Thursday, June 28, 2007

Capturing the imagination

I am currently watching as I type a documentary on computer games and their impact on culture, learning, and so on. I am quite amazed by the game America's Army and its effectiveness in brainwashing young Americans into joining the army, thinking that life in the military is like a game. Likewise, Under Siege is doing very well in the middle east to brainwash young Arabs to promote violence and hatred against Jews in Israel.

High tech brainwashing, captivating the imagination. It appears as if first person shooters do have an impact on the brain and do produce aggressive impulses in the human brain, although there is no direct link to violent behaviour (but it does happen). Think Columbine and Doom!

Of interest too was the Starcraft competitions in Korea, sponsored by Mobile phone companies – good old fashioned brainwashing to purchase mobile phones, or the supposed lifestyles they bring.

So what is the problem? What is the solution? Gen X-ers would accuse Boomers of being out of touch if they raged against the medium. Video games are here to stay – but the problems need to be addressed. By their more realistic, immersive nature, games capture the imagination in the way that “books and movies do not”, or so we are continually told. Does this mean the lust for realism means that our imaginations are being freed or enslaved, expanded on shrunk? I’d suggest that when violence is all we can manage, and the desensitisation to it, then our imaginations are withering.

I look forward to the program on online gaming. People getting married online? Is our community expanding or shrinking when this happens? How many online gamers lack a good dose of real life™?

Don’t hear me knocking gaming per se – I still have my Atari 2600, a bunch of retro consoles and some PC games, and yes, I loved Doom (I even have a Doom II cap!) However, bring every though captive to Christ – not to the US army, Korean mobile companies or our own rampaging egos.

No comments: