Heroin or World of Warcraft

Videogames has become a big part of our society today. People use it as entertainment, while they are unaware of how hooked they actually are. Of course not everyone who tries a videogame gets addicted, but stunningly 8.5 percent of the youth living in the U.S. today are addicted to videogames (Griffin McElroy, 2009). Why does videogames have such a big affect on us, compared to books and movies?

Lets take the game “Civilization” as an example. You only get one task: Create your own civilization. It seems simple in the beginning. But suddenly, you are the master. You are responsible for the outcome of all the cities that you made, if they go to war, if they starve or if they are happy. You can even build your own Taj Mahal. Everything is possible, inside this screen of yours. You feel the sense of accomplishment because of the progress you are making. A lot of games are actually made so you will not know when you are getting your next reward, because the player will be less motivated to play when they know it’s a long time to their next accomplishment. In Civilization 4 there is always a new goal to acchieve at every turn: Discovery of a new technology, the building of a new city or even opening a new foreign trade route.

Games have a lot different qualities that make them so addictive. Compared to books and movies you can choose what happens next in videogames, this satisfies the human need for control. Of course every human being is different, with different varieties of desire for control. This is one of the reasons why certain people are more exposed to addiction of all sorts, especially videogame-addiction.

Non-pathological gamers between 8 and 18 spends nearly 15 hours a week on videogames, and studies made by US National Library of Medicine shows that pathological players spend twice as much time in front of their screens than the others. People who are addicted to these kinds of games often have an underlying problem that most likely is the reason for their addiction. Bullying, depression, anxiety and social phobia are some examples of problems that the pathological player can have.

Digital games also have a social side. World of Warcraft for example, which is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game.) Currently, WoW has around 11 million active accounts, which makes it unbelievably easy to make new online “friends”. In this game you can join guilds, do raids, or just walk around in this enormous playing field. When someone is for instance getting bullied its easier to rely on online-friends, instead of real people.

Real life doesn’t have much to compete with when a dyslectic boy who is unpopular in school, can be a mighty Warrior in World of Warcraft. The road is short from being a hero to making gameplaying an easy solution to deal with your real-life problems. Overuse of computer games can be a symptom of something more serious, and it becomes very hard to treat it in real life when the person is already self-medicating with games where they can escape reality.

The addictiveness of computer games is based on a lot of different factors. Even though you can escape from you real life in books and movies, it is easier to escape from reality in videogames. It can become kind of your “second life” because of all the choices you have to make in order to progress. Another factor that doesn’t occur in books and movies are the friends you make. You can find fanbases to bond with over books, but you wont get as tight with each other as when you go on a raid together for example. But the common ground is that they want to escape from something in their real life.

The Economist Newspaper Limited: “What makes videogames so addictive?” (2014):

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2014/02/electronic-entertainment

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Pathological video-game use among youth ages 8 to 18: a national study” (2009):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19476590

AOL Inc: “8.5 percent of U.S. youth addicted to videogames, study finds” (2009):

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/04/20/8-5-percent-of-u-s-youth-addicted-to-video-games-study-finds/

Written by Ingeborg Monsen 1STA

Reflections – Civilization IV in Class

When we first we’re introduced to the idea of playing video games in class, I must admit I was a bit sceptical. I haven’t really played any video games on the computer before and I wasn’t very fond of the idea of playing games in school, because I’m probably not the best player. However, I did think it would be interesting and even fun to play, that is if I actually could manage to understand the concept of the game and then again understand what I’m doing. I have played a couple of games on playstation and xbox like snowboarding games, buzz, and actually grand theft auto 5 and a little bit call of duty. However, The only games I’ve played on the computer is sims 3 and facebook games. I don’t think any of them have anything to do with civilization IV accept for maeby Sims 3, at least thats the closest I get.

I think games can be used as a learning tool you can learn a lot of different things from playing. From playing civilization IV, you can learn a lot about history and former leaders, how to build a society, how to start and end a war, differences etc.I think playing this video game can be a good way for people to learn these things, and by learning it by playing video games it be much more fun and interesting. By being an actual leader that have existed or still exist, you can learn a lot about about them and how they where or is. People can also get a bigger interest in history by playing this game.

I think you chose to use computer games in our lessons because it would be a new and interesting way to learn, in addition to having fun while learning something new. However I also think you guys like to play video games and when you found out you could use to learn us something, then you just had to take the opportunity to play some more.

My expectations for using Civilization IV in class  is that I would learn something new in a different way than normal. I expect to learn how to play the game and have fun by playing. I think I could learn a lot about history by playing this game.

Reflections – Learning to Play

Nope… Playing to learn

Civilization 4: first impressions

So civilization is this going to be learning or playing, fun or boring? These are the questions swirling in my head when it comes to playing computer games at school. So first: why do I play videogames?

The reason I play videogames at home, is to escape the sometimes-boring moments in everyday life. What will then happen when I play games to do the exact thing I am trying to take a break from? To be honest I think this project might make me loose this free corner of my time where no thinking is needed. But I enjoy playing games, so maybe I will find some kind of crossroad where having fun and not thinking and school and thinking meets. I love the idea of playing games to learn it has been one of the things I have been looking very much forward to this school year. So I just hope that this does not kill either the fun of learning or playing.

What do I think of the game? Civilization is a game where it seems like you need to know what every decision does for you and what it takes away, so it basically need more thinking then all the other games I have played… combined. To become good at this game I plan to watch YouTube videos, read wikipages and guides and later both live and breathe civilization. But and there is a big but, I only do this with games I like, like… like a lot (for example LoL, Skyrim and TF2). Civilization seems like the kind of game it takes many months to learn to play properly, so luckily that is not the point of this assignment.

 

Bottom line I am looking forward to having a great time with playing and learning, hoping it does not ruin my relations to either of them.

I am a gamer at heart, but that is at home… but maybe just for now  ;)

Written by Øyvind A – 1STA

Pre-game Reflections – Civilization IV

 We just started gaming Civilization IV, and I am really excited, and I am wondering how it will be.  Actually, I haven’t played any games at home, except some PlayStation games like Sing star and buzz, which I quite like. I don’t use my spare time to play any games at all, but I find it interesting and fun sometimes, when I’m with my friends. I have never tried this type of game, so I wonder how this will turn out to be. I think it will be interesting to learn something new, and to try out a new way to learn. I don’t have any experiences with a game like this, as I mentioned, but I hope it will be interesting.

 

I think you have chosen to use computer games in our lessons, because of experimenting new ways to learn. During this time, while gaming, we also will be writing some texts, which is also a good way to learn. I think it’s good that we don’t get grades on how good gamers we are, because then I would not be motivated to play at all. I find it kind of strange, that we are going to be playing in our classes, because it’s very different from what I am used to. I am used to presentations, reading and just other normal learning methods. But I will say, I’m excited to learn something new, and I hope this game will become fun after a while.

 

I my opinion, I think you can learn much by playing games at school, because students are more interested to learn more, and I think many people like the thought of playing on their own, but also with another student. But in some cases, I think that gaming in school can be challenging for some people, and maybe they lose their motivation. Games can be useful gaming tools, because, it’s very different, and in my opinion, Civilization IV seems like a game that we can learn from. I hope everyone will enjoy these four weeks, with playing Civilization IV, including me.

Written by Anne – 1STA

Diplomacy

Good evening again fellow Civilization players.

Today I’m going to reflect on the several different diplomatic treaties you can usher with other civilizations in Civilization IV; Beyond the Sword. You cannot play a game of Civilization IV without ever having to worry about the numerous diverse diplomatic aspects of the game. And I myself would even have to say that these momentums are what make the game so intriguing.

There are a diverse range of diplomatic treaties built in to the game, to make it appear more realistic. These treaties and diplomatic moves are up for negotiation in the game’s “diplomacy screen” and include the following settlements; trading, an open borders agreement, permanent alliance pacts, defensive pacts, and proposes of others to imply embargos or declare war to others.

To start off, you have the various options of trading with simple commodities, resources and technologies. Even though this does not really have to be a diplomatic move, it does anyhow affect the civilizations or nations diplomatic relations. Besides from being a realistic aspect to the game, I believe that this is a very interesting feature. It means that you have to think through your every move or trade with other civilizations.

To draw an example from the game; let’s say you’re currently in a game with a very divided diplomatic landscape. Your opponents have clearly selected their enemies and allies. In such a diplomatic landscape you have to tread carefully to avoid annoying or irritating someone by mistake. If it occurs that you for example trade techs or even hand them out for free to a civilization, it will leave a negative impression on the opposed civilization and their allies, which leads to a narrower range of diplomatic or economic trade options with the opposed civilization at later events, and if it happens a lot it may even trigger a war.

These sanctions relate a lot to the real world were trade plays a big-, or some might even proclaim that trade or business plays the role in international diplomacy, even though the step to go to war is a lot higher than in the game.

Following; you have the option to impose an embargo with other civilizations, or to propose a suggestion that one of your allies should impose an embargo with another civilization. An embargo in an early stage of the game can have a great impact on a civilization’s development, and may lead to that the civilization is left behind technology-wise which thereafter may lead to a game loss.

This reflects in a great manner how embargos can have great affection on a country’s economy. America’s current embargo with Cuba is a great example on how an embargo affects the economy in a negative direction.

In the real world most Nations operate with open borders to a certain extent. Open borders are necessary to maintain the growth and development of a modern community both economic and culturally. In the real world it is a severe step to close the borders and the world community would most likely show a political pressure to negotiate a resolution. In the game on the other hand, you always start out with closed borders. This gives you another card to negotiate with, but it’s always positive to engage in an open borders agreement because it gives you an easier base for later negotiations.

By some reason the game manufacturers included a “permanent alliance pact” in the game. This is something you’ll in my opinion probably never see in the real world, at least not in my time. Not because not everyone doesn’t want world peace, but because the term “permanent” never goes well in international negotiations in the real world. Diplomats may agree, but at some point someone will break the treaty, simply because it lies in the human’s nature.

Anyhow, it’s an option in the game. It allows civilizations to share technologies, resources, enemies, and allies. Once you’ve entered a permanent alliance, you can’t break it, and you can only form one during a game.

The closest things we have in the real world are different unions, but history shows that they break up after some time. For example Norway was in union with Denmark for over 400 years, but it was the whole time characterized by the fact that Denmark suppressed Norway in a greatly manner which (apparently) wasn’t sustainable.

Defensive pacts represent a terrific diplomatic treaty. It gives you the opportunity to focus on the development of your civilization instead of warfare and helps sustain a peaceful world community. Defensive pacts do also represent a wide usage in the real world, especially in diplomatic unstable areas. History tells us that defensive pacts have saved the global society for the loss of thousands of lives by preventing the outbreak of a war.

So to conclude my post; civilization has included a various range of relevant diplomatic opportunities.

Erlend Søraas, Nordahl Grieg videregående skole, 07.11.2012

The Civilizations and their Leaders

The Civilizations and their Leaders

Hello, I am a 16year old student and for the moment I am participating in a gaming project. For those of you who have not been reading this blog before and want to learn a bit more about this project can find this in my earlier blog assignments. Today I am going to blog about the different civilizations and leaders in the game we are playing, Civilization IV.

Select a Civilization 

When starting a new game, you will have to pick a civilization and a leader who will represent you in the game. This choice decides which technologies you will get to start with, and which unique units and buildings your civilization will be able to train or construct. Your choice here is often quite important for your success. Some civilizations have more than one optional leader, like for example the American Empire. Here you get to choose between Lincoln, Roosevelt and Washington which all are previous presidents, or leaders of the American Empire (or United States of America as we call it). These different leaders have different personalities which also gives you some advantages. Roosevelt for example is industrious and organized which means you get +50% production of wonders, and -50% upkeep for your civilization.Image

Most of the empires are picked out from the history books as well as their leaders, because this game is meant to be as realistic as possible. After playing this game a while, you will most likely get an favorite civilization and a favorite leader. In my case this is the Byzantine Empire and their leader Justinian 1. The reason why is because the Byzantine Empire has one unique knight and a unique theatre which fits me quite well. The knight is a unit that I often produce a lot of so therefore, I quickly fell in love with this Empire. In addition, and this is maybe the most important reason, the Byzantine leader is both Spiritual and Imperialistic. This is in my opinion the two best qualities a leader can have in this game because with Justinian 1, you avoid anarchy and gets double production of settlers, something that is extremely important especially in the beginning.

Normally I spend the first 36 rounds on producing one settler, but with Justinian 1 it only takes half the amount of turns and you will experience a huge development in your civilization, compared to the others.

Image
In the Real World

If I was supposed to start a real country, I probably would not have taken the same choices. The goal in this game is of course to become the hugest and most powerful country, but this can happen one of two ways; either through technology, science and civilized, well developed cities or through military power and wars.

The first way is the one mostly related to the real world while the second way, through war is the most used in this game so therefor I believe most of the gamers would have chosen differently if the game was real. I can admit that I, as well as many of other players frequently use war as my way to win games in Civ IV, but if this was a real game I would go for charismatic- instead of military power. Therefor I believe the American Empire, led by no one other than George Washington would become my favorite pretty quickly.

href=”http://learningwithcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/civ3.png”>Image

In the real world there exists a lot of peace fighting organizations like the UN and the EU as well as for example smaller co-operation groups like NATO that would make fighting a useless, or at least extremely difficult. Of course, there is an opportunity for cooperation with other countries in the game, but nothing as powerful as the effect of for example the EU. In addition the game, Civilization IV is operating with around 8 different countries, while we in the real world can find many hundreds. This also makes the opportunity for world supremacy considerably less likely to happen.

 

Since the opportunity of fighting your way to glory is blown far away, I probably would have chosen the peaceful way to glory; through science, technology and justice with the American Empire, which today is one of the most powerful countries in the world. In addition, George Washington is a man known by anyone that has heard of American history and I would choose him to lead my country because of his qualities. George is an extremely respected and charismatic leader who a lot of people look up to, so I believe that he would have been the perfect man to lead my civilization.

Which civics would you prefer?

Lars Erik Kleiven

Boys Only?

Have you thought about why it’s always boys who play most video and computer games? When you talk to a boy on Facebook chat or on the phone, you almost always get the same answer, – Gaming FIFA…, or another video game. Why do you think boys play as much games as they do? And do girls play less games then boys?

One of the differences between boys’ and girls’ gaming habits is that the violent elements. The violence in the game mostly appeals to boys. Mostly girls don’t care about running around and shoot other human beings or blow up buildings. Some girls play the same games as boys, but essentially girls play other games. Research shows the girls like to build things and prefer strategic games. The SIMS is one of the games with big success for both boys and girls. In the game The SIMS you need to use your social skills and knowledge to make the people in the game successful and happy.

Boys can sit for hours and play games. The games boys play is often violent.  They run around in very real surroundings and kill other players. The point of the game is often to kill as many human beings as possible or blow up buildings and airplanes. Many of the games are multiplayer games where you can play with others all around the world, online. Games like Cod, WoW and other shooting games are prevalent for boys. Some ask if it’s healthy to play these games. More and more kids, teens and also adults get addicted to gaming. Boys are especially exposed for gaming addiction. More boys than girls get addicted to games. The reason for the addiction to gaming is often something totally different then the gaming it selves. Bullying, low self-confidence and grief can be reasons why kids, teens and adults want to escape from the real world and into the world of gaming.

There is different expectations form society for boys and girls. Boys are expected to be stronger, harder and handle more violent behavior than girls. Girls are expected to be calmer and not interested in violence and killing. I think the expectations in society in an important factor for the differences in boys and girls gaming habits.

Many girls like to play games and are very good! It’s not like girls don’t play games. They do! But it’s more common that we hear about boys who sit inside all day long and play games. I think girls play games for shorter periods.

Personally I don’t play a lot of games, but I like to play some times. I like to play FIFA for I en short period of time, but I get tired after a while. I also like to play games whit many, but short rounds. Then it’s easier to play when you have a bit of time left over. I don’t like to sit inside and play for many hours, but that’s my opinion.

I think the game we play at school in English, Norwegian and in Social science is a very good game for learning about communities and how to build an empire. We play the game Civilization 4. You have to start with choosing a person, worker, settler, military or others. Further in the game you have to make the right decisions to make your empire stronger and bigger. Every empire has some disadvantages. You have to consider what is tactically right for your city. The game is in English and that means that we have to read and understand the instructions in English. We can see connections between the conflicts in the game and the conflicts that are taking place in the international community today.

I like the idea of playing games in school. It’s different from the way we are used to learn and its fun! Blogging is also a fun way of writing. Blogging is used for many purposes. It’s not just a diary for girls who blog about their daily life, but scientists, politicians and explorers uses blogging to share information and opinions. I look forward to continue with this gamin project. And I hope games like Civilizations can be more used in school.