One Finger Death Punch

One of the games I picked up over the weekend and the same game I’m using for this blog post is One Finger Punch Man by Silver Dollar Games for the PC. I got it for 200 pesos on Steam. It is a survival fighting game where you must survive rounds of enemies in many different stages. There is a certain amount of enemies to be killed in a stage before you are allowed to progress to the next stage. There are three difficulty levels namely: student, master, and grandmaster. Since I’m just new to the game I can only avail of the student difficulty. I still need to unlock the other difficulty modes. Think of the levels as your easy, normal, and hard mode in other games.

This is the home screen:

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This is the adjust difficulty screen:

Levels

This game although simple as it uses stick figures as characters is very addicting. It is also contains violence in a sense that there is blood in every hit you do. Doing combos makes it an immersive experience and it is also easy to learn. You just need to click the two mouse buttons as if you’re playing a rhythm game such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band. The stages developed as you progress. The opponents get tougher. In the first levels you need to only click one mouse button per hit to take down an opponent. In the later stages, you have to click a set amount of times in order to defeat your foe.

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RTFM. Read the fucking manual. One of the rules of the game is to not button smash. I actually tried to button smash since I was curious if I would really die. To make long story short, I died. Not following rules in a specific game leads to a crushing defeat.

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What is important to note in this game is that there are no female characters. It is also possible that this game has been encrypted with patriarchal culture in mind. I am certain that the target market in this game is men. The name of the game itself is One Finger Punch Man. There is no One Finger Punch Woman. Martial arts and combat seem to be for men only in this game. As you can see from the picture below, the stick figures can be seen as having the gender of a male. This can be heard in the voice of the game. You will never hear the voice of a woman in this game.in game 123.png

Furthermore, what you can see from this game is the concept of Orientalism. This is the homogenization of the Asian imagery in Western imaginary. The company who made the game is from the West. Fetishizing of the Oriental other for the Occidental self can be seen. The voices in the game clearly tries to imitate Asian accents but it is far from it. Aside from that, there is a clear stereotyping occurring as Asians are viewed as martial arts experts.

To end this blog, here is a video of the game itself. You can see Orientalism here.

Thank you for reading!

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One Finger Death Punch

Secondary Virtual Markets

Welcome to my 5th blog. This will be about a Facebook page group which is called MyDota2Community which will be talked about at the latter part. I joined it over a year ago because I am fond of DOTA 2 also known as Defense Of The Ancients. As I have used DOTA 2 in previous blogs, it is interesting to know that there are aspects of it that are not just for gaming. One of which is DOTA 2 cosmetics. These were introduced back in 2012 with the implementation of the in-game store of DOTA 2. The cosmetics do not affect the gameplay at all. Having cosmetics for your heroes would not affect how you interact with the game objectives. (Destroy the enemy’s main structure. There are two teams, namely radiant and dire. The objective is to destroy the enemy’s throne or main structure. The team is composed of five members controlling unique heroes individually.

Cosmetic items are sold for real money in the Steam Store and depending where you are it adjusts to the currency. If you are in the Philippines, the currency used for buying is Peso. Before these cosmetic items are made available for sale, itmust be submitted to the Dota 2 Workshop on Steam. Only submissions approved by Valve (a Video game developer and digital distribution company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, United States) are added to the store. Creators of approved contents receive a portion of their sales proceeds. Users can rate submissions, although a higher rating does not guarantee its approval. In here we can see a discourse in which a company may arguably be exploiting the creators of content. The creator only gets 25% of the content he made. Valve gets 75% which is arguably unfair.

I believe that Valve earns a lot through the purchases of these. Take for example events such as The International, an annual tournament in which the top DOTA 2 players compete for a large sum of money. Beginning in 2011, the first place winners get an insane amount of $ 1,000,000. If you think that is a lot, the latest rendition of the International that happened last 2015 makes the 2011 International look pathetic.

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As seen above the first place of the 5th version of the International awards the first place winners a whopping amount of $ 6,634,661. The winners, Evil Geniuses, were from America. They defeated the Chinese team called Chinese Dota Elite Community. If you are interested in watching the road to victory of Evil Geniuses, watch the video located below.

It has been established that Valve gets a lot of money from cosmetics. There are also other factors of them getting money. It’s not just cosmetics. Going to the International requires the purchase of tickets. The tickets for this year’s International got sold out in just a matter of six minutes. Last year it took almost an hour for the tickets to get sold out.  The tickets went for $ 99.99 each.

Digressing from the International, let us go to the Philippine context of DOTA 2 in which I live in. There are smaller tournaments called Majors that Valve hosts. Majors have a smaller prize pool than Internationals. The prize pool is fixed at $ 3,000,000. The winners of the Major get $ 1,100,000 while the rest of the teams partition the $ 1,900,000 into whatever place they got. Obviously, higher rank of winning merits higher partition of the prize pool. This 2016, Valve was already done doing two Majors namely the Frankfurt Major in Germany and the Shanghai Major. I was so happy when they announced about the Manila Major. GOOD LORD we are gonna have a DOTA 2 tournament sponsored by Valve. Aside from the Manila Major, an earlier tournament by ESL called ESL One Manila will mark the first ever important DOTA 2 tournament hosted by our country. ESL One Manila will begin April 22 and will end at April 24.

Watch the Manila Major trailer first found below.

The tickets were cheap. The Major will occur June 7 to June 12 in Mall Of Asia Arena. From June 7 to June 10 the tickets will cost P 200. The ones from June 11 to June 12 will cost P 400 each. I was happy that I was able to get some for June10 to June 12. The later dates are more important because these are the times when the teams show their best and use their secret strategies in order to not get eliminated.

Given the way DOTA 2 economy works (through the cosmetic items market and tickets sold), I will now show you one of the facebook groups that formed a secondary market. In this market, people trade, sell, and buy cosmetics. As I have said in my introduction, MyDota2Community is a page I joined over a year ago. It has admins that served as the middleman for each transaction (may it be a trade, selling, and purchasing). Every group has its own certain stickied or pinned post. MyDota2Community own pinned post focuses on the rules. We can see here the interaction of the admin namely Michael Vincent Vallejos to the members in the photo below.

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Here is a clearer picture of the rules:

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The punishment for not following the rules is usually a kick. You are permanently removed from the Facebook group and you cannot join again. This occasionally happens to people who create alternate Facebook accounts in order to scam newbies for their cosmetics.

The secondary market in this group fueled by betting sites such as dota2lounge and vpgame made the cosmetic items cheaper. Items such as Arcanas (rarest item in DOTA 2) which are normally sold in the main store for $ 39.99 are sold cheaper. If you convert this to peso it is around P 1,800. In the MyDota2Community it is sold in bulk and is cheaper. Most expensive ones in the group are P 1,300, while the standard ranges from P 1,100-P 1,200. Sometimes, if you are lucky members would sell at P 900.

Below is a print screen of how a betting site looks like (dota2lounge). You choose a team and there are certain odds for each team. Picking the lower odds team and winning gets you more expensive cosmetic items. It follows that picking a higher odds team will merit you with less cosmetics items.

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What is important to note here is that a secondary market created more jobs for other people. Middleman, usually the admins, gain a certain percentage in transactions with members. Capitalism at its finest. The page basically created a new market in which they control and manipulate the price. I don’t think it affects the players at all. It might affect Valve but I don’t think the damage is noticeable since Valve is a big company and it does not only have DOTA 2 as a game. It has other games such as Counter Strike and Team Fortress 2.

Below is a photo of the percentage of what middleman in MyDota2Community get:

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It is truly interesting that a virtual community has evolved into a business. It has become a secondary market for cosmetic items which are virtual in nature. There is an aspect of which real money is traded for virtual goods (such as cosmetics) and used for betting. The rise of these markets showcase that the interaction of the virtual and real have confused the boundaries of the internal and external worlds. Furthermore, confusion is not the only result, there is also a created illusion in which the virtual reality in terms of goods are one and the same with external realities such as real money.

 

Secondary Virtual Markets

Cyber Self

Greetings! This is my 4th blog for my Hypermedia class. The directive is to describe my digital identity that I have made online by referencing photos, videos and posts. In order to do so, I will use Facebook as my medium. It is an online social networking site that you can use to interact with friends and family.

Let us start with the common media that you will find on Facebook. One would be photos. The one you see below is my current Facebook profile picture which I uploaded last December 2015. As you can see, I enjoy Star Wars. I watched the movie with my college friends. The film showing was held at Robinson’s Magnolia and the event was spearheaded by the Ateneo Management Economics Organization. The purpose was to raise funds for the organization.

My Facebook Profile

This photo is clearly me. This is what I look like so I do not even attempt to change it or edit it. Some people edit a lot to the point that they look different when you see them in real life.  My Facebook was made for the purpose of communicating with my classmates. I made it back in 2009 during my freshman year in high school. My Facebook used to have cartoon pictures but when I matured, I changed it to normal pictures. I would classify normal as something decent. By something decent, something not offensive to other people.

The second part of my Facebook that is part of my digital identity is my basic information located in the about tab. As much as possible, I do not put my address and number. There are some people who have been victimized through fraud. Your data and information are important. It is best to be discreet with it. I only put my school and date of birth.

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Source: My Facebook Profile

My info is real. As I have said earlier, it was used for school. I always try my best to emulate my real identity to digital identity. Let us move on to another part of my digital identity. This is the groups section of your Facebook. This is where you join groups that you are interested with or groups that were made by your school and/or teachers in order to disseminate information and assignments.

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Source: My Facebook Profile

The groups that I joined showcases my hobbies and responsibilities in school. You can see some groups like Histo166Ludovice. It is the class group for my history subject. The instructor gives his assignments and announcements there. Other groups that are not academic in nature would be the Hearthstone Philippines group and PINOY Sneakerheads Community. These are groups where I interact with people. In the former, I learn new tips and tricks in this game called Hearthstone. In the latter, I browse shoes and sometimes I buy if the particular pair is good. Both these groups tell what objects I have an interest on. They are part of my self. They are part of my identity.

The last type of media would that are part of my digital identity that I would like to describe would be my posts. One of my recent posts was sharing about this Anime called Sword Art Online. It is an anime where the main characters are trapped in the game and if they die in the game, they die in real life. Apparently, they are making a real version of the game where you can utilize virtual reality game. A video showcasing the the town of Sword Art was shown. I shared it in my timeline and tagged one of my friends because we enjoyed the anime. The video can be found below. Details about this game and its developers can be found here.

With the media that I have given above, I would like to say that the identity that I have constructed in my Facebook profile showcases truth about me. It covers my interests and my responsibilities in school. It is truthful representation because it is me. Arguably, some may disagree that this is fully me. I would like to give my two cents on that. This is where the real me comes in. Facebook might show a glimpse of truth about the real me but it does not completely a replacement or substitute to my identity. It has truth but this truth is far from the whole truth. It may sound philosophical but it is impossible to grasp the truth as a whole. You can get only parts of it. I might look the same in the photos but it is clearly not me. It is still an image. Yes the one on the photo is me. No it is not the real me. What I’m trying to say here is that not everyone has a digital identity that is 100% truthful. It will still have some modified or maybe edited details. We must face it. Humanity is vain. As much as possible we would love to look good on others. We have different dispositions. We have relative understanding about our own selves.

Suum cuique

Cyber Self

Pretending To Be A Girl In DOTA 2

Greetings reader! This is my 3rd blog. I’m going to recreate a scenario that has been talked about in class. It has been mentioned in class that video gaming in general or is generally accepted by society as an activity for men. Videos in class were viewed. These showcased how women are treated differently by men.

According to an article by the Guardian, women have always played video games, and in the past years the growth of the mobile game industry in particular has been driven by a female consumer base. This has altered my perspective. I was caught unawares. This new information has broken my point of view. Looking at it closely, this is plausible since there are more women in the world than men as seen in the video below It reaffirms the  point that the impetus and driving force of some video games, in this case, the mobile gaming industry would be female players. It is common to assume that the target market is for men but the video begs to differ.

We have talked about myths in class. It deals with the production of ideology. Ideology is a body of ideas that protect the structure of power by promoting the dominant groups of society. In the case of gaming, the dominant group would be a patriarchal society. Patriarchy is a social structural phenomenon in which males have the privilege of dominance over females, both visibly and subliminally. This phenomenon is manifested in the values, attitudes, customs, expectations, and institutions of the society, and it is maintained through the process of socialization.

Another thing I learned in class is that women are treated differently in games. Some are treated as if they are objects. These women are harassed. It is somehow acceptable to society that it is okay to treat them with contempt. This is alarming because I don’t think that men actually do this in real life. They might be just doing this in the virtual world because it is deemed acceptable by the patriarchal society in which we live. The bright side here is that women in games are also treated nicely. In some games, people would die for them. They would literally take a bullet for your character if you know you are a girl. The video below would showcase how it would be like if girl gamers do what guy gamers do.

As I go deeper in to this phenomenon, I’ve looked around forums. I found one in gamespot.com. Although it is dated 2009, which is actually pretty recent, the comments found would still sexualize the females. A user called OreoMilkShake says and I quote “The feminine body screws with a boy’s mind. Even if they can’t see it.” What we can get from this statement is that males, most if not all, think with their penis. This is something that people will mostly not share. It is deemed to be part of the norms that this is not acceptable. I have done some research and it led me to this website. It’s a university website and in there it says that sexual harassment is when there is an unreasonable impact on an individual’s employment or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University community. To summarize it is when we create an atmosphere that is hostile. It includes unwanted sexual statements, unwanted personal attention, and unwanted physical or sexual advances. This is also applicable even in the online sense. The common example of this is people in the games I played, once they know there’s a girl, they immediately use their respective microphones and say “Suck my d*ck!” I find it funny to be honest. But in deeper reflection, it is actually hurting someone. This is sexual harassment.

After learning these things from class, I asked my professor if it is possible to escape an ideology? Is it possible to escape this sphere of influence dominated by the society in power? He answered “It is possible as long as you address that there is an ideology.” In an effort to affirm my teacher’s answer, I developed an experiment. I want to cure myself with this ideology. I need to admit that I am part of these people that do despicable acts to women in online gaming. I had to experience what they experience first hand. I made an account in which I emulate a female player. The game I chose is DOTA 2. If you want to learn more about this game click this link.

Step 1: Modify your account to look like a girl. Garnish with symbols and hearts . I used these as gender signifiers. I used an image from Google by typing the words “pinay”. It surprised me that when you do this the pictures are most if not all, bikini pictures. I chose a “decent” photo.

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Step 2: Play a game.

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Optional Step: Chat with the channels and say you are a girl and you need a party. Get ready for nasty comments

Evidence 1

You will be defended by some people while some would just laugh it out.

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Step 3: Quit DOTA 2.

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Step 4: Wait for friend requests. People do this a lot. I waited for about 5 minutes.

Evidence 4

Step 5: Accept and hope for a decent chat. This next step shocked me. I predicted mild abuse but this is messed up.

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Step 6: Analysis and Reflection

The experiment I did above is a clear manifestation of gender struggle. Abusive behavior has been exhibited. In the hour I spent emulating a girl player, I have been sexually harassed. People deemed it funny. I got added by a person that I played with and was offered cash to spend the night with him. It is alarming how this is part of the culture of DOTA 2, in this case, Philippine DOTA 2. This might just be one instance but think about the other gamers who are really female. Do they take this on a daily basis? They might have just gone with it. Some find it incurable so they just accept it while some are afraid to take action. I urge the people who are abused, not just in DOTA 2, to rise and speak up. Defend yourselves and do not allow this indecency to occur as if it was normal.

The problem here is the people are either unaware that this is happening or they really do not give a damn and just continue being a pervert. Technically, the repercussions of their actions are punishable in game. You can send a report to Steam. What this does is suspend or ban an account. The problem here is that people can still make new accounts.

As I have finished with the experiment, I now have a perspective in which I share with female gamers. There is indeed sexual harassment. This has reformed me. I have not been flaming or cursing people online. It is a changing experience and I wished I have done this sooner. We all just want to have a good time and play a decent video game. Let us keep it classy and stray away from the corrupted path of perversion and indecency.

Pretending To Be A Girl In DOTA 2

BLOG #2

Hello, world! My 2nd blog will focus on screen addiction!

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It is indeed a fact that the computer screen has become the primary way in which mediated culture is experienced. This leads me to characterize the culture we have right now. We have a culture where there is an evident screen addiction. This is taking a toll especially with the youth. Researchers find that eight to ten year old children spends nearly eight hours a day viewing a screen. It can be on computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Older teenagers spend a longer amount of time of approximately eleven hours a day.

Here are some effects and impact of screen addiction to children and/or teenagers:

  1. One of which is emulation. They model and copy what they see in media. In this case, they copy video games. The parents of these children argue that they just sit and play. There is no harm on what they are doing. The parents are wrong in this case. Social skills are not developed properly. There is no human interaction in a video game. And it is needed to form an identity, a sense of self to the child.
  2. Another one is a distorted view of reality. There view of the world is skewed and not realistic anymore. A hyperreality exists. Video games in particular contributed to this phenomenon. An example would be Daniel Petric. He shot his parents since they did not allow him to play Halo 3 anymore. The environment or we could say the reality created by Halo 3 could possibly be a reason for this accident to occur.  This example also falls under the first impact of emulation that was previously mentioned.
  3. It is possible the physical consequences would transpire. Screen addiction would result to poor eyesight. It can potentially damage your hands, neck, and back.
The video below reiterates some of the ideas mentioned above:

Although there are suggested solutions such as ergonomics, a science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people can use them easily and safely, we should be aware of this addiction and as much as possible cope with naturally by lessening our time with the screen. A brutal and in my opinion an impossible way to remove screen addiction is to total abstinence from technology. I cannot even do this. It is possible but it is very difficult. There are people who have modified their lifestyle in such a way that there is no complete abstinence from technology but rather a systematized selection of technology.

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My Two Cents

To answer the question “Do you subscribe to or disagree with this culture?” I would like to say that I agree that the culture we have now is full of children and/or teenagers who are suffering screen addiction. This includes me and my family. I would support my opinion by stating examples that I have in daily life through particular people.

  1. Myself. I have been playing a lot of video games. Particularly this game called DOTA 2 On record I have been playing a total of 3,242 hours. If you do the math, I have been playing this game for 135.08 days. As you can see in the photo below that’s only DOTA 2. It does not account for the other times I’m facing my screen. I am also an avid anime viewer. I binge watch a lot of anime series all the time especially when I don’t have any errands or schoolwork.

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2. My friends. It’s currently 1:47 AM right now. I browsed Facebook. Behold a lot of people still online. Approximately 40 of my teen friends are online even though it’s a Monday today. It just goes to show that there is an addiction to this screen. They might not be facing the screen right now since some are idle but we cannot tell for sure unless I ask them one by one. It is apparent that screen addiction is rampant in my relationships with my friends.

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3. The World. I just visited a website that measures how many users are using the internet. I assume that most of this people are looking at their screens. Maybe some are downloading and sleeping as this is also my doing from time to time when I have new games to play with. The amount is staggering. Three billion users. Let’s assume that a third of this sample size are children and or teenagers. That’s still a billion of them. A billion kids addicted to the screen.

Ultimately, I think this culture of children and/or teenagers being addicted to screens and other media are acceptable. There may be bias because I am part of the people who are addicted to technology but I think it is necessary to allow this culture to exist. My reasons would be:

  1. It is very hard to remove now. It is already in the culture. The only way for this culture to not exist is for some future culture to flourish.
  2. I am part of this culture. I see the harm although the pros outweigh the cons. I am happy with this addiction and I do not think people should try to ratify it. There is nothing wrong with it.
  3. Finally, I think removing it would do more harm. I would certainly be pissed if they remove the internet. I could imagine riots and uprisings when they actually address the problem of addiction.

 It would be hypocritical of me to say this but let’s just hope that this addiction would not be extreme to the point that we would be like the people from the movie, WALL-E.

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Once again thank you for reading this blog post! Comments, suggestions, and queries are highly appreciated.

BLOG #2