Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Social Networks: the more we are connected, the more we are split appart

One of my part-time jobs is to teach English as a foreign language, so I often ask my students about what do they do in their free time in order to fetch some examples we can work in class. In one of these sessions I asked a group of teenagers how often did they check their e-mail; their answer was basically “Nah, no one checks their e-mail anymore”.

That response surprised me quite a bit. Of course the reason behind that answer was obvious; instant messaging applications such as Facebook, Skype, or WhatsApp have rendered e-mails obsolete. Later on, when I had a group of adults on class I asked them about this very topic, and found out that –despite all these new means of communication– they still check their e-mails regularly, as well as they expressed my own concern toward how the youth is losing the skill of writing letters (or e-mails); something they will eventually require in order to procure and/or conserve a job.

I made sure to include that for later classes, but that’s another story.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

River City Pixels: Arkham City

I don’t miss the “time limit” we used to have imposed on us in early videogames, but sometimes I have to stop suspending my disbelief during a game when it tries to convince me that videogame world would be a lot better if I did my saving ASAP. We all know that nothing will actually happen no matter how much time we waste.

Such thing happens when you’re playing Batman Arkham City; Doctor Strange keeps reminding everyone that something huge called Protocol 10 will happen in a few hours, but then, his countdown repeats itself every time you’re procrastinating the main objectives of the game in favor of one of the many subquests this title has.

I guess there’s no place for a real sense of urgency in a non-linear game; I surely would regret not being able to explore everything that Arkham City has to offer if I were pushed to finish the game within a time limit.

On the other hand, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask did an excellent job at implementing and running wild with this idea; every moment is a constant reminder that you and everyone around you is in danger; actually, it did it so well that I don’t need another game throwing a damn psychedelic moon on me if I don’t hurry the hell up!

First published on CultureMass.