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A Thief’s End– Still the Best game PlayStation 4 Has to Offer

Even though it has been out for some time now, I believe, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is still the best third person action experience on the PlayStation 4. Its captivating narrative, action-packed gameplay, and astonishing graphical beauty undoubtedly set this venture apart from the rest. Uncharted 4 also delivers a fantastic multiple player experience, which is equally as impressive as the single player campaign. While the multiple player portion of A Thief’s End does sacrifice some of its graphical clarity in favor of a higher frame rate, this minute change only makes the gameplay experience better as the higher frame rate makes the game’s control feel more responsive and makes chaotic firefights very fluid and enjoyable. Nathan Drake’s final adventure boasts a fun and well thought out PlayStation Trophy list as well, making the attempt to obtain the platinum trophy an enjoyable venture. Even though Naughty Dog has become one of the most prestigious videogame development studios in the video gaming industry, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is truly a classic and it is a must play for anyone who owns a PS4. If you agree, or disagree please let me know in the comments section below.

 

My Favorite Game of All Time

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves would have to be my all-time favorite game due to its masterful blend of fast-paced action gameplay and storytelling. The characters in the game were exceptionally well developed and the voice casting was phenomenal. I enjoyed how each character interacted with one another making me as a player care about each of them and their well-being. In fact, after playing this game and seeing how effective storytelling can turn a videogame into a technical masterpiece, it gave me the courage to follow my true passion of writing. To this day, I still think about the pleasure of playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and I am forever thankful for having the opportunity of experiencing it for the first time. Please let me know what your favorite game is  in the comment section down below.

Knack Review

Plainly put, Knack is a terrible game and a disgrace to all action platformers. While the PS4’s hardware capabilities do give Knack a unique beauty, the game does not offer much else. In fact, Knack is a prime example of why graphics should not be the primary focus when developing a PlayStation exclusive title. Shortly after playing the first few chapters of the game, it becomes abundantly clear that Knack uses a barrage of colorful graphics and beautiful scenery to mask a slew of shortcomings.

Although Knack’s campaign does have a few exhilarating action sequences that put your platforming and button-mashing skills to the test, these instances are few and far between and not worth wait. The game lacks compelling character and story development, additionally by demanding multiple playthroughs it becomes a chore to play. To sum it up, the biggest flaw is that the game is tedious and difficult.

Knack’s storyline is lackluster and piece milled. Although the plot begins as a Civil War story between humans and goblins, it abruptly transitions into a bland treasure hunt, with an evil scientist, Dr. Viktor, seeing Knack as a tool to unlock a secret door that is believed to hold a powerful weapon. Unfortunately, the main characters hinder the story even further by being poorly developed and one-dimensional. Perhaps if these issues would have been addressed initially, and the developers were given more time to develop the story and characters, the game may have had the potential to tell a fantastic story. However, the cliché, predictable nature of the plot impedes the storyline from being compelling. Honestly, as the game’s main protagonists, Knack is very bland and only shows personality in the most exciting parts of the campaign when he is ravaging an area as an unstoppable giant. The game’s main antagonist, Dr. Viktor is equally as bland; making you hate him for all the wrong reasons. Aside from the fact that he is not as compelling as his two evil sidekicks Katrina and Gundahar, Dr. Viktor’s poorly written dialogue further contributes to the unstructured plot making the in-game cut scenes absolute torture to watch.

The biggest issue with the game is that it simply too difficult and unrewarding. While the platforming sections are not too difficult, the fixed camera that trails Knack is often set at odd angles making the judgment of distances from platform to platform extremely challenging and frustrating. Additionally, the enemies are too strong and hit too hard, which makes defeating them on the hardest difficultly setting virtually impossible. Unfortunately, there is also no way to change the difficulty level once selected and you have begun your initial playthrough. So, if you are one of those players who want to earn the silver trophy for completing the game on hard, you will be forced to play the post-game content on hard. Sadly, the game’s intense difficulty is not the only challenge in your way of earning the platinum trophy. After completing the game on hard, you are given the grueling task of spending another playthrough to complete the game on very hard while trying to find all 68 collectibles scattered throughout the game. Bluntly put, accomplishing this goal is almost impossible, and it is much easier to play the game on the easiest difficult setting for the sole purpose of obtaining on the collectibles – one of the most monotonous task in the game. The collectibles in the game that can be anything from a gadget which gives Knack a tactical advantage in the game, or a crystal relic which gives Knack the ability to unlock a special costume that boosts his overall stats. The goal of obtaining all the collectibles is especially tedious, because you are not guaranteed to receive the item you desire, as all item pickups are randomly generated. In other words, this means that you will have to spend multiple playthroughs to acquire all the necessary collectibles.

Ultimately, the combination of a terrible story and a ridiculously frustrating gameplay experience makes Knack an absolute waste of your money and sanity. With that being said, if you are in the mood to punish yourself by playing a God-awful dreadful mess of a game then Knack is the game for you. However, your best bet is to invest your money on a better PlayStation Store markup, and save yourself the agony for having this debacle pollute your PlayStation’s trophy case forever.

 

Gaming Therapy

Between the early 1980s and mid-90s, the United States government began examining how technology could be utilized to help those with disabilities live more independently.  At the time, the idea of assistive technology was in its infancy and, therefore, was predominantly based on what technology could do for individuals with disabilities in the educational system.  Fortunately, Congress felt that it was necessary to implement a requirement for specific technologies in a learning environment to accommodate students with disabilities.  Therefore, the United States Congress passed the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals Act, or the Tech Act (Edyburn 4). In addition to the Tech Act, Congress passed the Americans with Disability Act in 1990, followed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments in 1997 (Edyburn 5).  Undoubtedly, the efforts of the congressmen and women who pass those monumental acts were responsible for opening the floodgates as to how technology could be utilized in the ways of assisting and giving equal opportunity to those who are challenged with disabilities.  However, it must also be noted that a person’s disability does not only affect their life academically, it affects them physically and emotionally as well.  Additionally, the aforementioned acts were developed with traditional assistive technology and therapeutic techniques in mind.  Most traditional forms of assistive technology are costly and may not be covered the by patient’s medical insurance company.  Therefore, less costly alternatives to technology should be examined. This will provide those who may not be able to afford the expenses of traditional assistive technology a chance to rehabilitate themselves and live as independently as possible.

Using a PlayStation® 3 (PS3) video game console as a medium, this essay will use medium analysis to show to show the benefits of utilizing this game console as a rehabilitative device.  Moreover, the analysis will examine how the software and hardware of the game console can be utilized for different therapeutic exercises and rehabilitation methods.  This analysis will also examine the feedback given from physical therapists as well as their patients, to gauge the effectiveness of the console in a therapy session.  Ultimately, the purpose of this analysis is to show how a PlayStation® 3 video game console can be utilized as an alternative and less costly device in the process of rehabilitation.

As a disabled person, I can say with confidence that my PS3 has been a miracle device for me in terms of physical therapy.   I believe my game console is a successful therapeutic tool because it forces me to use muscles I would not regularly use.  When playing games, regardless of what device I’m using to control the game, I am stimulating my body mentally and physically.  When I am playing games, I am exercising whether I am leading a VIP to the extracting LZ, leaping from platform to platform to get to the final boss, or staying up until 2 AM in the morning to get a platinum trophy that does not really exist. For me, the combination of exercising and accomplishing something without help makes me feel as if I am transferred to a world where my disability does not define me.  When gaming, I am emerged in a world where the aspects of decorum and language are ever-changing as every situated gaming session is unique.  My positive experience from gaming has inspired me to conduct research to determine whether a PS3 could actually be used as a less costly device for physical therapy.

My research reveals that researchers have focused on the PlayStation® 3 video game console because of its high processing power and design quality, which allow developers to implement their own proprietary therapeutic hardware by using the console’s front USB ports (Huber et al. 106).  Blogger Tera Kirk explains that a PS3 video game console was used in a study on children diagnosed with hemiplegia cerebral palsy: a type of cerebral palsy which impairs fine motor movement in certain limbs (gamecritics.com 2008).  Kirk’s blog states that these children received physical therapy by using a PlayStation® 3 and a proprietary motion sensing device named the 5DT Ultra Glove which is a motion sensing glove specifically designed for hand strengthening exercises.  Kirk’s blog also refers to the study conducted by the University of Indiana, School of Medicine entitled “PlayStation 3-based Tele-rehabilitation for Children with Hemiplegia.”  Although I personally am diagnosed with mixed cerebral palsy, I can relate to the participants in this study because also I have difficulty using some of my limbs as well.  Moreover, I appreciate how the study examines the game console as a therapeutic device specifically in muscle strengthening.

Furthermore, I also appreciate how the researchers conducted the study. They used disabled teenagers diagnosed with hemiplegia cerebral palsy, which serves the purpose for giving the researchers an accurate insight into how disabled people would actually use the therapeutic device.  The University of Indiana, School of Medicine, instructed these disabled children to take a PlayStation home and participate in various therapeutic exercises. Using children that were actually disabled for the pilot study, allowed researchers to examine how a PS3 could be used to make tedious therapeutic exercises enjoyable.  Researchers used a database designed to monitor the activity of the participants using the PS3 by receiving quantitative data and SMS text messages.  They were hoping that by using their participants as test subjects the study would reveal an alternative to the expensive traditional devices used for rehabilitation exercises, which range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Additionally, the researchers hoped that disguising tedious therapeutic exercises as video games would be better accepted and tolerated by young children. (Huber et al 106). Using a Linux-based program which was compatible with the PS3, the researchers developed several different therapy-oriented applications that were specifically designed to strengthen fine motor functionality.  As a result, the researchers found that their “patients” also appreciated being in control of their exercises through choosing the games they wanted to play, as well as being able to change the difficulty settings of the exercise (Huber et al 108).

The therapeutic exercises in the study consisted of four separate game types.  The patient could choose to catch or flick away butterflies, slap or shoo away mosquitoes, or stop terrifying UFOs from attacking them.  The combination of the 5DT Ultra Glove, the unique Linux-based program, and the PS3 worked together in harmony to deliver several therapeutic exercises that were fun and rewarding for most of the patients.   Intriguingly, the decision monitor its paces participation shows that this medium can be an engaging and effective therapeutic tool. However, as with anything regarding electronics there were some technical issues that led to some unpleasant gaming experiences.  Fortunately, the researchers were able to solve these technical problems by keeping track of each PS3 on a central database.  Additionally, this database also served to examine the participation of each patient.  If the patient was practicing their exercises too much, or not enough a physical therapist would immediately be notified by an SMS text message on his or her cell phone (which could also be set up to alert the parents of the patient as well).  It should also be noted that not everyone was receptive to the rehabilitative exercises.  The article stated that the database revealed children might stop playing the therapeutic games because of frustration or hardware problems. The article revealed, “…[The] child [assigned to] PS3003 was initially enthusiastic, but then became frustrated with technical issues.  As a result, he decreased his participation.” (Huber et al 111).

Although the study conducted by the University of Indiana, School of Medicine had its technical drawbacks, for me, this study helps prove my argument that a PS3 can be used as a more affordable effective therapeutic device. The method in which the study was conducted spoke to me because the research proves that I was not alone in terms of thinking that a game console could be used in such a way.  Studies similar to the one previously mentioned have inspired first party developers from Sony, the company that owns the PlayStation® 3 video game console, to develop specific applications which are therapy-oriented.

Today, the PS3 retails for about $250, and the engineers from Sony have greatly improved the console’s software and hardware.  Currently, the PS3 has a first party application named Move.me.  Move.me makes it much simpler for developers to create software applications that are much less technically problematic than the applications used in the study conducted by the University of Indiana, School of Medicine.  Additionally, Sony has developed its own first party motion sensing device called the PlayStation® Move which retails for about $70.  Although the Move.me application retails for $100, the developers at Sony allow students and educators to use the application at no cost because the developers at Sony see the potential their application has for physical therapy (McCutchan 2011).

Although living with a disability is very difficult, I am thankful to live in a time where it is possible to have a PS3.  This device truly allows me to identify myself as a person who does not feel impaired by a disability.  Based on my own positive gaming experience in combination with the support given by Congress, and the studies conducted by the University of Indiana, School of Medicine can be concluded that a game console can be utilized to be an effective, motivational, and cost-effective therapeutic tool for all to enjoy.

 

Works Cited

Edyburn, Dave L. “Assistive Technology And Students With Mild Disabilities.” Focus On Exceptional Children 32.9 (2000): 1. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Mar. 2013.

Fifth Dimension Technologies. 5DT Data Glove 5 Ultra. Fifth Dimension Technologies, Last updated: 25 Nov. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

John McCutchan. “Move.me Available Today on PlayStation Store, Free for Students and Educators.” PlayStation.Blog. 26 July 2011. Web.            9 Mar. 2013.

Huber, M.; Rabin, B.; Docan, C.; Burdea, G.; Nwosu, M.E.; AbdelBaky, M.; Golomb, M.R., “PlayStation 3-based tele-rehabilitation for children with hemiplegia,” Virtual Rehabilitation, 2008 , vol., no., pp.105,112, 25-27 Aug. 2008
Kirk, Tera. Gamecritics.com. Ed. Chi Kong Lui, Dale Weir, Brad Gallaway, Daniel Weissenberger, and Tera Kirk. Gamecritics.com, 31 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.

CMC: The Future of Learning

Since online learning has become more prevalent in the past few years, scholars have recently examined the effects that informal computer-mediated communication (CMC) have on students.  Intriguingly, CMC exemplifies how technology is changing education. However, the efforts of scholars who continue to study the effectiveness of CMC show that informal CMC is not as effective as a formal online classroom environment.

Summary of article:

In an article entitled The Effects of informal Use of Computer-Mediated Communication on EFL Learner Interaction, Hassan Saleh Mahdi and Muhi Eddin Mohammed El-Naim (2012) conducted a study which examined the effectiveness of informal CMC on students who were learning English as a second language (p. 75).  Although CMC can be used in a formal setting much like a traditional classroom Canvas, or Web CT, Hassan and Mohammed El-Naim chose to utilize CMC in an informal setting because they wanted to see how many students would utilize the technology without feeling obligated to participate.  Ultimately, Hassan Saleh Mahdi and Muhi Eddin Mohammed El-Naim hoped that by using quantitative and qualitative analysis from the fifty EFL students, they could explore the effects and the benefits of informal CMC in fostering EFL learners (p. 77).

Methodology:

To conduct this study successfully, Hassan and Muhi Eddin Mohammed El-Naim asked fifty adult male EFL Saudi learners, ranging ages of 19 to 23, from Najran University, Saudi Arabia, to participate in a five-point questionnaire survey and a post study interview. (p. 77).  The purpose behind the questionnaire and the post study interview was to gather unbiased data through quantitative and qualitative means to provide answers to their research questions, which were “Do the learners participate actively in the target language [which is English] in CMC where it is used informally?” (p. 77). Secondly, “What are the factors that make informal CMC successful? (p. 77).  Additionally, the authors hope to find whether or not informal CMC “[Fosters] comprehensive written output” (p. 77).  Ultimately, Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim hope the questionnaire and the post study interview will give a better understanding of the students’ perceptions of informal CMC (p. 77).  Subsequently, Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim noted that the participants in this study were allowed to discuss any topic they chose as long as they made a conscious effort to participate.

The aspect of allowing the EFL participants to discuss any topic that comes to mind is the most adventitious aspect to achieving the desired result.  Having the ability to speak freely amongst fellow EFL learners without having to be conscious of proper use of spelling and grammar, is a motivational tool in itself.  It is clear that Hassan and Muhi Eddin Mohammed El-Naim considered this element when conducting their study.  Furthermore, the open and inviting atmosphere the homepage allowed the authors to collect unbiased data, because the topic discussion relied on what the participants were willing to discuss.  However, could be argued that this freedom of discussion and informal interactive setting has negative effects as well.  For example, if the participant is aware that they did not have to participate in the informal setting of the Facebook homepage allows it itself to become a nuisance to the study by promoting a lack of transportation among the participants.

Unfortunately, the informal setting of the Facebook homepage shows that informal CMC is ineffective. Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim were able to find a connection between informal CMC and a lack of participation by examining the quantitative and qualitative data after the study had concluded.  First, the data reveals that only 17 of the 50 participants participated actively in the study (p. 78).   Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim expected this dilemma because the participants had to balance their studies with the informal CMC research tool.  Additionally, the data concludes that through a six-month period of the study, 129 postings were posted which translates to an average of 7.5 for each participant (p.78). Additionally, the data reflects that 310 comments were written in response to those postings (p. 78).  Due to the lack of participation, Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim admit that this study might reflect better results if it had been conducted during summertime where the participants could participate without having to balance their studies (p. 78).

Strengths of the study:

Although the study’s informal setting opens itself up to having a lack of participation, it also serves to be one of the study’s strengths.  Even though informal CMC proved to be ineffective in the study, it shows that even in an informal setting people can still collaborate with one another in an educational environment.  Moreover, this study shows that even though the participants’ studies were the primary reason for their lack of participation, a small portion of the participants were willing to participate by speaking English instead of their native language.  Finally, the Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim deserve credit for designing such a study.  They creatively used quantitative and qualitative data to give them unbiased results in regards to the informal CMC’s effectiveness.  Ultimately, the results of this examination could be further developed in future studies regarding the effectiveness of informal CMC.

Limitations of the study:

Admittedly, even though this study has its strengths, it also has many weaknesses.  One of which is a lack of female students.  Even though Muhi Eddin and Mohammed El-Naim themselves admit that the lack of female students was due to the disallowance of coeducation (p. 77), this study fails to examine how female participants perceive informal CMC.  Additionally, the number of participants was very limited because the authors wanted participants who were familiar with using Facebook.  Furthermore, these participants were all of the same nationality and attended the same the University (p 78).  Undoubtedly, having students from different nationalities could have impacted the result of the authors’ examination.

Conclusion:

In closing, as technology continues to advance we should indeed continue studying its impact on education.  However, even though the technology is a wonderful tool that can be utilized by all, it still has its faults.  The study conducted on the effectiveness of informal CMC is an example of how technology does not always deliver the desired results.  Finally, studies like this prove that there is still some use, whether we like to admit it or not, for the formal online classroom as well as the traditional classroom.

References

Saleh Mahdi, H. & Mohammed El- Naim, M. E. (2012). The effects of informal use of computer-mediated communication on EFL learner interaction. Studies in Literature and      Language. 5(3). 75-81. Retrieved form Gale Cengage Learning Expanded Academic          ASAP Infotrac  DOI: 10.3968/j.sll.1923156320120503.801

URL: http://catalog2.nmsu.edu:2165/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=DA-SORT&inPS=true&prodId=EAIM&userGroupName=nm_a_nmlascr&tabID=T002&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&currentPosition=1&contentSet=GALE%7CA318493751&&docId=GALE|A318493751&docType=GALE&role=

The Influences of Localization and Globalization on Grammar Usage in Video Gaming

Videogame development continues to evolve over time. Where videogames were once simple; they involved beating the top score or getting a character from point A to point B.  The videogames of today are less like games and more like modern-day block-buster films.  A major emphasis on character and plot development aimed at reaching a desired audience has resulted in more effective writing and storytelling. The video gaming industry continues change how writers and developers collaborate with one another to deliver a successful product. Successful collaboration can be achieved by understanding the cultural differences. It is necessary to examine how localization and globalization affect a culture’s understanding of American grammar. By bringing attention to the importance of these aspects, many common misunderstandings and misinterpretations of different cultural beliefs and practices will be clarified. The goals of this project are to bring awareness to the various cultural differences that many collaborative teams face, and to bring attention to the fact that one must be more aware of the various customs and cultures in order to communicate effectively.

How Communication and Collaboration are affected by Cultural Differences

Communication and collaboration are crucial elements, as they allow a team to produce a successful product. However, this is often times the most challenging aspect of working on a multicultural team project. Cultural differences combined with a lack of understanding of how to communicate effectively with someone from another culture poses a challenge to successful collaboration. The challenges of intercultural communication and collaboration are expressed in our refusal to except cultural differences, as Milton J. Bennett suggests, “We flee to the suburbs or behind walls to avoid cultural differences, and if we are forced to confront it, there is often a fight” (1). Unfortunately, in terms of product production, this refusal to overcome cultural differences makes collaboration extremely difficult, and affects the integrity of the final product.  Therefore to circumvent these challenges and move past our cultural difference, it is necessary to consider how American grammar, localization, and globalization separate one culture from another. Understanding how perceptions of grammar vary from culture to culture will clarify many misunderstandings and misinterpretations, ensuring improve collaboration.

Cultural Differences and Localization

To grasp a better appreciation of how misunderstandings, arise from cultural differences, one must examine how a product is impacted by localization. Margaret Rouse defines localization as, “The process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local ‘look-and-feel’” (searchcio.techtarget.com). Since localization is driven by one’s culture and language, it plays a crucial role in product development. In terms of collaboration, the principles of localization also heavily influence the way a product is developed, designed, and marketed. However, as valuable as localization is in terms of development and marketing, localization has a localized cultural perspective which can be problematic and create misinterpretations of what is being addressed. Ultimately, this localized cultural perspective can confuse or lose the interest of a targeted audience. Although it has its shortcomings, localization is not solely responsible for creating confusion or misunderstandings. Often times, confusion or misunderstandings can be influenced by a lack of cultural knowledge of the targeted audience. Unfortunately, localization inadvertently accentuates these cultural misunderstandings because of its strict localized perspective regarding culture. In videogame developing for example, cultural misunderstandings are often represented in language. For example, when a team of Japanese people made a videogame that was intended to reach an American audience, their verbiage revealed a more localized syntax pattern.

Even though they did not intend to misinform or confuse their audience, their lack of knowledge with regards to American grammar potentially confused their audience. Although a team of Japanese people may have been unfamiliar with the rules of American grammar, it was hard for them to avoid developing a product without a localized perspective. Bennett implied that this perspective stemmed from what he termed as, monocultural communication. Bennett explained, “Monocultural communication is similarity-based” (1). He further suggested, “Common language, behavior patterns, and values form the base upon which members of the culture exchange meaning with one another in conducting their daily affairs” (1). Bennett’s argument suggests that if roles were reversed and a team of developers in United States were tasked with designing a videogame intended for Japanese audience, they too would face the same problem. This implies that as human beings, it is very difficult for us to see beyond our culture.

Globalization

The goal for a company is to produce a product that can be sold globally, yet the cultural perspectives of localization and monocultural communication ultimately influence how team develops and markets their product. Therefore, regardless of their culture, companies ponder their reputations to coincide with the principles of globalization. Being also referred to as internationalism, globalization is defined as being, “A process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology” (globalization101.org). Although videogame developers develop videogame for the global audience in mind, it is impossible for them to develop their product to reach a goal global audience without communicating with someone outside of their culture. Fortunately, in the business world of today, modern-day technology has made it easier for videogame developers to get a broader perspective from someone outside of their culture. For example, through the use of email or videoconferencing software, a team of developers can effectively converse with one another to clear up any misinterpretations of the language, because this form of communication allows developers to obtain a localized perspective on how their product will be interpreted by the targeted audience. Additionally, technology also alleviates many challenges with regards to cultural differences as it allows one culture to become familiar with another culture through joint collaboration. However, as valuable as it is, collaborative technology is still in its infancy.

Limited Technology and Inadequate Feedback

Shortly after the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in the mid-1980’s, videogames being produced began to change in terms of gameplay development, gameplay mechanics, and the intended audience.  Nintendo videogames were aimed at a younger audience, ages 5 to 10 years old. Many children in this age range had a limited conception of grammar rules and usage. In a way, appealing to a targeted audience of children was beneficial for Japanese developers who were not entirely familiar with the English language themselves. One must also consider that these developers were also hampered with the limited technology of the time. Unfortunately, open communication between developers was extremely difficult. At the time, Japanese developers did not have the luxury of collaborative technologies, such as, email and videoconferencing software and, therefore could not contact and communicate with developers in the United States. Even though the Japanese developers had the ability to hold telephone conferences with developers in the United States, they were ineffective as they were too costly and the time difference made scheduling telephone conferences extremely difficult.  Japanese developers were forced to develop a game using only their localized perspective of the English language. As a result, many Japanese videogames were riddled with grammatical errors and ambiguities. By no fault of their own, these mistakes were due to a lack of familiarity with English grammar. Additionally, having limited technology and targeting a younger audience gave the Japanese developers no chance to obtain proper feedback. The lack of feedback resulted in simple grammatical mistakes found in the final product, such as, a videogame villain stating, “All your base *are* belong to us,” and “Congratulation” instead of [All of your bases belong to us,] and [Congratulations]

congratulation picture for blog post

The Repercussions of Communication Misunderstandings

With regards to communication, misunderstandings in interpretation can further segregate one culture from another. Even though early videogame developers targeted young audiences, the misuse of syntax, combined with what many parents assumed to be a lack of mental stimulation, gave videogames and videogame developers a poor reputation. Many customers assumed that Japan, as a nation, spoke with the same broken dialect of English that was expressed in their videogames. Unfortunately, the poorly translated games intended for the United States audience was often laughable and confusing. Sadly, common stereotypes emerged of Japanese videogame developers who could not write or speak English correctly.  Even though this notion of judgment through stereotyping is deplorable, it shows how profound the aspect of language truly is and how it shapes culture. Although no disrespect was meant, at the time, Japanese videogame developers in the mid-1980’s did their best to translate with the technology of the time. With that being said, many consumers of the intended audience would still criticize the Japanese people for misusing English because it is difficult to see beyond our own culture.

Language and Economics

In essence, language is much more than a form of communication. Not only does language represent one’s culture, it influences several aspects of communication. Language also allows communication to be one of the driving forces behind economics.  Just how language influences our economical way of life, can be seen as Helen Kelly-Holmes argues, “…language has become central to the niche marketing and to the localization dimensions of globalization” (108). This relates back to the idea that one keeps their own culture in mind when developing a product that is intended for a global audience. Monica Heller seconds Kelly-Holmes’ argument stating, “…language has become a commodity itself and, therefore, acts as a resource to be produced, controlled, distributed, valued and constrained” (108). Heller’s argument expresses how profound language is to society. Both Kelly-Holmes and Heller’s arguments express how language is more than just words making sentences, for Kelly-Holmes and Heller, language is a valuable ingredient that is responsible for driving the production of global economics. One can note that Bennett’s argument regarding culture and cultural differences also dramatically impacts the global economy. While the processes of localization and globalization are important, they are driven by culture and language where one culture embeds their own cultural and linguistic values while attempting to make a product that is aimed at a global audience. Undoubtedly, the importance that is placed upon language and culture may also explain why it is difficult to accept the norms and custom of other cultures that are unfamiliar or conflict with the acceptable rules of one’s own cultural norms.

Considering a Cultural Perspective

Keeping Bennett, Kelly-Holmes, and Heller’s arguments in mind, one must consider that the Japanese developers who were tasked with developing Nintendo videogames in the 1980’s had these ideas of language and culture in mind. Additionally, one could also argue that the intended targeted audience influenced their decision to focus on fun and enthralling games that would keep a young child entertained instead of concerning themselves with how to correctly translate in-game text. However, once again, the importance placed on language and culture was too obvious for some consumers to ignore.

Video Gaming as an Industry

As an industry, the videogame market has not only changed the way consumers entertain themselves, it has also expanded the aspects of collaboration. Even though videogames are still influenced by the developers’ own cultural values, audiences around the world continue to appreciate the entertainment value of videogames. Even though many early Nintendo video games were riddled with grammatical errors and simple spelling mistakes, they had a powerful impact on a generation of children forcing them to collaborate with one another to accomplish a common goal. Whether they were struggling to make it past a level, or enjoying the pleasures of completing the game, video gaming has positively impacted multiple cultures.

Ultimately, it is culture and language that allows a developer through collaboration with others to make the best product possible.  Collaboration and language also gives the consumer the ability to give developers adequate feedback, thereby aiding in the improvement of the product. Currently collaborative technologies, in general, make it easier for various cultures to communicate with one another.  Although the processes of localization and globalization have not yet disappeared, the power of modern technology allows language collaboration to be utilized to clarify misinterpretations and misunderstandings. While the various grammatical rules still govern the way in which we communicate with one another, videogames could be one of the technological answers to breaking the separation of cultures – allowing us all to play together as one.

 

Works Cited

Bennett, Milton J. “Intercultural communication: A current perspective.” Basic concepts of intercultural communication: Selected readings (1998): 1-34.

Heller, Monica. “The Commodification of Language.” Annual Review of Anthropology 39.1 (2010): 101-114. Print.

 

Rouse, Margaret. ” Localization (l10n).” What is localization (l10n). Searchcio, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. .

The Levin Institute. Globalization 101. SUNYGlobal Workforce Project, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/&gt;.

 

 

 

 

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Top 11 Worst Video Game Typos and Grammar Mistakes. Ed. Masterofhyrule. WordPress, 8 Apr. 2008. Web. 8 Nov. 2014. http://masterofhyrule.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/top-11-worst-video-game-typos/&gt;.

Zelda Universe. Ed. Reece. N.p., Feb. 2001. Web. 8 Nov. 2014. <http://www.zeldauniverse.net/forums/general-chit-chat/101490-grammar-mistakes-that-irk-you.html&gt;.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clashing Values: The Troubles in Northern Ireland

Even though as human beings we strive for peace and tolerance, our ability to promote these aspects is difficult to put into practice and often inspires conflicts when political ideals, ownership of land, or religious beliefs are challenged. The challenges that involve religious, political, and geographical views are important and will be addressed. With the understanding that the Troubles in Northern Ireland was not solely a religious conflict, this essay will not suggest that those who were part of it were motivated by these aspects alone. This essay will instead discuss the way in which previous disputes culminated to the eventual conflict of the Troubles of Northern Ireland that began on October 5, 1968.

The Troubles involved several governmental and religious disputes over Northern Ireland’s geographical identity. Acknowledging that the complexity of the conflict was caused by many factors of civil and governmental injustices, this essay will examine: 1) the history of tension between England and Northern Ireland 2) how this conflict was an example of sectarian discrimination through England’s use of governmental power to influence unionist policies and religious views 3) this essay will show how England’s unionist government used its political presence as a strategic advantage to rid Northern Ireland of any undesirables who did not wish to conform to their policies. Furthermore, this essay will address the issues of separatism and brown colonialism to show how they influenced the tension of the two states that were involved in the Troubles of Northern Ireland and how the victims of past separatism and brown colonialism were physically and emotionally affected by these injustices. Ultimately, the purpose of this essay will be to enlighten those who are unfamiliar with this conflict so that they might gain an understanding and appreciation of the events that took place as well as give a glimpse into the lives of the citizens who experienced violence, discrimination, and oppression during this trying moment in history.

Once Northern Ireland separated from the state of England, the dominoes of civil unrest began to fall as both countries were disputing which government would claim control over the new colony. The tension between England and Northern Ireland can be traced back to two early regional disputes during the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1167 when England’s population began to accumulate in the region (http://www.history.co.uk/shows/soldiers-stories/articles/northern-ireland-conflict). Tensions began to rise as both English and Irish citizens refused to make peace with one another and unite the state. The aforementioned article suggests that political and religious disagreements played a crucial role in terms of inspiring hatred and mistrust among the separate states and that “[t]hese differences became more marked during the reign of Henry VIII. His break from Rome placed him at loggerheads with Catholic Europe and introduced religion into Irish politics for the first time. Resistance to the British Crown came in 1534 when the Kildare heir, Lord Offaly, led a Catholic revolt against the Protestant English King in Ireland. It was swiftly put down and those involved were executed” (http://www.history.co.uk/shows/soldiers-stories/articles/northern-ireland-conflict). The actions of Lord Offaly in his quest to remove the King of Ireland from power embody a resistance to brown colonialism. However, the efforts of Lord Offaly were in vain as England halted his revolt and spread the Protestant faith throughout the state. Aside from the aspect of brown colonialism, the geological positioning of Northern Ireland also was detrimental to the citizens in that area. In his article entitled “The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland 1868 – 2005,” Paul A. Strokes argues for this claim, stating that “[w]hereas southern Ireland absorbed a succession of invaders over the centuries so that a mixed culture was created, that pattern did not occur in the North.” He later suggests that “[t]here the Scottish and English Protestant planters of the 17th century, having seized the best lands developed their own identity as separate from the rest of the country which remained predominantly Roman Catholic” (17). Strokes supports the essence of resistance from the English Protestants in Northern Ireland stating “Ulster has been the English crown’s most rebellious province” (18). He further argues, “The plans of settlements were an attempt once and for all to quell rebelliousness in Ireland.”  He concludes, “Nevertheless the conflicts were inevitable between the native Irish Ulster men and the plant settlers.” Sadly, Strokes’ suggests that if roles were reversed and Northern Ireland was more of a mixture of cultures the Troubles of Northern Ireland might have never happened. However, since this is entirely speculative, one could make a claim that the conflict of the Troubles might have taken place in southern Ireland instead.

The reasoning behind Northern Ireland’s resistance to the early English plant settlers was largely due to the aspect of separatism. As Northern Ireland separated from England and made its own state, the citizens wished to remain unmolested and independent from the kingdom of England. However, when England refused to respect their wishes and placed a Protestant King in power in Northern Ireland, any chance of forming a respectable relationship with England at the time was impossible. Speaking on behalf of England, it can clearly be seen why they desperately wanted to gain a geographical advantage through the seizure of Northern Ireland. By controlling Northern Ireland, the English acquired more lands, giving them the opportunity to expand their country. Ultimately, this would also help them financially by allowing the government to further develop and evolve, taking more taxes and religious revenue as tribute to send back to England. From a political standpoint. England gained rhetorical power in the form of an ego boost by claiming Northern Ireland, signifying that the English government was now a superpower.

Coincidentally, the early atrocities committed by England to the Northern Irish during the invasion disrupted any chance of lasting peace. These atrocities created a sense of mistrust and disdain between the two states, making it nearly impossible to coexist. Another factor that worked against the English government was that of Lord Offaly being seen as a martyr for the Northern Irish community. Even though this conflict was not solely inspired by religion, Lord Offaly’s attempt to remove the English Protestant king inspired the people of Northern Ireland to revolt. Taking the inspiration of the actions of Lord Offaly into consideration, it can clearly be seen that the dispute of religion did have a role in inspiring what would eventually culminate in the troubles of Northern Ireland in 1968. Unfortunately, the early English government was well aware that selling plantations in Northern Ireland would give them a chance to claim the region entirely. As the majority political power, the English government would evolve and eventually promote the governmental aspect of brown colonialism, claiming connections with the United Kingdom and the laws and religious views within that state.

Even though there were many Catholic citizens living in Ireland, since the English unionist government was the majority they would abuse their political power, which in turn made life extremely difficult for the Irish Catholic citizens in Northern Ireland. The aim of the unionist government was to rid Northern Ireland of the Irish Catholic population. They attempted to accomplish this through the promotion of the Protestant religion by fusing religious and governmental policies. As a result of enforcing these policies, the English unionist government would repeatedly misuse their political power by using it as a tool to speak for the majority. This misuse of power resulted in changing the Irish population by forcing them to adopt Protestant beliefs.

By 1968, the majority English unionist government would take advantage of its political power by condemning and discriminating against the minority non-unionist Irish Catholic population and promoting institutional racism wherein which, “[The] established and customary social arrangements [are altered] to exclude on the basis of race,” and environmental racism, which is defined as “[t]he disproportionate exposure of some racial groups to toxic substances” (210). Aside from the Irish Republican Army’s use of tear gas with the purpose of dispersing minority civil rights marches (which will be discussed later), the English unionist government would exploit these types of prejudices among the Irish Catholic citizens. Even though these citizens were initially being exposed to hazardous materials, they were placed in poor living environments and would often have to forfeit their homes to citizens who identified as being unionist and of Protestant faith.

Finding jobs and maintaining them was also a challenge for the Irish Catholic citizens. Sadly, often times those who identified as Catholic were unjustly laid off or were placed in difficult working conditions. For those citizens that identified as Protestant however, they were often given the job that had been held by Irish Catholics who had previously been laid off. Coincidentally, the Protestant unionist citizens that acquired the jobs from Irish Catholic citizens were met with far better working conditions and expectations than those who identified as Irish Catholic. It should be noted that this institutional racism was allowed by the English unionist government because they saw the Irish Catholic citizens as socialists. Those who spoke for the minority further induced the conflict by wanting the Irish Republic to stay a socialist country and not conform to unionism.

The unionist majority government also had several advantages in terms of military and police support. This support reached far beyond the local cities and organizations within Northern Ireland, spanning across the entire Republic. Being well aware of the fact that the unionist government had the support of the Republic of Ireland, the English government used its influence to enforce governmental policies and values. From the standpoint of the Republic of Ireland, since the majority were unionists as well, they had a mutually respectful relationship and offered a variety of support to the military and police with the aim of enforcing unionist policies. The support from the Republic of Ireland intensified the conflict further through the involvement of loyalist paramilitary organizations such as the provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), and other factions. The UVF in particular was especially brutal and infamously responsible for massacring more than 500 civilians during the worst conflict, according to a BBC news article written in 2011. Additionally, they also had the support of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). According to the online Encyclopedia Britannica, “[The] UDA [is a] loyalist organization founded in Northern Ireland in 1971 to coordinate the efforts of local Protestant vigilante groups in the sectarian conflict in the province.” This idea of a sectarian conflict is how many people would have described the situation at the time.

The true essence of this conflict was embedded within the feuding sects in Northern Ireland. Environmental and institutional racism was promoted by the government to eradicate what they viewed as a threatening sect of the population of their state. The term sectarian is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “Pertaining to a sectary or sectaries; ‘belonging to a schismatical sect.’” It is evident that the English unionist government disliked the Irish Catholic sect, because it viewed their behavior as a form of radicalism that threatened their desired governmental order. As with any common political dictatorship, the English government was also afraid of losing power and therefore resisted those who opposed them.

The aspect of sectarian discrimination when examining the Troubles of Northern Ireland in 1968, shares many similarities with the hardships of those in the American Civil Rights Movement. It is evident that many who were influenced to stand up for the rights of Irish Catholic citizens and Northern Ireland were inspired by the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to address African-American civil rights in the United States. In a documentary entitled, The Day the Troubles Began, many Irish civil rights activists expressed their appreciation for Dr. King and his efforts in combating the issue of civil rights. Many of them implied that they had taken inspiration from Dr. King himself and created forms of nonviolent protest such as community marches and gatherings. However it should be noted that some of these nonviolent acts of resistance were harmful to the Irish Catholic community as many nonviolent protest marches for civil rights would elicit oppositional violence.

As a result of these actions committed by the police and paramilitary forces, many Irish Catholic citizens would be seriously injured or killed in their attempt to promote their cause. There were also widespread hunger strikes during the conflict that claimed a large portion of Irish Catholic citizens. When the institutional racism was at its worst, the English unionist government extended its political power to the paramilitary organizations and local police, giving them the right to use lethal force on those who were participating in the civil rights marches if necessary. The oppressive and discriminatory hardships placed upon Irish Catholics by the English Protestant government are very similar to the hardships placed upon African-American citizens during the civil rights movement.

Although a few Irish Catholic citizens were bold enough to stand up and promote the idea of civil rights throughout the state, the physical violence combined with the emotional strain of fighting for such a cause was psychologically damaging too many of these citizens that protested in civil rights related activities. According to Andrea Campbell, Ed Cairns, and John Mallett, the efforts of the Irish Catholic civil rights marches to attempt to keep the Protestant faith a part of England was a battle that might not have been easily won. The authors reveal the troubling truth of the violence throughout the entire conflict. They state: “The violence in Northern Ireland lasted for 30 years, causing 3,585 deaths.” They continue, stating, “The violence impacted people’s lives through mental health and intergroup relations. While some individuals were deeply scarred by ‘the troubles,’ most learned to cope partially by habituation distancing and/or denial” (175). This state of habituation or plain denial exemplifies the effect of the oppressive abuse of the English government placed upon the Irish Catholic citizens.

Even though we all strive for peace and harmony, humanity is imperfect. In actuality, the conflict that inspired the Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1968 was largely due to a refusal to leave one state alone and a failure to listen, as well as the challenges that arise when attempting to combine political and governmental power with religious beliefs. Moreover, this conflict exemplifies the importance placed upon land and how governments can become oppressive in their quest to gain power. Through gross misuse of governmental privilege and power and the accumulation of oppressive acts, the British government left the citizens it seemed to have claimed both physically and emotionally damaged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Aileen, Blaney. “Remembering Historical Trauma In Paul Greengrass’s Bloody Sunday.” History & Memory 19.2 (2007): 113-138. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

Bourke, Richard. “Languages Of Conflict And The Northern Ireland Troubles.” Journal Of Modern History 83.3 (2011): 544-578. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

Campbell, Andrea, Ed Cairns, and John Mallett. “Northern Ireland: The Psychological Impact Of “The Troubles.” Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 9.1/2 (2004): 175-184. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Cleary, Joe. “Domestic Troubles: Tragedy and The Northern Ireland Conflict.” South Atlantic Quarterly 98.3 (1999): 501. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

Eitzen, D. Stanley, Maxine Baca Zinn, and Kelly Eitzen Smith. Social Problems. Thirteen ed. New Jersey: Pearson, 2013. 210. Print.

Mesev, Victor, Peter Shirlow, and Joni Downs. “The Geography Of Conflict And Death In Belfast, Northern Ireland.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99.5 (2009): 893-903. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

“sectarian, adj. and n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 8 November 2015.

Stokes, Paul A. “‘The Troubles’ In Northern Ireland, 1968-2005: A Case Of Humiliation.” Social Alternatives 25.1 (2006): 17-21. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Sullivan, Christopher M., Cyanne E. Loyle, and Christian Davenport. “The Coercive Weight of The Past: Temporal Dependence And The Conflict-Repression Nexus In The Northern Ireland “Troubles”.” International Interactions 38.4 (2012): 426-442. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

“Ulster Defence Association (UDA)”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 08 Nov. 2015

<http://www.britannica.com/topic/Ulster-Defence-Association&gt;.

White, Bob. “Northern Ireland’s Troubles: The Human Cost (Book).” Irish Journal Of Sociology 10.2 (2001): 123-125. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

YouTube.com. Ed. Unknown. Unknown, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

 

Close Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 91

 

Some glory in their birth, some in their skill. (a)

Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force. (b)

Some in their garments (though new-fangled ill). (a)

Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse. (b)

And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure (c)

Wherein it find a joy above the rest. (d)

But these particulars are not my measure; (c)

All these I better and one general best. (d)

Thy love is better than high birth to me, (e)

Richer than wealth prouder than garments cost, (f)

Of more delight than hawks or horses be, (e)

And having thee of all men’s pride I boast, (f)

Wretched in this alone; that thou mayst take (g)

All this away and me most wretched make. (g)

 

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 91 puts a unique spin on the traditional Shakespearean love sonnets by having the speaker express how wonderful it feels to be in love. Rather than describing his beloved beauty, the speaker in this sonnet uses the term love as an analogy and compares it to wealth and aristocratic status. After comparing love to immaculate wealth and aristocratic status, the speaker uses love as a metaphor to argue that having the ability to feel love is priceless.  Ultimately, he argues that feeling love is more powerful than the luck of high birth or having a unique skill. In other words, the speaker is arguing that love is not a birthright or possession – it is something more profound. Throughout the sonnet it is clear that the speaker believes he has something so profound it supersedes the elite. However, the last two couplets express the speaker’s fear of losing his power by the use of imagery which gives the reader a glimpse of seeing him as a broken man. He concedes that if he loses the ability to feel love he will be just an ordinary man — one who is hopelessly lost without love.

Hidden beneath the cryptic language of this sonnet lies a conflict between high birth, wealth, pride, and love. Love in this instance seems to be the most powerful term in the sonnet. The speaker seems to pit high birth, wealth, and pride against one another. He uses love to express something that is more profound and implies that he sees high birth, wealth, and pride as a physical possession and therefore powerless. Upon reflection, one could argue that another main metaphor for love is power as the speaker expresses that he has something that those with immaculate wealth do not. The way in which love is placed above high birth signifies that love is placed above one’s social status, pride, and wealth. The speaker mocks those who are privileged by implying that the feeling of love gives him more pride and wealth than could be imagined. Ultimately, this power allows for an additional conflict between love and the speaker. The sonnet’s conclusion implies that the speaker is aware of the possibility that he can lose the power of feeling love. In the last two couplets, the speaker acknowledges his fear of losing his unique ability, and implies that extreme wealth and privilege cannot substitute for the power of love.

 

Works Cited

“humour | humor, n.”. OED Online. December 2013. Oxford University Press. 19 January 2014 <http://catalog2.nmsu.edu:2232/view/Entry/89416?isAdvanced=false&result=1&rskey=   HEoyez&>.

 

 

 

A Bill of Rights for Avatars?

In today’s world, many view their digital avatars as virtual extensions of themselves. We embrace our avatars either by dressing them in the latest armor, or spending actual currency to get them the swords and shields that fits their personalities. Since so much attention is invested in these digital characters, one can ask the question, due to avatars having become so intertwined within our physical lives, should a person’s avatar be protected under a digital Bill of Rights?

In his article, A Declaration for the Rights of Avatars (Avatar_Declaration_of_Rights pdf), Ralph Koster’s, argues that these avatars, which many of us hold so dear, should have their own declaration of rights.  In other words, avatar should be treated as actual people.  In today’s digital world, arguments such as this are not unreasonable because of the work and effort many people devote to these digital characters. Furthermore, Koster expresses that this declaration of rights for avatars will prevent someone from defacing or violating another’s avatar. It is this premise that makes Koster’s argument so appealing.

With Koster’s argument in mind, we must always consider how technology continues to change our world.  It seems that now more than ever, the majority of us believe that our digital image is a reflection of our physical being. This fact alone makes arguments like Koster’s reasonable, because we must be willing to explore how protection laws might advance in the near future.

 

 

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