WiseAss Thinkers


When writing and talking about games gets academic

Posted in Analysis,dexjackson,E-Culture,Gaming by dexjackson on 09/10/2009

Date: 09/10/2009
Author: dexjackson
WiseAss Thinkers

Bit of a strange day today. Writing about computer games, most gamers would think, is pretty easy, no? Well, when you write on forums about it, then yes, I guess it is. Writing about the games coming out, your favourite way of playing, what’ll you’ll do in it and so on and so forth. When it comes to writing about it as a piece for your assignment for college, things tend to go a different way entirely…

That’s not to say writing about games isn’t fun or interesting- so don’t fret you budding young games journalists in the making, we need you! Writing about games in an informal sense can easily be described as a casual thing that you do on a forum or discussion board — or blog such as this — where everyone gets where your coming from. when writing a report on the matter, there is much more explanation to do and toning down the amount of “internal” knowledge you and other gamers might have but that lecturer or assessor of your work might not take so kindly to.

To you and me, that might seem like normal. A person on the outside won't know what the dickins it is, mind. Image taken from http://www.l4d.com/

To you and me, that might seem like normal. A person on the outside won't know what the dickens it is, mind. Image taken from http://www.l4d.com/

Take this notion from a part of my report: “Arguably the most popular and common form of computer game around, the Action genre of games encompasses a wide variety of different game types with varying features and environments and dynamics.” Now, to me and possibly you the reader — especially the gamer-knowledgeable ones — that’s just common knowledge. Yeah, pretty much it is, but how you say it in gamer terms, usually goes along these lines: “u know bout mario and that hedgehog dude? man, jumpin platfrms an all that bit boring. need some proper games u knw? cant do this sh*t no more rarrrh need some cod man. that new one got proper right submachne guns you know p90 and mp5? I did some guy bad up with the ak no silencer or scope!”

And that’s where the difference lies. Not so much as the context or the general scope of what is being talked about. It’s more to do with the explanation rather than that of the assumed. This is probably all obvious to someone and you’re probably thinking, “yeah man, why are you talking about this? I know this stuff already, man”. You’d most likely be right- but that’s for the nasty, have-no-social-life forumites to decide. Writing informal-like is pretty easy, it’s when you have to apply that knowledge and explain it to someone else that it becomes more of a struggle. It ain’t entirely an easy ride writing what you know out in a formal way, as anyone who has done a similar assignment in uni/college will attest to.

Domain of the gamer, unknown to the outsider. Image taken from http://ec.mashable.com/

Domain of the gamer, unknown to the outsider. Image taken from http://ec.mashable.com/

It’s not to say it’s hard, no far from it! It’s more of an “expansion” on what you already know and how to articulate so that a less knowledgeable person is going to be able to understand you. I can use “l33t spek” and “LOLs” all I like. One question: how the heck is that lecture going to understand what the heck you’re saying? More likely, it’ll be you saying: “within the gamer world, there are various abbreviations and slang words attributed to different expressions of feelings and statures”, or “certain levels or features in a game can be found to be humourous to the player if written, timed and used well.” I guess, in the end, what I’m trying to say is that when writing and talking about games gets academic, then well… it certainly won’t be all sponge cake and milkshake- in a manner of speaking.

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