Player Profile Dungeons and Dragons Online
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Transnational Player Profile

Attack! I yelled as we were thrust yet again into another battle against the dreaded Kolbolds. With a moment of pause at hand, we took a rest at the shrine to heal and replenish our war torn bodies. It was then when I began to learn a little bit more about the human paladin whom I had met a mere hour ago, and completed nearly all my quests within the beginning sequence of Dungeons and Dragons Online.

This Paladin, or Pally, was a very interesting and unique player who I got to know better through running several other dungeons/instances and interviewing him while we played. The Pally is from Cairns, Australia located in the state of Queensland; a coastal city on the North East side of the continent bordering the Great Barrier Reef. He is in high school an upperclassman, and is currently in the fourth term of this school year, which began on October 5, and ends December 11[1]. Upon discovering the nationality of my interviewee I immediately began discussing my experiences with soccer or football for the Aussies. For him, football is a national pastime and nothing would be greater for him or his country if Australia could make it to the world cup finals. I discussed several other leagues I knew in Europe and we named key star players sharing stories from games we had seen, or played. He was surprised that an American knew so much about international soccer, although I do admit that my knowledge of Australian soccer players was a bit lacking. He told me that his favorite player on the current Australian National team was Tim Cahill who also plays for the English club Everton. Along with football he enjoys other sports such as Rugby, but enjoys soccer more because he plays on a competitive team. Undoubtedly other interests of his include several popular video and computer game titles. We discussed our shared experience on WOW or World of Warcraft and the differences between the two games. In his opinion, while Dungeon and Dragons is a raw instance and quest game, WOW allows for more exploration with a more engaging game engine allowing for easier game play. He discussed however some of the other perks in DOD such as multi-classing and the online Store in which you can buy gear or experience to boost your character outside of game play. Personally, we disagreed on the aspect of store points but were able to see why both systems can be helpful. He had also played other Massively Multiplayer Online games such as Warhammer and Star Wars the Old Republic.

Being from the city of Cairns and right next to one of the greatest natural wonders of the world much of Pally’s time is not spent on the computer but rather in the ocean. He enjoys going to the beach, and hanging out with friends just like any other teenager searching for his niche in the world. He told me of the beautiful water and reefs he has been around all his life. I asked him why he had been on so recently if he did spend much of his time at the beach, and he explained the current situation. He warned me that if I was to ever travel to Cairns and swim at this time of the year it could be deadly. From October till May box jellyfish migrate through the city’s coastal waters. He told me that the potency of one jellyfish’s sting contains enough poison to kill three adults. Certainly something to keep in mind and a very hand tip! He expressed to me his taste in music and told me about QMusic[2] a company dedicated to providing Queensland with events and concerts that promote Australian artists.

From here I tried to redirect his attention to issues of more political and socioeconomic relevance, and ask questions regarding Australia’s outlook towards the online gaming community. Overall, he told me that the freedom of speech and thriving economy of Australia allows for the online gaming community to slowly grow with new and exciting games as it does in America. He explained from his knowledge no laws or regulations are placed against the internet, or games allowed to be played by Australian citizens. However, upon further research it seems there has been legislation and growing support for internet censorship within the Australian government[3]. When I asked him if he regularly played in internet ‘cafes’ or similar venues he said not normally but enjoys playing online with friends that he has in real life. Similar to many players he began playing at first with friends in his home town and then expanded on his own to other games and genres. The first MMORPG he can remember playing, or of the sort is an older Java game called RuneScape[4]. This game was free as DDO is, and it allowed him to communicate, compete, and have fun with his friends after school.

He had many motivations to play but clearly the catalyst was his first introduction into RuneScape. This free-to-play game allowed him to understand and uncover the world of MMO’s and basic ranking systems[5]. This allowed for an easy switch for him when introduced to new versions of MMO’s and eventually the WOW engine. The main reason for his switch to DDO was the simple fact that he was ‘burnt out.’ The same repetitive actions, and similar questing bored him, and he needed a change in game. He had heard of DDO and made the switch. His friends and he soon became very intrigued in the multiclass system and idea of being the first wave of characters to reach the maximum level cap of 20. This of course did not deter him from experimenting with other characters, or alternates to his main, in which I met him in the beginning city of Korthos Island. He is in a very active guild on a different server, but enjoys the escape of leaving his guild mates and soloing or meeting random people to group up with. When I asked him how often he played weekly he described to me the situation of a struggling high school student having to cut back on play time to catch up on school work and the constant internal battle of whether to study for an hour or go on a raid. He did enunciate as he has gotten older his game play time has been cut back, due to other extracurricular activities. This finding is particularly interesting as it goes against the results shown in “Who plays, how much, and why?” which states that older players are playing at higher rates than younger people who are “thought to have more free time.[6]” This particular case may be a bit skewed, from my own personal experience the pre-college work at the end of my high school career took away a lot of ‘free’ time.

When I further endeavored into the idea of transnational play and the fact that we both were from different countries he seemed somewhat unsure of what I meant. He told me since he was little and his first days on RuneScape he remembers playing with Dutch, Russian, and other foreign players, whom were all for the most part very helpful. It seems that he has been immersed into transnational play since he was young, and enjoys the idea of others from across the globe interacting and communicating with one another to benefit each other. I asked him had he ever encountered any rude or offensive behavior from foreign players and his reply was “Yes of course I have! But the truth of the matter was that it has nothing to do with where the person was from, because no matter what their will always be ---holes trying to ruin your day.” He further explained how several of his better friends online and in his guild are players from other countries. He told me that without several of them key facets of his guild wouldn’t work or even function. There is one issue in which he thought would be hard to factor and that was communication between players speaking different languages. He noticed that for several games he was locked into English speaking only servers; however, in other games such as RuneScape, he could enter into a Dutch, or Aussie world and expect any player to speak a multitude of languages. Many players on the Aussie world would speak Dutch to him and he was unable to understand them. This communication gap is a valid problem and should be addressed as games begin to incorporate a plethora of languages across the globe.

This is a screenshot of the final quest we played together in front of the Lighthouse in Stormreach Harbor. This is my rouge dwarf Kiefing Ghost on the Khyber server. I couldn’t figure out how to turn of the HUD.

 



[1] Queensland Government Education Department’s Website, The State of Queensland (Department of Education and Training) Copyright 2000; Date accessed: October 31, 2009

http://education.qld.gov.au/public_media/calendar/holidays.html

[2] Queensland Music Network Incorporated, 2008, Site created by Tim Nilsen Graphic Design; Date accessed: October 31, 2009

http://www.qmusic.com.au/dsp_content.cfm?contentID=26

[3] Electronic Frontier Australia, a group promoting free speech online, 2009, website explains legislation regarding censorship in Australia; Date Accessed: October 31, 2009

http://www.efa.org.au/Issues/Censor/cens1.html

[4] RuneScape – MMORPG, Jagex Ltd. Copyright 1999-2009, created by Andrew and Paul Gower; Date accessed: October 31, 2009

http://www.runescape.com/title.ws

[5] RuneScape list of skills taken from RuneScape Tips Website, Copyright 1999-2009; Date accessed: October 31, 2009

http://www.tip.it/runescape/?page=skill_guides.htm

[6] Who Plays How Much and Why? Caplan, Scott; Williams, Dmitri; Yee, Nick: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; Date accessed: October 31, 2009


Collabroartive Educational Gameplay
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 Using something as common as a cell phone, students in Singapore are able to learn and play with each other. A game called EcoRangers uses collaborative game-play to “help students practice skills of relevance [according] to the social studies syllabus for Grades 9 and 10.” The game was written specifically for educational purposes and was first tested from March-July 2004. The article itself was published in 2008 after post-fieldwork activity and includes a pedagogical strategy known as the “structured academic controversy,” which is a debate in which learners ask open-ended problems from a variety of perspectives.

                The “trialling” or testing was done in three secondary schools, among 50 Grade 9 students participated. The students went through “two distinct fieldwork tasks” in which they used a Nokia6600 in order to task to play against the other member of the pair of the selected students who were going to play that day. The overall purpose for this study was to advance the development of educational and social play within the world of modern technology. The Games-to-Teach Research Team at the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggested that games in this context should be designed by identifying “that information should be used to address complex problems in simulated environments and that choices and consequences should be provided in these simulated worlds.” The collaboration between these students truly helped them learn not only in the educational world but social situations as well.

Collaborative handheld gaming in education

http://rmjacobs2008.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/collaborative-handheld-gaming-mobile-phones.pdf


Free Realms vs. Other MMORPG's
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 Free Realms in itself is a simple game designed mainly to introduce younger inexperienced players into the complicated world of MMORPG’s and the user interface involved. When comparing Free Realms to DDO or WOW, it is easy to see that the user interface is very similar, with movement based on the A,S,W,D keys and with camera movement based on clicking and holding the right mouse button. Similarly the interface can be changed in options mode, adjusting mouse or look sensitivity. The key “training” of this game comes with the attacking based style similar to that of many MMORPG’s. The number keys are the characters used to initiate attacks and fight other characters. In both MMORPG’s you have to be facing the character you are fighting while pressing the attack after it has “refreshed.” This concept of forcing players to face and press buttons, according to timing is the key factor involved in becoming a better/more skilled player, making it easier to level up in more challenging MMORPG’s. This user interface trains children from a young age in the complicated style of MMORPG’s making their adaptation into future projects, with monetary benefits as supposed to “free” realms, an easier switch and the game more fun with easily adaptable controls.

In both games the idea of questing, and interaction with NPC’s is essential. Although Free Realms allows you to specialize in almost any quality, with no specific class, DDO assigns a class most players try and specialize in; however, similar to the mass specialization of FR, DDO allows players to level up in multiple classes allowing for them to specialize in several different areas and creating a more complex and definitive game world. In both games rewards are earned from NPC’s and quest must be turned into them once finished.

Concerning the chat log, I realized that the censorship within FR is substantial. No number characters are allowed nor spelling the number out as a word. You are unable to copy text from the chat window in FR, possibly preventing the entry of younger kids into an inappropriate website or allowing a virus or hack to occur. The FR world is very protective of their young audience as they should be; many legal issues come into affect with young kids playing with older players. In WOW I know there is a censor in which you can block all the content deemed inappropriate or offensive to players. This sort of parental control, although it is not, we be a good addition allowing those older players to speak more clearly, not worrying about whether or not a simple word will be censored because within it is an offensive term. Clearly, many players would try and go around this system by no telling their parents or figuring out how to change the settings, but if an age limit were set say 18 or older, then maybe more free speech would be allowed.


The Future of Gaming
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The game being designed is for the new and revolutionary motion system of the Xbox 360, Project Natal. This system is still in design, but the interface and spatial abilities of the Natal system give it the best ability to create a fitness based game that is fun. The game is a virtual board game in which you are the character that moves through the game, playing series of mini-games in between turns by competing with other players in order to attain the highest score when the game ends. The game is turned based and movement by the users is their actual movement in reality, for a mini-game where you have to jump from platform to platform the user actually has to jump to make their avatar jump and complete the landing.

The target audience is for those of all ages young and old, all you need to do is simply create your avatar at the beginning of the game. With the Natal systems of facial recognition your avatar is automatically recognized, making signing in and starting the game very easy. The Natal system is interactive and communicates with you based upon facial expressions and changes in tone of the voice. With these new advancements the game will be able to tell whether a player is having a good time, or the game is too difficult. This interface will allow the game to automatically set up user settings on the difficulty based upon the players’ emotions. This game simply requires movement to play, but within the game will be different settings making movement for those less able, the handicapped, easier and a more enjoyable game experience. The basis of this game is for family fun, it’s a board game designed to incorporate all members of the family with a simple series of mini-games in which they either battle each other, free for all, or team up to gain victory. The interface will be hard to adapt to for some, the timing on many of the games, or adjustment to the pure movement system as supposed to standard controller will be a jump for some hardcore gamers. Although, the movement system may seem simplistic with its pure body motion movements it will be a complicated task for many to understand, but this is true to all new games, understanding the dynamics and how to move are what come with them and after a little practice the techniques can be learned. Families will be interested in this game due to the fact that it is exciting, new, and a good way to bond. Many parents are looking for ways to connect with their children and some find it hard, unable to connect. This game could be seen as tool to bridge these gaps and reunite families. The system makes it adaptable and fun allowing for up to six players to battle one in another locally, or online against multiple friends. The system will connect through Xbox Live, and attracting more hardcore online gamers, and with a ranking system within several of the mini – games, from racing, to FPS, and swordplay the spectrum of gamers can be endless. Advancements from game designers and Xbox Live downloads will also allow for the expansion of the game, game play, new mini-games, and levels. Although this is not the main sell of this game, it could become quite popular with online friends wanting to compete with each other across the globe.

The name of the game will be the Natal Frenzy. The reason for this title is to make it friendly towards all age and genres of gamers, while also giving credit to the revolutionary technology and diverse game play. The equipment required will be similar to the Wii’s motion detector but with the more advanced Project Natal Sensor which “combines an RGB camera (a camera that delivers the three basic color components red, green, and blue on three different wires, they are used for very accurate color image acquisitions ), a depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. ” The senor tracks full body “movement in 3D and responds to commands, directions… even shifts of emotion in your voice! By stepping in front of the Project Natal Sensor, anyone can easily give instructions just by talking. And not just keywords but fully understanding everything you say.” As Microsoft put it “with Project Natal the only experience needed is life experience,” and that hold true towards the Natal Frenzy.
The game will blend many genres from across the spectrum because of its board game dynamics combined with the diverse mini-games played in between turns. The system will be designed on a dice system the players have to roll, with a simple flick of the wrist during your turn the avatar will toss the dice, and you will move the number of space rolled. In order to move your character you must step in the direction in which you would like to move, normally towards the finish line, for every space you move you must walk in place or run depending on how fast you want to get there. Once all players have moved depending on the color space they land on, blue, red, or random, in which the color of blue or red is randomly assigned, the characters are either divided into teams or sent into a free-for-all mini-game. These games interface will be based upon the location of where the user is standing. The motion sensor will detect all players in order from right to left, or from the aspect of facing the TV, left to right, player 1 being the furthest left. Each player will control their avatar with their own body movement. Depending on the mini-game, the screen will either be divided into equal vertical sections, such as a shoot the target game, or a full screen display with all players interacting with one another, such as a collect the coins game . Different boards within the game itself will allow players to decide which theme of mini-games they would like to play. Within the game there will be several different modes, Adventure, Party, Mini-Game, and Online Party play. Each will allow the player to explore and unlock different modes and mini-games within the game. In adventure you can team up, or go solo and play against the computer to unlock special mini-games, the intense difficulty, Xbox 360 Achievements, and more boards / levels. When the game is beaten on the Normal Difficulty a new game mode will be unlocked called Create, in which you are able to design your own board with complete freedom of all the aspects. It will be similar to the Forge mode in Bungie’s Halo 3 , in which you are able to set the rules and move anything within the map while still being able to play and interact with other players and the environment. This worked well for Bungie in which many new game types and levels were created, and can do the same here. Many avid gamers love to tweak and edit games, and have great ideas on how to make a game better, this will allow this game to diversify and grow continuously. The party mode is a local party play with friends or family, in this mode you can also unlock more mini-games, and 360 achievements for high scores in mini-games. The mini-game mode is where you can scroll through the list of mini-games you have created or unlocked in Adventure, Party and Online Party play. In here you can create a playlist of mini-games and play through them, non-stop, adding the points up at the end to announce the overall victor. This mode is for those who want to practice to get better or just don’t have time to play a full game and want to jump around playing the different accessible mini-games.

With the broad spectrum of genres this game has a variety of complex dynamics. The overall idea is to win the board game by racking up points within mini-games or being first to the prize at the finish line. Each player will start equidistant from the finish line in there respectable starting positions within the board, however the path they choose and the spaces they land determines their teams and the possibility of them advancing forward at a quicker rate than the other players. With a win in the mini-game the winner or winners are given a 25% lower chance of rolling a number higher than 5 on their next turn while the losers get a 25% higher chance. This dynamic allows the losers of the mini-games to advance at a faster rate than the winners creating an even closer points battle. At the center of the board is the final destination the players are working for, the first to reach the middle of the board accumulates 20% of the overall points acquired by players in the game, won or lost. This will allow someone in last place to jump to first by simply getting to the finish line first. On the board there will be the colored spaces red or blue and the random ones, in which a random event good, or bad will happen to the player. These events will include but are not limited to, single player challenges, score boosters, score reductions, point stealing, or movement of the players avatar on the board. The coloring of these spots will be a large factor on where and how the players will move around the board, and also create and exciting x-factor.

Overall the multiple game dynamics in this game make it a very economically sound decision. The race to the end, chasing or evading, prediction, and collection dynamics of the board game are combined with the diversity of the mini-games: survival, destruction, territorial acquisition, building, and spatial reasoning. This game contains all the fundamentals needed to provide for a global audience. The movement system can be intensified for those looking really to sweat while they play, or slackened for those unable to move. The revolutionary user interface will create a whole new genre and become the next level of gaming. With the diverse game dynamics and exciting interactive play Natal Frenzy will put the Xbox 360 on a new, uncharted, and unheard of level for platform systems, making Microsoft the leader of a new generation of gaming.

Video of The Project Natal
http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/news-features/news/Controller-free-gaming.htm

Game Dynamics
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The first game I want to talk about is an outdoor game and sort of extraordinarily different kind of game, log rolling.  This game involves the aspects of survival but also looks at certain aspects not described in the chapter. The kinesthetic element of balance is a key factor that is absent and can be seen in other relatively new games such as the Wii Fit. Although survival isn’t a key element of the Wii Fit, it certainly challenges with its grueling physical challenges.

An interesting computer game to look at is World of Warcraft. This game poses four different dynamics, trading, destruction, building, and collection. These four different dynamics create a complex game that is very player centered and friendly. The player is able to create and expand their character as they see fit. The ranking system alone seems to be never endless as Blizzard continues to expand upon itself with never ending sequels.

When looking at many never ending titles of First Person Shooters (FPS), you can see the similar survival and destruction dynamics. However, in certain titles you are able to play online with a ranking system, such as Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty. These systems have certain achievements in which you can level or rank up faster. This collection aspect is to a different degree with these multiplayer online games. Within you can see territorial acquisition in games such as King of the Hill, Annex, or Capture the Flag.

Clearly the dynamics within these games are what a player needs to understand and uncover when entering into a new game. With this knowledge the gamer can unlock the secrets of the game and ultimately master the strategy involved in even the simplest of games.


The Nintendo Wii
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Over the weekend I indulged into the world of the Wii and explored the several different titles my suitemate has to offer. The main game we played was Super Mario Strikers: Charged. This game consists of the basic Super Mario series of characters from The Mario Bros. to DK, Bowser, and Peach. The overall game play is pretty simple and mainly ‘nunchuk’ joystick use for movement, as supposed to actual movement of the Wii remote with some other Wii games. The Wii remote was used to hit other players and knock them over, with a simple flick of your wrist you could slam your opponent into the wall. This game was overall a good game to pass time but boring at others. The ease of the game makes the game boring after lots of play but still fun for an every now and then play.

I myself own a Wii and have played several Wii games on the console. One of the more difficult games that I have experienced on the Wii is Zelda: Twilight Princess. This game requires a high level of skill in the gamer’s ability to move the Wii remote. The user interface is such that when you swing your Wii remote you swing Link’s, the main character’s, sword. If you hold Z on the Wii remote you can use one of his secondary weapons such as the bow or boomerang, and while holding Z you have to aim with your Wii remote by pointing at the screen. This in itself is very hard to do because while you are holding Z, Link is left vulnerable to attacks by the NPCs and other elements; and, when entered into this interface you may not be able find the Wii remote on the screen or improperly synced with the Wii’s sensor. I believe that the Wii remote is the most difficult remote to use in the industry today, due to its design and interface.

Another few games more focused on Wii remote movement interface, would be Wii Sports the Original version that comes with the Wii purchase and Wii Sports Resort. Both of these games focus on sports with the original containing tennis, bowling, golf, baseball, and boxing. The new Resort version has all these games but several more including table tennis, sky diving, wakeboarding, and a 3-point contest. The new version gives you advice on how to use your Wii remote while in game, for instance during the 3-point contest competition it advises you to shoot like you’re ringing a bell at the top of your shot. At the moment it may seem that this wouldn’t help at all or even make sense, but in reality the advice left by the game designers truly helps.

One important factor focused on by Nintendo is creating a system that is easily accessible to young player, and casual gamers. As seen by the change in game factors and in the newer version of Wii Sports giving players advice. This is true to in other games too such as Super Smash Bros. and the future game Super Mario Bros. for Wii. In both adventure modes gamers will be able to skip through parts they are unable to beat, a “demo mode”, in which the game beats that part for you. I disagree with this but it will help invite younger and inexperienced gamers to play the Wii.


Game Sites
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The first website I visited was Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide. This website is a great source to learn about new and upcoming games and find out detailed information into the development, and what gameplay will look like. This site I think can really help to introduce new games and find out what the gaming community thinks about new games and old ones. One story in particular I found amusing and interesting at the same time was the story over Paul McCartney and Ringo Star over the Beatles Rock Band. When at the E3 opening for the game they acted as "they couldn't give a shit." This true or not brings a diverse angle towards the gaming community. With the different points of view represented from around the world on this website it can really help expand our views of gaming.

The next website I visited was MMORPG.com. The first thing I noticed about this site is that it will come in handy with the Dungeons and Dragons Online unlimited question and answer. This site is solely dedicated to the games of MMORPG, and many of the title are foreign to me. There are a multitude of tabs in this website that are great resources for these games. The reviews alone will help in judging the standard of quality this gaming community takes towards its games. The blogging and videos can be great resources to help with quests and becoming a better and more knowledgeable player. The true secret to many MMORPG games is experience within the gaming world. When you understand all aspects of the game you can truly become one of the strongest characters, and this site will definitely get you started.

The last site I visited had a very intriguing concept Gamer Widow. A Gamer Widower "is a term for those who have a relationship with an Addicted Gamer (one who plays video games to excess, be it on a console or on the computer) who pays more attention to the video game than to their partner….thereby making their partner a ‘gamer widow’ (female) or ‘gamer widower’ (male). In general we say ‘gamer widow’ and encompass both male and female community members." This concept in general seems a bit absurd but also true. This is for those who are truly addicted to video games to come and talk to fellow members. Although it may seem like a joke they even have a blog called the Rehab Room where you can help quell your addiction. People with real stories can help teach us the reality of a true gaming addiction and maybe even help us start one before it starts or get over a current one.



First Blog
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My name is Nathan Inurria, I am a sophmore and majoring in possibly Political Science and Buisness. For my expierence as a gamer I have played a multitude of computer and games from RPGs to FPS, which are my favorite. I have played WoW and really enjoyed the MMORPG atmosphere and the idea of the game. My favorite system is the Xbox360 and games include GoW2, Halo3, and CoD4. I have a gamertag online but unfortunately this summer my Xbox360 displayed the three rings of death. My xbox was out of warranty therefore Microsoft wouldn't have to pay for my repairs. Nevertheless I am looking forward to the Beatles Rock Band coming out and touring the same tours they did.

WOW Exhibit Label
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Southpark: Make Love, Not Warcraft

Time – 0:00     In the beginning of the episode, Stan displays a sense of technocracy while explaining to his Dad, Randy Marsh, the complexities of his online gaming activities. Randy asks his son to go out and “socialize” with his friends; however, Stan already online with his friends, was talking using a program called “teamspeak” in this episode very similar to Ventrillo the real life program. The idea that Stan could be talking to hundreds of people at once, from his home computer, is unreal to Randy who Stan labels as an “R-Tard.” The problem of technocracy can be seen by Stan’s conversation with his Dad by mocking him for not understanding the complexities of online gaming.

Time 1:00/3:29           This is the first introduction of the Southpark described stereotypical Technocrat/Hacker. This character is super powerful in the WOW game, but in real life is depicted as a fat, lazy slob who drinks Rockstar, his gamer fuel, and plays a video game day and night. This ultimate gamer is described by Stan as “one tough badass” when in reality he is a loser who plays WOW all day. This idea that online you can become someone else, and live an almost completely different life is one that is shared by many online fanatics; although body weight index and personal hygiene is hopefully better. The way the ultimate gamer “hacks” WOW and is able to kill other players is through endless playing every hour of every day. This idea can be seen as a “hack” in a positive light and addiction in a negative. This “gamer” can be seen as a black-hat hacker for defying the rules of WOW and Blizzard.

Time 3:56        This scene depicts Randy, who has just joined the gaming world, displaying what many feel when online using a computer that they are able to live more exciting and fulfilling lives. Randy mocks his boss as Stan did to him when questioned on whether or not he was playing a computer game. He says he is playing with “real” people, and uses the computer game as an escape from his boring life as a geologist. With this it can be seen through the hacker ethic that people are able to use “computers to change their life for the better.” (Levy 45).

Time 9:47        In this clip Cartman sways his friends into his scheme to win back WOW from the evil “hacker” who has just killed almost every player in the game. In order to do so, the boys need to stay away from the “ultimate gamer” so they aren’t killed, yet they need to level up in order to compete. His ultimate plan is to login to a low level forest, and “kill boars.” Although this may seem dumb to many, and monotonous, the boys can gain low levels of experience by quickly killing many boars at once. Cartman has even figured out the number they need to level up to compete with the hacker. This plan of hiding in the forest from the “gamer” is the ultimate hack upon the gamer. With this plan the boys are able to bypass the quests involved in Warcraft many would use to level up, and simply kill boars 100% of the time, a hack by Cartman on this game design of WOW.

Time 12:34      This clip describes the ultimate hack by Blizzard on their own game. A sword created not intended to be wielded by any player “The Sword of 1000 Truths.” This sword is contained on a 1GB flash drive and with its amazing power the Boys with their awesome level increases may have a slim chance of beating the ultimate gamer.

Time 16:53      Stan’s mother Sharon, is here described as the typical parent who believes that WOW is stupid, and he is wasting his life. This is a view taken by many people who do not understand the power of the computer its ability as a networking device. The Blizzard staff is in dire need to login to WOW and give the “sword” to the boys. However, as they both do not have accounts, because “they have lives” they must entrust the sword to Randy, a noob, or low level inexperienced player. Both of the staff members do not believe they should entrust this weapon to a noob; however, with no other hacking option in site, they must find a computer and download the “sword” in order for Randy to trade with the boys.

Time 19:12      With the “sword” downloaded and Randy running to Stan’s help all seems to be playing out well. Randy shows that he is still the noob, unable to trade the sword and lagging the time needed for Stan in battle. As Randy dies dramatically, the boys and everyone begin to celebrate with the destruction of the evil “hacker.” However, also with his death the boys are brought back to the real world from which they had withdrawn from for so long. Asking what are we going to do now? And Cartman simple reply, “Now we can finally play the game.” As they have become what they so deeply wanted to kill, Southpark cannot help but show the abysmal life some have playing online video games. Although these are many hilarious stereotypes taken with Southpark, many things can be seen to hold true in the hacking/online gaming community. From Cartman’s strategy to over through the “badass” WOW player, and Blizzard’s creation of the “ultimate weapon” the hacking scheme created in all computer activity can be seen. With the power in the graphics within WOW, we can see how through several generations of fumbling with code, the “computer can create art and beauty” (Levy 43). Clearly Southpark took an extreme approach to the online world, hackers, nerds, and gamers; however, showing that hackers “should not be judged on appearance,” but on what they give back to the community, after all the boys were the heroes at the end of the show (Levy 43).

 

 

 

Works Cited

Levy, Steven. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer. New York: Penguin, 1984.

Episode Hyperlink:
www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/103797

 


2nd Life Creations
ninurria
After a few frusturating minutes, deletions, and retried creations, I was finally able to understand the vast controls and tools second life contains. My first creation was that of a small wooden box, the default begining creation, in which I manajed to move around rotate and even paint. It became blue. But after that I began to explore other creations of and within second life. I went to a "freebies" world and recieved in my inventory several great examples of different planes, cars, trains, etc... With these I began to wear and access traits that the user had created within the item. The limits of second life are boundless with jpeg files having the ability to be your hair. File content and sharing between users makes this game easy to learn, and get into to with the ability to create your own objects and learning from others examples.

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