Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hands-on Assignment: Week 3

Videogame Demographics and Options at College Library:

Marlon Heimerl

College Library turned out to be the go-to source among Wendt Library and the Union South on this fine Saturday afternoon. The latter two must have been closed on account of the holiday weekend. Nonetheless and ergo, this hands-on assessment will recount a journey that took me to the farthest reaches of campus (ok, so it isn’t that far from my house to get to College Library), wherein I discovered much about the excess of games that make their home at the educational utopia that is College library (no, really, it’s alright though).

I have categorized the games based on a number of earmarked differences that look into whether the games are ‘sports’ related, ‘fantasy’ or ‘racing’ related, or whether they are what one could consider for ‘all ages’ (along with all other game rating’s according to the same criteria), or ‘war’ based games (or ‘first-person shooter’ games, including the genre of ‘survival horror’), all encompassed by the larger category of ‘violent games’ (that could, in all reality, be considered in the assessment of virtually every game category herein assessed, depending on ones definition of ‘violence’).

Sports Games offered by College Library:

NBA Live ’08 (PS3 & Xbox 360), College Hoops (NCAA) 2K8 (PS3), NCAA ’08 Football (Xbox 360), Major League Baseball 2K8 (Xbox 360), Wii Fit (Wii), Hotshots Golf (Wii), NHL ’08 (PS3 & Xbox 360), and PES 2008 (Xbox 360), Summer Sports Wii (Wii), provisional game titles: Smack Down vs. Raw 2008, Tony Hawk’s: Proving Grounds,’ and Pinball Hall of Fame (Wii)accepting that in terms of this assessment, professional wrestling and skateboarding will be called sports).

Total: (≈12 games)

*Note: Though Wii sometimes represents a challenge for categorizing its games along with other systems—due to its uniqueness of style, sometimes befuddled graphics and strange controls—Wii will still be considered on an equal field of assessment, especially because its range of games vary from family oriented titles such as Summer Sports Wii to grotesqueries such as Resident Evil, House of the Dead, and the Godfather; demonstrating a range of both violence and nonviolence like any other system considering its game options.

Racing Games: are subcategorized because racing in certain contexts is for sport: Burnout Paradise (PS3), Motorstorm (PS3)

Total: (≈14 ‘sports games or two ‘racing games’)

Fantasy Games offered by College Library:

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360), Dark Sector (PS3), and Night’s: Journey of Dreams (Wii). [And a subcategory]

Adolescent/Youth Fantasy: Castle of Shikigami III (Wii), Folklore (PS3), Star Wars Lego (Wii), Pet 2 Dogs 2 [contestable] (Wii), Viva PiƱata (Xbox 360), Blue Dragon (Wii); Super Donkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

Total: (≈10 fantasy games)

War Games & Explicitly Violent Games offered by College Library:

Battalion Wars 2 (Wii), Virtua Fighter (Xbox 360), Condemned 2: Bloodshot (PS3 and Xbox 360), Evil May Cry (PS3) Deadrising (Xbox 360), Dynasty Warriors 6, (PS3), Mass Effect (Xbox 360), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (Xbox 360), Prey (X box 360), House of the Dead 2 & 3 (Wii), and the Godfather: Blackhand edition (Wii):

Total: (11 war/violent games)

What’s interesting to notice is that each game category occupies roughly 1/3 of the overall makeup of College Library’s collection. The world’s being explored within these categories often represent (1) Sport’s world’s (which often entail underlying forms of violence) (2) Fantasy games (often dealing with war or violence on some level); and (3) War and explicitly violent games, which often contain an underlying premise of gore and horror).

Though in my 30-minutes at College Library, no other patron visited the game kiosk, it was clear to me that the primary audience meant to be reached is male college students with extra time on their hands and little cash in their pockets, as most of the games dealt with genres predominantly pertaining to masculinity—sports, war, gore and guns—stretching the breadth of boy culture and societal indicators of that culture, present here on campus today. This peace-sign amalgamation of games—each occupying roughly 1/3 of the selection) illustrates two things:

(1) What ‘rents’ on campus in terms of video game’s accessible via one of the university’s major library’s—assuming that the product matches the demand—are games dedicated to competition, expressing masculinity, and living out fantasies on either the field, court, or the 3D fantasy landscape, or

(2) These video games represent a concession by the public that exciting, fast paced, violent and competitive based sandbox, RPG, and non-educational games are wanted by college kids wracked by studies and just looking for a good time.

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