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The Legend of Nintendo

A Media Ecology Analysis of the Nintendo Entertainment System

Mike Firmand

on 9 May 2010

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Transcript of The Legend of Nintendo

McLuhan's Laws of Media What does it obsolesce? What does it retrieve? What does it reverse? What does it enhance? McLuhan (1962) - The printing press is a "technology of exact repeatability" The Eye (the visual) The Mind McLuhan (1964) - "By putting our physical bodies inside our extended nervous systems, by means of electronic media, we set up a dynamic . . . by which all such extensions of our bodies . . . will be translated into information systems." The Central Nervous System Problem Solving Johnson (2005) - "It's not about tolerating or aestheticizing chaos; it's about finding order and meaning in the world, and making decisions that help create that order." LOGIC RULES CAN vs. CAN'T TRIAL AND ERROR Health Benefits Sheff (1999) - "Some seriously ill children in a hospital who played Nintendo needed half as much pain medication as those who didn't." "Television had no effect on amount of pain medication required." TWO REASONS:

1) Interactive games demand a degree of concentration which acts as a diversion to pain.

2) State of excitement led to a steady flow of endorphins into the bloodstream. Kent (2001) - "There was no way to beat Space Invaders; the alien waves kept coming until the player either gave up or was killed. The best you could hope for was to post the highest score of the day at the top of the screen." Culture of the HIGH SCORE Kent (2001) -
"The Golden Age of Video Games"
1979 -1983
Arcade industry made more money than movies, professional sports, and Las Vegas casinos respectively. 1982
24,000 full arcades
400,000 street locations 1981
20 billion quarters
75,000 man hours The first generation home video game consoles
(Atari 2600) had already been out for 5 years Innis (1951) - Space Bias
Home consoles that play cartridge
games have an advantage in the marketplace Jacoby (2008) -
Video games replace recreational reading McLuhan (1964) - Telegraph (form of electronic media) eliminated the central/margin dynamic NES centralized the margins and obsolesced the culture of the
HIGH SCORE Kent (2001) - "The Legend of Zelda required more megabits of storage space than any other game released up to that point, and it came with an internal ten year battery, enabling it to store three players' progress so that they would not have to start again after every game. The Legend of Zelda was the first game to include an internal battery." The technology of the internal battery obsolesced the culture of the high score by allowing gamers to document their accomplishments at home. Territorial battles over machines at the local arcade, pizza joint, or bowling alley were no longer necessary. For the first time gamers could begin where they had previously left off. The high score was irrelevant - the new emphasis was on "beating the game." Shigeru Miyamoto - The most influential video game designer of all-time Creator of Game Franchises
Super Mario
Donkey Kong
The Legend of Zelda
Star Fox What did Miyamoto retrieve? Sheff (1999) - Miyamoto borrowed from folklore, literature, and pop culture. Most of Miyamoto's ideas came from childhood experiences of discovering things in nature. He attempted to rekindle feelings of child-like curiosity when exploring environments within the game world. Ong (1988) - "Oral cultures must conceptualize and verbalize all of their knowledge with more or less close reference to the life world." If electronic media (screen technology) culture is a second orality, then Miyamoto's games are a conversation with users that is reminiscent of real life exploration and discovery. NES retrieved a literary
form of pop culture Vivid color graphics Stories often touched on mythology Heroes with incredible powers Video game collections Plastic case Box/Cover Art Side-scrolling = reading from left to right Chapters = Levels Jacoby (2008) - "The cognitive reward for the master of the game amounts to little more than an improved abillity to navigate other, more complex, video games." Sheff (1999) - "Parents and teachers have noticed that kids who play a lot of Nintendo have both increased levels of determination and frustration." McLuhan (1964) - "The TV child cannot see ahead because he wants involvement, and he cannot accept a fragmentary and merely specialized goal or destiny in learning or in life." Sheff (1999) - "Mario imparted other values."
Kill or be killed.
Time is running out.
You are on your own. ISOLATION LACK OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SHORT ATTENTION SPAN BAD POSTURE BAD VISION NO FRIENDS SPEND TOO MUCH TIME INDOORS INCREASED AGGRESSION POOR GRADES The video game child has been conditioned to think, feel, and learn primarily through involvement. What happens when the video game child grows up and becomes the video game adult? Rainie (2006) - Gamer lives in "a world of data-streams, where analysis and decisions come at twitch speed, where failure at first is the norm, where the game player is the hero, and where learning takes place informally." The gamer feels out of place in the traditional workplace environment. Rainie (2006) believes there is too much emphasis on number of hours worked. He believes there should be more importance placed on worker morale and project completion. Visual Memory Video game arcade =
monopoly of knowledge ANY QUESTIONS?
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