New Media Blawgings

October 23, 2009

The podcast about new media and the reading about The Medium and the Message both made good points.  Probably some of the most interesting moments of the podcast were when they talked about how new media is affecting our culture, which got me to thinking.  At first I was of the opinion that new media, while innovative, annoys me because people become obsessed with it, detaching themselves from nature, themselves, and each other.  I was thinking about Twitter and Facebook in particular.  People, especially them youngin’s, text each other dozens of times a day.  They don’t even talk anymore.  What does this do to our social nature? But then, as I heard these wizened professors discuss how they like and use these services, I had to stop and listen.  One of them talked about how we’re adaptable, and that new media is just another element to absorb into our psyche, but it ultimately won’t change us.  We didn’t exactly devolve into anti-social weirdos with the advent of the telephone, which could have been viewed as impersonal by some when it became popular.  “People don’t even talk face to face anymore,” they probably said.  But it’s integrated in to our society now and we are pretty much the same.  So it will be with these new media services, they say in the podcast.  I can’t help but have to agree there.  I still don’t like it, but it’s not as bad as I thought.  I got similar ideas out of the reading – that we’re obsessed with conveying messages, so despite these new ways of doing that we’re still going to do the same thing humans have always done and we won’t necessarily be any worse for it.  Just a new way of doing things.  That’s progress, I guess.

So, how do these things affect the gaming industry?  Good question.  Perhaps people can follow a gaming company’s Twitter blog and get the latest updates on a game’s secrets, thus building hype for a game.  Perhaps people can use Facebook or Twitter to network about a new game and spread word of mouth.  From this perspective, as someone who wants to make games for a living, this is a very good thing.  Still doesn’t mean I have to like Twitter. :p

As for how the field of video game development relates to traditional media, I’d say television has had the biggest effect, along with Print Media (i.e. gaming trade magazines like EGM).  Television, being the primary vehicle for advertisement and the receiving of information, affects most every gamer there is.  We see ads for the latest games and game systems.  We see gaming channels like G4 report on gaming events.  We even sometimes see the regular news make a mention of a new gaming fad or event.  Thus, besides the internet (which is new media), TV makes the biggest impact on how gamers and game developers alike receive their information about what’s going on in the world of gaming.  Print Media does as well, but, along with their newspaper brethren, are rapidly giving way to the Internet for a means of getting information.

New Media, on the other hand, is essentially tied into the bloodline of the gaming industry, both for gamers and game makers.  In particular, above all else, I mean the internet.  It is the single most common, quick, efficient way to get information about gaming, whether it be from gaming sites like IGN or from online news articles.  It’s instantaneous and updated for everyone to see at once.  And for gaming developers, even aspiring ones like me, it is an indispensable tool for keeping up with the latest development techniques or ideas.  Say, for example, you want to do something called “Ambient Occlusion” in Maya, a 3D program, but forgot what settings to use.  Google an Ambient Occlusion tutorial or post to a forum of fellow game developers.  Or say you are looking for a new look for your characters in a game, so you go to ZBrush Central and look at all the amazing pieces they have on display for inspiration.  And let’s not forget about personal portfolio sites, the link to which you can send to a potential employer to check out your work.  Without the internet, the highly interconnected gaming field would be very isolated and getting ideas would be much more cumbersome.  It was that way before the internet came around, but now it is much more streamlined.

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