Month: June 2015

The Panopticon in my Bedroom: The Role of Prison Discipline in Video Gaming in the 21st Century. (Part I and II)

Editor’s Note: This treatise is in no way intended as an attack on the gaming industry, community, or culture. BOOM Salad is both honored and privileged to consider itself a card-carrying member of all three. However critical or controversial the conclusions of this paper, as revealed in Part II, they are motivated by three goals: 1) To dispel the myth that these games are simply ‘childish diversions’; 2) Admit publicly that the rating system is toothless and therefore, of little or no consequence. And finally, 3) As willing participants and a mature community, gamers have a responsibility to protect future gamers: our little sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, grandchildren, etc. from harm in the ever-evolving phenomena we call “gaming”. That these risks to young players exist is well-documented. That we can do something about it, is not. This essay is an effort to begin that process responsibly and respectfully to all involved. In the end, it is our sincere hope that you may enjoy it. -BOOM.

Figure 1 Battlefield 4: Operation Locker: Enemies raining down on me in a bombed-out Panopticon.

Figure 1 Battlefield 4: Operation Locker: Enemies raining down on me in a bombed-out Panopticon.

“…at the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to windows of the tower; the other, on the outside, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other. All that is needed then, is to place a supervisor in a central tower and to shut up in each cell a madman, a patient, a condemned man, a worker or a schoolboy… They are like so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible.” – Michel Foucault describing Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon prison design, Discipline and Punish, 1975.

Video games have been a part of my life since my childhood days growing up in Silicon Valley during the mid to late-seventies. I can still remember playing the first video game console, PC, and arcade games that would become the genesis of the video game revolution of the late-20th century.

But at a certain point, just like my Wolverine comics, “blue” my baby blanket, and my horde of football, baseball, and basketball cards, I gave it up for something better: girls. Afterwards, I played video games only sparingly and mostly solitaire and chess. Thus, the feeling of play never matched the fond memories I have of a youth misspent in the darkened, cavern-like, mall arcade circa 1982 (see Figure 2). Continue reading

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El “Panóptico” en mi cuarto: El papel de la disciplina penitenciaria en los videojuegos del siglo 21. Parte I y II.

Nota del Jefe: El objetivo de este tratado no es de ninguna manera atacar la industria, la comunidad, ni la cultura del juego. Al contrario, es un honor y privilegio para Boom Salad ser un miembro pleno de las tres. Cuan críticas o controvertidas que sean las conclusiones de este ensayo como se expone en la segunda parte, son motivadas por tres objetivos: 1) destruir el mito de que estos juegos son simplemente “diversiones infantiles,” 2) admitir públicamente que el sistema de valoración no es más que un tigre sin dientes y por tanto de poca o ninguna consecuencia, y por último, 3) como una comunidad de participantes voluntarios y maduros, estos jugadores tienen la responsabilidad de proteger a los futuros jugadores: nuestras hermanas menores y nuestros hermanos menores, las hijas y los hijos, los nietos, etc., de los peligros del fenómeno en constante desarrollo que llamamos el “juego de video.” Son bastante documentados estos peligros para los jugadores jóvenes. Por otro lado, no está bien documentado el hecho de que podemos hacer algo para resolver este problema. Entonces, este ensayo es un esfuerzo para empezar ese proceso de una manera respetuosa y responsable para todos los participantes. Al fin y al cabo, esperamos sinceramente que ustedes lo disfruten.

 

Figure 1 Battlefield 4: Operation Locker: Enemies raining down on me in a bombed-out Panopticon.

Figura 1 Battlefield 4 (Campo de Entrenamiento 4): Operación “Locker”: Los enemigos me caen de todas partes en un Panóptico bombardeado

“… en la periferia, un edificio anular; en el centro, una torre; esta torre es agujereada de ventanas anchas que abren al lado interior del anillo; el edificio periférico es dividido en dos celdas, cada cual extiende la anchura entera del edificio; tienen dos ventanas, una adentro que se corresponde con las de la torre; la otra de afuera permite que la luz atraviese por la celda de un lado al otro. Entonces todo lo que falta es colocar a un supervisor en la torre central y encerrar en cada celda un loco, un paciente, un condenado, un trabajador o colegial…Son como tantas jaulas, tantos teatros pequeños en los cuales cada personaje está solo, perfectamente individualizado y constantemente visible.” – Michel Foucault al describir Panopticon prison design, escrito por Jeremy Bentham, Discipline and Punish, 1975.

Los videojuegos han sido parte de mi vida desde mi niñez en Silicon Valley, empezando desde mediados, continuando hasta finales de los años setenta. Todavía recuerdo jugar al primer videojuego de consola, de PC y las maquinitas, que luego se desarrollaron en la cúspide de la revolución de videojuegos a finales del siglo XX.

En un momento dejé de jugar videojuegos, tal como lo hice con las tirascómicas Wolverine, “blue”, mi manta de bebé, y mi colección de tarjetas de fútbol americano, béisbol y de baloncesto, por algo mejor: las muchachas. Después de eso, jugaba los videojuegos sólo y con moderación, sobre todo el juego de tarjetas solitario y el ajedrez. Así, la sensación de jugar nunca ha sido la misma que habita en mis memorias de una juventud malgastada en la oscuridad como la de la cueva del mall arcade alrededor de 1982 (véase Figura 2).

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‘Death Dealing From Above’: The DdFA sits down with BOOM Salad to chat about puppies, kittens, and blowing-up virtual people with C4.

The KING lives!

The KING.

Amongst the hundreds of clan names listed in the leaderboards of both Battlelog and BF4Stats, there are few who can strike fear in the hearts of their adversary like the DdFA. The following interview with their leader, KING-DYLAN666 (KD), and members Hard-J (HJ), and FuzzeePickle (FP), was recorded this past May, exclusively for BOOM Salad.

BOOM: Greetings and welcome to the first of our BOOM Salad interviews, where every month, we will feature a player or clan that we feel is important to gaming and the gaming community as a whole. Our first interviewees hail all the way from the Great Northwest of Canada.

Their leader, who goes by the enigmatic tag KING-DYLAN666, is ranked in the top 1% in 13 of the 22 categories listed on the website BF4Stats, and in the top 5% in all categories (see Part I of “The Panopticon in My Bedroom” for more info on the KING). On Battlelog, he is currently at the top of the list in total number of Kills and Time Played, and ranks second in total ScoreIn fact, in all of the leaderboards, he ranks high in Division 1.

BF4Stats Profile of KING-DYLAN666.

BF4Stats Profile of KING-DYLAN666.

BOOM: KING, it is an honor and a privilege to have you as our premier guest, how are you doing?

KD: Yeah, I’m pretty good. How are you tonight?

BOOM: Great KING, thank you. Also with us are the KING’s second in command, Hard-J, how are you sir?

HJ: Hello, I’m good, how are you doin?

BOOM: I’m doing well thank you. Last but not least we have one of the female members of DdFA, the talented and equally dominating FuzzeePickle, is it ok if I call you “FUZZEE”?

FP: “Yeah, that’s fine. Everybody does.”

BOOM: Excellent. Thank you FUZZEE, welcome to all of you, and a big welcome to all of our readers.

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Dr. Urg’s TIPS and TRICKS #2: “THE TANK: GREAT WHITE SHARK OF THE STREET.”

The Tank of the Sea.

Figure 1 The Tank of the Sea.

In the jungle of the ocean deep, the GREAT WHITE SHARK (GWS) is King. Few can or will even attempt to challenge his formidable power and authority. Constantly roaming (like many other shark species, he must keep moving or he’ll drown), he is compelled by the simplest of desires, to survive. And yet, the simplicity of his focus is made all the more easier by the fact that he is a force of nature, capable of tremendous destruction and loss of life. And like the Great White of the sea, on the street, there is only one predator that can match its ability to cause total desolation: the tank.

Shark in Shanghai.

Figure 2 Shark in Shanghai.

Tanks and other armored vehicles, like the LAV-25 and the Tunguska are the Great White sharks of the Battlefield universe. By treating them as such, I guarantee you will see your effectiveness behind the cannon, and your ability to “survive” those that would see you hang from the highest perch for all to see and photograph (see Figure 3), increase dramatically.

How the hell do you treat a tank like a Great White shark?”

First and foremost, you must learn to think like a Great White. Ask yourself, is there anywhere in the entire ocean that the GWS would fear to go? The answer is “probably not.” Likewise, tanks and the other armored vehicles have no problem going pretty much anywhere on the map they damn well please, for example, inside the buildings.

In an undated photo provided by the Oregon State Police, a 12-foot Great White Shark is displayed near Depoe Bay, Ore.  A 20-foot recreational fishing boat brought the shark to Depoe Bay and it likely died Saturday after getting tangled in his crab pot lines.(AP Photo/Oregon State Police

Figure 3″Hung from the highest perch…”

Many of the buildings in BF4 are accessible to the big armored vehicles and provide important opportunities to cause epic amounts of mayhem. In addition, they afford protection from enemy intent on sending your jaws to the taxidermist.

As the images below demonstrate, like caves deep in the ocean, there are numerous buildings in the game that you and your tank can and should explore (see Figures 4-7).

 

 

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