Hmm... Video Games and our conception of those who play them...


From Turkle's "Video Games and Computer Holding Power" we are presented with a few characters who play video games as a means to relieve stress, or to merge with a world that treats them differently from the every day world. What I hadn't noticed until now, though it is understandable, is that the characters she describes all seem to be under society's norms of being "anti-social." In the case of Jimmy this is so because he is conscious of his slurred speech, but other than them playing video games for their own purposes, Turkle does not try to defend this label with the bad connotation that pops in our minds-- most of our minds, at least-- other than when she describes the reasons for these characters to play video games. I used to play video games as a young kid; it was always a way to run away from the boredom of what real life entails. I don't truly know why I brought up the "anti-social" aspect of the article, but it did strike me as implied throughout the piece, and it bothers me because it makes these characters seem weird, and weird under our society is something we tend to not relate to. Which contradicts our society; our technology grows and with this we tend to use computers more, or play more video games, or whatever, but, we still tend to look at video game players and people who know more about technology than the rest as weird kind of outsiders; it bugs the hell out of me.

What I found interesting about this article was how people who use video games to lose themselves described their experiences; playing requires focus, concentration and skill and the gaming experience takes them to an exhilirating, out of body-esque, state of mind - "pure you. (pg. 512)"
Reading that makes it sound like a great way to feel...however, as you've said, there seems to be an anti-social element to it/the reading.
For me, it brought to mind any instance where I, or anyone else in the room tried to hold a conversation or catch the attention of the person who was playing a game. At that point, I would always get the feeling that I could stand on my head and sing the star spangled banner backwards, and he/she still wouldn't notice me. I guess what would be considered weird or anti-social is not interacting with those people in your immediate presence. And it isn't like television where the others can join in and it becomes a communal thing, I think involvement in gaming, requires prior, sometimes specialized, knowledge of the game.
One could argue that if it was another activity, say if someone was playing the piano, you wouldn't expect them to drop their piece just to talk to you either. However, with the piano, the piece would come to an end in a few minutes and it would then be your cue to step up and deliver whatever message you might have. Whilst with video games, those playing are hard put to stop or pause in the middle of the level, I guess it might be hard for them to come back to 'reality' but that's just what irritates me.

I blame old media for this. At least from my point of view, the idea of video-game addicts as anti-social was constructed from movies and television. I feel society is slowly stepping away from this idea, many of us can relate to hours of using technology.