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Media Coverage: The Art and Sound of Video Games

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York College held it’s Fourth annual Student Research Day last Thursday, where all the departments came together to display information about their field. Our online journalism class covered of these events, the choices were an English presentation hosted by Professor Michael Namphy, an African American presentation and a video game discussion. Being an avid player of  classic video games with hosting information, I decided that I wanted to cover that event. The presentation was called “The Art and Sound of Video Games,” this was a first time course at work open to all students controlled by music Professor Tom  Zlabinger and art history Professor Sarah Gillespie.  Zlabinger said that the use of video gaming has been outspread since the late 60’s, “Game studies is a new field where critical analysis plays a big role in the different parts of gaming. Everything we do in this culture is important because it is in circulation, to ignore them would be not to understand 2013. Video games are a multimillion-dollar industry because there are so interactive. We are even starting to see video gaming in the art museums, even in the Smithsonian.”

They challenged three students in the class to write a research paper and focus on one aspect of gaming. The first to present was York student Jonathan Serneo, who chose to speak about the art of cut scene which is the non interactive portion of a game, where the player watching a trailer sort of like being presented background information on the characters in order to gain enough knowledge on how to beat the levels. He talked about the video game Catherine, a game in which a man has to chose between a real girl named Catherine or a evil figment of his imagination called Katherine In order to beat this game the player has to play close attention what these cut scenes are trying to tell the player. This is a nine level game. Jonathan said, “It is like a dream, every level has these tedious puzzles and the only way to get out is by trail and error. Cut scenes affect the storyline of a game, it is how the characters develop through the dialogue and how they are going to act.”
The video below shows a cut scene from the second level of Catherine.

The second presenter was Kimberly “Kimmy” Sarmiento, who based her research paper on women inferiority and gender roles in video games. She said, “We see a lot of guys in video games and not enough girls.” Sarmiento talks about the 1981 Donkey Kong, when women characters were being noted in games. But the character in this case, Princess Peach, from the legendary Mario games, had to play the victim as the helpless princess waiting to be saved. Sarmiento called characters like these, “Damsels in distress”. She mentioned a video game, which presented a totally different view on women called Lollipop Chainsaw, about a girl character named Juliet and her decapitated boyfriend named Nick. Nick was bitten by a zombie so in order to save him from dying she cut his head off so that the venom wouldn’t reach to his head. Throughout the game, she fights zombies and uses her boyfriend’s head as a weapon. She said that now there are more female leads in video games, but that now it is more of a sexualation of women because they are dressed in provocative clothing. Art student Arianna J. asked, “Is the over sexualizing based on the stigma of what men wanted to see and how women wanted to look?” Professor Gillespie refuted that by saying that most real women do not look like that and that she is not sure that women make it a priority to look like that. Professor  Zlabinger said that sex sells, “A good games dynamics is to make something that sells.”

The last speaker was Bayo Fayemi. who spoke on how video games mentally and physically change your mood. He said, “Video games use ambient noise like, music, people walking, mumbling and these sounds can cause you to change your mood because they portray feeling that they want to player to feel.” He plays a video based on how the moods of three young children change as they are playing Halo. Their moods go from excited, anxious, disappointed, and jealous to furious

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