Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Monday Review: Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge has been on my radar for a while. Steam put it on sale last week for a ridiculous price so I decided to finally buy it; I do not regret that decision. It's an interesting first-person platformer with qualities that are hit and miss for me.

In Mirror's edge you play as Faith, an astonishingly athletic runner that vaults across rooftops to deliver information between underground resistance groups. The story is set a little after a decade since the government started oppressing its people. I felt as though the police-state could have been explored more. It's never explained why there's cameras everywhere and the police shoot first and ask questions never. Rather, the story focuses entirely on Faith's struggle to prove her sister innocent of a murder she didn't commit.

Before I write anything else, you should know that Mirror's Edge is fun. Performing a perfect chain of moves to leap off a building at top speed gave me an adrenaline rush that I haven't had in a while. The game equips Faith with an arsenal of manoeuvres that she performs to navigate the urban landscape. She can jump, climb, slide, roll, run across walls and turn 180 degrees. If she does all these actions uninterrupted, she builds momentum and increases in running speed to make, sometimes superhuman, leaps of faith. The game helps Faith find the best route by highlighting key objects and obstacles in a vibrant red color, referred to as 'runner's vision'.  Runner's vision did fail me a few times in the game. I was forced to stop, find my bearings and figure out the next manoeuvre. However, for the most part, I progressed through each chapter at a comfortable speed.

The game does a great job of making you feel like you're running, despite controlling Faith through a first person perspective. The camera shakes as if your head is moving up and down, and this intensifies as you gain speed. Your legs and arms appear in your vision as you're running, climbing, sliding and performing other actions that would require your limbs. It was odd the first time I made Faith tumble forwards into the concrete and the entire world rotated upside down and all I could see was Faith's legs, before rotating right-side up again. It's also more than satisfying reaching top running speed and noticing the corners of your vision blur, as the world whistles past your head. Mirror's edge makes you feel like you are embodying a human being.

The plot of Mirror's Edge follows a fairly standard cycle: Each chapter begins as Faith investigates a lead. This almost always requires her to infiltrate a building and look for a specific person, overhear a conversation or just look around for evidence. Halfway through the chapter, Faith discovers a new piece of information to follow and she has to escape because the police are closing in on her location. I wouldn't say that Mirror's Edge is predictable because there are some twists in the story; I just didn't care about them. The character's motivations are simple and completely unexplored. The interactions between the characters were awkward because the dialogue felt unnatural and forced. Most of these interactions take place in cartoon-ish cut scenes that interrupt and detract from the beautiful environments that you play through. Despite all these negative attributes, the plot is solid. Mirror's Edge presents you with a government, organisations and people that all fulfil a purpose that guides Faith. I found the journey down the rabbit hole to be effective enough to not make me cringe.

The combat in Mirror's Edge was another weak element. The loading screens between each chapter show a silhouetted Faith acrobatically beat down silhouetted policemen. My experience with take downs - punching and kicking policemen that all look the same - was far from acrobatic. You are given the option to hit the people that are shooting at you while standing still, jumping or sliding; the latter are slightly more effective. If you get up close to an enemy, they swing the butt of their gun at you, as their gun turns red, you can counter and then take their weapon in a quicktime event by just clicking one button. This is great in theory, but the window of opportunity is so small that most of the time I just found myself standing still as policemen beat me into the ground, as I desperately grabbed for empty space. If I finally managed to get hold of a gun, it's not that impressive. The controls are sluggish and the shooting is disappointing; the police just stand still shooting at you as you fire shotgun shells into their chests. If you're anything like me, you'll be happy to know that you can avoid most of the fighting in Mirror's Edge just by running past the people shooting at you.

It's fortunate that this game shines, literally and metaphorically, with its visuals. The city landscape that Faith sprints across is stunningly white. On Faith's journey to free her sister, she runs mostly on the tops of daunting skyscrapers, but also sprints through train stations, office buildings, sewers and even the long corridors of a ship. You'll also notice that vibrant primary colours contrast the environment. It's a unique way to portray a city that's controlled by corrupt politicians and an oppressive government, but it works. It feels as though every corner of this city is clean, structured and maintained, along with the routine of everyday life that Faith is resisting against.

This game really confused me. I could write so much about what makes the game frustrating, but I still want to play this game again and again. Mirror's Edge's brief campaign was so enjoyable that I played through it about five times, each play-through becoming more engaging than the last. Mirror's Edge isn't for everyone, but it's definitely for me.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Monday Review: Bastion

I'm sorry. I apologise. I know I have a severely loyal audience that expected me to write a review of a game once a week. I decided to challenge myself and I immediately failed. I wrote a review and posted it last Monday and I couldn't even write another review in seven days. Anyway, here's a week-late review of Bastion.

Bastion, a lot like Limbo which I reviewed last week, made me want to keep playing with its aesthetics. I don't know what art direction is, but I can tell that this game perfected it. I heard it was good, but I didn't think it was this good. It's difficult to describe exactly what Super Giant Games made. It's a fantasy RPG with a western 'twang' to it - I hope I used that word right. In Bastion, I controlled 'The Kid', an unnamed child who wakes up in the aftermath of the 'Calamity', an apocolyptic event that shattered Caelondia. The Kid must fight his way through a variety of levels and enemies to find Cores to restore the 'Bastion' - the central hub of the game - and gain access to structures that gives you access to weapons, upgrades, abilities and other ways to alter how you approach the game.

When I say shattered, I mean it literally. Pieces of the ground float aimlessly through space and paths to large chunks of land comes together underneath you whilst you run. It's an interesting element to say the least. It makes sprinting away from enemies trickier when you don't know if the world is suddenly going to change direction without you knowing. It certainly made me feel like I was always teetering on the cusp of existence.

The centrepiece of Bastion is the narrator. The smooth and sultry voice of a wise, old man guides you on your journey the entire playthrough. The narrator provides brilliant exposition, gives you hints, and comments on your actions - never once repeating himself. Do not play this game with the sound turned down. The game would not be the same without that powerful voice because it's where Bastion's personality resides. You would also miss out on hearing an incredible soundtrack. The music matches the game play perfectly. For the most part, the music is fast-paced, which suits the break-neck speed that you fight at. However, the music also becomes solemn and withdrawn at times to enforce just how bleak Caelondia has become. Seriously, listen to this song. I'm listening to the soundtrack as I write this review. 

Bastion sets itself apart from other independent games I've played by having an interesting story and a fully realised world. The Kid comes across less than a handful of survivor's between the hack-n-slashing and tumbling. The narrator provides exposition of each character; he ranges from subtle to obvious without ever becoming boring. There are impressive sections of the game called Who Knows Where which are basically dream sequences where The Kid fights waves of enemies while the narrator tells the back-story of a character - they are not happy stories. I had to take a break after the first one.

While Bastion was making me care about its characters, it was also daunting me with the complete tour of Caelondia. You travel to lands, meet people and encounter things that all have a place in that world. It's a little bit hard to explain but Caelondia is a connected ecosystem rather than a disjointed collection of levels. Simply put, it's immersive.

Combat in Bastion is simple. The Kid is able to hold two weapons and perform a 'secret skill'. You are also given a shield and an evasive roll for defensive purposes. As the player, you are able to pick and choose from a variety of weapons and secret skills to suit your play style. I specifically fought through most of Bastion with a Breaker's Bow and Dueling Pistols. Whenever I have the option to fight with ranged weapons in a game, I do. 

You will come across more than a dozen weapons as you progress, all the way up to the ending. The weapon types are diverse enough for anyone to find a desired combination, but combat is essentially hack-n-slashing. I found myself clicking frantically just trying to clear the room with no clear strategy in mind. Pressing the shift key also generously locks onto target enemies for easy massacres.

The true strategy in Bastion is tied to the suprising number of options available that affect how you fight. Each weapon can be upgraded five times in total at the Forge. An upgrade allows the player to choose between two possible improvements for that weapon. Fear not though, the player can always change his mind and tinker with the upgrades while inside the Forge. The first time I upgraded a weapon was straightforward. However, it became a increasingly more difficult to accrue the materials and gather the fragments - the games form of currency - to upgrade them further. It was easier to just decide on my two favourite weapons and work towards making them as deadly as possible, rather than experiment with the other weapons.

The Kid can choose between an array of passive bonuses, called spirits, that go a long way in combat. As you level up in Bastion, spirit slots are made available to garner more spirits - you're given a few at the start and like everything else in Bastion you either find it through exploration or you buy it. Also, if for any reason the game becomes too easy, you can invoke an array of gods to make the enemies harder for more fragments and experience.

Bastion is a gorgeous game. The story is captivating, the characters are solidly human and the art direction is beautiful. Weirdly enough, I found the fighting and killing hordes of enemies boring compared to learning why I was fighting and killing hordes of enemies. I recommend you savour this game.

By the way, next week I'm going to review Mirror's Edge. The week after that will be decided by the poll in the top right hand corner of this blog. 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Monday Review: Limbo

If you are looking for a puzzle-platformer about an unidentified boy lost in a mysterious forest for unknown reasons, look no further than LIMBO. Without text, speech, and music, this game kept me enthralled for hours. The designers of Limbo focused on refining game play and aesthetics rather than creating context. The people at Playdead games created something that made me want to play from start to finish. Limbo is more of an experience than anything else.

I was interested in Limbo since I first saw it's trailer. It's approach to death was new and intriguing to me. There is no punishment for death; you simply respawn back at conveniently placed checkpoints. Trust me, you're going to respawn often - at least I did. It's much easier to dive head first into each puzzle and learn how the world is trying to kill you, as opposed to sizing up the situation from afar. I learned early on that cautiously approaching anything led to unkind dupes - and ultimately entertaining deaths. In Limbo, death is a learning tool. 

I explored the carefully constructed world of Limbo for hours. I had never imagined a game could be so stunningly beautiful. The atmosphere is somewhere between a disturbing nightmare and a terrifying nightmare. The black and white silhouettes are smooth and effective. The lighting is halfway between fuzzy and hazy; objects drop in and out of focus seamlessly. Throughout the game you travel between a forest, factory and cityscape, each more mindbogglingly unsettling. Everything is accentuated by an impressive soundscape. It's obvious that sound in Limbo serves a purpose to isolate and disturb. Ambient tones build upon important moments of the game. However, most of the time, the only thing you can hear is the the sound of your footsteps coupled with the whistle of the forest or the humming of a factory. If you're anything like me, you will feel some chills while playing this game.

What's a puzzle-platformer without puzzles to solve and platforms to traverse? Limbo exceeds in both these aspects. The puzzles in particular are refreshingly difficult. There's no tutorial in this quirky horror. The designers of the game encourage you to experiment with the environment. Early on in the game, I jumped, pushed boxes and swung on ropes to avoid pitfalls and bear traps. It wasn't before long that I had to overcome giant spiders, electricity and even gravity to survive. There's no real 'trick' to each puzzle. All the tools are out in the open; you just have to use them to keep moving forward. Despite that fact, it took me an embarrassingly long time to solve more than a few puzzles.

Limbo didn't hold my hand when it came to platforming either. I needed quick reflexes and precision timing to survive most of the puzzles later into the game. Some moments took me back to the days of Crash Bandicoot - those were tough days. Limbo definitely kept me on my toes; at one point I had to dodge buzz saws and boulders while the factory around me turned upside down. 

Limbo isn't without shortcomings. I still don't know what it was trying to achieve. It obviously wasn't trying to tell a narrative. While the environment changes atmosphere fluidly, I feel as though it would be more effective if it had tried to achieve one specific tone. The beginning of the game felt uniquely morbid; I was a little bit impressed when I used a child's corpse to solve a puzzle. However, that was the weirdest thing I had to do in the game. That moment was so early on I thought that the game's only option was to build from there. I was disappointed when all the puzzles became familiar factory mind-benders. You'll find the usual giant gears, conveyer belts, floor buttons and electrified surfaces like in other puzzle games.

I seriously recommend that you just ignore the last paragraph and buy this game. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Investigative Journalism Reflection

When I tell people that I study journalism, they immediately think that my plan is to become a hard-hitter, dive straight in, investigative journalist who 'breaks' the stories. I'm not planning becoming anything close to that, those people actually care about stuff and things. I don't want to be on the front lines with a microphone; I respect those who do though. From what I've learned, investigative journalists have to be passionate and determined to be a good at their job.

The amazing and talented Bruce Redman imparted the 'in's of an investigative journalist. These are, in order of most important to most useful: intelligent, informed, intuitive, inside and invest. Isn't that a handy tool for remembering what investigative journalism is all about? I think so at least. Now let's run through them.

Intelligent - Be intelligent?
Informed - Research what you're writing about. You have to know your topic inside and out.
Intuitive - Foresight is important, in both journalism and in general.
Inside - Either this means that you have to put yourself into the centre of the story to get first hand information and a personal knowledge of what is going on, or stay healthy.
Invest - Investigative journalism requires commitment. Don't just do the journalism, be the journalism.

Obviously investigative journalism is more thorough and significant than those paramount stories about Summer's latest fashion trends. In the world of investigation, documents are combed, facts are checked and more than one person is asked questions. Investigate journalists scrutinise and expose, rather than simply relay readily available information. Information is out there, albeit some hidden, and it's their job to get it into the public conscious.

I didn't retain any other information from the lecture. 90% was dedicated to examples of good and bad investigative journalism. I remember that Wikileaks and the Watergate scandal were mentioned. It was an interesting lecture none the less.

Agenda Setting Reflection

Does society influence the media or does the media influence society? I personally think that both society and the media influence each other. This doesn't change the fact that media can be used to manipulate. The all great and powerful Bruce Redman established that reality, as we know it, is a social construct.

I found this lecture surprisingly interesting. The content was stellar and detailed; I learned quite more than I thought I would. I've always been interested in mass psychology and social movement. The lecture opened my eyes as to how important agenda setting is, within the field of journalism.

Agenda setting can efficiently disseminate information to the public, but also manipulate the public. Agenda setting is simply emphasising certain issues for the purpose of making the public perceive it as more important. This means that the media, rather than reflect reality, mould and present it to the public. Agenda setting was utilised during to the Nazi movement to sway public opinion in favour of the Nazi party. Today, mass media sets agenda's on topics such as terrorism, climate change and the global financial crisis. Agenda setting is also the reason why celebrities gets as much or more attention than global issues such as lack of aid in third world countries, civil conflicts, advancements in science and global politics.

I could talk about how agenda setting is immoral; but who am I to decide what's right or wrong when writing about the notion of perception. Overall, agenda setting, to me, is very important. I'm going to spend the rest of my life making my perception of reality as close to reality as possible.

News Values Reflection

This is the lecture that I have been waiting for. Throughout the semester, our course material has been dancing around the topic of why news is news. This lecture established the ideas I already had in my mind. There are a bunch of researched factors that explain why some news is popular and other news is forgotten.

No one really has to intently look to see why sometimes seemingly pointless stories show up in the national news cycle. I can remember all the major stations covering stories akin to dogs riding surf boards, celebrity weddings and the results of reality television. Those are some of the reasons I don't watch television any more. Somewhere, there are people who are actively listening and caring about news such as this. Celebrities may not be actually relevant to anyone's lives, but some people believe that that they are. I was not surprised when I found that conditions such as negativity, elite nations, conflict, etc., made news stories more popular generally.

From my perspective, as a student journalist, this is interesting. I'm the one who may or may not produce news stories. According to our lecturer, journalists just acquire an ability to produce interesting and popular stories. Media outlets don't have an established set of news values that journalists try to adhere to. I never plan on ending up in a news room for a general media outlet. I also don't plan on becoming a typical journalist.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

An Inside Look at Video Game Journalism

A few months ago I had an assignment for my Reporting JOUR1112 class. One of those articles was about the life of a video game journalist. I wrote up the article at the last minute and submitted it. I received an expectedly average grade for the article. I then got caught up in other assignments and a lot of League of Legends so I put in the back of mind. Now that most of my assessment items are over, I have come to the decision that I will completely rewrite the article for my blog. I don't feel that the article I submitted for the assignment was very good because I was really limited by the parameters of the criteria. A 200-300 word article written in third person wouldn't do this topic justice.
I'm not a very passionate person. 

I've always had trouble with motivating myself to do even the most important things. Eating, sleeping and playing video games are the only things I do without people telling me to do them; as of right now, I really just feeling like playing video games and writing about them. I know I haven't really been writing about video games, but that's because I can't afford to buy any games. I was recently given Diablo 3 as a gift and I bought the latest Humble Indie Bundle, so expect some reflections on games in the coming weeks. 

This leads to the article. When I was younger and I was thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up, being a video game journalist was near the top of the list – next to a power ranger or something like that. So when I found that, as a part of my reporting class, I could write some articles on whatever topic I wanted, I knew I should try and get an inside perspective on life as a video game journalist.  I emailed Tristan Ogilvie, Video Content Manager at IGN Australia and asked him some questions about his career, day to day responsibilities at IGN, and how to get into video game journalism. I was surprised at how detailed and in depth his answers were. He answered each question in length and even offered words of encouragement with my career endeavors. Obviously, he is a passionate gamer so I enjoyed the short discussions we had via email. It turns out that like me, he is a big Bioshock fan. I too was engrossed in Rapture's stunningly beautiful decay and its horrifying residents. Overall he was very helpful and I am truly grateful for his charity.
Tristan Ogilvie bribing wax Richard Nixon

Tristan has been working in the video game news industry for a while. He originally entered into that career while studying a Bachelor of Computer Science and Information technology at Sydney University. In his third year of study, Tristan entered a nationwide competition held by Official Playstation 2 Magazine to find a journalist for their magazine. He made it into the finals of that competition and, soon after, got offered freelance work. He then ended up as a staff writer for the Official Playstation 2 Magazine. Since then he has had a range of jobs, including content manager at Playstation.com, deputy editor of OPS2, editor of the Official Xbox 360 Magazine, and currently he works at IGN Australia as their video content manager. Tristan has worked in several video games news outlets, both online and print, gaining experience in both avenues of work. I personally am quite jealous that he has had so much involvement in an industry I am really passionate about.

Back in the day, when runescape was my whole existance, I had the childish idea that video game journalism was all games and no work. It wasn't until I got older that I discovered that, like every other job, you actually work at some point. Tristan assured me that the world of video game journalism is a lot like other fields of journalism; there’s a little bit of playing video games, and a whole lot of writing and making content. There are deadlines like with any other news outlet. Print journalism runs on a rigid monthly cycle while the world of online journalism runs on a slightly more flexible weekly cycle. So if you're hoping to land employment writing about video games for either a print magazine or an online website, be prepared to spend late nights working on a unique angle that makes your review of the latest game stand out from every other review on the internet. 

However, being a video game journalist obviously comes with a lot of perks. Tristan's career has taken him to places such as London, Tokyo and New York. He's been to E3 and TGS, industry events I wish I could go one day. More importantly Tristan has met and interviewed industry legends such as Ken Levine, Warren Spector and Hideo Kojima; the people behind some amazing video games. I want to become a journalist just so I can be involved in an industry that I love, just like Tristan does.

So how do you stand out if you want to become a video games journalist? First and foremost, you have to write well. Your intricate knowledge of the Mass Effect universe isn't going to help you if you don't know how to engage and communicate with readers. The advice given to me by Tristan was this; write as much as you possibly can to get yourself to a high standard. Also, you should always be prepared to work for free. Tristan knows a few people that started out freelancing for nothing, and have gone on to have comfortable careers getting paid. Finally, being proactive is your best way of getting yourself noticed, especially since you're mostly going to be competing for attention on the internet. Write pieces and send them off to editors, sign up for social media and start networking and take advantage of unpaid freelance work where you can get it. The final piece of advice; you're going to have to knock on as many doors as you can until you get your foot stuck in one. Until that time comes, just keep on knocking.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Annotated Bibliography

Don't be confused by this seemingly random blog post. It's just an assessment item I had to upload to my blog.

Goode, L. (2009). Social news, citizen journalism and democracy. New Media & Society,11(8), 1287-1305. doi:10.1177/1461444809341393 Retrieved from http://nms.sagepub.com/content/11/8/1287

Doctor Look Goode, professor and Film and Television studies at the University of Auckland, brings expertise and years of study to this academic piece on citizen journalism
and social news. Goode in this journal article, broadly analyses the topic of social media and how it affects journalism. From the beginning of the journal article, Goode argues that social media is currently influencing journalism, and therefore society. Goode proposes that social media, and citizen journalists who come from social media, can radically affect the amount of form of content available online. This interactivity with the news means that social media allows for a more democratic process of news delivery. The author relies on other academic articles and key examples from social media adds to the points expressed in the article. The amount of academic sources on the topic of social media, citizen journalism and sociology adds creditability to the author’s opinions. Furthermore, the specific examples from social media sites such as Digg, Newsvine and Guerilla News Network proves that the authors opinions are from realistic events and stories.

Naughton, J. (2012, March 10). After Kony, could a viral video change the world? . The Gaurdian. Retrieved May 23, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/10/kony-viral-video-change-world

John Naughton, the author of the article, is a professor of the public understanding of technology at Open University. Naughton’s area of study brings an experienced perspective to the discussion of Kony 2012’, the most viral video of all time. Naughton begins the article by introducing the video, Kony 2012 and the statistics surrounding the phenomenon. Naughton then moves on to explain the reason for it’s successful presence online. The author explains that Kony 2012 is the result of viral dissemination, which it attained through it’s clear narrative and simple ideologies. Furthermore Naughton addresses that the narrator of Kony 2012 outlines that the audience simply has to share the video on social media sites to help. The author references academic articles and real world examples of other viral online content to good effect. The author recognizes that the role of ‘weak ties’ - links between people who otherwise would be related - as a key factor for the spreading of ‘Kony 2012’, which the author identifies from an article from the American Journal of sociology. Naughton also compares Kony 2012 to other online videos such as Charlie Bit My Finger to conclude that social media is affecting how society receives and contributes to content.

Tilly, T. (2012, March 8). Hack - Kony 2012 [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/s3450155.htm

Tom Tilly, the presenter of Triple J’s Hack explores the Kony 2012 campaign, both the content of the video and the social media surrounding it. Tilly brings on the program Australian citizens to share their opinion on the subject. The host also invites the campaign manager from Get Up Australia to discuss how the video became so viral. The campaign manager, Sam McClain, brings professional experience to the program. Sam explains that because the narrator of the video clearly explained how utilizing social media would directly affect the campaign. However, this source doesn’t have any academic value. The Hack program covers current affairs while allowing the audience to express themselves, so Tilly focuses primarily on the public’s opinion on the Kony 2012 campaign. This also has benefits because he does clearly identify the general public as the most important influence in social media. The host specifically gives insight into the general public who shared the video stated that they felt that raising awareness would at least help in some way. Most of the public who shared their opinion on the show statedFor that reason, this source has value and credibility.

Campbell, C. (Executive producer). (2012, March 8). The Project [Television program]. Melbourne, Vic: Network TEN

This source is a special edition episode of The Project. This was a unique episode broadcasted in order to completely discuss and present the Kony 2012 campaign for The Projects’s audience. During this program, Todd Sampson, CEO of Leo Burnett gives his experienced opinion of the affect social media had on Kony 2012. Sampson highlights that the general public are now able to influence society and political landscapes. Sampson states that people who are online and up to date with social media are now ‘individual broadcasters’ when sharing and producing content online. However, Sampson’s opinion is not academic or referenced, he uses his professional experience and personal research to make his opinions. The Project superfically analyses the Kony 2012 campaign for the benefit of an informing a large audience from different backgrounds. Furthermore, while Sampson does highlight social media in his analysis, he does not refer to Journalism directly. This lessens the relevance of this source to the overall subject of this essay.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Ethics Reflection

The lecture on ethics was a few weeks ago, but I'm going to try and reflect on it as best as I can from memory; It was a pretty interesting lecture after all.

I wasn't prepared for how far the guest lecturer attempted find the root of morality. It didn't focus on training us to maintain a clear and unbiased perspective at all times. In the end, I listened to a lecture on whether morality is an external or internal creation.

There were some pretty big words thrown around that, even if I could remember them, I'm not going to use this blog post. I'm not going to try and articulate and explain something that I'm still trying to figure out myself. I might write about it at a later date if I do manage to figure it all out.

However, I will 'reflect' on the lecture by adding a few general sentences on the topic of ethics so I can get an acceptable grade.

In my long and challenging years as a middle class Caucasian Australian, I've noticed that some groups of people live by sets of principles that seem universal and logical. All the while, there are others who live by conflicting principles who still consider themselves to be righteous and good. Every human being is able to justify their actions, and those who choose not to suffer in regret.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Public Media Reflection

I've always had a soft spot for public media. When I sit down in my living room, which is hardly ever, it's usually the ABC or SBS that shines from my magic moving pictures box. I actually relate to their programming, while commercial isolate me and other groups in society by solely catering to a specific demographic. I find that public media is engaging, informative and unbiased. It has it's utterly boring and confusing moments, but overall it manages to keep me coming back.

Public media normally has a charter or agenda that becomes a guide for everything the company does, from brainstorming original content to releasing it to the public. It's place within society is to offer content that major media networks won't.

Overall, they have a commitment to serving the public; they attempt to inform, educate and engage citizens while still entertaining. They're not required to not be commercially funded, however they usually are funded from taxpayer's dollars. I believe this is because funding from anywhere but the government could possibly lead to biased content. Even then, public media still has to keep politically neutral in order to maintain its credibility.

I watch and listen to public media for a variety of reasons: I specifically watch ABC for shows like Spicks and Specks, the Gruen Transfer, At The Movies, and international television shows; SBS for documentaries, foreign film and occasionally a large international sporting event; and I listen to Triple J for new and independent music.

I believe that public media is essential to Australian society. It's nature and purpose gives way to social inclusion. It caters for every demographic and manages to represent both domestic and international culture respectfully. Public media entertains and informs with limited funds and resources. It also has to be original in both it's content and publishing to stay ahead of commercial media.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Geeky Times At Supanova

This is an article I wrote for a journalism assignment. I attended Supanova with media privileges and had a great weekend. I had to write the article in third person and I was limited to 300 words. 

501st Legion posing for photos at their booth
Thousands of excited fans attended Supanova at the Gold Coast from the 20th to the 22nd of April to get their yearly dose of popular culture. 

Fans of anime, science fiction, cosplay, comic books, video games and even wrestling were able to get together, have fun and express themselves. There were panels, competitions, activities and entertainment for everyone to get involved in.

The main attraction were the celebrities. Headliners included James and Oliver Phelps, Summer Glau, Wil Wheaton and Richard Horvitz. There were a large number of writers and artists scattered over the event too. Supanova allowed both the fans to meet industry legends but also discover some great up-and-comers.

Everyone strutted around buying comics, shirts and memorabilia to give back to their communities. There were only two ATM’s in the entire exhibition centre and they ran out of money in just a few hours.

People who bought a ticket just to get their hands on the latest merchandise would have missed out though. The main fun were the fans themselves. The highlights were walking around the exhibition and watching fans immerse themselves in their favorite things in the universe. The smile on attendee’s faces when they spotted someone dressed as a character or reference to their beloved film, show, game or comic was inspiring.

This was the Gold Coast's first time hosting the event and fans weren't disappointed. The venue easily capacitated every single guest, even those who wore ridiculously sized costumes.

Dota 2 First Impressions

I have been playing the Dota 2 beta for the past three days. I can without a doubt, say that Dota is the most fun but challenging game I've played in a while. I've played a lot of League of Legends, and a small amount of Heroes of Neworth, but nothing had really prepared me for it.

The first thing I noticed about Dota was that I was really bad at it. The learning curve from getting from terrible, to slightly not terrible is insane. There was no tutorial stage or anything to help me out, but luckily there's people writing guides and wikis for Dota 2.

While I was installing Dota, I looked around for a few guides online. The most useful resource was an introductory guide titled 'The Task You Are Undertaking.". I found the link to it, along with a lot of other helpful guides, in a Dota 2 general thread on 4chan. I'm really glad I decided to read up on the mechanics of the game before I started playing. The guide gave me a good idea of the gameplay fundamentals like farming, building towards the hero's attributes, and damage types.

However, all the preparation in the world wouldn't have stopped me for feeding like I did. Things like simply selecting my character were frustrating. In my first few games I kept accidentally left clicking on ally heroes and minions leaving my character standing around under the enemy tower. It was moments like that made my allies hate me to their core.

The most daunting obstacle for me is going to be learning all the characters and items. There are an insane amount of heroes each with their own active and passive abilities. Each hero has four unique abilities (and sometimes more) that they can upgrade is a fairly unrestricted order. As of right now, if I happen to run into an enemy hero in the jungle, I am completely clueless as to how fast they can stomp my face into the ground. By the time I usually figure out that they're the enemy team's fed carry, it's usually too late. 

The other mechanic that blind sided me was the shop system. I remember my first game in Heroes of Neworth; I could not navigate the shop system at all. I managed to figure out how to build items through trial and error. I'm still too scared to stray from the recommended items.

I only played a few different characters, specifically Spirit Breaker, Sven, Drow Ranger and Witch Doctor. The  guide warned me about the difficult heroes and listed the easiest heroes for beginners. My favourite here so far as Spirit Breaker and Drow Ranger.

I love Spirit Breaker because I only have to push two buttons to play him. His first ability, Charge of Darkness, allows him to charge on any visible enemy. Once he's targeted the enemy, he bolts across the map moving through any terrain and enemy until he collides and stuns the target. His Ultimate, Nether Strike, slips him into another realm appearing next to an enemy hero. His other two abilities are a passive and an aura. Compared to the other heroes I played, he was both the easiest and the most fun. I would definitely recommend him for a beginner because he's incredibly mobile and still a hard hitter.

Here is a list of Dota 2 guides and the Dota 2 wiki.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I Don't Like The Shining

I can't be the only one that has ever experienced a moment which forever changes how you look at someone. Most people can easily talk about that day when they realised that they're parents weren't perfect. I never really had that moment, I might have but I probably just forgot it. However, I can remember the night that actually made me realise that not only are my parents not perfect, but they can actually have serious problems.

My dad has always been quiet and passive. He's a lovely and funny guy but he could never really take control of a situation by himself. My mum has always been there to deal with their problems. The only thing my dad had to do was go to work, come home and cook dinner for all of us.

A few years ago my dad decided to start his own company called Site Zero. It did something with servers or databases or something like that. My dad was really good at the technical side of the company but he was never good with clients. He would go out and get clients, set up whatever they wanted but would always have trouble getting paid for his work. My mum and him decided to get a business partner, Richard, who could run the 'business' side of the operation while my dad focused on the 'technical' stuff.

Long story short, Richard was an asshole. He bullied my dad for months. My dad was blamed for everything wrong with the website, business and clients. This guy's nature ranged from passive agressive, to just aggressive. My dad took all this abuse and didn't know how to respond. If I ever meet Richard again, I would call him a 'cunt' and let him know that he hurt one of the nicest people I know.

All of this abuse culminated in an evening during the middle of my eighth grade Easter holidays. My twin brother and I were pretty bored that school holidays. I can't remember much from that week besides the fact that I had some homework that I was putting off.

My dad comes home from work like usual but today he's a lot more excited. For the last few weeks my dad actually had a spring in his step and wanted to actually do things with everyone. Usually he was content with coming home and watching Spicks and Specks while drinking a beer. My mum was doing a late shift at work so it was just the three of us for the evening.

He decided for us that we're going to watch a movie. He had rented out the Shining and kept talking about how it was such a great film. I believed him. I had heard that Stanley Kubrick was pretty good at directing and was actually a bit excited about watching it. It turns out that there's a bit of miscommunication. He was glued to the screen and seemed to be watching a totally different movie than what me and my brother were watching. He mentioned a few times throughout it just how it is such a meaningful film. He was slightly too focused and excited about the whole situation. I did the only thing I could think at the time to diffuse the intensity in the room and started doing some of my homework.

However, it only got worse. It got to a point in the evening where my dad started to mention something about a 'hidden meaning' or 'truth' to The Shining. He was gleeful at the fact that he had seen something in the film that no one else had noticed until then. He was intent on making me and my brother aware of this too. At this moment I was actually scared of my father. My dad has always been too predictable and now he was this person in our living room who had spotted an underlying truth that explains everything about the universe in a very good psychological horror movie.

I called up my mum in the middle of her shift and told her about what was going on. It took her a while to get home but when she arrived, she was just as shocked at what was going on as me and my brother. She went absolutely ballistic at my dad for trying to push a horror film - it was a legitimately horrifying film - onto me and my brother. That was when my dad decided to go all out and try to explain to her exactly what he was doing. He never managed to explain himself. It was just key words like 'truth', 'meaning' and 'life' thrown together to sound like a philosophy lecture. This was when my mum immediately moved the conversation to another room and out of earshot. After about ten minutes of yelling and ranting they emerge from the room and my mum explained to us that they're going to take my dad to hospital.

I found out later that my dad has an undiagnosed case of bipolar disorder. The stress had simply gotten to him and he just slipped from reality. In retrospect it was a pretty minor manic episode. Things could have gone a lot worse if we didn't pick up on it at the time. I learned that during his university years he became so stressed he saw a portal to hell.

It only took one visit the hospital to diagnose him and get him on the proper regime of pills. He took a few months off from work and stayed at one at this resort styled complex for people with mental health issues. My mum and father contacted a lawyer and managed to make SiteZero pay for all his medical bills and time off for a hostile work environment.

That evening jarred my opinion of my father. I knew he wasn't the greatest dad in the world but I never thought he could have problems just like anybody else. His disorder totally turned my family's life upside down and it will never go back to the way it was. I don't think less of him. I actually think he's better than he was before. That event completely shattered him, but he managed to rebuild himself and move on.

Edit: This assignment got a 5 overall.

An R18+ Rating Is On The Horizon

This is an article I've written for a journalism assignment. I had to simply write a few articles 200-300 words long with a primary source and image. This was the easiest article because it is all information based and my contacts were extremely helpful.

Screenshot from Bioshock (2007).
An R18+ category for video games looks very possible as the Australian senate will be looking over classification legislation in coming weeks.

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012 aims to create an R18+ Restricted category for video games.

Australian residents currently only have access to games rated at MA15+. Games that include content that exceed these standards are refused classification and banned.

The bill was introduced on February 15th 2012. The next day, it was referred to a committee for an enquiry. The committee came back with a report recommending that the House of Representatives pass the bill. The report cited research since 2009 stating that there is 'overwhelming support for an R18+ Restricted classification for computer games'.

Tim Colwill, a writer for games.on.net and creator of R18+ Games Australia, supports the bill in its entirety.

“It's important for Australians to finally be treated with respect and support by the classification system,” he said.

Jason Clare, Minister for Home Affairs, made similar remarks adding "It also makes Australian laws more consistent with the rest of the world".

This bill will allow adults to make choices without restrictions and children will now be properly protected from adult content.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell, a long time supporter of an R18+ category for video games, has already planned ACT specific legislation for when the bill passes the senate.

“This bill will provide the government greater ability to regulate the distribution of these games, and will provide adult purchasers with more information to determine whether the product is something they truly want to view or use,” a spokeswoman on behalf of Minister Corbell said.

There should be more information in the next few weeks as the bill moves closer to the senate.

Edit: I updated the article because I got an email from Jason Clare, Minister for Home Affairs after I uploaded it to the blog.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Commercial Media Reflection

The sixth journalism lecture was on the topic of commercial media. If I'm just thinking from memory, it wasn't a particularly interesting lecture. Mr. Redman covered how Australia commercial media is interconnected. I wasn't aware that so much of the media aren't independent to each other. Most of the popular and commercialised media are owned by just a few major media conglomerates. Whether it be television, newspapers, magazines, radio and online content, they usually lead back to the same company name.

Money needs to come from somewhere so most of the media outlets make money from either advertising or subscription based services. The Australian commercial media is constantly running a fine line between  maintaining their commitment to providing unbiased news and accepting advertising. Media outlets generally self regulate to keep themselves from corrupting their social responsibility to provide unbiased and insightful content. They're are also independant statutory bodies in place for when it's unclear whether  content is researched or simply paid for.

I don't really have much more to say than that. The commercial side of media doesn't interest me at all. In fact, some aspects of it infuriates me. I didn't get into journalism to learn about business, political opinions and advertising. In saying that, public media only resonates with me slightly more.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Sound Reflection

It's six in the morning. Two days ago I walked into Woolworths and found that Mother was on sale. I've been up all night watching Supernatural and I don't plan on actually sleeping for the next twelve hours either so I thought I would try catching up on some blog posts.

The sound lecture was surprisingly interesting. The lecture wasn't actually a 'lecture'. It was a downloadable mp3 file of two interviews cut together one after the other. The people who were interviewed seemed to be radio personalities who use the medium of sound every day. I'm pretty sure the hosts were interviewed for the purpose of teaching journalism students about how 'sound' relates to journalism. I've never actively thought about just how distinct the medium of sound is compared to forms of media such as television and print.

Some of things I learned seems obvious when pointed out. For instance, radio is an intimate form of media. You're only using your sense of hearing so you have to focus on what's being said. You can't rely on other senses to to understand and process what is being said.

Overall, the lecture was engaging and made me think about journalism in relation to sound.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

I'm Going to Supanova

Over a week ago, I was having a lot of trouble with finding articles to write for my Reporting course. With a few ideas in mind, I emailed some people about using them as contacts. At the time I wrote the blog post, no one had emailed me back so I was worried about meeting the deadline. Since then, everything has turned around.

A few days ago, I got an email back from the publicity manager for Supanova. He informed me that there's going to be a media pass waiting for me at the Gold Coast. I'm incredibly excited about this opportunity to attend this amazing event as a journalist. The manager was even nice enough to give my friend, Rhys, a media pass, because he's going to be following me around with a camera. 

I really want to go all out on this assignment. I'm going to be recording the event and some interviews so I can make a three minute video due in May. I've been brainstorming, because I'm irritatingly limited to recording with a smartphone only. I'm currently organising getting my hands on a few items: a recently developed smartphone, microphone, microphone to iPhone adapter, extension cable, and an external audio device

I've never filmed, recorded, and edited an event like this, so this is a new, but scary experience. By the date, I should have everything I need for Supanova. I'm beginning to think about how I'm going to approach the event as a journalist. I'm going to film interviews with the event organiser and the attendees, the main floor, the panels and the exhibits. Both the article and the video will focus on the exhibits, activities, the fans and the atmosphere of Supanova. Closer to the date, I'll write a blog post detailing my plans further.

Here's a video from Supanova in Melbourne from last year.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Photography Reflection

It's time for another one of these reflective posts. I actually have fun doing these because I can practise writing. You don't probably think it's that interesting, but I have to do it. The photography lecture was pretty straight forward; we learned about the history of photography, digital capture and upload, digital manipulation and some of the basic tips for capturing a good photo. This lecture actually made me think about how I am going to approach photography as a journalist.

In case you haven't noticed, I don't include photos of how journalism relates to me in my blog posts. I'm a hypocrite, because like everyone else, I expect all online news to include photos. I like articles to have at least one relevant photo to the written content. I believe that images give readers context for what they're reading. Most of the photos in the articles I read are screenshots from video games.

I don't include images in my posts mostly because I find it hard to find images that best suit this blog. At this stage, my approach to journalism is browsing reddit while in my underwear. However, that's not the only reason I don't take and upload photos.

Even though I can write a few decent paragraphs, I'm not used to photojournalism. I don't have the technology to take photos that are relevant to what I write about. I plan to invest in a smartphone with a better camera than my current one and a screen recording program for capturing online content.

If I'm going to become a journalist in any sense, I'm going to have to commit to photography to connect readers to my content. I think that if I produce my own images for articles, it would add more personality to what I write. Of course, for some writing projects I won't be able to produce photos. However, I will include relevant images when able. I'm going to write real articles soon instead of just reflecting on what I learn doing lectures.

I'm not going to be a world class photojournalist, nor do I want to become one. For this blog, I will probably be taking screenshots or linking movie trailers. However, I should be able to snap a few photos with my iPhone when the time arises.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Media Diary

Being able to understand and analyze the media I use is essential to how I approach journalism. My personal media use and production may also indicate where journalism and communication as an industry is currently heading. For ten days I had to log my personal media use and production and in this post present and analyze that information.

Here is some of the media I logged. I only included relevant links in this list that best represents my overall media use. You can see a more complete table of my media usage lower in the post.

Thursday 8th of March

"My australian house mate sent this onto me. Nope" - via r/wtf
"The Call of Duty generation..." - via r/gaming
Bioshock Infinite lets loose the Motorized Patriot - via Destructoid

Friday 9th of March

Played three hours of League of Legends
Heavy Rain creator's stunning short film showcases new game engine - via Games Radar
Uncharted 3 Co-op shade survival mode DLC release date set for next week - via Games Radar

Saturday 10th of March

Played an hour of Pokemon Heart Gold
Kony 2012 - via vimeo
Official Men in Black 3 Trailer - via youtube
Official All In Trailer - via youtube
Official Meeting Evil Trailer - via youtube

Sunday 11th of March

Minnesota girl alleges school privacy invasion - via CNN
Jet Set Radio Future Trailer - via youtube
Animated GIFs: The Bird of a Medium - via youtube
Extra Credits: So You Want Be a Developer (part 1) - via Penny Arcade

Monday the 12th of March

The year role-playing games broke - via Joystiq
Dishonoured Info Blowout: A Stealthy Steampunk Sandbox - via gameranx

Tuesday the 13th of March

Journey Review - via GameTrailers
What song has been so beautiful it moved you to tears? I have 2. - via r/AskReddit
"Internet humor from a time before memes..." - via imgur

Wednesday the 14th of March

IGN AU Pubcast Ep. 40: A Threesome of Threequels - via IGN AU

Thursday the 15th of March

Confessions of a 'Bad' Teacher - via The New York Times

Friday the 16th of March

Watched Community

Saturday the 17th of March

Played Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty

Table of Media Use

*unit of measurement is in hours

Pie Chart of Media Use

Before I analyze and offer my opinions based on the my media diary, I feel like that I should recognise technological convergence as an issue. Technological convergence makes identifying forms of media difficult. In modern society journalism, entertainment and social networking are overlapping. Twitter is an example of this, it's used for all these purposes and more. I personally use it as a tool to find entertaining and informative content online and also connect with other journalism students, less as a form of microblogging. Technological convergence is something that journalism and communication as an industry is going to have to adapt to in order to compete. You can already see media outlets harnessing advancing technology and Web 2.0 for the purpose of spreading content easier and efficiently and creating a public sphere.

It didn't surprise me that most of the media that I consume, I discovered online, as opposed to print and televised media. I mostly instant message with friends on Skype, play videogames and browse the internet; specifically Reddit, 4chan and videogame news sites on my laptop. I also use my iPhone mainly to communicate with friends and family, stay connected to social networks and play games. I personally use online media largely because I can search for content that is specific to my interests or goals. I have a large interest in news relating to videogames, film and television that are made easily accessible with the internet. However, 71.1% of Introduction Journalism and Communication students recognised "TV" as their source of media, while only 67.8% of students use "Online newspapers". Furthermore, 51.6% of JOUR1111 acquired news from "newspapers". These statistics show that despite a large amount of students simultaneously using all three forms of media, the most popular resource of news is television.

The survey conducted of other Introduction to Journalism and Communication students shows that other students and I spend our time on the internet similarly. 61.3% of students recognise "General surfing and browsing" as a primary use of their internet; 43.1% of students also spent their time online "Reading online news". However, I don't identify Facebook as a large use of my time online, compared to 91.9% of students who do.

The biggest difference between my personal media use and other students is the amount of time spent each day on the internet. During that ten day period I spent sometimes up on eleven hours connected online with friends via Skype throughout the day. While on skype I browsed various sources of news and entertainment each day. However, only 3.5% of students surveyed indicated that they spend upwards of 6 hours online each day. These results surprised me; considering how easy it is to access the internet. It's presumed that all students own or have easy access to a computer with internet access and also 77.3% of students own an internet-enabled smart phone according to the survey. Ultimately, the survey indicates that constant internet access is completely expected of the 17-25 year old demographic. I believe that those in the field of journalism and communication are completely aware of this. Like I mentioned earlier, media is utilizing this knowledge to gain larger and more connected audiences.

By logging my personal media use over a ten day period I can say that without a doubt my relation with journalism and communication is unsurprising. Basically, my style of consuming news and entertainment is parallel with emerging forms of interaction. Traditional media is obviously still around, but it's also being reshaped and redefined by the internet. I also expect how I go about reading, listening and watching news in the future will adapt along with the altering landscape of journalism and communication.

Edit: This assignment got a 6.5 overall.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Journalism is Hard

I've got three assignments due this week which are really getting in the way of spending my non-existant money on some really good games that have come out recently. I'm going to try and organise my thoughts while making another blog post at the same time. I've got two lectures to reflect on, I have to pitch three stories and I have to make and present a media diary. "Pitching the three stories" stands out to me the most. I'm going to be building on top of the assessment next month by writing three different types of stories. These story types are news, information and human interest. I've been emailing my tutor about how to exactly approach this assignments, so now I think I've got some ideas.

First off, the news story is the easiest. I decided that I would try and cover Supanova this year at the Gold Coast. I've never attended it, but my friends attest to how amazing it is. It's basically a geek subculture exhibition catering to those who enjoy anime, science fiction, comic books, videogames, cosplaying and anything geeky. The people behind it manage to bring together fans and the industry folk. I emailed the publicity organiser about getting journalistic privileges and possibly even an interview. However, I haven't heard back from them yet. If I were allowed to attend as a journalist, that would be amazing. Even more so since it would be the first time I've ever attended Supanova. I plan on attending anyway this year to check out everything that's got to do with videogames and my favorite tv shows. I might even enter a Magic: The Gathering tournament if I'm brave enough.

The next story I've put thought into is the information story. I only remembered today that soon the Australian senate is going to be looking at a bill essentially allowing an R18+ classification for videogames. It's surprising that for so long Australia has gone without an adult rating for videogames. For years games have either been refused classification and simply not been sold within Australia or have been altered to receive an MA15+ rating. I personally believe that censorship like this is completely ridiculous when compared to other forms of media. Today, I contacted two creators of websites that support an R18+ classification for videogames; Somebody think of the children and R18 Games. Hopefully, they'll get back to me soon and I can get the ball rolling.

The media use and production diary is starting to catch up on me. I've logged my media use and I'm ready to start but I don't know what I can do besides just presenting a graph and a pie chart of my media use. I don't know what to analyze besides just how much media I use compared to other students. I guess I'll just have to start it and see how I go. 

That's all I thought I would write about. I'll update the blog if theres any advances in my assignments. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Reflection on Text

Our third lecture for Introduction to Journalism and Communication covered text in the field of journalism. Sky or Skye, one of those two names, guest lectured on the topic. She spent fifty minutes educating all of us about such things as 'the inverted pyramid', 'hypertext', text within digital platforms and just how fundamentally essential it is to the journalism industry with the rise of social media. But you already know that don't you? You're reading this just to see how other people in your course are handling their blogs. I don't need to explain to you something that you can just go and watch on Blackboard. So I'm going to give you my opinion on the lecture and text as it relates to journalism.

It's pretty apparent just how important text is to communication. It's unavoidable in journalism. I don't think I can add any more to what was covered in the lecture. Now I'm forced to write a blog post reflecting on the incredibly ambiguous idea of 'text'. I'm supposed to reflect on these lectures about what I learnt. I didn't learn that much though.

Sky (or Skye) just gave me new terminology for the ideas I already had. You would think that using important information in the headline to catch the reader's eye would be a straightforward concept.Most of the lecture slides were just examples of news stories with Sky (or Skye) explaining just how much effort is put into headlines, captions, straps, leads, excerpts and other attention grabbing combinations of text. The latter half of the lecture was just a lesson on blogging and getting your posts into the search engines. For someone who has little experiencing writing and reading content online, this lecture would have been helpful. However, I took very little away from our third week lecture.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Goals and Stuff

I just checked an email about this Journalism course and apparently I have to write a blog post about every lecture. I thought I would simply be even more retrospective and write about my first lecture in JOUR1111. It was what most people would assume the first lecture of an introductory university course would be like. Bruce Redman, our lecturer, introduced himself and explained how the course would run, went over our assessment, answered our questions and tried as best he could to get us excited about journalism. He said a very quotable phrase which I'm sure he's been using for a while, "you are the journalist". I would be lying if I said it motivated me in the slightest but it did remind me that I should probably explain right here what I want to accomplish with this blog.

Journalism to me is simply a way to involve myself in my hobbies and interests and still have a job at the end of the day. I have almost no interest in politics, world news, sports and celebrities but that doesn't mean that I can't be a journalist. I'd much rather read about Pokemon, League of Legends, The Walking Dead or the Dark Knight Rises more than anything else.

So fucking awesome

Most of my days entail playing videogames, watching film and reading, watching and listening to videogame and film news. I check websites, watch reviews, listen to podcasts and have very heated discussions  with friends about geeky things. I have spent the last three days at a friend's new place watching Community while playing Magic: The Gathering because they had no internet and we all had a cold.

Imagine this but with better looking people.

I also like to think I can form sentences pretty well, so I'm essentially trying to combine the two things in the hopes I will actually be content some day.

I'm hoping that this degree will get my metaphorical foot into the metaphorical door of creative industries. If everything goes according to plan in a few years time I'd be writing for a videogame news or a film review website. If not, then I'm probably going to pick up some skills which could be applied to an array of jobs. I'm essentially hoping that journalism will point me in the direction that I want to go. So expect posts about things like how fucking incredible Bioshock Infinite is going to be.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Internet and I

For my Introduction to Journalism and Communication course I have to maintain a blog. It's a place where I reflect on my lectures and tutorials as a minimum. I have attempted blogs before but I've always gotten bored with them too quickly. Hopefully the fact that this blog is where all my assessment for the course will be submitted will motivate me to actually write regularly and well.

It's actually already been a few weeks into this course so it looks like I've got some catching up to do. I thought I would start of this semester long party of a blog by reflecting on the internet and it's relation to journalism and communication. In the second week of this semester during my JOUR1111 lecture the topic of Web 2.0 and other web iterations was brought up and discussed with an understanding of what is the internet.

It's too well known just how interconnected human beings are today. Every single day I hear a new mind blowing statistic about just how many facebook users there are or how many years of videos on youtube are being watched every day. Everyone is connected  and it's actually scary just how well the internet can organise itself against someone or something. A few examples are when 4chan rallied an operation against Rebecca Black, recently Anonymous declared a war on religion, and the social media campaign against KONY recently became the most viral video of all time. The largest recent organised protest online was definitely the blackout to campaign against two pieces of legislation, SOPA and PIPA that was threatening to integral structure of how online content was produced. Reddit was at the forefront of the campaign and spearheaded the blackout.

I don't need to explain that the internet has completely changed how we interact with one another. I'm one of those people who uses the internet for almost everything. I primarily use facebook and reddit to entertain and educate myself but I also dabble in 4chan, tumblr, youtube, twitter, wikipedia, rss feeds, podcasts and many other websites. I use Skype to talk to my friends every day in addition to texting and instant messaging on facebook. In fact, Skype is the reason I have most of my best friends today.  I play lots of online games on both my Macbook Pro and my PS3. If I can I will usually try eBay, Amazon or Etsy before going outside and looking for something I want. Basically everything that I do to entertain and improve myself is dependant on a wifi connection. I haven't sat down and watched a television show in almost a year and I cannot remember ever reading a newspaper. I'm not really a big fan of current event news anyway. r/gaming, r/worldnews and r/technology keeps me up to date with everything that would possibly be important to me. Most of the news I read is niche and is related to videogames, movies, television and music. I cannot live without being entertained. In fact the only reason I'm actually writing this right now is because the internet is of something that is of interest to me. It can be really difficult for me to get motivated sometimes.

So how does this relate to Journalism? I actually believe that trained journalism is becoming redundant. It's so easy these days to set up a blog or a website that there's an over saturation of news. Things trend faster on twitter than they can get it onto the 6 o'clock news. The lecturer mentioned something known as a 'citizen journalist' which I believe is evolving the way news is spread. These days people can tweet, post and live stream events as they're occurring and everybody in the first world can have access to the technology to do so. If general people of the public took it upon themselves to go and research and investigate anything, they have the resources to get the story out there immediately.  As long as the internet is accessible, information will be available, discussion will be possible and news will spread.