Continuing with a bit of research then some experiments. As my practice which involves persuasive narratives in technology, here I’m documenting, though very briefly, issues related to violent narratives in video games.
Many of the public information films I watched on the telly in the 1970s and 80s were generally aimed at children, raising awareness to ‘outdoor’ dangers such as playing near ditches, building sites, railway lines and talking to strangers etc. However, in the past 20 years, due to the social platforms we use, the dangers are now ‘indoor’ activities- playing video games or ‘gaming’ as it’s commonly referred, being one example. As this issue is extremely broad, I’ve picked out an argument for and one against. Steven Johnson’s book, Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, is on my to read list.
Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter- Steven Johnson.
Published in 2005, it is based upon Johnson’s theory that popular culture – in particular television programs and video games – has grown more complex and demanding over time and is making society as a whole more intelligent. The book’s claims, especially related to the proposed benefits of television, drew media attention. It received mixed critical reviews.
Johnson states that he aims to persuade readers of “two things:
- ‘By almost all the standards we use to measure reading’s cognitive benefits — attention, memory, following threads, and so on — the non-literary popular culture has been steadily growing more challenging over the past thirty years’
- ‘Increasingly, the non-literary popular culture is honing differentmental skills that are just as important as the ones exercised by reading books’
From Wikipedia- Video game-related health problems
Research has found that kids who spend too much time playing video games may have more trouble paying attention in school. Researchers found that children who had more than two hours of game time per day were twice as likely to have trouble paying attention.
Existing literature on gaming is inconsistent, and studies occasionally produce contradictory results. Some studies show strong correlations between gaming and psychological issues like increased aggression in males, and increased depression in females. Whilst another study claims that girls who gamed were less likely to experience depression but were more likely to get into fights.
Watching my son and daughter playing on their Xbox with their virtual friends sparked my attention. At around 6:00 p.m. , the lounge becomes an amusement arcade. In this instance, it is a constant noise of gunfire, you know, the sounds you hear when a BBC war journalist is reporting news from Baghdad. As they’re engaged in battle, I’m allowed to shoot some of the coverage.
Sound: The original sound is stripped and replaced with some ordinary battle sound bites from freesound. org
Footage: Not done a great deal, just slowed down footage after a killing incident. The graphics display, wording such as WASTED, pulverised you or shotgunned you.
Ended the sequence with the credit Killing for Fun? Not really any impact visually.
Switched to widescreen and lightened the footage exposing more graphical elements. Added more titling with overlays in heavy block impact font.
Blank screen with audio merging to visuals. Visuals cut to 15 seconds
More emphasis on sound and negative space as opposed to visuals and blending sound/visuals. The cuts being sharper with the intention that the persuasive message is now more succinct.