Sympathy In Video Games

1420 Words 6 Pages
With the growing popularity of social media and its increasing involvement with matters both domestic and worldwide, individuals have begun to gravitate toward being “techno-optimists” or “techno-pessimists”, with many left somewhere in between. We are surrounded by TV programs telling us how to look, videogames telling us what races are “good” or “bad”, and the whitewashing of nerd culture it’s not difficult to see why some are pessimistic about social media, especially with its role in self-expression and identity formation. Others, though, optimistically point out social media’s ability to give voice to the voiceless, to share the stories of underrepresented groups, and some videogames’ ability to encourage empathy in its players. I feel …show more content…
Most of them do see and are concerned with the underrepresentation of minorities in videogames, as well as the racism and sexism often involved in the production and gaming communities. Kimi Johnson acknowledged these problems during her presentation for the class, but she’s hopeful for the future of gaming. She pointed to indie games as a step in the right direction. This War of Mine requires moral decisions to be made and encourages empathy on the part of the player. This type of gaming encourages positive identity formation, as moral choices are rewarded in the game. This encouragement of empathy in gameplay was also highlighted by the group in class that presented on videogames for their final project. They examined Dragon Age, a roleplaying fantasy game that is dialogue-rich and relationship-heavy. The main character is highly customizable including a wide array of skin colors, which supports self-expression on the part of the player. In the most recent version, the player’s character can also have a homosexual relationship with another character. This option validates and encourages self-expression of queer players, a gaming minority. The presenting group put forth the hope that roleplaying games will follow Dragon Age in its level of character customization and minority-friendly storyline, which would increase overall gaming-related self-expression. Videogames are not, however, the only type of social …show more content…
These chat forums eventually gave rise to blogs, web sites or pages that allowed an individual to talk about whatever interested them and allowed an audience to read these posts. Blogs in Iran gave many individuals a very special opportunity for self-expression. Amir-Ebrahimi Masserat, a techno-optimist, stated that “this virtual public space [blogs] has become a tribune for self-expression and self-disclosure; a place of interaction, dialogue, and critique; and a new virtual public sphere that seems to be much more real, in its immediacy and accessibility, than all other existing public spheres in Iran” (Page 236). He points out that blogs give “religious girls… a new space to disclose issues about themselves, issues that have never been evoked in physical spaces” (Page 238-239). Blogging gave women that had to be silent and hidden a voice and a place to belong. Conservative women were supposed to live anonymous, secret lives, but blogging gave them a place for self-expression, a place where they “are no longer judged by the same value system applied in the physical world” (Page 240). Blogs allowed these women to speak their minds and to interact with people of similar and differing opinions, helping them to shape their

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