Creativity in Video Games

Okay, so I am completely out of my element here. I used to play video games as a kid but the extent of that was Crash Bandicoot and Mario Party. Occasionally I enjoyed a snowboarding game or a BMX game for the thrill. Finding a game that I could analyze for ideologies and creativity was hard but my husband offered some great insight and enjoyed “helping” me with this assignment. (In this context helping refers to finding me a game to play and beating me).

We decided to play Skyrim. At first, I wasn’t seeing the creativity and found this to be extremely frustrating because all I was trying to do was analyze the game. After a while I started to see what the game had in terms of ideologies and creativity. First, this game really allows for people to open up and create the game in their own way. They can personalize it and almost become a part of the game. They can focus on the different factions, leaders, and quests or just follow different story lines such as schooling, marriage or magic.

A specific example of one ideology in the game was the conflict between the different characters. Supposedly there are two different governing bodies which brings politics into this game. The politics represents the ideology of “Power” and brings a debate of which side is better. There is the Empire and the Stormcloak’s. In the beginning of the game the player is being sent to execution by the Empire so it sways the player into believing that the Stormcloaks are the better side. The emphasis on who has power switches throughout the game and confuses the player on who is more powerful.

File Nov 03, 11 14 56 PMFile Nov 03, 11 28 06 PM

After researching this, it seems that this is a long ongoing debate between players on which side is actually better. A lot of players become very defensive of their choice of groups but after playing the game for just a short amount of time I could see why they switch. One theory that supports this game and ideology is non-rationality since there is no official decision making in this game. You can choose a side but ultimately the game will sway you between both groups the more you play. There is no process to making this decision other than the amount of time put into playing the game. One article that explains this non-rationality of choosing which side has more or better power is can be found at: http://library.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/ft/gg/GG_Decision_2001.pdf

Another ideology present in this game was masculinity. The game is violet and there is definitely a dominance of male characters within the game. You can choose to have female character but would be the minority. The leaders of all the factions seem to be male and in the amount of time I played I did not see any females in any powerful position. Personally, I do not like violence and this was a big downfall for me. I classify violence as a masculine thing because men or more masculine females generally subject themselves to these violent games or situations more often. A masculinity theorist who emphasizes this ideology is Raewyn Connell who also has his own book about masculinity. Along with his book, another book that may give good insite on this is ‘Handbook of Studies On Men & Masculinities’ edited by Michael S. Kimmel, Jeff Hearn, and Robert W. Connel.

File Nov 03, 11 28 48 PMAfter I was killed in the first minute of the game

Overall, I would not say that this game expanded my creativity but it may be due to the un-relatable context of the game. Though there are power troubles in our world today I don’t think this is the game that will help me to improve my creative thinking. Ultimately, I think this experience has taught me to think outside of the box and see things in a different light since I wasn’t susceptible to this game at first but started to open up to it after words. If anything this would motivate me to get out and do something to find what may spark my creativity. Video games just isn’t that spark for me.

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