Reading Blog 10 – October 12, 2015

“Introduction: Media Microecology” (p. 1-8) by Ian Bogost from “How To Do Things With Videogames.”

In this week’s reading, Ian Bogost starts off by discussing an argument between Nicholas Carr and Clay Shirky. Carr argues that the internet is detrimental to society because it “contributed to a decline in the careful, reasoned, imaginative mind…” (Bogost 1). On the other hand, Shirky argues that the internet is actually a form of power between people, because it gives you connections to everyone all over the world. Both journalists are trying to decide whether or not the internet’s existence is harmful or helpful to society. Bogost argues that the internet and new technology “neither saves nor condemns us” (2). Bogost claims that we shouldn’t be focusing on the relevance of a certain piece of technology, but instead we should be analyzing the different types of things that it can do. Understanding the different purposes of a piece of technology is more important than understanding the “content that it conveys” (4). He applies this philosophy to his view about video games. In today’s world, people are so concerned with the messages that video games are conveying. For example, some people believe that entertaining video games promote violence and poor health (because of inactivity). However, Bogost urges his readers to think about the different ways video games can be used. Video games aren’t just used for entertainment. They can also be used for education, health care, or corporate training (5). Just because one use of this piece of technology conveys negative content, doesn’t mean that that technology is a detrimental product. Overall, through this book I think Bogost will try to analyze the variety of uses of video games in order for us to get a sense of it’s role in society.

Links:

  1. “9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/video-games-good-for-us_n_4164723.html
  2. “Violent Video Games are Linked To Aggression, Study Says” – http://time.com/4000220/violent-video-games/
  3. “Are Video Games Truly Bad for Kids’ Health?” – http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/are_video_games_truly_bad_for_kids_health

Discussion Questions:

  1. To counteract the argument that video games promote obesity due to inactiveness, what are some physical health benefits to playing video games?
  2. Are educational video games actually relevant? Have you ever tried one and learned something from it?
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