Video Game Ethics- Part I

“I decided I will segment this blog post in two parts.  The first part will give you the whole story about my experience inside the Video Game Universe since day one.  So I can give you a clear idea of where I’m coming from on this topic.  The second part will be concentrating into the topic itself and the current state of the video game industry as I see it from my perspective.”

 

As I mentioned on my first ever blog post, I’m a hardcore video gamer.  I come from the Atari Generation where Pac-Man was king and Asteroids and Space Invaders were the common foe.  It was such a huge part of my childhood to the point I was able to draw even my dad to the crave of playing.  I was amazed of how good he became at playing Pac-Man.  He even beat my highest score and reset the game score to zero.  It came to a point where we would spend whole weekends playing without watching any tv (shows) whatsoever.

When the video game industry evolve into the new console at the time; The Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES) , for some reason I didn’t go along with the evolution completely.  I never owned a NES.  I got the chance to play it but it was at my cousin’s where I usually would spend a weekend or a whole week during summertime.   I think it was due to the fact that my focus of attention started to shift into the beginning of my musical career, which I’ll talk about in a future post.

There was one point in time when I tried to get myself back into the video game world.  The Atari and the NES were long gone.  Now the console king was the Nintendo 64.  Mario, Luiggi and I never got quite along to be honest.  That’s why I bought myself a Sega Genesis so I could play the game that was the biggest thing at the time; Mortal Kombat.  But that run with the Genesis didn’t last long.  I was so into playing music that I just didn’t have the time and mostly, the urge to play games.

It wasn’t until  video game technology would made this huge quantum leap that brought us the Sony Playstation, the Microsoft Xbox and the Nintendo Gamecube when I really did make a comeback and never looked back.

I started with The Gamecube. I was already married, I’ve got a house, a full time job and my side musical gig when i bought that console. So my weekends would consist of playing games on the Cube  during the day, and playing my guitar with my cover band in the evening.  I was playing games like Spawn (based on the HBO adult comic series) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  I have one funny anecdote that happened during the time I was playing the Game Cube.

One day I got off work, usually at 4pm. My workplace was like 5 minutes away from home so with traffic it would take like 10 or 15 minutes to get back home.  So when i finally get back home, I open the door and the first thing I see is my wife sitting on the floor holding the Game Cube controller.  She looks at me with her eyes wide open and says “What are you doing here???”, I said “What do you mean what am I doing here??. I’m your husband.  I live here, remember??” . She says, “I know but…. Hey!!.. What time is it??” And I told her ” It’s 4:20 pm”.  She opens her mouth, her eyes opens much wider and says “Ohh My God!!! I got so caught up on this game (The Star Wars Game that is) I totally lost the sense of time!!”. I asked her at what time she started playing. She told me “I think it was 9:30 am”.  Now I was the one with the open mouth and the eyes wide open shouting “What??????”.  And I started laughing and I couldn’t stop for more than 5 minutes.  She looks at me and says “Don’t laugh!!.. I haven’t even fix up dinner!!” and I started to laugh louder. I ended up going back to the car and drive downtown to buy some take out Chinese food.  But to me it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.

In 2003 I bought my 1st Xbox.  The first generation Xbox that is.  With the Xbox I had my first experience with a so called “First Person Shooter” Game.  That game was Halo.  A “First Person Shooter” game or FPS is the type of game that let’s you play as the main character and play it from the perspective of his/her eyesight. All you see from the character is his/her arms holding a weapon and what’s in front of him/her. That includes the ability to move forward or backwards, turn around, crouch, run, switch weapons and of course fire the weapon.  Its like you posses the body of the main character.  That ability of playing a game from that perspective comes with a price that I didn’t know at the time.  One night I was playing Halo and all of the sudden I started to feel dizzy.  To the point I got nauseous.  So I had to stop playing.  2 minutes after I stop playing,  the dizziness and the nausea were gone just as they came.  I turned off the Xbox and went to bed wondering what was the cause of that weird incident.  Next day I told a friend of mine who’s also a hardcore gamer about what happened to me playing the game. I asked him if he ever experienced such a thing while playing.  He laughed and told me what I experienced was a case of “Motion Sickness”. Which is common when you first get exposed to FPS games.  Here’s the overview of  Motion Sickness as described on the WebMD page:

“Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, the eyes, and other areas of the body that detect motion send unexpected or conflicting messages to the brain. One part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, vision, and sensory nerves that help you keep your balance) may sense that your body is moving, while the other parts do not sense motion.”

It makes sense because when you play a FPS game it gives you the sensation that you’re walking or running, but you’re not. Same thing happens when you board a plane or a boat or a roller coaster ride.  He told me that all I had to do is make sure to eat or drink something with a decent amount of sugar before I started playing or in the middle of the game.  For some reason Motion Sickness can be prevented by maintaining slightly higher levels of blood sugar.  But I decided at that time it was best to move on and try another type of game.

So I got to what have become one of my favorite games of all time.  Ninja Gaiden. The name says it all. You get play as a fierce, stealthy, quicker than the speed of sound ninja warrior who’s main weapon is a sharper than sharp, mythical and legendary blade that cuts even the strongest metal alloy in the planet.  This is a type of game called “Action Role Playing Game” or ARPG.  Role playing games gives you a third person perspective.  Your point of view could be either in 3D which puts you right behind the main character and have a 360 degree view, or in 2D where you see the character from one side and you can only move him/her forward or backwards. A good example of a 2D game would be Super Mario Brothers. Other titles I got to play on the First Generation Xbox were  newer versions of Mortal Kombat, The Xbox version of Spawn: Armageddon, Fable, Street Fighter (2 or 3, can’t remember which one), The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, Soul Calibur II, Spiderman 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront.

In 2007 i made the switch to the new generation Xbox.  The Xbox 360.  The console was already launched back in late 2005.  So by the time I bought mine, there was already a huge collection of games available to play.  This is when I started to notice something about certain games that didn’t sit well with me.  On part II of this blog post you’ll see what didn’t sit well with me and which were the games that made me feel that way.

 

Stay Tuned:

 

Ninoy

 

 

 

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