Changing The Face Of Gaming

Changing The Face Of Gaming

"Pokemon GO" merges video games and reality.

When Nintendo first released its "Pokemon" games for its handheld Game Boy system in February of 1996, they probably had no idea just how popular the franchise would become. After spreading to the UK, North America, Australia, South America, and beyond, Pokemon quickly became an international pop icon. Even back in 2013, before the release of their incredibly popular "X" and "Y" titles or similarly hype-driven remakes "Alpha Sapphire" and "Omega Ruby," the Pokemon Company announced that it had sold over 172 million copies of its games worldwide. With each new title of its main line, Pokemon has endeavored to move its players toward active social interaction. For those who have never had the joy of playing the Pokemon games, a typical summary would be that they are about traveling different geographical regions collecting and befriending a huge assortment of wild creatures. In the Pokemon world, everything seems to revolve around trainers and their relationship with their Pokemon friends. The strongest trainers take lead positions in society, acting as both a sort of government and as community mentors for the cities and towns in which they reside. By creating combat-oriented games that remain free of blood and relatively scarce of death, Pokemon explores themes of power, friendship, and work ethic while still being family friendly.

Unlike in previous generations, the fanbase for games like Pokemon and other forms of animated entertainment never seemed to outgrow the product. Instead of dismissing the games as childlike, the Pokemon fanbase remained loyal, creating a unique opportunity for the company to work with a market of increasingly older fans. While attending the midnight release of "Omega Ruby" and "Alpha Sapphire," I was pleased to see a long line of 20 somethings dominating the area, some even bringing their kids along for the event.

Recently the Pokemon Company made an announcement that created an internet uproar among its fans. For the first time ever, Pokemon was coming to the physical world in "Pokemon GO." How, you ask? By utilized GPS and smart phone technology couple with a sort of “Fit Bit”-style watch, "Pokemon GO" places different Pokemon at actual geographical locations. Players must travel to these locations to battle or catch wild Pokemon. As always, players can also play the game amongst each other as they trade and battle cooperatively or competitively. The game’s trailer teased at major events in which large numbers of players will have to join forces to fight powerful legendary Pokemon at a specific location.

What I find most intriguing about "Pokemon GO," however, has little to do with the Pokemon world. Think back to when a groundbreaking system was announced for the first time. Maybe you can remember as far back as "Pong," or the first standing arcade. Maybe you remember when the Xbox 360 consolidated all of your entertainment needs into a single box. Maybe you played some of the first MMOs. No matter your age or gaming interests, you were probably present when the cultural methods of entertainment were dramatically shifted. This is what fascinates me. Though "Pokemon GO" is not the first “augmented reality” game, it is already one of the most popular. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit exploded with rumors and questions about how the new game will operate. In my opinion, the game’s popularity has already changed the way we think about entertainment. Now that we view an idea like "GO" as an option, we have created an opening for game developers to accommodate that desire. We are the forerunners and aggravators of whatever comes of this. That’s why I will not only be playing "Pokemon GO," but purchasing whatever associated products that are released with it.

Being a gamer does not mean you dislike being outside. A common (though dwindling) stereotype portrayed video game enthusiasts as lazy, unhygienic, and disconnected from reality. The overwhelmingly positive interest in "GO" seems to derail such a narrow view. If you really think about it, gamers are probably more active than their movie-buff or bookworm counterparts. A huge chunk of the gaming industry encourages players to use their minds actively in order to achieve a desired goal. Freeform and open world games such as "Skyrim" and "Minecraft" allow the player to create their own gaming experience rather than being forced to play a specific style. As a video game lover as well as a physically active person who enjoys being outside, I am ecstatic about the possibility of taking my family or a group of friends on an outdoor gaming adventure. By playing this game, writing this article, and talking about it in general, I am joining millions of others in laying the foundation for the new wave of video game hybrid experiences.

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21 BuzzFeed Quizzes To Take When You're Trying To Procrastinate

Why study when you could be on BuzzFeed?

According to my previous article, 12 Things That Are Only Acceptable In College, spending 2.5 hours taking BuzzFeed quizzes is completely acceptable if you're in college. With it being that time of the semester when the list of things to do is never ending, sometimes it's easier to just ignore your problems and spend your studying time procrastinating. If this sounds like something you need to do, here's the ultimate list of quizzes to waste your time on.

1. Reply To Your Crush's Texts And We'll Reveal Your Future

Wondering what you're going to do with your life since you're probably going to fail that exam that you have tomorrow? After all, you are taking BuzzFeed quizzes right now instead of studying. This quiz will answer that question for you.

2. Which "Gossip Girl" Character Are You Based On These Random Questions?

This one's a classic that you just can't possibly skip.

3. Build A School Uniform And We'll Guess Who You Were In High School

If you're like me, you always secretly wished you had a uniform in high school so that you didn't have to pick out an outfit every morning. Now you can live out that dream and find out what it says about you.

4. We Can Guess Your Age After You Build Your Own Dream Home

If I got 70's, does that mean I have timeless taste or terrible taste?

5. Pretend To Go Shopping And We’ll Figure Out If You’re More Ann Taylor Or Ann Taylor: Loft

Ladies, this is an important one.

6. Plan Your Day And Find Out Which "Grey's Anatomy" Girl You Are

Maybe if whatever you're doing right now isn't working out, you could become a doctor...

7. Create A Makeup Look And We'll Tell You Which Hogwarts House You Truly Belong In

Or you could become a wizard.

8. Pick An Outfit And We Will Tell You What You Do For A Living

And if neither of those work out, this quiz will tell you exactly what you should do.

9. Spend All Your Money At This Drug Store And We'll Tell You What You Should Be Doing With Your Life

And in case you didn't like either of the previous suggestions, you can see if this one is any better.

10. Build A Dream Castle And We'll Tell You What Type Of Unicorn You Are

Since unicorn everything seems to be the rage right now, you'd better keep up.

11. This Reverse Word Association Test Will Uncover Your Personality Type

This one's for those of you who don't have the patience to get through the Myers-Briggs test.

12. Design Your Future Backyard And We'll Reveal How Many Kids You'll Have

If you're going to have more than 2 you better get back to work so you can support them.

13. Pick An Outfit From Patagonia And We'll Tell You How Long You'd Survive In The Wild

Find out if running away to the wild is really a better option than struggling through that 10 page paper that's due at 8 am tomorrow.

14. Which Character From "The Office" Are You At YOUR Job?

Let's hope you don't get Kevin.

15. Which Meryl Streep Character Is Actually Most Like You?

Are you as mean as Miranda Priestly?

16. Take This Picture Test And We'll Tell You Your Best And Worst Qualities

No need to prepare for your next interview, just give them these answers.

17. What Kind of Bathroom Guest Are You

Are you actually a terrible guest?

18. What % Gross Are You Actually?

Or maybe you're just gross in general.

19. Your Food Preferences Will Reveal Which TV Character You Are

Are you more Blair Waldorf or Michelle Tanner?

20. What Grade Are You Getting In Life?

Are you literally failing at life right now?

21. What Type Of Emoji Are You?

Instead of a signature scent, you can have a signature emoji!

And if these didn't take you long enough, you can always check out BuzzFeed for more.

P.S. Good luck studying for that exam. Maybe you can find a quiz that tells you how to ace it.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Wasting Time Online Is Pretty Beneficial According To Smart People

It's time to learn something new today about how technology is changing the world of interactions!


I think one of the greatest investments you can make in modern time is anything to do with technology. It feels that every single year we keep getting introduced to newer crazier tech. Tesla is literally out here making cars drive themselves, we just put another rover on Mars, and I can use Alexa to turn on lights in my room, the future is here! These are positive changes in society, I'll tell you why newer technology even more valuable than ever before.

Alright now that I set you up with a great teaser, it's time to give some backstory.

So, researchers have been studying this concept known as Symbolic Interaction Theory (SIT) for many years, but it hasn't been until recently where they discovered how new technologies can help explain/enhance concepts to take them to the next level. SIT, originally created by philosopher George Herbert Mead (he had a great mustache) in the earlier 20th century, looks at how everyday social interactions make up society. In other words, he explained that individuals communicate together using symbols and context that define the overall interaction.

After this revolutionary discovery, researchers had a freakin' field day. A lot of studies about influence, shared meaning, and perception have been done as a result of SIT, but now thanks to that good ol technology, SIT is getting revamped in a pretty awesome way.

Researcher DJ Gunkel took some time away from spinning records and started looking at social interactions through online video games using avatars. To his amazement, he noticed that despite all the interactions taking place online, they mimicked how real-life interaction would take place. Pretty standard stuff, right? Wrong. This is huge for the field of SIT and it impacts each one of us, yes especially you.

My dude Gbola Olasina did a study demonstrating why this information is important.

He realized as technologies become more realistic, virtual worlds can be used to study how interaction happens in the real world. Instead of putting together major research studies that are expensive and time-consuming, researchers can now use simulations to get almost identical results. Results can be applied to an insane amount of possibilities. Teachers in a classroom practicing new methods? Easy. A business implementing new employee protocols? Cake. Why suburban moms feel the need to speak to a manager? You bet!

It's like that time Neo learned how to fight in the Matrix except we're using it for productive reasons.

What kind of technologies help with this you ask? Well, have you heard of HTC's Vive Virtual Reality console? The research possibilities are genuinely limitless.

Let me fill you in with an example. My roommate Austen is currently a research engineer for a company I don't know if I'm allowed to say or "cidkiiats" for short. In one of his recent projects, he created an entire store showing off brand new items his company had to offer, all in Virtual Reality. As people joined in and visited the store using their Vive, "cidkiiats" was able to watch their consumers interact with one another and talk about which products they were most excited for in real time.

They were able to track interaction and gather data about their consumers from remote locations! Georgey Mead would be foaming at the mouth with these types of possibilities ladies and gents.

It's interesting to think about the fact that a theory that was created over a century ago is getting reused thanks to a changing world. The potential is unmatched, we'll understand interactions and how they naturally occur all through some video games or simulations. This is what it's all about ladies and gents, the future is only going to get smarter.

It's ironic that all my "wasted" time on video games could potentially become valuable data for researchers.

Checkmate mom.


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