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Gamer Culture

Why have gamers always been thought of or considered as nerds? In my own personal experience when I tell people that I am an avid gamer, their first reaction is to usually mumble “nerd” under their breath. I never understood that as by my understanding a “nerd” is often used as a derogatory term to describe someone who is a foolish person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious. A quick look at my GPA will remove any notion of me being “boringly studious”. And while you’re not going to find me out partying any day of the week, I guarantee that I can be the “life of the party”.  The idea that video games “repress” social interaction is far from truthful. Through video games, I have connected with hundreds of people all across the globe. I have friends in London and Singapore that have never been within a thousand miles of me but still manage to be close friends due to the bonds formed while playing video games. So why is gaming culture so often acknowledged as “nerdy” by such a vast population? It is possibly due to another translation for a nerd; a single-minded expert in a particular technical field. While this definition hits a little closer to home it still doesn’t represent the gaming community. The purpose of a video game is to capture your attention and entertain you by having you complete actions and objectives to progress through a narrative. Just because someone is focused on doing that doesn’t mean he is single-minded as games will often engage multiple parts and aspects of your mind.

So why is gaming culture so often acknowledged as “nerdy” by such a vast population? It is possibly due to another translation for a nerd; a single-minded expert in a particular technical field. While this definition hits a little closer to home it still doesn’t represent the gaming community. The purpose of a video game is to capture your attention and entertain you by having you complete actions and objectives to progress through a narrative. Just because someone is focused on doing that doesn’t mean he is single-minded as games will often engage multiple parts and aspects of your mind. Another possibility for why gamers are often considered nerds is due to gamers portrayal in movies and tv shows. Due to gamers presence in pop-culture, the term “nerd” and “gamer” have become synonymous.

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“Nerd” Presents on Gaming

Although some of these ideas and concepts I have found to be quite agreeable. For instance, gaming culture is further divided into different cultures between consoles and PC. I have seen forums upon forums of arguments between Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, and PC fanatics all claiming that their form of gaming is superior to others. Looking upon these forums I can see why the world view gamers as nerds when you hear gamers talking about “computers with a 10-core processor, three GTX 980 Ti graphics cards, 4 TB of solid-state drive space running triple-A games at 4k resolutions at 60fps.” Just hearing things like that you begin to understand how gamers can be considered to be single-minded experts in a particular technical field. However, that is still no reason to label an entire culture of people as “nerds” simply because they enjoy games and the joy it brings to people because when you delve deep enough into anything, there will always be a core fan base of fanatics and nerds.

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A Digital Life

In today’s society, video games are often seen as a commodity offered to those in the middle and upper classes. As video games can require a console/system, a television or monitor, as well as a variety of different games it is a privilege that a select few are able to take advantage of. As most games cost around sixty dollars, a large video game collection may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, not even including the expensive cost of the console.

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An impressive video game collection. Photo Credit: Barite Videojuegos

A collection like the one pictured above may cost somewhere around five thousand dollars. Considering video games are just a source of entertainment and a leisure activity that offers no benefits other than catharsis and entertainment, it is typical to only the middle and upper class. People with the luxury of video games in their lives tend to be privileged with money as well as power over their time if they are able to invest in such a fruitless endeavor.

However, those who sell video games are not at the top of their social hierarchy, quite the opposite is true in fact. An employee of a company such as GameStop is often underpaid and overworked. It isn’t uncommon to hear these employees complain about the “hours” or the “lack of benefits” that they are often forced with when it comes to working for the stores. There are hundreds of videos from former employees of the company that complain about GameStop and the ridiculous things they had to deal with working there. As a company with a net worth of three hundred fifty-four million dollars, they focus on earning money instead of employee and consumer satisfaction. There are programs in place that make returning a sixty dollar game sell for forty dollars the next day. These types of programs make consumers hate returning video games as it is a loss of money on their part. Due to these reasons, consumers often would rather purchase games online over in stores.

A Scene Of Death

A Dirty Job

In a “Dirty Job there are dozens of allusions to famous works and concepts that the reader may miss. One such allusion is the aptly named dog Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. In Muslim culture, Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam is known as the last prophet of Allah and is highly revered and respected. So revered that Muslims rarely say his name without following it with “Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam” which translates to “Peace be upon him”. As the last prophet, he is seen as a saintly character responsible for writing down the Quran piece by piece and spreading Islam throughout Spain and Europe. When the author named the dog Muhammad he was alluding to the prophet and maybe subtly labeling the dog as a protector and saintly figure in Sophie’s life.

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A depiction of Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Another allusion was the presence of the Morrigan in the story. The Morrigan is a goddess originating from Celtic mythology. She is known as a multifaceted god with different aspects for each of her faces, she was the goddess of war and battle as well as the cycle of life and death. Her three faces were each famous for the different aspects she possessed on the battlefield, some sources state that she had sisters instead of faces that all formed a formidable trinity.

In “A Dirty Job” the Morrigan believe that they are the Luminatus or the big death and are faced with the task of stealing souls from the soul stealers so the dark forces of the underworld can rule over the earth. The inclusion of these figures of death has a very interesting impact in the story. In the novel, the Morrigan’s referenced other gods claiming that they think they are the Luminatus. Did Moore create a world where Every religion’s god of death thinks of them as the Luminatus? From the greek god Thanatos to the Egyptian god Anubis, even the Etruscan god of the underworld Orcus all believe that they are the Luminatus. Moores creation of the idea of one central death creates a unity and competition between all aspects of death in other religions.

Allusions In Games

In my own experience, the worst thing you can say about a video game is that it is the next “Superman” (Nintendo 64). You would think that calling a game the next “Superman” would be a good thing, I mean who wouldn’t want to be called a god level superhero with a plethora of powers. However, almost anyone in the gaming world can tell you that “Superman” is commonly referred to as one of the worst games of all time. The game, released may 29th, 1999, was based on the loved animated series of the same name. The game however, was a major letdown to everyone who played it. The missions were repetitive, the graphics were awful, the controls were unresponsive, and the gameplay lacked anything that would keep an audience. The game is famously placed near or at the top of any top ten worst games of all time lists, and for good reason. So next time you hear someone say a game is going to be the next “Superman 64” now you know to stay clear of it.

A Dead World

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

            As an avid fan of video games I have been immersed in dozens of foreign worlds ranging from the bottom of the sea in “Bioshock” to the eighteen quintillion planets in “No Man’s Sky” and in these virtual adventures, there is only one constant: Death. Even with the ability to shoot lightning from your hands and teleport, death is a certainty. Compared to normal life however death is not always something that needs to be feared, in some cases it makes a game more enjoyable. The beautiful feature about video games is that they rarely ever look at death the same way, there are even different kinds of death in video games. There is permadeath which a realistic idea of when you die you are permanently removed from the game and may be unable to continue any further, a few games really nail the concept of permadeath. Then there’s a more forgiving concept of respawning, where when you die you may respawn at a previous checkpoint or quicksave.

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A few of my favorite games with different death mechanics. A Personal Photo

 

Shadow Of Mordor:

            Even between the different concepts of death every game as their own twist on it. “Shadow of Mordor” for instance, a personal favorite,  has an unseen gaming feature where when you die, time continues to pass. This is extremely uncommon in games, in the majority of games when you die you are sent back to your last save and you lose all progress you made after. In “Shadow of Mordor” however, after you die the orc that killed you is rewarded for killing you and promoted, which makes the game even more enjoyable when you hunt down the orc and make him regret running across you. This concept astounded me since such a simple concept has you become completely immersed in the game.

Dark Souls:

If you are a gamer you know it is nearly impossible to talk about death without talking about “Dark Souls”. This game is the epitome of an unforgiving game: absurdly powerful enemies, difficult gameplay mechanics, and a skill requirement that may take months to hone. The most aggravating aspect of this game though is that when you die you lose all of the hard-earned souls and Humanity points you have, and you also become undead again. The only way to get your items back is to find your corpse and loot them back, without dying. A nearly impossible task if you died in a heavily fortified area or if you simply fell off of a ledge. This feature combined with “Dark Souls” lack of tutorials and “hand-holding” makes this game a challenging and unique gem.