Let us begin with the New London Group (1996) definition – the notion that literacies (plural) crucially entail sense making within a rich, multimodal semiotic system, situated in a community of practice that renders that system meaningful. Figure 1 shows the interface of the MMOG Lineage II, one of the primary virtual world contexts in which the ethnographic data described herein was collected. We might ask ourselves, how many adults (let alone tenured professors) can ‘read’ such a sp...
A game screen is a complex collection of symbols that are meaningless to traditional literacy, but they do comprise a literacy that tells a story for those who can read it.
Video games aren’t as easy as they seem
to the uninitiated. One cannot simply
sit down and immediately begin
shooting those aliens. One must first
learn how to play the game. Gee (2003)
suggests that skilled players learn to
play using a four-step probing process
1. The player must probe the
virtual world by looking around
the current environment, clicking
on something, or engaging in a
2. On the basis of the probing
results, the player must form a
What you eventually discover as you continue to play is that Portal is a
game about escaping from rooms that operate according to rules you are unaware
of. You learn that each room is a puzzle, increasingly booby-trapped,
and the game requires you to understand more and more complex physics in
order to get out. If you don’t teach yourself the physics of each new room—
that is, if you don’t learn the rules of the game—you’ll be stuck there forever,
listening to the AI system repeat h...
The real world just doesn’t offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures,
the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by
virtual environments. Reality doesn’t motivate us as effectively. Reality isn’t
engineered to maximize our potential. Reality wasn’t designed from the bottom
up to make us happy.
And so, there is a growing perception in the gaming community:
Reality, compared to games, is broken.
In fact, it is more than a perception. It’s a phenom...
In MMOs, individuals collaborate to solve complex problems within the virtual world, such as figuring out what combination of individual skills, proficiencies, and equipment are necessary to conquer an in-game boss dragon in the example above. As part of developing efficient and effective solutions, players are customarily expected to research various game strategies and tactics by consulting on- and offline manuals, databases, and discussions, as well as by using such knowledge as the basis ...
They hypothesize, collaborate, experiment and test their ideas in the virtual worlds to learn how they work.
Anyone who sees a hurricane coming should warn others. I see a hurricane coming.
Over the next generation or two, ever larger numbers of
people, hundreds of millions, will become immersed in virtual
worlds and online games. While we are playing, things
we used to do on the outside, in “reality,” won’t be happening
anymore, or won’t be happening in the same way. You
can’t pull millions of person-hours out of a society without
creating an atmospheric-level event.
If it happens in a ...
People are leaving the real world for the virtual. This will impact society in unanticipated ways.
As the game grew in international popularity, players from all over the
world converged on the U.S. West server, leading to frequent overloading and lag in game play. The problem became particularly acute when Diablo II was released in Korea. Within a few weeks of its release, Diablo II sold 300,000 copies, making it far and away Blizzard’s most profitable overseas launch. This rapid uptake produced a massive influx of game players into U.S. West, causing further problems with game lag. Whe...
Story of when Diablo II opened in Korea and the influx of users sparked a hostile reaction from Western players.
As we move from the "low" level to the "high", say from the domain of machine code all the way up to, for instance, a rich, expressive Ruby DSL, the question arises, as it does for all language: have we acquired a surplus of content that cannot be simply reduced to core rules? At this point things get less Wittgensteinian and a little more late-Heideggerian, i.e., less analytic and more eidetic/phenomenological.
To remove the fuzziness from this notion, think of how, for instance, a first-pe...
Everything in a computer program is built on low-level binary operations, but at the higher levels we deal with fuzzy objects. Does the fact that those fuzzy objects are built on concrete logic mean they can be understood concretely?
As we reached the tiny clump of trees festooned with butterflies as thick as jungle foliage, we Yanks buzzed about, snapping pics, taking notes, storing up impressions with which to later regale our friends back home. The Mexicans by and large sat silently in the forest, kids in laps, eyes somberly fixed on the massed monarchs. It was difficult to read their emotions, but 1 believe that many of the Mexican visitors to the Chincua Monarch Sanctuary were driven by the same urge that might have ...
A reverence instilled by appreciating nature is the only thing that will save it.
The Internet shows me more and more about those who participate in it, but I worry lest I forget that not everything or everyone in the world has a home on the Internet. Missing are those who cannot read or write, who have no access to a computer, or who chose to remain disconnected. There is a danger of coming to think that what cannot be found on an Internet search doesn’t exist, and that the virtual world is the world. It isn’t. However bizarre and incredible the people populating the ...
It's easy to forget that there is a large portion of the population that is not online or not contributing because they cannot afford it or outright reject it.