick up the mic (and nobody wants to hear me sing, trust me). But I did pick up the guitar for the first time the other day – so I believe the “drums” may just be a gateway instrument to get us snobs hooked on the game at which point we eventually crossover and experiment with other instruments…
Either way, I’m hooked. And, there are about 15 classic 80’s and 90’s rock songs I haven’t even thought about in years (some of which I never really cared for) that are now rattling around in my head. Am I thinking about getting on itunes and buying them? Well… er… (cough)… maybe… yes.
Consider yourself warned. You may think you’re above Rockband. Trust me, you’re not.
As many of you know I’ve recently become an owner of a Nintendo Wii – that fun games console you control, not by pressing buttons, but my using a motion controlled wand (e.g. when you play video game golf, you actually swing the wand like a golf club). Needless to say it’s hilarious and fun.
One interesting feature of the Wii is that it allows you to download channels that bring content to you via your console. One of these is the Everybody Votes channel. This channel offers up a constantly updated set of questions – such as “Graffiti is…: Urban Art or Defacing Property?” – on which you vote. What makes it particularly interesting is that you get to see the result broken down by gender, province, country, etc…
Obviously, the survey data gathered by the Everybody Votes channel is deeply skewed and not representative of the population as a whole. But I think this is also what makes it so interesting.
For example, recently, the program asked the question “Which is worse to have stolen from you: Things or Ideas?”
Interestingly 50.6% of participating Canadian Wii users selected “Ideas.” So just over half of Canadian Wii users believe it’s worse to have recognition for an idea stolen than it is a tangible, likely fungible, asset.
Young people valuing ideas over things? Video-gamers valuing ideas over things? Could be a sign of the creative economy – where one’s ability dream or mash up new ideas is what’s valued most. I’m willing to bet that most Wii users are young professionals acculturated to this new reality.