I know, I know. Summer is over! No more long nights staying up until 8am, no more sleeping all day and doing nothing once you wake up. It sucks, but that’s the way of the world. School is back in session and next week it will for me and my colleagues. The realization that another academic chapter on my life is about to ensue makes me think about how my gaming sessions will be effected. Usually, the first 2 or 3 weeks of school I can play my 360 everyday for at least 4 hours. Once, the homework starts piling on and I start going to my weekly meetings, my gaming sessions get pushed to the weekends. I am a lot more involved now at my institution including working at my current on-campus job. Time management has always been my best friend and is the key to success (that was random, but it needed to be said). All college students have different ways of being an actual student. Some study a lot, most study to little, some go to bed at 11pm, most stay up to 3am. It all depends on what kind of student you want to be. For the purposes of this blog it will be about what kind of gamer I want to be while in school. So, here are a couple of ways I plan to be a productive student as well as keeping my edge as a gamer.
1) Gaming is reward that needs to be earned. I constantly feel guilty if I have an assignment due soon and I am chilling playing a videogame. By using my videogame as its on achievement or trophy that needs to be unlocked, I should be able to keep my work up as well as my gamer stats.
2) 3-1 rule. For every 3 hours of studying I am going to do an hour of gaming. Gaming relaxes my brain all depending on what I am playing (FPS’s after studying will get you frustrated…campers ruin everything.) I will play Batman: Arkham City or Destiny.
3) Study hard to game even harder! My long gaming sessions usually start are Friday and Saturday nights. If I can end each school week feeling like I studied hard, did most of my work, and overall just feel like I accomplish something then, Game On!
This is my expectation, hopefully this becomes my reality…if not I’m screwed!
I have seen it many times before, but it hit me even harder this time. What I’m referring you might ask? Well let’s set the scene. On August 15, 2014 a colleague and I had the pleasure to attend the Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions event. Held at the Warner theatre in D.C., my colleague and I were indulging in classic and modern “Pokemon” scores expanding most of the videogames from the franchise. The whole theatre was packed full of fans ranging from the very young to the elderly, from Nintendo fanboys and gals to Xbox and Playstation lovers. The audience were treated to a visual display of scenes from some the games as the orchestra plays with the visual. Now that I have set the scene here is my main intention of this post. As my friend and I walked to our seats we were temporarily blocked by a father and his two kids. The father was haphazardly watching his kids, taping away at his phones, and trying to move out the way so, we can get to our seats. We sat down at our seats and awaited the start of the performance. In the meantime, my friend pull out his Nintendo 3DS and started to play Pokemon: Black Version. For the most part, many people had a Nintendo handle device of some kind mainly, some variation of the 3DS model. As my friend is playing the little boy next to him also, start playing his game. Instantly, the little boy started to converse with my friend about what kind of pokemon has?, what level is most of his pokemon on?, what his favorite?, etc. My friend was engaged in 10 or so minute conversation. I was flabbergasted at the same time, pretty happy. I saw it as amazing triumph for Pokemon, but ultimately for games in general. Here is my 20 year friend and this give-or-take 7 year old boy bridging the age gap. I saw the father elated at the sight of seeing his son engage in conversation with an older person. The word that comes to mind is awestruck for I have seen this happen before, but no where near the time length of the conversation and there was no prior engagements between the boy and my friend. This was a completely spontaneous act. There was no hesitation, no judgments based race, ethnicity, background, culture. It was just people engaging in a very spontaneous dialogue about a videogame. This is one of the many reasons why I advocate for videogames. As I say to distinguish professors, researchers, and directors that videogames bring people together. It comes down to do have a good grasp of thorough knowledge about the game to engage in meaningful and insightful conversations about the game. I love games with a passion and this proves yet again I am not ashamed to call myself a gamer.
My friend and I got our posters signed by the conductor, the producers, a singer, and Pokemon creator himself, Junichi Masuda. Too awesome!
Two of my goals are to teach a course about videogames. More specifically, how humans interact and influence virtual worlds and how these virtual worlds interact and influence us as humans. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I am studying Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Thus, brings me to my other goal of being a socio-videogameologist (Made it up myself)! These are the goals I have set for myself and taking the necessary steps to accomplish both these goals. I take pride in having a good grasp of what it means to be a gamer and how I fit within the culture. As I meet new people such as directors and professors, I usually take them by surprise when I tell them my career goals. I get the occasional head nod with a face of confusion and intrigue. Some blatantly ask me, “Why videogames?” Of course, when talking with an esteemed professor and/or professional they feel inclined to ask to me, “Can you get a job in that?” or candidly say, “How can you turn that interest to be more academic?” There are plenty of jobs that people can get that to work with videogames for example, a videogame developer, analyst, researcher, author, journalist, talk show host, engineer, animator, CEO, director, etc. The list goes on just look at the end credits for some of the biggest blockbuster games!
As for the second question, “How can you turn that interest to be more academic?” Well, let’s see! There are plenty of institutions that offer bachelor degrees in videogame design such as Full Sail University and WestWood colleges. On a more prestigious scale, New York University(NYU) recently announced that they will be offering a bachelors of fine arts degree in videogame design. This is exciting news because NYU is a very well-known and prestigious institution so, for an institution of their magnitude to offer a degree in something some professors scoff at is truly wonderful. In an age where kids are being born with an Android phone to their left and IPad to there right, it is hard to say that videogames have no place in higher education. Videogames come in many formats in order to have as many people in world to be able to play them. I would enjoy using my passion for videogames to teach and show people the arts of videogames. Videogames go beyond a hobby or interest for me. It’s a life style choice!