Day 2:Two Game Comparison Post: Elisavet
Not all games are the same. Some are video games played for personal entertainment as well as stress relief. Others seem to be designed to expand knowledge as well as raise awareness. Designers of games are trying to make the user engage in a challenge that would ultimately enhance his/her understanding of important global issues . While some are played simply for the thrill of a challenge. Whatever game it is, the goals are always the same: to achieve winning based on certain standards of the game itself with the highest level. I personally see gaming as a way to lay back and have fun, it pleases me whenever I get to challenge my friends or cousins in a good day's play of guitar hero or mariocart.
I occasionally enjoy games that stimulate the sense, enabling me to use my skills or physical body when playing: I love playing guitat hero, marioworld and speedcar racing (all electronic video games). Anything and everything that includes fun and calm gaming, allowing me to competitively engage rather than violently obsess or stress myself out to win. I love to personalize my digital player to fit with my own criteria and I like to establish a kind, friendly relationship with my opponent. Whenever I win a game, i feel self satisfied and just pleases with my own self. I just love having a good laugh with the opponent I am playing next to, its much easier to joke around with him/her rather than taking things too seriously. I enjoy knowing that I'm one step closer to having a high score that beats my last record, to being a winner. If I happen to lose, I do what any other occasional player would do. I tell myself that I will always have a chance to improve on my gaming skills, and that games are not reality so they do not constitute great meaning as opposed to my personal goals in life. I will only retrieve to play the game again, once I feel the urge to have fun whenever I have nothing else to do on a day that I have time.
Recently, I've been spending some time playing the game Ayiti: The Cost of Life. This is a game in which you have to maintain the happiness and wellness of a Haitian family, as you try to live through the extremities of poverty, and underdeveloped lifestyle/economy. The goal of the game is to get through 4 years of life, separated within stages of seasons, and to finally end with the entire family well and alive. During the game, one must definitly try to focus upon managing the health status of the family; money and education may be effective in life, but the well being of a human replaces everything in the very end. This is a goal easier said than done. Even though it may look as an easy task to fulfill it is certainly not. When placing the family to work, you are already going under a huge risk of endangering each family members' health. Overworking each member, may bring in excessive amounts of money but will inevitably result in death and sickness. By the end of the game, if you are lucky enough to make to the end of the game, there is an overall status report that indicates the achievements of the past levels; if you lose by the end of the game, you will be shown a box listing certain incidents that occurred and the effects of your actions.
The first time you play the game, you believe that it will be a fun, interesting game, consisting of helping out a family reach its goals. The layout of the game, as well as the graphics lead the user to think that the game itself will not require as much work and effort to win. It really isn't until the third or fourth time when the game starts to get repetitive that you truly realize the true level of difficulty. The user begins to learn that life conditions within a poverty stricken, underdeveloped nation are certainly unpredictable, unsafe, unstable and dangerous. The spread of diseases, the uneasiness of weather disaster, the destruction that may be caused from hurricane season, the lack of education, the devastation of poverty and the sadness that comes along really alters the gamer's outlook upon the reality of situations within other countries. You begin to truly appreciate the gift of a healthy, complete and safe lifestyle, untouched by the high level of hardships experienced by others in countries such as Haiti.
There are times when you are playing this game that you want to quit. You don't want to give up so easily, due to the pressure of wanting the family to be successful. As a player, you really have to overcome major obstacles: such as the constant risk of falling in to poverty, dangerous weather conditions that threaten your home, contagious diseases that need money and proper health care to be cured. Eventually, you learn to take chances; to look above and beyond these hardships, because you realize your desire to want to help the family achieve living a successful and happy lifestyle. So you keep playing, keep trying. Trying to save an average household, from falling into the dark pit of despair and helplessness. You want to guide the Haitian family throughout life's endless difficulties, to achieve giving them a higher state of well being and happiness. In order to accomplish various levels, the gamer must keep in mind that the health of the family is a crucial element for actually raising an exceptionally happy house; overworking is dangerous because it will indefinitely result in weakening the family members, however, money is very essential when in need of health care assistance; try to equally distribute the responsibilities of work among the members, and never forget to keep well being in mind over all.
In the course of playing this game I learned more about the issues of life in Haiti. While in the course of playing, I learned about the major weather dangers that threaten life in Haiti, and this really corresponded with the current incident of the 7.0 earthquake that had hit and destroyed so many peoples' lives. The constant threat of poverty and the increased vulnerability of falling gradually down hill into it, also made me realize that Haiti suffers from economic problems; the infrastructure does not support a strong, wealthy population and so the people are forced to struggle and cop with such disadvantages.
In my opinion, this is a good way to learn about these issues. Placing emphasis upon these issues, not only raises a great amount of global awareness, but it also increases other peoples' interest and desire to engage in helping and philanthropically supporting the population of poor countries, such as Haiti. Games should be a larger component of education because they enable the gamer to construct a much more complete understanding of the history or underlying truths of certain issues worldwide. However, it is also my opinion that games could have the potential of becoming misleading, in the sense that they may convey messages of prejudice or inferiority; for instance, in the case of the "Haiti" game, the gamer could have compared his/her lifestyle with the conditions of life in Haiti, thus forming the concrete perspective that Haiti is entirely incapable of improving as a nation, or that the nation's people do not have the strengths or willingness to strive for better days. It is therefore, extremely important to balance both positive and negative outlooks of life, when developing a game such as Ayiti, for even the benefits of gaming could become lost in a sea of
misconceptions by the gamer himself.