2010 the year we try to finish writing dissertations?

Last semester I was teaching 5 classes so I didn’t get much writing done. This semester I’m back to teaching only 2 classes so I am going to try to bang out drafts of the rest of this dissertation thing.
Of course that means I would have to look for a job and there aren’t many of those around at the moment…

For the next chapter I really want to get into what I’m calling “mixed-mode” communication. I’m interested in looking at how people will communicate both through computers (including things like phones even though I’m only focusing on gaming) as well as through non-computer mediated ways. How do people sitting near one another chose to talk over ventrillo or something and when do they talk directly to one another. Or when they might talk directly to one another but they are referring to something in the game like telling a teammate to go somewhere and using their in game character to point in the direction or something like that.

The Quiet Season

Quiet around here lately. I’ve been busy teaching 5 classes. I’m done teaching but I’ve got grading to do yet. I’m meeting with my advisers tomorrow and I hope they don’t yell at me for not writing anything this semester since I’m teaching so much. Mo’ money. mo’ problems…
I’ll post something more substantial soon. …ish

Girls are dumb… …according to Sony

So this guy’s girlfriend is so dumb she doesn’t notice the guy pushing buttons on the controller or that certain scenes keep happening over and over when he dies? Or are they saying that Uncharted 2 is full of long cut scenes? It is nice to see Sony stretching out and advertising games to new markets like straight white men… (seriously though who is this commercial for? Any guy watching it who might be remotely interested would already be interested in the PS3. Maybe it is just to generate general brand awareness?)

Is Gameloft videogaming’s version of The Asylum?

It isn’t much of a secret that I’m a fan of bad movies and one of the more infamous companies that make bad movies is The Asylum. They are the producers of a lot of films such as 18 Year Old Virgin, The Day the Earth Stopped, Snakes on a Train, The Terminators, and Transmorphers. As these examples show, The Asylym’s gimmick is that they think of a title that is similar to an upcoming film, make a film as quickly as possible, and get it into the video stores to piggy back on the original film.

Well, it seems like a videogame company has seen how easy it is for The Asylum to make money and has started making their own knockoffs. I was listening to the idle Thumbs podcast when one of the hosts mentioned Gameloft‘s “awesome” iphone games. Not having an iphone I can’t say if the phones are any good or not but I can’t help but think that they would be just as good as The Asylum’s films with titles like: Dungeon Hunter which I’m sure is nothing like Diablo,diablo

Blades of Fury which looks nothing like Tekken, tekken

Modern Combat: Sandstorm which looks nothing like Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat, cod4

Gangstar: West Coast Hustle which has no similarities to GTA: San Andreas, gta

and I’m sure that the fact that Guitar Rock Tour has a title so similar to Guitar Hero and Rock Band is just coincidental. rockband

Please tell me I’m not the only one hoping that Gameloft and The Asylum will hook up so we can get some games based on The Asylum’s films. That would be incredible.

Wasted away again — multiple games, multiple cultures

In the world of videogame studies there has been a lot written about Wow and MUDs and MOOs and fairly little written about FPS players so I’ve looked at the MMORPG stuff to see where it is similar to or different from my research interests.

I was listening to the latest episode of the podcast, A Life Well Wasted the other day and it got me thinking. If you don’t know, A Life Well Wasted is kind of like the This American Life of videogame podcasts. It is really good even if it doesn’t come out as often as I would like.

The latest episode is “Artists, Fans, & Engineers” has some great interviews with cosplayers and fanfic authors. Felicia Day’s work on The Guild has also been getting a lot of attention and in particular her song “Do You Want to Date My Avatar.”

Back in the 90s I participated in a comic book APA and did a little bit of comic book fanfic and I’ve read Henry Jenkins so I am familiar with fandom. I’ve never played WoW but I have played a little bit of City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online and I’m currently playing the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons Online. Through none of this experience, however, have I done much team questing and never joined a guild. My experiences with anime, manga, and jrpgs is also pretty limited. I’ve seen a few anime shows (I grew up with Robotech), I’ve read Lone Wolf and Cub, and I’ve played Final Fantasy 7 and part of 8. However, when it comes to a lot of these less popular jrpgs I am clueless.

I got to say, this kind of cosplay and fanfic just doesn’t happen in First-Person Shooters. Sure, there is some but it just isn’t at the level it is among the mmorpg and jrpg players. There are certainly reasons for this, more story, a different perspective so you can see your character and character customization, and so on. But because of this they really seem to attract different kinds of people. There is overlap of course but the hardcore mmorpg and jrpg players don’t tend to be hardcore fps players and vice-versa.

I think that perhaps we really need to stop thinking about “videogames” as a monolithic thing and about “gamers” as belonging to a single monolithic group. Just as figure skating fans and hockey fans don’t tend to be the same people despite the superficial similarities of the two, neither are mmorpg, jrpg, and fps players (there’s some gendered aspects to those sports and I don’t think it is a coincidence that female mmorpg and jrpg players are much more common than female fps players. However, that is a matter for another post at another time.).

I guess what I’m saying is that videogames aren’t the same and neither are the players.

Dissertation Chapter 2 Works Cited

I’m just about to turn in the first draft for chapter 2 of the dissertation. Here’s the unformatted works cited for it:

Ajana, Btihaj. “Disembodiment and Cyberspace: A Phenomenological Approach.” Electronic Journal of Sociology (2004). 16 Jul 2009 .

Ang, Ien. Watching Dallas: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination. Routledge, 1985.

Austin, Joe, and Michael Nevin Willard. “Generations of Youth: Youth Cultures and History in Twentieth-Century America.” Ed. Joe Austin & Michael Nevin Willard. New York: NYU Press, 1998. 1-20.

Bedford, Charles. “LAN Parties: it’s a scene, baby!.” loonygames 1998. 18 Aug 2009 .

Berger, Arthur Asa. “Eleven Ways of Looking at the Gulf War..” ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 51.2 (1994): 177-180.

Bird, Sharon R. “Welcome To The Men’s Club: Homosociality and the Maintenance of Hegemonic Masculinity.” Gender Society 10.2 (1996): 120-132.

Breckon, Nick. “Quake Live Open Beta Goes Live.” Shacknews 24 Feb 2009. 13 Jul 2009 .

Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay In Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Amelia Jones. New York: Routledge, 2003. 392-402.

Clark, Andy. Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Connell, R. W, and James W Messerschmidt. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender Society 19.6 (2005): 829-859.

Connell, RW. Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford University Press, 1987. .

Coyle, Karen. “How Hard Can It Be?.” Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace. Ed. Lynn Cherny & Elizabeth Reba Weisse. Seal Press, 1996. 42–55.

Csordas, Thomas J. Embodiment and Experience: The Existential Ground of Culture and Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Dovey, Jon, and Helen W. Kennedy. Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media. Open University Press, 2006.

Foy, Laura. “In Search of Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood Videos.” G4tv 12 Oct 2005. 23 Aug 2009 .

Friedman, Ted. “Civilization and Its Discontents: Simulation, Subjectivity, and Space.” On a Silver Platter: CD-ROMs and the Promises of a New Technology. Ed. Greg M. Smith. New York: NYU Press, 1999. 132-150. .

Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. 149-181. .

—. “Cyborgs and Symbionts: Living Together in the New World Order.” The Cyborg Handbook. Ed. Chris Gray. London: Routledge, 1995. xi-xx.

Hayles, N. Katherine. “The Life Cycle of Cyborgs: Writing the Posthuman.” The Cyborg Handbook. Ed. Chris Gray. London: Routledge, 1995. 321-334.

Jeffords, Susan. Hard bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era. Rutgers Univ Pr, 1994.

Jenson, Jennifer, and de Castell Susan. “What “real” girls play: Dispelling the myths of virtual
equality.” San Antonio, TX, 2004.

Kimmel, Michael S. “Rethinking Masculinity: New Directions in Research.” Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and masculinity. Ed. Michael S. Kimmerl. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1987. 9-24.

Kunzru, Hari. “You Are Cyborg.” Wired Magazine 5.2 (1997). .

Kushner, Davis. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004.

Leder, Drew. The Absent Body. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Levy, Donald P. “Hegemonic Masculinity.” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ed. George Ritzer. Blackwell Publishing, 2007. 22 Aug 2009 .

Lie, Merete. “Technology and Masculinity: The Case of the Computer.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 2.3 (1995): 379-394.

Lupton, Deborah. “The Embodied Computer/User.” The Cybercultures Reader. Ed. David Bell & Barbara M. Kennedy. New York: Routledge, 2000. 477-89.

Martin, Randy. Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self. New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1990.

Messner, Michael. “Boyhood, Organized Sports and the Construction of Masculinities.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 18.4 (1990): 416-444.

Pinckard, Jane. “Genderplay: Successes and Failures in Character Designs for Videogames.” Game Girl Advance 16 Apr 2003. 21 Aug 2009 .

“Release Information for Quake.” 13 Jul 2009 .

Schleiner, Anne-Marie. “About.” Velvet-Strike 20 Feb 2004. 21 Aug 2009 .

—. “Flamer Gallery.” Velvet-Strike 20 Feb 2004. 21 Aug 2009 .

—. “Sprays.” Velvet-Strike 20 Feb 2004. 21 Aug 2009 .

Stone, Allucquere Rosanne. “Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?: Boundary Stories About Virtual Cultures.” Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991. 81-118. .

Turque, Bill. “Erasing the Vietnam Nightmare.” Newsweek 4 Feb 1991: 67.

Wajcman, Judy. Feminism Confronts Technology. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr, 1991.

“Wolfenstein 3D.” 3D Realms. 18 Aug 2009 .