Video Games and Computer Holding Power by Sherry Turkle


New Media Reader: 

Computer games, termed as “Interactive computer microworlds” by Turkle, holds humanity hostage with its ‘holding power’, “possessing’ players to try repeatedly whenever they fail.

Mastering a game is alike figuring out the rules behind the game mechanism and hence being more superior, which serves as a satisfaction when the challenges are overcome. Gaming then becomes a fact of life instead of an advantageous technology, eventually threatening the gap between the older and younger generation.

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Trine, a 2D-Adventure Puzzle Game which utilizes puzzle-solving to get through the game. The mechanisms are complicated as you switch between players, which is something that is potentially hard for older people to grasp due to its complexity.

Video games also offer a liberation away from reality and becomes a “perfect expression of the player’s actions”. A conversation between the escapee and the world that welcomes it is formed, which allows one to forget about the complex social hierarchies in the real world and instead welcome the neutral indifference between all players. The world is now equal, and everyone starts from the same level, which motivates players to improve and gain more control over their ‘reality’ via gaming prowess.

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Pacman, which also shares the same concept

An example stated by Turkle is Pin-Ball, where the previous scores has no effect on the next round. Our imagination is also tested and expanded in these virtual microworlds, which gives the player another reason to stay.

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Pinball on Windows XP

In conclusion, video games allow one to have complete power and control over their own actions while losing themselves in the more favourable virtual reality. It is an addictive sphere which provides sanctuary from the tougher real world. It serves as a form of “meditation”, which gives players ground zero and the opportunity to build up their virtual lives fairly and subsequently become someone they are proud of.


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Ai Wei Wei’s Sunflower Seeds


Minimalism Exhibition @ National Gallery: Ai Wei Wei’s Sunflower Seeds

The Art Piece that struck out the most to me was an art piece I have known about since my Secondary School days and was marvelled to have finally seen it in person.

It was Ai Wei Wei’s Sunflower Seeds.

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Close up of Sunflower Seeds – taken from Wikipedia

With each sunflower seed actually a porcelain piece hand-crafted carefully to closely resemble true sunflower seeds, it is a masterpiece telling the narrative of China’s prized exports, giving us an insight into China’s rich history of cultural and economic exchange. Each one of the (supposed) 100 million seeds were individually crafted and painted by specialists in Jingdezhen, a Chinese City. In the small-scale workshops they worked in, it tells us the blistering tale of each hard-worker, carefully crafted in detail as though every single angle and stroke of the paintbrush would be vital in telling the story of China; its rich history dealing with porcelain, its arduous manpower, and its commentary on the human condition.

Rather than a work that inspires me to create a similar story, it is a work which inspires and motivates me in my design of the game; each small element such as sound effects or character design may seem to be just a negligible part of making a game, but to make a good game is to treasure these bits and pieces of what forms the end game. How much can an individual go in communicating with the masses? What does it invoke in the relationship between the creator and the masses? One thing’s for sure; details and intricacy can never be wrong.


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