Gamingculture, Joel and Max

Gaming culture

Hi fellow nerds and non-nerds!

For our paper we, Joel and Max, wanted to take an in-depth look into the global culture that has been born around games. By games we mean computer games and videogames and all that’s around the subject.  In our essay we wanted to take a look upon some of the more outstanding parts that are involved in gaming. We then wanted to define them and see how they contributed to the culture as a whole.

Except that, we also wanted to see how wide spread the culture is and how it developed into a global community that’s born a huge industry based on just games. More specific we wanted to see what parts of the more outstanding gaming subjects that have rooted itself in our daily life. Firstly we wanted to look at Sweden, since we live there, and see what parts of gaming that our nation and citizens appreciate the most. Secondly we wanted to look at eastern Asia and see how gaming has made a difference in some of the most successful countries of gaming, Japan and South-Korea. In the following text you will find these subjects presented one by one with some added reflections of our own.

One of the things we looked upon was the concept of virtual reality, second life. People all around the world connect to the internet on a daily basis just to enter a game and live their second life in a global community. Things like RPG (role playing games) where you take the role as an avatar that you’ve created with a different identity then yours. Through these means like games such as World of Warcraft (from Blizzard Entertainment) with 12 million active subscribers around the world that forms a virtual society. The norms and values are different and based on the game and its rules as well as the social practices. What is right and wrong morally and legally can really distinguish itself from the real world. This global society forms the people that take part of the game and spreads these means outside the game into the real world. We must accept this form of living as a new special culture no different than any other.

The second thing we wanted to oversee was the term E-sports. Is it possible to sport through the means of a game and how does it affect the gaming culture. Competing in games is no different than competing in other sports at all. Maybe it’s not the physical capacity of the players that matter but the factor of skill, strategy and a fast working mind contributes and forms a winning concept. You might as well see similarities between E-sports and things such as Chess or perhaps Bridge. Nowadays there are people that make a living as professional players such as a professional baseball player would. There are money and experience to be gathered from different tournaments all over the world. This opens up for a whole new market with sponsoring, prices and contribution to the audience of the sport. E-sports are quite popular, especially in South-Korea, and many people want to be able to watch E-sports being broadcasted. In fact there are TV channels and live streams that focus on these things. For instance, MLG (Major league gaming) in North America is broadcasting different tournaments from time to time, and in South-Korea there are TV channels just for the means of E-sports. And because all is connected to the internet live streams with commentators from different nations are a common sight on the internet nowadays. So the whole concept of E-sports forms a new market, a new interest and a new form of showing off to the society.

In Sweden we found that the gaming culture is sort of an underground movement that’s growing over time. We don’t find it so common and games don’t really influence our society on a remarkable basis. Still there are some exceptions where games are noticed by the country. Events like Dreamhack, a massive LAN-party (Local area network), with over 10 000 visitors each time, makes an outstanding mark on our ordinary thoughts. People don’t realize that there actually is an underground movement such as gaming and they begin to open their eyes to the fact that it’s growing. Sometime we will get involved and from what we know, there is much to learn and many benefits to take from the concept of the gaming culture.

We found that in the nations of Japan and South-Korea it’s actually E-sports that is the main “thing” of gaming culture. And because these countries are classed as techno-cultures the means for gaming to take place is remarkable. Japan for instance is the homeland of several huge gaming companies, Nintendo, Capcom and Namco just to name a few. Because of this gaming had it easy to root itself and become a part of the everyday life. In South-Korea, professional players are often viewed as celebrities just because E-sports are so huge. The thing is so popular that the RTS game (real time strategy) Starcraft, from Blizzard as well, has become the national sport of South-Korea. Yes it’s true!

Another unique part of the gaming culture is Cosplay (costume play). Cosplay means that you dress up like a character of your choice by making/buying a costume. This phenomenon has its roots in Japan and was mainly based on Manga and Anime Characters. But since gaming in Japan is often influenced by Manga and anime gaming became a part as well. It’s not to huge outside Japan but it still exists, people all over the world are doing this and they like it.

So we can find all these parts in our everyday life and they are easily accessible because of the modern technology. All these parts share one thing, their passion for gaming and you can find all at the same place when special events like Blizzcon is arranged. Blizzcon is a remarkable example for how different parts of gaming culture comes together with tournaments, costume contests and players of the virtual reality coming together in real life. Gaming is huge and is not to be neglected. There is a culture and even possibly a nation. Taking part in this may form you as an individual to the better, take the shot and try it.

Game on!

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11 Responses to Gamingculture, Joel and Max

  1. Green says:

    It’s interesting that you argued for a specific and unique national identity for gamers. We believe that the opposite is true and that the national identities of online gamers has a polarizing effect on the community. There are many stereotypes about gamers from different countries. For example, South Koreans are called “gooks” in a derogatory manner on games such as Starcraft. This is also seen in verbal online communication through mediums like Xbox Live where gamers “trash-talk” players from other countries using verbal harassment and even racism.

  2. Mauricio Gonzalez says:

    I am from Stanford University and found the concept of a gaming nation interesting, but there is a distinction between competitive and casual gamers that needs to be included. Gamers who use games to have second lives may form a community, but the majority are more casual players that do not have enough in common to form a community. Gamers of different genres also may not share a connection with each other to form a community, much less a nation.

  3. Blue Station says:

    One of the aspects of your post that we found interesting was the aspect of a second life and a virtual reality. With modern games such WOW we see an interesting evolution from say pen names like Mark Twain to in-depth avatars. This new definition of a virtual reality enables a player to step out their real world persona and take on a character completely opposite to their personality. For instance, a shy person in the real world can become a Warrior in a game such as WOW and even come to practice cyber bullying. This point is especially significant considering that games, such as WOW, are now on the international level as players from around the world can communicate.

  4. TeamAmerica says:

    Howdy! We’re students at Stanford University who took an interest in your post.

    Within the plethora of gaming communities, there seems to be a common theme of gamers identifying themselves individually and, furthermore, thriving on conflict with other gamers. While gaming itself is a subculture often consisting of people with similar personalities, interests, and lifestyles, these characteristics vary widely within the various gaming genres and sub-genres.

    People who play console or PC games, for example, may find themselves hard-pressed to identify with mobile or social media gamers. Additionally, gamers subdivide themselves among the various gaming genres, including first-person shooters, role-playing games, real-time strategy games, and so on. Within these genres, players often disagree on the “best” games within their genre, and even within those games form alliances and enemies through the “clan” system, which is especially prevalent in massive-multiplayer-online games, first-person shooters, and strategy games.

    An interesting idea to consider as a possible cause for these divisions is the notion that gamers thrive on conflict. Gaming itself is a virtual action in which a player works to resolve conflicts of some form, whether it be defeating a boss or harvesting crops. This drive for conflict may drive players to subdivide themselves among their genres, games, and clans, and seek antithesis with other gamers.

  5. Jack and Jujhaar (Stanford) says:

    One of the comments we thought was interesting was the idea that, in games, morality and legality are different than in real life. Further, the actions you take in the virtual world have no real consequences, giving a gamer even more freedom to do what they want. In games, you also have a lot more power – the ability to blow people up (Call of Duty), create your own world (Sims), and create a new identity (WOW). The ability and freedom to do what you want is a big reason we play games, and what makes games fun. Gaming allows us to achieve our dreams and shows us our deepest desires.

  6. StanfordPeoples says:

    Hey guys, we are from Stanford University. We found the notion you presented that e-sports gaming has evolved into a type of activity as socially acceptable and prevalent as traditional sports. Massive LAN parties like Dreamhack with over 10,000 people in attendance is a huge indicator of the rising prevalence of gaming in society. Also, we found the concept of gaming culture, as opposed to other forms of culture interesting. What definition are you using around culture that would define a society?

  7. Stanford Kids says:

    Hey Guys!

    We are freshman at Stanford University in a class titled the Rhetoric of Gaming. Our professor introduced us to your blog post and we find it very, very interesting. It is incredible to get a glimpse at how vast the global gaming culture is. The part we found most interesting was your comments about the growing popularity of cosplay. We find it intriguing that this sort of culture which was once considered “nerdy” is now becoming more mainstream. It will be interesting to see where cosplay and gaming itself heads in the future.

    Thanks!

  8. Justin, Mitchell, and Tim says:

    In the third-to-last paragraph, the authors illustrate the magnitude of gaming’s sub-culture in South Korea, claiming that “Starcraft, from Blizzard as well, has become the national sport of South-Korea.” It’s quite remarkable that a single video game can have such an influence on the entertainment culture in a nation. In America, we don’t have many television channels dedicated to professional gaming and competitions. A possible reason for this is due to its overshadowing by other, more mainstream sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. However, given the recent rising popularity of gaming, it may one day be as prevalent and widespread in America, similar to the current explosion in countries like South Korea.

  9. Jordan, Leo, and Turner(stanford) says:

    great post, kudos for writing so well in your second language. few thoughts…
    we felt like you might’ve left out a few aspects of the american gaming culture, which is understandable, so we were just going to throw these out. We’re not so big on PC/RPG/RTS games over here, it’s all about the consoles (xbox 360, ps3, wii…kinda). a lot of our gaming culture revolves around the social aspect of shooting/cooperating with your best friend online. Also, sports games play a large role in the gaming culture, games like madden, fifa, nba 2k which feed off of the sports culture.

  10. PWR (Stanford) says:

    In the U.S. we have two distinct sectors in gaming. One of the sectors is casual gamers – people who play games sparsely on their phones or at home (e.g., Angry Birds, Wii Sports). They form the biggest market here. There are also the hard core gamers who play more involved games such as first person shooters or RTS. Overall, the casual market sells more for less and the hardcore market the opposite.

  11. Pingback: First day of class: a little rhetoric, a little pacman… « The Rhetoric of Gaming

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