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Forming an Opinion On The Internet: And How To Maintain It

Every day huge quantities of data and information are uploaded, shared, and viewed on the internet. For many this has been a way for them to get fresh ideas and new perspective. If used correctly the internet can be a vast collection of data that is imperative to the every day citizen’s daily life.

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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in English 102

 

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Outside of a GameStop

Outside of a GameStop

As far as general retailers go, GameStop has become a staple in the gaming industry and the overall culture. Whether it be the community’s love hate relationship, or the industry’s love of money, GameStop has given super stores such as Walmart and Target a run for their money as far as game and game hardware sales goes with their pre-order deals and packages. A store dedicated to video games, hardware, accessories, and now a small selection of electronic devices, GameStop is more than a store. It is an experience. Ordering through its website and placing games on hold has become efficient and convenient enough that it is not enough to simply look at the pretty website- at least not for me. 

Display Area In A GameStop

Display Area In A GameStop

My trip was quick, to the point, and involved little to no interaction with the store’s displays. Which would have been true if it were not for my shopper instincts kicking in. Walking into the store shoppers are greeted with wired racks for displays, zip-tied advertisements, and subtle but bland paint. With soft lighting the store screams cheap but clean. Screens sitting in the corner of the store are showing commercials for The Master Chief Collection, I keep my head down.
A mother follows in behind my group of friends, led by two sall boys to a smaller display in the back for WiiU games. The only two people on duty in the store are supposed to be walking the floor and talking to customers, but they choose the safety of behind the counter away from the . Without acknowledging any of us- something that they are also supposed to do- they are talking bout some mundane bits of games that I generally have no interest in. I approach the front of the store and pick up my item, check out after calmly reminding the sales clerk about my Rewards Card with the store, and turn away. I’ve missed out on the full experience tough, showing my face around the store enough that they recognize and know that I am all business; no sales pitches or attempts for pre-orders but they do try it on a friend who was in line behind me. I’m done, I have made it in the store without being distracted by a shiny display or casual browsing. I turn to my right to find a beautiful display of Ammibos. A few kids standing to my left make a comment about Peach’s dress being filled in so you can’t look up her skirt. I absently reach for the figurine and gawk at the $12 price tag. I remind myself that I don’t need it. I’ll get one of the new ones when they come out in a month. I need those. I make my way out of the store, so close but so far away I drift to a display with some sports game. A few of the lights are focused on this particular display of the newest FIFA. A heavy set man who had been standing in that exact spot an hour ago when we first passed the store was staring at the high definition screen. I stood as far away as possible and stared at the second player controller next to him.
“Just a few minutes,” I think to myself walking forward and pressing the start button to enter the game.

   “Are you sure you want to play, this might be a little out of your league.” And then a scoff. I hit start again and leave the store, dragging a few protesting friends along with me.

That’s enough GameStop for one day.

Works Cited
Schreier, J. (2014, August 4). GameStop Is Overhauling Trade-Ins, Will Offer More Money [UPDATE]. From http://kotaku.com/gamestop-is-overhauling-trade-ins-will-offer-more-mone-1616075351

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in English 102

 

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A Semester In Review

I wandered into the classroom- albeit a little late- with only one thought, “Wonderful, another English class. I’ll relearn how to write a sentence and maybe we’ll read Romeo and Juliette again.”
The rhetorical triangle came up and I wasn’t too surprised. I had been in AP classes for the last three years of high school, it was one of the more hated subjects I had to learn, but I took notes and relearned it.
“How does the world see you?” my professor asks the next week. Quiet and sarcastic I think sarcastically but do the assignment anyway.
“Semiotics.”
It’s the seventh week of the semester, we’ve made blogs for the class and posted to the a few times now. It was a little strange but I knew what I was doing and pass it off as college being different than high school. I pause and wait to make a joke, since I’ve never heard the word before. It pays to be informed about the things you’re criticizing.
“The idea that everything has a meaning.” And there it was. I had assumed that since this was an ongoing joke between my friends and I (Everything is a sign #Illuminati) it would be simple to BS and move on with my life. Oh how wrong was I.

mudkip

Mudkip

Semiotics was the absolute hardest of the concepts for me to understand, at the time I wanted to hold firm in my belief that not everything is a sign. Following the process for understanding what the signs in a paper or an image or a video mean was easy enough, but I simply didn’t see them. I got it done, with the help of few helpful kindly souls, but it was done none the less. The hardest assignment where this came into play was Where I’m From. A way for everyone in the class to get to know each other it went a little deeper than the “what is your favorite color” or “what your starter pokemon would be” (which is Mudkip, in case you wanted to know). It made me sit down and really think about what my essence as a person is. Exploring not only the materials and random items found in one of the numerous junk drawers but what the history of my family has done to shape me. Of course where I’m from isn’t the only way to look at myself. Although it wasn’t specifically about myself my analysis on violent video games and their effects on youths had been something that I’ve been researching and arguing for a while now. That was the third time I’d done that particular topic, but it was nice to get another chance to analyze old and new information. Over the years my view has shifted from just getting the word out that it is not the problem of the games themselves, but to explaining statistics behind violent outbursts, studies, tragedies, and then with my enrollment into the school understanding games not only from a gamer’s perspective but from a developer’s perspective as well.

But the experience wasn’t all dead puppies and “what do the numbers mean” jokes. I certainly had fun doing the assignments. I definitely had the most fun with the blog analysis assignment where I gave advice for NaNoWriMo and offered people sources to use, regardless of if this was their first time or if they had been writing for a long time. I liked the way it turned out well enough that I reposted it onto my art blog and got lots of feedback on the post. Many of y followers sent messages thanking me for the information and even asked for a follow up post on “post production.” It was a great feeling bringing my knowledge and experiences to teach other people to easily jump start their writing and other creative processes.

munchkin-cat-kitten-orange-3fzudp2s-239x160

Munchkin cat in its natural habitat, our hearts

The blog was the most fun about the whole thing though. The format isn’t entirely new to me, I’ve run a few personal bogs for a few years now but I hadn’t thought about dong a semi-formal blog at all, and especially not for an English class. It was exciting to shift the writing style to fit the needs of MamaWaffle, and I’ll probably continue posting to it in the near future.
My only regret is that I didn’t make every single assignment about cats.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in English101

 

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Maybe Video Games Aren’t At Fault

Maybe Video Games Aren’t At Fault

With a recent incline in violent shootings many have turned to what the shooter did in their spare time to understand what could have triggered this behavior. A common factory among these shooters is that they often played violent online video games and have prompted for many to feel like the censorship or even in some extreme cases banning of these games is needed. Although it may be seen like the perfect culprit these games would suffer i the censorship was allowed, and there are often other factors in the shooter’s lives that have led up to a tragic event. The recent rise in violent shootings needs a solution, but one must understand what is the real cause of these shootings in order to prevent them in the future.

Violent video games have been blamed for adding stress to players but it is often used more as a stress reliever, a way for players to escape for a few hours to a fantasy world and live out fantasies that would not be allowed in normal society. Many players in the gaming community have claimed that video games, especially competitive games, are the more satisfying to play. Even some researchers such as Osamah Tahir in his article “Dangerous or Merely Fun?” states, “but some experts say violent video games help relieve stress and anger virtually.” And although the research is still divide very evenly, many on the opposing side have stated that video games that often require less attentive thought have been known to relieve stress. But this would not be the case if they were censored. There is a system set up to give these games ratings to better inform buyers about the content in the games, but no set way to censor the content or even the online interactions between players. There is a gray area in determining what is offensive or too violent, but that’s what the rating system is for after all.

But there are two sides to every situation. Unfortunately studies done to fully understand the effects of violent video games on children to young adults are often too conflicting or incomplete to determine an absolute link. In studies between the violent tendencies of young adults and the video games they play controlled factors in them such as a child’s upbringing and mental health were often not kept at a controlled factor of the tests and results were sometimes inconclusive. In “Violent Video Games Do Not Create Violent Behaviors” Emma Zambrycki States “There’s so many other factors that go into it, like your personality, your history, any history of abuse, and mental illness, things of that nature. So many factors go into how you behave in terms of aggressive or violent behaviors. Violent video games may be a predictor, but to say that violent video games are the cause of those things, and they the only reason why, is incorrect.”
Unfortunately the amount of factors that must be taken into account cannot be kept at a constant or even closely monitored adequately enough to state that violent video games cause or do not cause violent tendencies.

A more recent event where violent video games were blamed for a shooter’s behavior was in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The shooter, Adam Lanza, was known to play these online games such as Call of Duty for hours on end, however Lanza had multiple mental disabilities that should have been red flags before the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the Front Line video documentary on Lanza it is said that Lanza had Asperger’s– a learning disorder that is known as a higher form of autism– and Sensory Intergration Disorder– a neurological disorder that results from the brain’s inability to fully compile and pull from the five main senses efficiently. While one of the disorders can be known to make socializing difficult for those affected by them both together made Lanza detached from the world, often not wanting people to touch him and preferring to stay away from others and change. This began to slowly change when a teacher that Lanza had begun to trust invited him to join the technology club at his high school. While in the technology club it wasn’t just Lanza playing the video game on the computer, the other students were as well and his interest was seen as normal. It’s also important to look a Lanza’s mother and the actions that she took. Although she saw and acknowledged her son’s improvement she pulled him from the high school for unknown reasons, backtracking on the progress he had made and did not participate in groups or therapy to continue to help her son’s development. To get closer to her sons Lanza’s mother often took him and his brother to a shooting range, and kept large guns in her home. The idea that video games was to cause this unfortunate even in American history or that Adam Lanza suddenly snapped is far from the truth.
Raising Adam-Lanza

The thought that video games are the sole reason for violent shootings and the “growth” in violent and aggressive behaviors is not looking at the larger picture. Censoring mature games that are originally meant for adults will not help in either’s decline. Closer monitoring of children who have been diagnosed and need help, educating parents who might not be aware of what mature ratings mean, and getting proper help for those children early on are good places to start though.

Raising Adam Lanza. (2013, February 19). Retrieved December 4, 2014.
Zambrycki, E. (2014, October 19). Violent video games do not create aggressive behavior. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
Tahmir, O. (2013, May 19). Dangerous Or Merely Fun. Retrieved December 4, 2014.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in English101

 

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