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Games as windows #edcmooc

This is the digital artifact I made for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. It deals with games, transhumanism and our definitions of ourselves.
by

Diogo Alcobia

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Games as windows #edcmooc

Like lightning fast reflexes Warning: the video is pretty violent. It only serves as an illustration, so feel free to skip it if you rather not see this kind of content. As the protagonist of a game I can do things no human can: to fly, to become invisible, to conjure fire out of nothing, to survive a nuclear explosion (or resurrect if I don't), to explore other worlds, to control time itself... But there are other things, closer to our human capabilities: They make the impossible possible Or being able to read people and manipulate them And take your senses to another level But... They're simply a simulation, a make-believe world that is generate by computers and displayed on a screen. Like visions, they lack the substance of reality and thus can only hint at what is possible or how it feels to really experience this transhuman future.

A time will come, though, when advances in graphic processing and virtual reality will blur the line between real and virtual. When a game feels like real life, how will you distinguish that virtual world from our physical one?

For now we have to make do with avatars. Games
are a window
to the transhuman
future... What is an avatar? An avatar is the incarnation of a deity (like Vishnu) or the embodiment of a concept (like Justice). It's also the digital representation of someone, especially in the internet or in games. Your facebook profile photo is an avatar. So is my human paladin in World of Warcraft. How will we deal with our avatars? Below is a video about World of Warcraft players and their avatars. Watching is optional, but it might help seeing this topic through a gamer's eyes Here he is, enjoying last year's Brewfest. His name's Pellinore, by the way. Many people have a close relationship with their avatars. After all, they're extensions of ourselves. Many people describe their avatars as someone that's not them, but is a lot like them. Other people prefer to roleplay a character, good or evil. In the first case, it might be more difficult to distinguish a person from his/her avatar, because they're essentially the same, but living through different experiences. In the second case, things get more complicated since those avatars are more constructed: an edited or twisted version of that person. We created avatars (or personas or masks) long before the internet and World of Warcraft. They're part of our social interactions, reflecting different aspects of our personalities. The difference is that traditional avatars were used in day-to-day situations, like at work or at home. Gaming avatars, on the other hand, allow us to experience situations beyond our physical world. They also possess abilities beyond our human nature. Transhuman abilities. What kind of person would you be in world destroyed by a zombie pandemic? That's the question 'The Walking Dead', a game series by Telltale, tries to answer. The game focuses on your choices and their consequences. You could consider it a thought exercise on morality: will do you what you feel is right or will you be pragmatic? These situations are common in games and they're what make this such a rich media. They're like alternative realities you can access and when you come back you keep the experiences you lived there. Games - and all the things I lived inside them - shaped a great deal of my personality, values and worldview. I can only imagine what it will be like when games are no longer distinguishable from reality. Will this make my experiences more real, in all the usual senses? And how will this affect me? How much of me will be myself and how much will be my avatar? ...and into ourselves
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