My Struggle in Videogame Research

There are times within my week that I reflect on everything that I have accomplished. These moments have brought me joy, pride, and a sense of accomplishment. During deep moments of reflection I tend to calculate and/or ponder the sacrifices I had to make. Sacrifices such as bonding with friends, missing family functions, and of course, game time. Now, I never beat myself up too bad about my decisions, but I end up asking the same question. “Was it worth it?”

As senior undergrad research student, I have been afforded to dive into the fascinating medium of videogames.  My research interest has allowed me to travel and converse with a lot people. Most are just astounded that I am researching something that not a lot of people are doing within academia. I am humbled by those who are willing to listen and hopefully, learn about the dynamics and progressing culture within videogames. These conversations have been rewarding, but most follow the same format. Beyond my friends who are gamers, I am consistently asked these questions: “How do you view videogames and violence?”, “Why do so many people watch others play videogames?”, “If you had children, would you let them play violent videogmes?” I don’t mind answering these questions, but this is a norm for me know. A norm that I would like to step away from, for now.

I get it. Not everyone is a gamer and I should be grateful that people are willing to ask me as a gamer and researcher their questions. I am truly grateful. However, as a lover of knowledge who enjoys listening to different perspectives, I am not getting that. Yes, my group of gamer friends are my central hub of varying perspectives, but I want to expand my horizon. Maybe I need more friends? Maybe things will be different in Graduate School next year? Maybe I am asking for too much and I should of expected this? I don’t really know. All I know is I need variation. Instead of answering questions and people nodding in agreement.

Interestingly, I was volunteering for a major event on campus. During the reception, a gentleman came up to me and asked me the standard questions as a college student? “What’s your major?” “What year are you in?” “Are you thinking or applying to Graduate School?” My response were, “Sociology”, “Senior”, and “Yes I am applying right now.” Further into conversation I mentioned that I am working on becoming a videogame researcher. This immediately sparked further discussion into the implications of applying narratives in games, specifically narrative that create awareness  about social issues. He spouted multiple ideas, but needless to say it was a conversation that I excited to have. It was a actual discussion on a specific aspect of gaming not a lecture in which I was the professor. It was amazing. I can’t wait to have more of these complex and specific conversations about the medium I love so much, videogames!

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