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reality is broken

Fiero, Awe, and Epic Environments

After reading the first part of Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken, I found that many of the topics and points brought forth regarding the impacts and mental benefits of games was interesting, as I had never really considered these notions over my video game career.  One of these elements that I immediately recognized and hadn’t realized there was a specific term to define it, was “fiero”.  Fiero, or the sensation of “triumph over adversity”, is something that I have experienced many times before, most recently, while playing an online game of EA’s NHL13 with my roommate, where we were down two goals with only 30 seconds to go, and ended up winning the game in overtime.  I also found the section in Chapter 2 where McGonigal covers the potential risks and dangers of addiction that coincide with an excessive amount of “fiero” to be enlightening, as well as the steps the gaming industries is taking to shy away from creating addicted gamers as opposed to “lifelong gamers”.

However, one concept that I did not find myself in total agreement over was McGonigal’s view on awe and epic environments in video games.  While I defiantly agree that video games like Halo are epic in terms of the amount of work that is put into creating this environment, as well as in the manner in which it unites 15 million individuals, I find it hard to imagine a 2D space instilling a sense of awe in the same manner as experiencing an environment or object first hand.  As far as my personal experience with this, I can’t recall experiencing a sense of awe while playing a video game, as the only time I believe I had a sense of awe was my first time skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Fiero, Awe, and Epic Environments

  1. I second the NHL 13 sentiment, while playing with my friends and family there is always a struggle for supremacy and to achieve victory over my brother especially is where i find those “fiero” moments. Just as McGonigal found that there is a vicarious pride in helping another player reach new levels and skill within a game. I love giving pointers to try and help my opponent if they havent played the game before or are having trouble with certain things.

    I have to say that i do not agree with your second remark of feeling awe while playing games in a 2D environment. Is this sense of awe similar to that of watching an eclipse, a force of nature, or seeing the earth after jumping out of a plane, simple answer is NO. But from watching the progression of games graphics and ability to interact with these worlds have left me amazed. I am a bit of a programmer myself and knowing how much work goes into simple proximity equations as well as reactive elements has gotten me quite amazed within recent years. Play Gameday 98’ for PSOne and then throw in the newest Madden and you will know what i am talking about. When Gameday was released me and my friends were amazed on how realistic the players looked and how they interacted compared to previous games of this sort. But now I often have my girlfriend walk into the room and ask me “why is there a Bears game on a Wednesday?”. The awe comes from recognizing the complexity in creating such vast and detailed environments and how far and fast graphics technology has come over the years.

    Posted by diomazurek | May 22, 2013, 12:07 pm
    • Yeah, I too found her point on “Naches” to be something I could also relate to, as I have helped friends / family members get better at various video games. I also defiantly agree that awe is an appropriate word to attest to the amount of work that is put into creating games from all generations as well as the evolution of these games. However, I still find it hard to compare experiencing something in a video game versus first hand. For me, it’s like seeing a picture of Niagara Falls versus witnessing them in real life, where I would most likely apply a sense of awe to the later experience.

      Posted by bgwhipple | May 22, 2013, 3:44 pm
  2. While I haven’t experienced fiero play a game like NHL13 (mostly because I suck at those games), I have felt it playing other games so I definitely agree that it was interesting to discover that there is a word for that feeling! I also found the fact that excessive fiero can be associated with addiction and thought it was really cool that gaming industries actually care about stuff like that and are trying to find ways to avoid it! I never thought that they looked into those things when designing a video game.

    I do agree with you when it comes to what you said about McGonigal’s view on awe and epic environments in video games. As someone that has skied in Telluride, Colorado and experienced that same feeling of awe that you probably experienced, I do not believe you can have that same feeling of awe when playing a video game. I feel as though the “awe” that people feel when playing video games is a very different one from the awe that you feel when you visit somewhere.

    Posted by sierrasu | May 22, 2013, 2:03 pm
  3. Looking back on this post, I feel like I have sort of changed my view on I how feel towards awe when associating it with video game play. After reading the works of Nardi and looking into the World of Warcraft a little further, and can see how many players would place the word awe with their experience of games like these. I wouldn’t strictly ascertain awe towards the physical environment in terms of graphics, but more towards how it connects people of all different backgrounds through the medium of video games. Also, the sheer expensiveness of these environments is defiantly awe worthy.

    Posted by bgwhipple | June 27, 2013, 11:06 pm

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