Friday, June 24, 2011

...Video games alter one's perceptions...

I'm a gamer. And a pretty big one at that. No I don't spend all my time on WoW nor am I part of an MLG wannabe CoDBlOps clan (though I totally COULD be if I wanted to.... /self aggrandization). But yeah I play games. Violent ones. I just finished up systematically dismembering infected former space colonists turned insane mutant zombie like shambling affronts to god to leaping around the rooftops of Rome stabbing countless Roman PMC-type solders in their respective throats. Well naturally all of this has left me a twisted husk of a person, plotting the murder of everyone around me as I listen to Marylin Manson and scribble dark poetry in blood all over the shrine to satan I keep in my closet. Of course, that's what the vast majority of violent game critics would have you believe, that playing violent video games somehow turns everyone who plays even a little bit of it into a murderous sociopath who believes that shooting everything that moves in the face and that entering another person's home and rifling through their stuff looking for potions and weapons to take with you when you leave are both perfectly acceptable forms of behavior in this modern society we live in today.

Well given my criminal record of no counts of murder, no charges of breaking and entering, no charges of assault and battery and no chickens kicked, I think I can say that I've somehow managed to make it through this purportedly harsh transition period somewhat unscathed. Of course, as a psych major, I've been incredibly interested in this sort of thing from a research standpoint (so interested that I wrote my senior thesis on this topic AND somehow managed to convince the UMass Social Psych department to buy an Xbox 360 AND and HDTV for my experiments). But I can now say, without the shadow of a doubt, that in my own personal experience, yes playing video games altered my perceptions.

Now let me clarify that statement. In case you didn't pick up on the blatant sarcasm, I obviously don't mean that I plan on going on some kind of murderous rampage because the little master chief on my shoulder told me to murder and tea-bag everyone around me. No, I've been more affected by games like Assassin's Creed or Mirror's Edge. Yup that's right, video games have made me liken myself to a renaissance assassin or skinny asian free-runner. More importantly though, I tend to think I am some kind of parkour badass. In what I can only imagine is the best example of fantasy intruding on reality, I will look at a building and immediately think of what Ezio Auditore would be able to do on that particular surface.

Perhaps this is a credit to Ubisoft and their ability to make incredibly immersive games, but there have been more than one occasion where I have looked at a building and immediately thought "Oh I know how I can get on the top of that building. I can just climb up the outside here, then jump to that hold, scurry up that dome..." and by the time I'm halfway done with that thought, I find that I'm already trying to wipe the sweat from my hands and making sure I have the right pair of shoes on for climbing (a function for which converse low tops really don't cut it, stylish though they may be). It is usually at this point that I stop myself and wonder what the hell I'm thinking (this is what some would call "maturity") and go on my way.

Interestingly enough, one of the main mechanics of the game for the main character Desmond is called the "bleeding effect". Without going into TOO much detail, suffice it to say the skills he leans while playing a video game (which is actually just a machine designed to help him relive the genetic memories of his assassin ancestry, locked away in his genes as a sort of imprint passed from generation to's highly technical...don't worry about it) ultimately begin to translate into the real world. Picture Neo learning Kung Fu in the Matrix AND THEN being able to do ALL the same things in the real world (rather than spend all his time sitting there and whining like a sad sack of shit). Maybe that's some kind of subtle commentary on what's happening with me. Perhaps they've realized that their games are so immersive that, through playing their games, we too can begin to see the way an assassin sees. After three games and countless hours of gameplay, I too can see buildings the way Ezio would see them. The routes, the weaknesses, the numerous paths to the top.

Or the alternate (and more likely) scenario, I'm actually related to a long line of middle eastern and Italian assassins who have been maintaining peace and balance in the world, ensuring that the Templars don't take over the world and bend it to their evil ways.

Yeah...I think that sounds about right.

Monday, June 20, 2011

...Video editing is time consuming...

...But totally worth it. I present you with the first ever, TILT Gaming Videocast. In this, I'll be going over some of my favorite moments from Microsoft's E3 press conference. Please comment the video and let me know what I could be doing better (bearing in mind that I was pretty sick while I was recording this)

Check out the video on my youtube channel!

Also thanks for bearing with me as the Bruins went to win the stanley cup. I know I've been neglecting writing for my blog, but now that hockey season is over, I'll be sure to post regularly from now on.