Four pages into Galloway’s piece, I found myself reading, “Video games create their own grammars of action; the game controller provides the primary physical vocabularies for humans to pantomime these gestural grammars” to myself several times over as I tried to digest what it was really saying. This piece has been a lot to take in, but I did get a few thought provoking ideas from it. The main one, for me, is the idea of exploring the medium of videogames.
I was interested to read that the medium of videogames is whatever “electronic computational device” it is played on, and that the software downloaded to the machine “instructs the machine to simulate the rules of the game through meaningful action” (Galloway pg. 2). Until this point in the course, I have spent so much time looking into the psychological aspect of videogames referred to by so many of our readings that I forgot to even consider what vidogames really are: events that are controlled by sequences on an electronic device.
I liked that Galloway linked videogames with the term “action” so early on; it gave me something to think about as I read about how the player and machine “work together in a cybernetic relationship” to make things happen in the game. When videogames are looked at as a relationship between a player and a machine, and the immense popularity of the videogame is taken into account, one begins to wonder why humans find so much more joy in interacting with machines than interacting with each other, in the real world. What does this say about human nature?
I kept this in mind as I read that “code is the only language that does what it says” and looked back to an earlier paragraph that said that the player must “engage” the machine, and that “In our day and age, this is the site of fun” (Galloway pg. 5). (I apologize for all of the quotes; this piece was a little hard for me to read, so connecting quotes is the only way for me to be able to think clearly about what it’s trying to say). This connection is interesting because it seems to say that we, as people, prefer to interact with machines because our actions cannot be misread. While there is a lot of evidence that points to the popularity of videogames belonging to a way to relax after a long day at work, there could also be some comfort in knowing that one’s language will not be misinterpreted and that one will not misunderstand another person, which often leads to conflict. What are your thoughts on this?
Getting back to what I was saying earlier, it was refreshing to consider what the physical properties of the game itself have to do with human nature when so much time has been spent on looking at the abstract portions. I find that, sometimes, we get so involved with something that it becomes hard to see the larger picture, and end up missing large pieces of the whole. Galloway has brought me back to center and made me see a part of videogames that I failed to even notice before. Can anyone think of any other aspects of videogames that should be considered that should require futher investigation?