Week 9 of the MOOC introduces the theme of sexuality and how it is explored in video games.
In video 1, they focus on the first games that introduced sexuality — adventure games like Colossal Cave Adventure and Zork. Or how most of the text adventure games were relatively straightforward, yet Japan started introducing some sexual role-playing content with Night Life while America was still playing Kings Quest by Sierra. But mostly the video is about the development history of text games from basic parsers to added parsing, added exploration, added audio, added graphics, and expanded narrative arcs. It’s an okay start, but mostly it is just to give you the background so they can then talk about:
The history of sex in gaming
Five ways to imagine sex in gaming
Role of women in the industry
The second video talks about the examples of how it is introduced:
marketers using sex to “sell” to generally single heterosexual males;
designers including sex content (Sierra’s Soft Porn Adventure and eventually Leisure Suit Larry);
exploration of gender through cyber-sex roles; and,
creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) as reactions to games with sex and/or violence.
I’m still plugging away on this MOOC. Week 8 of “Understanding Video Games” (hosted by Leah Hackman and Sean Gouglas through Coursera) starts off talking about violence in early games and begins with the old platform games (i.e. jumping to or swinging from platforms), ranging from Donkey Kong (static screens) through to Super Mario Brothers (scrolling), and on further into cinematic platform games. Even the cartoonish games attracted concerns of parental groups who wanted to limit ages or locations for arcades.
In the second video, the pair talk about blood and gore, and it’s long artistic roots in art as an aesthetic. They then move on to flagging the different interpretations — gory violence as nothing more than a video game “horror movie” experience; gory violence as a murder simulator; or merely a source of catharsis. Yet it is the same questions that have been posed of art, comic books and television too. » Read the rest
In recent years, many educators have ratcheted up their attacks on the idea of people having “learning styles”. While it was in vogue for awhile, more and more research is suggesting it isn’t as compelling a theory as it once was thought to be. To me, it is more about a theory that resonates instinctively with people, and more a metaphor for approaches to learning – a descriptive paradigm, if you will – then a hard and fast “rule” or law, let alone a theory. So when I saw an Atlantic article aiming to debunk it further, I couldn’t help but click.
In the early ‘90s, a New Zealand man named Neil Fleming decided to sort through something that had puzzled him during his time monitoring classrooms as a school inspector. In the course of watching 9,000 different classes, he noticed that only some teachers were able to reach each and every one of their students.
Chapter 10 is interesting in that it goes in an entirely different direction — not the use of a Walmart by another big retailer, or a completely different business, or a community group even. Instead, it focuses on the reuse in Kentucky to open a mini-mall of second-hand stores. Micro-businesses, in the parlance, or in this case, flea markets.
But with an innovative twist — a central check-out. All the vendors sell their wares just as Walmart has little divisions. Yet they are no competition for Walmart, so Walmart loves them. How many individual vendors? One store had over 300. The central checkout handles all the finances for them, along with most of the transactional paperwork. I think it is brilliant. Ripe for disruption, of course, but brilliant.
And the store renovation is as minimal as they can make it…splash some paint and they are good to go. Nobody cares, they just want an indoor space to sell their goods. » Read the rest
Chapter 9 is a somewhat starker chapter, as it looks at Chalmette, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. And it isn’t like the other chapters, as it is not really about reuse of an abandoned building.
Instead, it is the use of the Walmart parking lot — the only local place large enough to hold a small medical centre made up of a series of large double-wide trailers all connected together. Supported by non-profits, for-profits, religious groups, FEMA and Walmart, it got going in the aftermath of Katrina, and at the time of writing (3 years afterwards), it was still running, while the Walmart remained closed. Walmart even let them open a small pharmacy onsite to meet local needs.
However, what I find interesting and for which I wish there was more coverage in the book (admittedly, it is beyond her scope), is the description of how Walmart used its existing large distribution network to help relief efforts. » Read the rest