Does Technology “save us” or “condemn us”?

I found Bogost’s  essays very interesting. It is refreshing to read these published works about something I regularly enjoy. To see people who truly hold Video Games to a high standard, a standard of a piece of art or music. Ian truly sees video games as a Medium not as a ‘foolish game’.

That brings me to the early thought of, does technology save us or condemn us, specifically video games? I found it rather difficult to wrap my head around, on one hand there are several arguments against them. Such as, violence in games affecting youth as well as an accumulation of non-activity that can lead to childhood obesity. But on the other hand, Ian’s hand, video games can offer much positivity. For example, in video games one can not only experience music, strategy, creation, and narrative but participate and influence those things. Video games can offer experiences and feelings not available through other mediums.

I think that video games can ‘save us’ if respected for their potential importance if used correctly. What I mean is, say someone plays “Battlefield” and their true motive is too engage in a competitive battle and express their  strategic side. That would be using the medium properly, but say someone plays “Battlefield” because they are tempted to bring harm to others and the game allows them to do that. That would be an abuse of the medium, but unfortunately there are those that are unable to see this clearly. But if used properly, one can do many enjoyable, great things with Video Games.

I leave you with this, although there is much negativity towards violent games such as GTA or COD. What are some positive uses for games of that nature? Does the positive outweigh the negative?


4 thoughts on “Does Technology “save us” or “condemn us”?”

  1. Very interesting insight on this particular subject! I think the premise to your question is valid but maybe we’re asking the wrong questions when it comes to this subject matter! I believe there is no way to get a straight answer from these questions, because opinions vary vastly depending on various parameters! I think the violence in video games is no different than in the movies, so the question comes down to what filters can be placed between a child and these types of mediums? I believe the true answer is those of us that are in positions to monitor, parents, teachers, counselors, and etc. great prologue into a much greater subject area.

  2. We often ask this question about technology. We ask it of all kinds of media, including video games. Plato’s dialogue, “Phadreus,” ponders the negative effects of writing as a technology. We have burned, banned, and censored books. Spending your days reading books will make you fat just as quickly as playing video games, so will watching TV. But it’s not just media that spurs this question about technology. Genetics, computers, industrialization, nuclear energy, military technology: there’s hardly a technology one can name that hasn’t inspired this question.

    In a way, it’s a good question, I think. We need to consider the ethical dimensions of technology. What technologies should or shouldn’t we pursue? What are the appropriate uses of these technologies? What are their cultural and environmental effects? How might we use technologies to address injustice, poverty, climate change, and so on? How might they foster “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” assuming such things are still important to us? On the other hand, when we ask if a technology is good or bad, we are asking a poorly phrased question. That’s a question that makes faulty assumptions about the relationship between technologies, cultures, and people. Technologies do not exist in a separate realm from culture and humans exerting some external, predetermined effects.

    Since the Columbine shootings in 1999, the subject of video games and violence has been in the public discourse. Obviously it is a common subject for this course. The research on whether or not video games make people more aggressive is mixed. Assuming that playing video games does make some people feel more aggressive, we then have the question of how that feeling translates into action, if it does at all. We then have to ask whether that action rises to the level of violent behavior and under what other conditions that violent behavior emerges. For example, the topic of videogame violence most commonly arises in relation to mass school shootings, like Columbine, and more recently in Santa Barbara and Seattle. What’s interesting though is that the vast majority of these events have occurred in the US. So why not say “being American” causes violent behavior?

    When we ask if technologies save us or damn us? Empower us or dominate us? Kill us or extend our lives? Make us happy or sad? The answer is always “yes and no.”

    Here are better versions of the question about violence and video games:

    -How does videogame play affect brain function in the short and long term?
    -How can we describe the sociocultural practices that emerge in gaming communities?
    -What role should governments play in the regulation of media, including video games?
    -How should the gaming industry regulate itself to provide its consumers with the information they desire about game content?
    -What role might schools play in helping students understand their own gaming experiences?
    -What beneficial role might gaming play in schooling?
    -Why are videogames designed the way that they are?

    You’ll note that none of these questions asks for a moral judgment, because in the end research cannot tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. Research can only help us make hopefully better-informed decisions.

    When you look at the beginnings of philosophy, there are a couple of basic questions that get asked, e.g. “Why is there something rather than nothing?” The fundamental question at state here is “What is the good life and how do we live it?” In that question you should take “the good life” to mean both a life of happiness and a moral life. We seem to be living in a time of instability: environmental, economic, political, and technological. Our focus in this class is mostly on that last item. How should we live in a digital age? Video games are just one part of that equation.

    1. “The good life”, I like the sound of that. I agree with you, that it is not the Video Game that correlates to the aggressive action. I fell as though the children (and sometimes parents) growing up now are less respectful and sociable. Maybe the result of technology creating an express lifestyle, where everything is done within seconds has diminished our realization of consequence. Meaning, were not as likely to think about our actions, and how they would affect others. I fear technology has made us more technological, people are cold, unaffected by the well being of others, like a computer. Don’t get me wrong, I think technology has done wonders for the human race. I just think that we have made technology our life instead of just part of it.

  3. This is a thought I encountered during my readings as well. With the connection to videogames and obesity, that is a trap you can allow yourself to fall into of you are not careful. If you allow games to overrule your life, you will be avoiding the necessary benefits of reality that keep you healthy. Although, there are now specific games to help motivate and prevent this like “Just Dance” and yoga on the WII helping people involve themselves in physical activity. As for violent games, I agree that the intention of playing violent games is somewhat a part of the issue. But also, just like movies and viewing media that has violence, this enables us to be aware of the negative lifestyles that could provoke certain people to be violent in their actions especially when they are angry.
    I do not believe that videogames with violence should be viewed in a negative way because certain games can have specific benefical traits, as Bogost and McGonigal mention, that have a goal it allows us to reach, artist qualities, and even allowing us to use the concept of gaming structures in schools as a way to educate and push kids to reach goals.

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