Sessler's Soapbox: Not So Fast, Obama

Posted: May 11, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Not So Fast, Obama
Adam takes President Obama to task over his recent comments about video games.

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  • jwebb1984

    What about video games keeps me playing? Haha, considering all of the intellectual things I am questioned with in a day this one makes me think more most.

    For starters, I suppose it's the habit honestly. It's a median I've grown up on, and learned to adapt my mind to as a form of entertainment. For a time I read habitually, but eventually came to the conclusion that being able to experience a visual world, impact it, and progress through it produces a longer lasting and more meaningful memory.

    Also, I can not load a video game that I do not instanly begin to analyze on an artistic/creative level. I constantly want to push the limits of what the programmers have intended, just to see how much they thought it through. I like to zoom in on textures, watch water reflections and specular light mapping.

    It fascinates me to think that what I see as an artist when I close my eyes, can be created so vividly... so many times over. This I think is what makes it such a widespread interest. There is an unlimited amount of experience you can attain from video games and the internet.

    It ends when our imagination ends. Imagination is what makes life exciting.

    Posted: May 15, 2010 9:43 PM
  • minaxomanoginga

    i think what makes game a better than game b is all on how a person inturprate the game just like movies just games is still considered to the older generation as a toy so if u buy ur kid a toy elmo doll for instance and elmo is teaching the kids swear words then they would be like omg we have to get rid of that. so they never looked at the cartoons they grew up wtih witch was filled with violence but i guess becasue it was odvously not human it okay but then again games today take on a more realistic look so those ole ppl say its takeing up a lot of their childs lifes to not learn what they would in school or y don't they just do some pearenting for once instead of blaming something they know noithing about guess they can't raise a kid on video games like they did with televidion

    Posted: May 15, 2010 6:36 PM
  • keylenux

    I look at what is real and what is not and it comes out like this.
    Truth is that we all have to live with the indifference of life and we all have to work to find a way to make life better for ourselves I personally have to step out side my world to deal with someone in there world and I find my self getting the solution to there problem most of the time and so there I help them and also helped my self if I had to look for it.
    When it comes to games I see it to work the same way but this time I m in a world in witch I created take for example when I turn on my OLD play station 2 and stick in G.T.A. San Andreas I find my self being lock to Carl Johnson character. Like when you hold down the Aim button and your trying to shoot the PO.PO and He turns every other way. we all can say that there are times when we look at the characters and say DAMN HE STUPID AS HELL. This is to remind you of the things you never want to do in life are your life. So I say that games are just as good when it comes to learning and we need to show those who don t know how maybe I m going on about nothing but that s what I see


    Posted: May 15, 2010 7:03 AM
  • free2slide

    nature, ecology, social constructs, and the very physiology that makes us tick are all organic, evolving, and ever changing. Any time we begin to speak in absolutes or black-and-white we have departed from the path of true understanding. Mentally, we are forced to compartmentalize, label, stereotype (it's faster) in order to subdivide an unfathomably complex world into packets that can be generalized. It's this generalized summation of life that allows us to make quick decisions when we are not afforded the luxury of time to deliberate and know all the factors, many times because all the variables are unknowable. A good example of this would be weather forecasting. Be wary any time someone comes forward with an absolute, whether a physician, an economist, news reporter, or politician.

    As a species we wield a double-edged sword. We are masters of "seeing" patterns even where they do not truly exist such as faces or animals in cloud formations. What patterns we see are commonly a reflection of our conscious/subconscious (Rorschach test), but it is that ability to see patterns that allows us to perceive a picture from a charcoal scraping on a rock wall or the digital pixels that form a video game. All of us, Mr President included, can only speak from our own personal experiences and prejudices. He unfortunately dismissed video games and rapid-fire media in general due to his own limited perspective. What he failed to recognize is the kernel of value all media holds, what i believe, is the higher purpose video games serve. Video games are a modern evolution of prehistory cave drawings. Media was born of our striving to make the world of the mind, and our personal experience into something we can bring back to the collective (the hunter bringing back their story and depicting it on the wall of the cave). What draws me to science fiction/ fantasy in it's many forms is it's ability, at it's very best, to expand my mind (if you could only see the things i've seen with your eyes). A video game, movie or book(the mind's eye) has a unique characteristic of affording me a lens to peer into a world or perspective I will otherwise never have. Empathy is our intrinsic and beautiful trait of being able to do just that without the aid of a visual spectacle. Admittedly media suffers from a deluge of trite content, but just like all art there are moments of true genius and inspiration (yes, Adam, I believe video games and movies are art because my definition of art is its ability to allow us to peer through a different lens) If we are very fortunate media/art can truly bring us to a higher level of understanding. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. It is powerful, it has and will continue to change the world.

    Posted: May 15, 2010 2:46 AM
  • San_Pato

    I view games like movies and books. There are some movies and books I like that some people hate, and some movies and books I hate that some people like. There is such a variety that it is hard to pin down what makes a game good and what doesn't. I didn't care for Fallout 3, but many of you all enjoyed it very much (I bring it up, cause of Adam's shirt). Does that mean I think it is a bad game? No I don't think that, it just wasn't a game for me. Like movies, I really enjoyed Avatar, but I can find forum after forums with people saying that they hated the movie. Does that make it a bad movie? No, the tickets sold proves that. The problem with asking what makes a game good is that everyone has their own opinion on what is good. As long as developers decide which group of people to target they do fine. Blizzard didn't make World of Warcraft for first person shooters fans, and Bungie didn't make Halo for MMO fans, but both types of games have a huge fan base.
    As for President Obama's statement. It just goes to show that our current leaders are still out of touch with the younger, and soon to be majority, people who grew up with computers and gaming. Remember, political figures get most their votes from old people, so they are going to lean anti gaming and such until we are the old people. Don't start throwing stats at me, traditionally, the elderly vote more than the 18-30 year old people, so that is who the political guys focus on. And also, I'm not a fan of the current president personally, but can we refer to him as President Obama instead of just Obama. Like him or not he is our elected president and should be addressed as such.

    Posted: May 15, 2010 12:30 AM
  • momkey

    I think video games allow society to live out our fantasies that we would not necessarily be able to live out in reality. For example, in sports games, such as Madden or NBA 2K10, the most addicting game type is usually the type that allows you to make your own character in reflection of yourself, in hopes of become a superstar. I also agree with Sessler, and think that education is an important thing. When literacy rates rise, employment rates rise.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 11:14 PM
  • KingofSheep42

    If there is one thing I've learned about Obama is he likes to hear himself speak. You would think he is a rock star or actor as much face time as he gets. Rather than complaining about every darn thing why don't you sit behind that desk that America elected you to sit behind and do your job. Seriously it costs millions of dollars to fly him to these places and he's the one who's supposed to be fixing the national debt. Also, I don't know how he sounded to everyone else but in that quote didn't he sound a little bit like a dictator?

    Posted: May 14, 2010 11:02 PM
  • eclipsedjedi

    I have a good example I think, GTA IV helps me to take out my stresses so I don't actually(IRL) blow my friendly neighborhood prostitute's head off. As strange as it may sound, it is actually true, I think, for everyone who has ever played it.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 10:27 PM
  • g4fan247

    I agree with everything Adam has said in this Soapbox. Congrats on another great Soapbox and I can't wait for next week's episode.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 6:32 PM
  • dkwowaddict

    wow u have encouraged me to do in school

    Posted: May 14, 2010 4:36 PM
  • JamesFinn1

    I agree that video games can be educational. Through Bioshock I learned about objectivism and how crazy that philosophy is. I also learned how many high ranking politicians believe in that nonsense. If you learn about objectivism and then learn which politicians believe in that, then it makes is simpler to know who not to vote for.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 3:57 PM
  • NarutoTheSage

    @NortheastMonk u dont know nothing about final fantasy 13 im the master noob

    Posted: May 14, 2010 1:01 PM
  • Kingofscarecrows

    to answer adam's question, personally what makes a game great is the engaging experience it offers me the player. I don't like modern shooters because it's not really showing me something that I myself the player want to be, Modern warfare was a big miss not because it wasn't great but because the experience was not something that I would enjoy, I'd say when it comes down to games it's the same thing as movie preference, it's just the gamer.

    {I love MAG because it gives me the feeling of being apart of a cohesive team[sometimes] and accomplishing a goal rather then being a solo one man army with a swatch of enemies between me}

    Posted: May 14, 2010 11:32 AM
  • Quakermankin

    I am a fan of the soapbox but I feel that stating this in the venue where the only demographic is the one that avidly supports gaming whether or not the argument is sound. I do agree with Adam on this discussion but I also feel that stating it here on the G4 site is a little redundant. I realize that he has a responsibility to followers, but the truth is that he would better serve the community to give his thoughts on a more widespread media outlet. But I realize that the common media doesn't want to cover these issues because they feel it is still a juvenile obsession and does not yet regard gaming as a legitimate media. So please talk to people who you know that don't take gaming seriously and try to explain, and you don't have to be completely eloquent, just explain with facts and conviction even if your time is wasted on them someone else may hear you.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 11:06 AM
  • Atheist Prophet

    This is kind of off topic but it sort of ties in to this whole video game thing. There was a point in history when the novel, yes a story book, was considered to be a bad influence on our children. Why? Because it wasn't real, and they considered it waste of time. Sound familiar? But it's like Adam says, these games stimulate our minds much in the same way a novel would. Most video games have a story and can be analyzed much in the same way a book can, but there is also a problem solving aspect added to that. People learn in different ways, and maybe video games would help some children who have trouble learning the traditional way.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 6:46 AM
  • Durakken

    I don't get how anyone could say games are anything but educational. There are games out there that aren't really that educational, but the vast majority of them have as requirements critical thinking skills, hand eye coordination, the ability to read, sometime advanced mathematics, and not to mention they discuss topics that pique peoples' interests which lead them to finding out more about that particular subject of their own free will and passion rather than a broken system forcing it down their throats and making kids hate that type stuff rather than loving it.

    as far as going too far with games... I have to say that I've never once heard a case of someone even going remotely too far that didn't have to do with escapism caused by real world issues pushing them further into the game world or an already disturbed person that should have been watched over closer. These things point to there being something wrong with our real world culture, not gaming "culture", and the parents or whoever should be looking over these people. That's common and it in time may pass... After all it wasn't my little Tommy that shot your boy because I bought him the gun and didn't teach him the dangers of it. He would have been just fine if it weren't for that dirty Rockabilly music that you let your boy get him involved with.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 5:29 AM
  • DeadSpaced

    Adam knows the answer to the question: flow. Any ludologist knows that. A more interesting question is what can an artist do with flow to get a particular point across?

    Posted: May 14, 2010 1:58 AM
  • Berreta29

    First congrats on the commencement speech.
    I have read a few other post saying that college is not for everyone and I agree with one caviet. I believe everyone should always be striving to better themselves.

    As far as gaming goes I believe the industry as finally advanced to the level of art in the way of movies and books. Like those two mediums people partake in them for different reasons. Some books are pure entertainment some are a means to put out an agenda. The same goes with games now. Some are pure fun (God of War, LittleBigPlanet) others have a political message (Metal Gear Solid 4, Modern Warfare 2) but my favforites are the ones with moral choices. Take Elder Scrolls: Morrowind you could do anything you wanted but unlike GTA these decision where permentant. If you killed the wrong person you could actually break the story. Go on a murder spree and gaurds would kill on site. So in that game there was a real sense of cause and effect.

    In response to Obama saying Xbox and Ipad are bad it is another case of not getting to the root of the problem BAD PARENTING. Parents should be in control not media devices. For adults ..... well you are incontrol of you own life dont blame a device that can not do anythig without input from a user for you not doing anything.

    Posted: May 14, 2010 12:42 AM
  • TheFeedMack

    LAUSD is going to deal with that most likely when im a senior or the year after

    Posted: May 14, 2010 12:23 AM
  • roqman97

    Well first off, thanks Adam!
    Now, to the question of what I think makes games fun. I think that the greatest joy I find in games comes from being able to adopt a new persona. Being able to jump into the shoes of some person in some distant land (or time), and really feel the connection despite that distance really is what I think draws me, and other gamers like me, into the game. Games like Bioshock, Fallout 3, GTA IV, Halo, and so many of the other Triple-A titles succeed because the way the world is realized allows players to really feel as if they have adopted the persona of who they play as. Once a player is able to really "become" that character, that is where I feel games can become more educational, or at least helpful in creating more dexterous minds. What I mean by this is, once in that new world, players have to suddenly decide how to solve challenges they would most likely never face in the real world. They have to think entirely based on the observations they have made on the world surrounding them. When games flop, a lot of the time, it seems to be because the game itself never is able to really have the player try to solve problems within that gaming realm, and instead are focusing on "how do I get to the next level" as opposed to "how and I going to save this world from *insert world threatening evil here*?"
    When games succeed in this aspect, players of the game are forced to expand their mind, and really think outside the box, which is a skill many people these days seem to be lacking in the real world.

    Posted: May 13, 2010 10:55 PM