Buku The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst by Paul Christopher A

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The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst by Paul Christopher A

Author:Paul, Christopher A. [Paul, Christopher A.]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Tags: SOC052000 Social Science / Media Studies

ISBN: 9781517900410

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Published: 2018-02-19T16:00:00+00:00

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The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst by Paul Christopher A

Achievement Culture: Proving Your Skill

The dominance of skill and merit in video games reaches well beyond individual games and into the larger framework of video games and how they are perceived. The design of game culture celebrates achievement, and the roots of that commitment to skill date back at least to the Atari systems and the patches that Activision sent out to laud certain achievements in games. Now morphed into things like leaderboards, Gamerscores, and trophies, the effect of these mechanics becoming so solidly integrated into videogame culture is that their gravitational pull changes how games are played and interpreted. Leaderboards are a clear place where players are compared with one another. A former highly competitive Madden NFL player writes that leaderboards are “a devilish feature,” as they transform “Madden from an escapist pastime into another stage on which to prove your self-worth.”[36] Gamerscore is a measure that turns abstract effort in a game into concrete results that are intelligible to others at a mere glimpse. Gamerscore bends how games are played, as playing for these meta-points becomes a play style to which some adhere and others push beyond any reasonable bounds or limits and are then celebrated for their exceptional proof of merit. My paltry Gamerscore pales in comparison to Raymond Cox’s million-plus points and ten-thousand-person audience on Twitch, but the inclusion and search for points layers a different kind of game over the top of everything else we play. For Cox, having the highest Gamerscore has meant that his efforts are tracked and celebrated by Microsoft, are recorded as Guinness World Records, and have earned him a modest degree of income through his fame.[37] Perhaps first and foremost, though, the quest to acquire impressive amounts of Gamerscore twists play, as Cox plays as many games as possible and with the primary intent of leeching as many points from them as he can.[38] By adding ranking elements like Activision’s patches, leaderboards, Gamerscore, and trophies to play, video games are altered as players are encouraged to think about them as part of a larger, meritocratic system. Motives shift, intent changes, and our ability to judge others negatively is magnified; the rhetorical framework in which video games are produced and played shifts to accommodate a specific kind of instrumental play. As Joel Goodwin sums up the balance of achievement versus art in video games, “If you’re still looking for the Citizen Kane of Game, you’re not going to find it on a leaderboard.”[39] Although Cox’s single-minded focus on Gamerscore likely seems quite foreign to many game players, it is an edge case of what quantifiable systems can do to how we think about and play games. Players can opt out of Gamerscore or simply choose not to think about it, but Microsoft regularly advertises its premium service, Xbox Live Gold; the games players get for subscribing by mentioning the achievements available and highlighting how many points players can get by paying for the service and playing the games. By opting out,

 

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The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst by Paul Christopher A

Author:Paul, Christopher A. [Paul, Christopher A.] , Date: July 11, 2019

,Views: 47

Author:Paul, Christopher A. [Paul, Christopher A.]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Tags: SOC052000 Social Science / Media Studies

ISBN: 9781517900410

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Published: 2018-02-19T16:00:00+00:00
Achievement Culture: Proving Your Skill

The dominance of skill and merit in video games reaches well beyond individual games and into the larger framework of video games and how they are perceived. The design of game culture celebrates achievement, and the roots of that commitment to skill date back at least to the Atari systems and the patches that Activision sent out to laud certain achievements in games. Now morphed into things like leaderboards, Gamerscores, and trophies, the effect of these mechanics becoming so solidly integrated into videogame culture is that their gravitational pull changes how games are played and interpreted. Leaderboards are a clear place where players are compared with one another. A former highly competitive Madden NFL player writes that leaderboards are “a devilish feature,” as they transform “Madden from an escapist pastime into another stage on which to prove your self-worth.”[36] Gamerscore is a measure that turns abstract effort in a game into concrete results that are intelligible to others at a mere glimpse. Gamerscore bends how games are played, as playing for these meta-points becomes a play style to which some adhere and others push beyond any reasonable bounds or limits and are then celebrated for their exceptional proof of merit. My paltry Gamerscore pales in comparison to Raymond Cox’s million-plus points and ten-thousand-person audience on Twitch, but the inclusion and search for points layers a different kind of game over the top of everything else we play. For Cox, having the highest Gamerscore has meant that his efforts are tracked and celebrated by Microsoft, are recorded as Guinness World Records, and have earned him a modest degree of income through his fame.[37] Perhaps first and foremost, though, the quest to acquire impressive amounts of Gamerscore twists play, as Cox plays as many games as possible and with the primary intent of leeching as many points from them as he can.[38] By adding ranking elements like Activision’s patches, leaderboards, Gamerscore, and trophies to play, video games are altered as players are encouraged to think about them as part of a larger, meritocratic system. Motives shift, intent changes, and our ability to judge others negatively is magnified; the rhetorical framework in which video games are produced and played shifts to accommodate a specific kind of instrumental play. As Joel Goodwin sums up the balance of achievement versus art in video games, “If you’re still looking for the Citizen Kane of Game, you’re not going to find it on a leaderboard.”[39] Although Cox’s single-minded focus on Gamerscore likely seems quite foreign to many game players, it is an edge case of what quantifiable systems can do to how we think about and play games. Players can opt out of Gamerscore or simply choose not to think about it, but Microsoft regularly advertises its premium service, Xbox Live Gold; the games players get for subscribing by mentioning the achievements available and highlighting how many points players can get by paying for the service and playing the games. By opting out,

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