Research- “Video Games and Citizenship” article

First, the link to the actual article as found on the UB Libraries site. I accessed the version on Academic OneFile:

Entitled “Video Games and Citizenship,” this article is by authors Jeroen Bourgonjon and Ronald Soetaert. The copyright belongs to Purdue University Press.

I don’t know what exactly I’m researching yet. My ideas have mostly revolved around plots in games, and what makes some games as captivating as movies. Because of my extensive play, experience, and time working with the Mass Effect series as an example, I may focus more specifically on what it did correctly to engage gamers so intensely as it did, and perhaps even more interestingly, why the tremendous outrage over the ending, which topped most anger or dislike about movie ending that I know of, even occurred in the first place. Perhaps I may even look at the whole of the story itself and analyze it similar to how one would a novel or film and pick apart the ending to see if the popular “Indoctrination theory” is, in fact, the best way to understand the final events that occur in the game.

Yeah… I really do like that series, and will probably use it as the de facto example for most of my research. Though the fact is, I have been looking around for scholarly articles that might lead into a paper like that today and have been coming up mostly fruitless.

Anyway, this article focuses on how today’s youth are not unlike youth of any other time, and are using the technology and media available to them to adapt to the rapidly changing world around them. It explains how “games studies can thus provide insight in the impact of the new modes of community building”- by studying games, we can learn how today’s youth will go about building communities. Some of the discussed “communities” are the ones online in some of the games, such as those seen in WoW guilds.

Also, there is mention of findings that players in Fallout 3 more often than not made ethical choices that were similar to those they would make in real life. I had found a statistic that more people in Mass Effect 3 chose Paragon (heroic) actions rather than Renegade (“badass”) actions on the whole. Paragons spared more lives and had more friends, whereas Renegades were much more about the end justifying the means, and killing an irritating person or two along the way were acceptable losses.

This latter half of the essay hits on the morality of video game choices, which of course are a huge part of Mass Effect. There’s also a notion of justifying actions to the greater gaming community on forums “with fellow clan or guild members, opponents or just people who like the same games.” Interestingly, many glitches that make the game easier in ME3’s multiplayer, such as the missile glitch, which basically makes a player over-powered to the point where every enemy dies in one shot, are hated by most players. Therefore, you may know the missile glitch, but if you keep using it, no one will want to play with you in multiplayer, which creates a sort of “soft rule” as the article describes… it’s something one just does not do.

Lastly, there is a note at the end that games do not always influence players’ real lives. Some demonstrate a “critical apathy”- the game does not affect their real world lives much at all.

Most of the quotes in the passage above were taken from the text, but there were no page numbers to cite.


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