Continue to last post about violence, plot and awareness, this post will discuss the two immersion and violence.

As the last post said, diegetic immersive player may not be able to realize any violence element at all because the player’s attention is not on nothing but the story, not violence. Being diegetically immersed is like when watching a Hollywood action movie, you simply expecting the happy ending at the end by enjoying watching and listening the massive explosion during the movie. It is not important what, or who was blown up but you have to see, even if foreseen already, that the hero is happy ever since. But if an audience has really notice about the violence, like while playing a game, a player realized that he has to kill to continue the story, the diegetic immersion maybe breaks due to the awareness of the element outside of finishing the story. By notice the violence as an event, the player may still experiencing immersion. But by realizing it is violence, which has turn the player’s attention the essence of a mission in a game, which is violence, instead of stick on the story, the immersion experience will stop. For example when playing Counter Strike, if one focus on winning the other team, he is immersing and won’t care about the “violenceness” of killing the avatar of other player. But when he had made a head shot to someone he particularly doesn’t like, he may have notice the insult that the extra violence has bring to his enemy, therefore he may laugh at the game control of the enemy in real life. In this case diegetic immersion has totally broken due to the realization of violence.


But when diegetic immersion is break due to the awareness of violence, intra-degetic may become stronger, because a player may have realized the violence within a game, but rather than starts considering about it as a violence game element in game design term, the player may just put himself within the game space even deeper and simply be violence, and enjoying it. In this case violence really helped experiencing the intra-diegetic immersion because of the interaction nature of a game has provide the game player a chance of being part of the violence, and being violence is part of the gameplay that belongs to the game space. So violence is actually help created a more immersive game environment. Same example as above, if the player is not aware physical existence of himself or his enemy, and forget to make fun of other player’s control skill, he may simply enjoy the feeling of giving a head shot to someone he doesn’t like, therefore expecting to head shot him another time next round, and violence has created the space that he can act into, to be further violence and satisfying. But on the other hand, violence may not helping with intra-diegetic immersion at all if the diegetic immersion has broken, because the two types of immersion cannot exclusively exist without experiencing the other. Especially since experience Diegetic immersion is the basic condition of experiencing intra-diegetic immersion.


When Violence was designed in video games

By the meaning of “violence was designed in a video game” I mean the violence that exists within the game story and not the player’s initiative choice.


One possibility about video game violence is that the game player, who is mostly the prime mover and the audience as well, may not recognize or realize it at all because of immersion. As Taylor’s definition about diegetic immersion, is that a player is being caught up in the story, so that the viewer forgets they’re watching a media text. In other words, when a player is diegetically immersed with a game, all other fact will be ignored including violence within video games. Apart from fighting games, violence in most games is a subset of the game plot regarding the game story itself. There is no violence game just about violence game. It is just an outcome in order to finish the game story. The unaware of violence is because the player’s attention is turned elsewhere, and normally is the game story. In order to finish it the player must acting within the pre-set code of the game, follow the rules and kill whoever needed to be. Like, my first time playing GTA SA, I am urged to know what has happened to Sweet (CJ’s brother who was taken and held by the police) and I simply don’t care, or never noticed what I have to do to find the clue. I was immersed with the game story, and by the time when it comes to a killing mission, I kill. Not because I am enjoy it but because I know in order to find out the story I have to do this, and I want to find out too badly to care about the NPC character I just killed. When violence happens to a diegetic immersed player, he probably would never realize it.


The other possibility is after the violence was recognized; the player sometimes has to be a part of it without any choice due to the lack of agency. Similar to the first situation that game player has to do violence thing to finish the story, in this occasion players need to follow the game design too, only the player is aware and forced this time. For example the Airport Massacre Scene in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is really disturbing when I was playing it. But simply I don’t have a choice, I have to be part of the massacre to continue the game and I don’t have the integrity to close the game and never play it. The lack of agency of the game made me no choice, even if I never fire a shot I will have to sit in front of the computer and watch it happens. These NPC characters have to die because as a player I wasn’t given the ability to manipulate the story and stop it from happening.


In either of the situation player was forced to be violence, with or without being realized. But for different reason, the player has to continue the violence without bypass it. In the first situation very few will feel guilty because of the unawareness. Some may find it extreme guilty regards the second situation, with the lack of agency, the helplessness will reach a player’s emotional bottom whereas some may find the guilty pleasure, having fun of being violence without have to worry about the NPCs at all.


So I recommended The Stanley Parable to you last week. I’ve played the game a bit more and watched my friend finishing it. (You have to play it more than once to be satisfied which you’re going to find out why soon.J) Now I’m even more fascinated by it. It’s really strange!!! In a good way of course.

The remake of The Stanley Parable was released in 2013, expanding the player’s experience from the original version (released in 2011) with more story pathways and decision-making. You are an officer worker called Stanley who should mindlessly follow orders from the authority, the narrator. But here is what is so exciting but confusing about this game. You can either follow the instructions given by the narrator or disobey them and do what you want. Different choices you make in the game will lead you to more than 15 different endings!

One thought that I came across over and over again while playing The Stanley Parable was this, “What choice do I need to make this time? What is going to happen if I do this? Do I listen to the narrator? Do I actually have a choice here?!!!” In today’s post, I’d like to talk about how the idea and feeling of having AGENCY IS IMPORTANT to the video-game players and how The Stanley Parable shows it well by introducing you to some of its endings. Having the power to make choices and produce results gives satisfaction to the player. Gamers instinctively try different actions to solve and unfold the problems they face in video-games which produces some kind of results/endings. They know that they have the power to make choices in a given context and they use it. I think The Stanley Parable is a unique game because it gives you the feeling of full agency but makes the player feel powerless at the same time. This game plays with the idea of agency and the player’s instinct developed through his/her gaming experiences. This review by Joel Goodwin is worthwhile reading. He defines The Stanley Parable game as “a game in which player recognises free will is limited and their genuine choices are few.” But then he points out even though the narrator tries control the player by continuously telling the player what to do, he actually has no control over you. It is true because despite the feeling of having no control, you are still the decision-maker for each choice. Here are some interesting examples (spoiler alert to those who haven’t played yet!).

The freedom ending: To get this ending you follow everything the narrator tells you from going in certain doors to finally deactivating a “mind control machine”.  I felt that I had no choice in how the story played out. Something funny to note is that the so called “freedom” at the end when you escape the complex is shown to the player in the form of a cut scene. This is ironic as cut scenes are times in games when the player has absolutely no control whatsoever (i.e. can’t control the camera or move etc). Very clever! Although this ending is how the “story” is meant to unfold, it does not give the player the satisfying level of agency. But yet it was the player’s power to make choices each time to obey the narrator instead of going against him.

The death ending: If you are so eager to go against the narrator and mock him like he does to you, you can throw yourself from a cargo lift and plunge to your death. At this the narrator mocks you for your eagerness to go against him and resets the game. I felt like it was showing you that you really have no control in the game.

The heaven ending: If you press random buttons in the office, you get this weird ending when you are in “heaven”. This is just a room filled with buttons and chanting music. This is pretty funny because it’s like saying if you like pressing buttons so much then this is your heaven. This is making fun of gamer instinct to press everything. Most games don’t have a penalty for just pressing anything. Pressing buttons and clicking everywhere that is “clickable” are few of the very obvious interactions in video-games which produce some kind of results. Gamers gain a sense of agency in doing so.

The suicide ending: So you get this ending by disobeying the narrator a few times. He tries to make peace with the player and be on good terms with him/her. You reach a room with some lights and the narrator says he is finally happy and can be at peace. He asks if you can just stay there forever.  Unfortunately standing still is not a game and with nothing to “do”, the player has no choice but to repeatedly throw themselves from a set of stairs while the narrator pleads for you to stop. This ending had the most impact on me as it points about what a game is in terms of interaction and player choice.

The player must always have something to do and it is important to the player!

Double Take

This may be a big call….but I think playing sport related videogames can lead to an improvement in ones physical game.

The idea of videogaming as being educational or having a positive effect on the physical games seems counterintuitive. This is somewhat due to public discourse surrounding videogames, which tends to focus on the negatives of videogaming – such as teen violence, obesity and addiciton.

However, according to a survey conducted by FIFA of more than 10,000 registered gamers, 58% of players believe that virtual skills learned playing EA SPORTS’ FIFA 12 on PS3™ has improved their real-life skills.

Playing videogames requires strategy, mental focus, skill and technique…and as my boyfriend would argue, playing Rugby Challenge before playing the physical game improves pre-game stress, mental preparation and performance. The graphics, images and player representation in video games now come close to matching real life. Playing videogames also claims to improve motor skills, fight off depression and encourage healthy competition.

A remarkable 43% of the gamers surveyed claimed that playing video games helped in better understanding of soccer tactics and 95% of players who could pick themselves as an avatar, did. I would suggest that playing video games is a learning experience to platform the different players on each team, a greater insight of the teams philosophies, the highlighted skill of each player, the position that athletes normally play and much more. It is also helpful when playing the actual physical game by better understanding how to move around the pitch and knowing how to react when one has possession of the ball.

Sport video games are specifically designed to mimic the actual settings, players, strategies and other conditions that athletes may encounter on the field. There is an undoubted nexus between virtual and physical sport and the opportunities for learning remains untapped.

The nature of videogaming allows players to experience immediate and often unpredictable consequences of their actions. Because videogames have a wide range of narrative possibilities, this allows the gamer to understand a wide variety of mental possibilities.

I would suggest that as technology improves and as more resources are injected into the video game industry, particularly into the sporting genre, people are going to be able to participate in new worlds, which may have a positive impact for gamers.

So think twice, before you contemplate having an argument because he wants to get one more game in before dinner, and learn from her mistake….maybe he was destined to be the next Dan Carter.

Don’t you wish you could just live in a Crystal Palace Space Station?

How much do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on a game? A dollar on a crane machine? Five dollars on the latest app?

What about $300,000? Most people would consider spending that much money on a house, let alone any form of entertainment. However, in the rise of online gaming, people are willing to spend over hundreds of dollars to play these games to their full potential. Is this willingness to turn money into virtual credits (which, in most cases, cannot be exchanged back into legal tender) an element of problematic use?

Online gaming communities such as DotA 2, Counterstrike and League of Legends encourage spending money in game to purchase cosmetic items, weapons and added skills. According to an article on World Record Academy, the most expensive online gaming item ever to be purchased was sold at a huge $330,000. The Crystal Palace Space Station was sold to a well-known member Buzz “Erik” Lightyear, who believes the item is “amazing” and better to be owned by “a very active, and very old player who loves Entropia Universe”.

If you heard a story of someone spending $300,000 on a fruit machine, you would assume that their gambling habits were getting out of hand. The study of video game addiction and its definition is somewhat of a volatile subject in the academic and media worlds. This sort of excessive spending definitely is an element of problematic use, and should be studied in connection to how video game “addiction” works.

These sort of games are ridiculously easy to get involved in. In my own personal experience, I found myself involved in the world of Habbo Hotel. Habbo features a similar item purchasing system: in order to decorate your room, and in turn earn major status, you must put in real money for “coins” which buy “furni”. At the age of 13, I had pocket money to spare and this seemed like the perfect outlet for me to do so – only it doesn’t stop at pocket money. Instead, I was beginning to ask for Habbo giftcards for birthdays and Christmas, and started investing hundreds of dollars into a virtual game. Eventually, I must have invested over $600 of money into the game only to have lost interest and grown out of it. That is $600 that will never be redeemed, and sits on the internet in virtual items that no one else can touch. However, at the time, it seems absolutely worth it.

Part of the problematic elements of these games is the social identities that an individual gains within them. In order to be respected as a player, it is considered mandatory to invest real money and purchase skins, items and weapons to make your heroes unique. With that added peer pressure, and the basic human need to fit in, these online games’ encouragement to spend such money has potential to lead into problematic gaming.

It appears that along with money, the social aspects of online gaming should also be included in the study towards problematic use and “addiction”. If we continue to look at the effect these games can actively have on our ‘real’ lives, relationships and living standards, then a definition will be easily attained.




Apologies in advance for sounding like a pessimist…I do love gaming. But one cannot ignore the hard facts which suggest that videogames are still light years away from being considered truly realistic… now, this doesn’t take away from drastic advances since their creation, or suggest that existing videogames aren’t immersive, however until the disparity between the narrative offered by game creators, and the play acted out is eliminated, videogames will still be perceived by some, as unrealistic.

Ludonarrative dissonance (LD) is what is at play here. The concept refers to the aspects of videogames storytelling that are controlled by the player. LD is the idea that when a game tells a player to do X through its story and environment, the player becomes un-immersed and disconnected due to contradictions during game play. As the player becomes more aware of gaps in logic and presentation this continues to undermine the overall gaming experience.

Examples of LD at play:

Bioshock: The game gives the player the ability to exercise this free will by choosing whether to rescue or harvest Little Sisters. If the player chose an objectivist approach to playing by harvesting the Little Sisters, they would be acting in their own self-interest and would be perfectly aligned with the ethical thesis that the game sought to emphasize. One of the problems Bioshock has; is that there isn’t an option to not assist Atlas, or to align with Ryan. Anyone in this position has to merely accept that the game funneled them in that direction; the only other recourse would have been to quit playing.

Dead Space: Game play conveys the sense of sheer terror and loneliness that the narrative expertly strives to establish. More importantly, the game focuses its efforts in a mostly linear direction, and doesn’t really afford the player the ability to make decisions that would put this consistency at risk. Dead Space is a prime example of one of the more ludonarratively consistent games in recent memory.

To minimise or eliminate LD from their games, game developers have to create games that are continually evolving and 100% responsive to any actions the player makes. Developers have to shift focus from trying to tell a particular story to giving the player the opportunity to make a story. Considering technical and resource limitations, this is something that won’t recourse overnight.

To prevent divergence from the exact path that developers wish to take the narrative, the player would need to have little to no control over in-game decision making. Accountability would need to be taken by developers however, to ensure that no disparity existed.

We are then posed with the rhetoric… is it worth taking the freedom of decision and expansive universes offered by so many games, just to eliminate LD?

Smartphone gaming ourselves fat


30ThursdayJan 2014

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Smartphone gaming is huge.

According to a recent study done by Neilsen Research it appears that gaming accounts for the biggest chunk of downloading

64% of apps downloaded are games, conpared to a mere 25%, for example which a Sport apps and only 13% which are Health apps

This may indicate where our priorities lie.

Higher than social networking?!

There is a Facebook page named “Bejeweled Blitz Addiction Support Group” – no surprises there,

(Well, actually there’s 3,467 now.. I need help)
Smartphone gaming is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s great for entertaining ourselves and taking up time where we may usually deem ourselves as bored.
But what’s the impact?
CNN notes that smartphone or tablet gaming will give you “text neck” – a condition where your neck becomes strained from leering over at your game over the teeny, tiny screen. Read more about it here
Personally, I couldn’t really give a toss about “text neck” – I already have text tummy (lack of tone due to excessive sitting around on my phone.)
A funny fact it that someone has actually created an app to avoid text neck. It was deleloped at Fishman’s Text Neck Institute. It tells the user when to move their neck to avoid straining it.
Pardon me for being up front, but I also have a cure for text neck.
It’s called “Put The Phone Down And Go For A Walk You Fool”
I even took the liberty to create it.
Evidently, we are getting fatter from smartphone gaming.
‘Healthday’ (Link below) explains that Smartphone users are the new couch potatoes. Additionally, reasearch shown above indicates that we are gaming on our Smartphones above all else.
This conclusively indicates that smartphone gaming is making us fat or “contributing to our sedentry lifestyle”
Smartphones are also affecting our sleep. Less sleep is known to contribute to obesity.
With only 13% of apps downloaded for health and 64% for gaming, the statistics speak for themselves.
The obvious resolution is to stop using our Smartphones as much
One does not simply, Stop using their iPhone
Or at least attempt it.

Addictive Games?


05WednesdayFeb 2014

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Hi I’m Bella

(Hi Bella)

And I’m a former Bejewelled Blitz addict.

Taking this paper had opened my eyes up to the possible reasons why I found myself addicted to this seemingly innocent game.

A quick google search confirmed not only that I’m not alone in my guilty pleasure, but that the ‘addictiveness’ (I’ll call it Immersion) seems to be relatively widespread.

I’ve circled the keywords in red for your ease of reading


Needless to say I am shocked.

Bejewelled Blitz is Immersive

But why? I know it is, I spent the last hour of my time in New Zealand in 2010 prior to a month in Europe cramming in as many Bejewelled Blitz sessions I could before I had to leave. They last only one minute. Sixty games. That was what I considered a short session. Sometimes I would play for three hours. 180 GAMES.

Perhaps the facts shouldn’t come as a surprise to me

Bejewelled Blitz is enchanting.

The creator Jason Kapalka spills thye facts in this link

“Since its debut, Bejeweled addicts have frittered away around $300 million—and more than 6 billion hours—on the game and its sequel, the provocatively titled Bejeweled 2. And PopCap, the company behind the blockbusters, has become a big player—it now has more than 200 employees in offices around the world.”

(Last shocked face I promise!)

Kapalka emphasises that Bejewelled’s success it heavily influenced by the game’s SIMPLICITY

Simplicity, “the quality of being easy to understand or use. : the state or quality of being plain or not fancy or complicated. : something that is simple or ordinary but enjoyable.”

The relationship between simplicity and Immersion is something that cannot be overlooked. Simplicity is a huge factor. I believe this is because simplicity allows for Structural Coherence. If there is less content, with constant decision making, the coherence is unlikely to be broken. Broken coherence = loss of Immersion.

It’s just logic

I believe certain games have an Immersive quality due to simplicity.

Thank God I downloaded the Bejewelled Blitz app

GTA V Controversy

13ThursdayFeb 2014

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Since I am not a GTA gamer, I did some reasearch into the controversies of GTA V because I have always been fascinated by the sheer ruthlessness of the game.

This article published to on the 19 Septemer 2013 ( outlines the reasons GTA V has such a bad reputation.

“Alleged misogyny, rampant use of racially offensive terms and heavily sexual scenes are just some of the game’s polarizing moments.”

“In the first several hours of gameplay, the N-word is heard several hundred times (usually, but not always, by black characters). Other harsh obscenities are part of the speech patterns of every character in the game, including drivers you cut off.”

I found the N-Word use most fascinating myself. I am not aware of whom exactly ‘created’ these bleack characters that use obscene language but I don’t believe the creator’s ethnicity matters. The fact that GTA V uses moving animations of black people calling each other/other people derogatory words is beyond me.

In regards to Gaming and Ethnicity, we have come to believe that “Represenations often show us white understandings of other cultures” and it is fair to say taht GTA V has been created under the pretence that it is acceptable for a black person to call another a Nigger

It is apparently also acceptable for an animation that looks like a black person to say this same word, hundreds of times.

If representations of other cultures are frequently negative or neutral, it may be useful to look at the ‘baddies’ in GTA Games.

Listed under the ‘Villains’ section on Wikaia ( here are some images.



200px-GTA V FranklinFranktenpennyshotgun


Victor VanceBallas

An alarming percentage of these ‘Baddies’ are of African American ethnicity.

The protagonist is white.

GTA V reinforces many negative perspectives of certain races. It could be developed from a holistic point of view with more acknowledgement for all races rather than simply placing black characters in as ‘baddies’ or ‘neutral’ in order to attain balance.














Racism in Gaming…

Racism in gaming… I suppose I am drawn to write on this topic because I find it easy to write about it as there are so many misunderstandings around racism and I love any opportunity to try and highlight them.

 Because I am not a gamer I cannot comment in a wide context on racism in gaming, however after watching the Resident Evil 5 and Pray clips in class I found that I had a bit to say in regards to what I saw. I did some reading around the two games and the issue of racism and it confirmed to me that you do not need to be familiar with the gameplay of these games to be able to discuss the levels of racism within them and the implications of this racism.

 The main implication of the racism in these games is that they reinforce unhealthy stereotypes that have real life effects on the people these stereotypes are referring to. For Resident Evil 5 it further disadvantages representations of African communities and in Pray, it does the same for Native Americans or First Nations as they are now known as.

 The trailer played in class for Resident Evil 5 touched on many problematic and sensitive racist issues. The issue with this clip is that the racism is not so overt, but instead it is subjective or implied racism that maybe isn’t so obvious for all audiences or gamers, and here lies the problem. The trailer of Resident Evil 5 shows the game is set in an African community where the white male protagonist – Chris Redfield go in to ‘save the day’. He proceeds to walk through the run down village as he says, “more and more I find myself wondering whether it is all worth fighting for”. The rest of the trailer shows him shooting down the infected Black people as he finishes off saying, “I have a job to do, and I’m going to see it through”. Although there is no explicit dialogue that says that he is coming in to save the Black people, but the tone of his comments and the visuals say exactly that.

 Hilary Goldstein comments on the racism in Resident Evil 5 in an online article in 2009, she shares that ““Later, there is a cutscene depicting a white woman being dragged into a house by an infected black man. In its recent hands-on, Eurogamer criticized this moment in particular for playing into traditional racist fear-mongering. To propagate fear of blacks from the time of slavery and through the Civil Rights movement in the United States, white society was warned that big black men are coming for your daughters.” (

References like this support the idea that although the racism in this game is not overtly obvious, the implications of these stereotypes are very real. The main stereotype this game reinforces is that Black people are to be feared, that they are not ‘normal’ like ‘us’, and that we must ‘save them’. Much like how we Western countries ironically try and save the African communities now through charity etc… when really it is the Western countries that have forced African communities into these extreme poverty and disease filled realities.

 I find that it is important to look at games like these critically. Although many people argue that we don’t say games are racist when white people are the diseased people who need saving – it is racist when they are Black because these are the types of representations that Blacks are limited too.

 I found an interesting quote while doing some research that further highlights the ignorance of some people, “In an interview with Computer and Video Games, producer Masachika Kawata also commented on the issue, stating, “We can’t please everyone. We’re in the entertainment business – we’re not here to state our political opinion or anything like that. It’s unfortunate that some people felt that way”. Some people may agree and think what is wrong with this comment? What is worrying about this comment is her ignorance to the fact that what people see and experience in the gaming world DOES have political implications, therefore game creators must always be aware of this. I agree that it is unfortunate people feel this way, but I do not think she should be taking such a complacent position in the issue because it is something that can be avoided!

 Racism in gaming is dangerous. Gamers and players are so heavily involved in the gaming experience and when representations are so close to reality they can easily have real implications in the real world for real people. I hope that the Resident Evil 5 game creators learnt from this mistake and other game developers also.