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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" Really?

Conforming to Rules, following a path leading to a goal, that goal giving you a sense of accomplishment under our own authority. Is this not a game?

Jane McGonigal states that "all games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation" (McGonigal 2011, p.21). This being said then is life not a game? Games are set out to have one of two paths, finite games and infinite games. Finite games with a beginning and ending with a chance of "winning" and Infinite games a never ending cycle of gaming. We crave satisfaction, a positivity through challenges. These satisfactions pull upon the four attributes of a game. 

We follow rules everyday why don't we believe its a game? Our need to follow rules and work hard at life crosses platforms with digital video games or gaming industry.McGonigal tells use to forget the old saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" (Mcgonigal 2011, p.29). According to McGonigal the game industry use our need to work hard, our fear of failure allows us to test real world problem without any consequences expect our time. We think its fun to play GTA and kills people, steal cars, have loads of money. The satisfactory element is when the basic rules of reality spill over onto imaginary plains but the system allows you beat reality without reality affected.

Nothing can be classified as a game without those there to create the rules, the feedback systems and aesthetics, the goal. Henry Jenkins suggests that "media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence" (Jenkins 2006 p.2) is new media, can that be said for all games? The feedback system, goal and rules designed by collective intelligence, the participatory culture falling between the category of voluntary participation and the media convergence of platforms and reality games.

Realities lines between games are blurred when you break them down into the four categories, it suggest that life is a game, and we are willing to play. 


McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Penguin Press HC.

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006,

Perpare to Die

Jane McGonigal observes the 'realms' (our worlds societies) grasp of gaming and forms it into a whole new level through her understanding of the 'working' and 'hardening' level structure, found in her book, Reality is Broken: why games make us better and how they can change the world. 

Reality is hard no doubt about that, but games have a different form of difficulty setting then reality, that helps the player rather then hindering them. Games use volunteering work that provides a process in which the "unnecessary hard work" gives the 'gamer' a reason to "care about the outcome of their effort" (McGonigal, 2011, p.27). It also give the player a reason to become better through emotion not normally associated success or accomplishment. Anger.

In the PBS show, they look at anger to encourage the player to overcome problems and puzzles and a enlightenment factor that makes them what to win more. This is exactly want McGonigal states when she looks at the hard work which is special picked out to entitle the player. We are "always playing on the very edge of your skill level, always on the brink of falling off. When you do fall off, you feel the urge to climb back on. That’s because there is virtually nothing as engaging as this state of working at the very limits of your ability"  (McGonigal, 2011, p.24)

What game out of all games drives the gamer into pure insanity? Dark Souls. The tagline is just  'Prepare to Die'. Nothing more nothing less, and rightly so. Dark Souls is a Role Playing Game (RPG) in which you take the form of an undead and your quest is to bring light to the world. This game is known for its traffic yet deadly game mechanics, seen through its unique bosses or the smaller characters that come at you in hordes. The game changes its difficult level not only as you move along but through its online factor where higher level players can just walk into your world and kill you. 

As you can see from the video that deaths happen on a regular bases and the emotional rift seen in some players, drives them even more to complete the game or even just one boss. This factor alone can not show a change in the individual players true reality but what it does show that we look upon the world with new eyes. That every obstacle we see is like a boss in Dark Souls in which we have to over come no matter the cost.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Press HC.

YouTube Videos 
PBS game/show:
Dark Souls Montage:

The Cake is a Lie!

Gaming is one of the, if not the biggest forms of entertainment in the world today. You can now literally play a video game anywhere and any time that suits you. Gaming on mobile phones has grown in popularity in the past several years. At one point Angry Birds was one of the worlds best know video games and it originated as a casual game to play on your smart phone. It was not one of the 'blockbuster' games that major game developers spend a fortune on making and advertising. Gaming has evolved.

Gaming is such a massive part of our society now. You can almost play a game on any device you are given now. No longer do you need a TV and the latest console or even a computer to play a video game. You are able to do so in the palm of your hand. We enjoy when we are victorious at beating the game, but there are games we enjoy that we will lose at. "If you play Tetris, you are guaranteed to lose." (McGonigal, 2011, p. 24).

We still enjoy the failure as we progressed to a harder stage than before. Gaming is joyful largely as we are in control and know what is expected of use from within the game. It is the mirror opposite of our lives as we as a race have so many unanswered questions, such as what will the future hold, are we alone in the universe and is there life after death. These thoughts can easily sadden us and so therefore we play games as we are in control and know what we must do to exceed within the game's world, unlike our own real world. Also within the game's world we can be whatever we wish and aspire to be.

Vsauce- Why do we play games?

McGonigal, Jane, (2011) Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, (The Penguin Press; New York)

Video belongs to Vsauce youtube channel

In-Game Reality

No matter the age, nor genre of a game they always have similarities that are clearly outlined by Jane as voluntary participation.  The ability players have to accept and control their influence over a game whether it be story driven, or puzzle based is what drives the player into the experience.  Over time there are many games involving choice and it is one that you make for yourself, under no judgment from others you as a unique player are allowed to choose the fate of the story.  However sometimes games can take a step too far forcing players to continue down a path they may not wish to take.  An example of this would be ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’ where you had to massacre civilians in an airport.  It was only after massive outrage the studio allowed players the ability to skip the mission.
Every game has a set goal and these unnecessary obstacles drive us forward to continue playing.  When they win a race, obtain the highest score a player can gain a sense of achievement, but one could argue whether it is false.  In actuality why should winning a real game of tennis be any more fulfilling than a computer game of tennis? Whether it be real or computer generated tennis is still a game that involves a pointless level of fun, but there is nothing wrong with that.  A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism…and enjoy.” (McGonigal, 2011)
The enjoyment felt from gaming isn’t simply because its fun but the lack of pressure involved.  Games are in fact hard work but classified as fun because when, “we do hard work that we care about, we are priming our minds for happiness.” (McGonigal 2011)  When we enjoy something it doesn’t mean hard work and dedication didn’t get us there.  With games, failure is an illusion.  Dying, or failing an objective is a mere setback and while it may be hard work, we are willing to try again because we have the option to, which is more uncommon in life.

McGonical, J (2011) Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and Why Can Change the World.  Penguin Press HC.

Infinity Ward, 2009, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Computer and Console Game, Multiple Formats, Activision.

Who needs instructions!

Jane McGonigal states to us what that "all games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation." (McGonigal, 2011, p.21) 

Without rules it would make the goal very easy to achieve as it would be basic, as in the example McGonigal talks about golf, as it is very easy to simply put the ball in the hole with your hand when your standing beside it but when you add the rules that you must hit the ball with a golf club and that you have to be at a certain distance from the hole this is what makes the game hard. It is the hardness that we thrive for as "in a good computer or video game you’re always playing on the very edge of your skill level, always on the brink of falling off. When you do fall off, you feel the urge to climb back on." (McGonigal, 2011, p.24) So basically a game isn't a good game unless we are always pushing ourselves. Feedback is also what keeps the addiction for us as throughout the game we are always able to see the goal and see how far we are to the goal this makes us want to achieve the goal and not let the game win.

"Games today come in more forms, platforms, and genres than at any other time in human history." (McGonigal, 2011, p.20) Gaming has evolved so fast from the beginning of gaming. It has evolved that quickly that we don't even play games in the same way in which we first begun. In games such as portal as Jane McGonigal puts the point forward that "Traditionally, we have needed instructions in order to play a game. But now we’re often invited to learn as we go."(McGonigal, 2011, p.26) This just proves that we as a culture and society have become more advanced and more creative in the fact that we no longer want to know how things work or how to do it but that we like the challenge and self satisfaction from working it out yourself and just basically trying to achieve the goal before you no the goal. 

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Penguin Press HC.


The Game of Life

Millions of people prefer spending time in the virtual gaming world instead of in reality, leading to a great deal of moral debates on the value of games. However, the consequences of games should not be questioned, but rather reality itself. According to McGonigal (2011, p.20), there is something wrong with reality and games should be used to fix it.

In order to do this, there should be a clear understanding of what a game exactly is. Jane McGonigal proposes a definition that does not connect games to a certain medium. Rather, she argues that all games structure experience in a unique way (McGonigal, 2011, p.21). According to McGonigal (2011, p.21), “what defines a game are the goal, the rules, the feedback system, and voluntary participation. Everything else is an effort to reinforce and enhance these four core elements”. In this respect, gaming can be understood as accomplishing unnecessary hard work voluntarily. Doing nothing does not make people happy. Individuals need challenges or diverse kinds of hard work at the right time for the right person (McGonigal, 2011, p.29). This is something that reality cannot offer, but games can. Gaming makes a player experience positive stress and pride and this results in happiness.

To fix reality, parts of games should be included into our daily lives to make it more challenging. This phenomenon is called gamification and relies on the intrinsic motivation of an individual. An example of this is Foursquare, where people can check into locations. The goal is to become major of a certain place, while feedback is received through badges which function as rewards for users. In this way, gamification could also be used to create more engagement in education and organizations.

Nevertheless, this is a too idealistic prospect since problems can arise with the voluntarily aspect. Moreover, the main problem remains the ambiguity of the definition of games. There is disagreement on the term, resulting in the adoption of diverse strategies for solving cultural problems.


McGonigal, J., (2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Press HC.

Using Games To Our Advantage

McGonigal sets out that all games, no matter which medium they exist in or how complex or simple they are, consist of four traits that define them. These are “a goal, rules, a feedback system and voluntary participation.” (McGonigal, 2011, p.21) The goal is the end target the player wants to reach, the rules restrict how the player can go about completing these targets, making them harder than they would otherwise be. The feedback system is a way of showing how the player is doing or if they’re doing something correctly, from a point tally or rewards. The voluntary participation might be the most important aspect of games in that the player has no need to play if they don’t want to, this is what sets it apart from work that must be done and is a chore because of it.

This simple definition of what a game actually is makes it easier for us to understand them and how they do so well at making us complete tasks. “Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” (Suits, B. 2005: 54-55)

If every day work that has real world value, compared to todays games, can be altered to meet these four key traits to make them fun and effectively turn them into games, people would be happier and more productive at the same time. As a well known line from Mary Poppins says “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - SNAP - the job's a game!” (Mary Poppins, 1964). This is gamification and it’s frequently something parents do to get their children to do chores. This would give us voluntary hard work that has real value to the world, but that people would actually like to complete rather than dreading and putting off for as long as possible “it turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work.” (McGonigal, 2011, p.28) If this work also challenges us instead of always being the same, we enjoy it far more. Games challenge us in ways real life doesn’t and the challenge is something we enjoy the most which is why we enjoy games so much.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Penguin Press HC.
Suits, B. (2005) The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, Broadview Press.

Mary Poppins (1964) Directed by Robert Stevenson [DVD] Walt Disney Productions, USA

Beyond the Gameboy

Jane McGonigal identifies the "four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation", which combine to give a representation of what makes a game in our culture (McGonical, 2011, pg.21). She identifies how games fill a need in our lives which reality simply can not fill, we voluntarily seek out a new world of make believe because our own reality isn't as satisfying.

As Roger Caillois notes this in his book 'Man, Play and Games',"Play is... an activity which is essentially: Free (voluntary), [separate in time and space], uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, make believe"(Caillois, 1961, pg 10-11).

The mundane tasks of everyday life such as a secretary typing the same content day after day provides no stimulation, no challenge, no enjoyment. In our work we fulfill our designated tasks, even when we complete our goals there is still no obvious signs of gratification, games provide this sense of appreciation through the "feedback system" (McGonical, 2011,pg.21). Feedback in games provides immediate gratification, giving the user a sense of pride, or "fiero" to encourage further game play but in some cases the prospect of further game play is even more gratifying (McGonical, 2011, pg.33). As when we enter the game "space", we enter a new reality which ends when the game ends, identifying the popularity of continuous games such as Tetris.

 It is interesting that we enjoy the restrictions in games but not in reality. The restrictions in games challenges us to be more active, to improve our skills, to succeed, while restrictions in reality stop us from deviating and engaging in society in ways we shouldn't. Although Caillois argues game play is "unproductive", I feel the positive emotional state which it evokes is an important tool for helping us cope with the unsatisfactory truth of reality. As McGonigal notes "It is an extremely powerful tool for participation and motivating hard work" (McGonical, 2011, pg.33). Games can improve our teamwork skills through multi-player game play, our sense of timing and accuracy in games such as Tetris, as well as puzzle solving skills to move to the next level, always prompting us to improve which then reflects in reality.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Press HC.
Caillois, Rodger. (1961) Man, Play, and games. The Free Press, glencoe, New York

The quest for a suitable defintion

In her first chapter of “Reality is broken”, Jane McGonigal provides us a wide ranging definition of games by defining four traits of this concept: a goal, rules, a feedback system and voluntary participation (McGonigal, 2011, pp. 20-21). This definition is a very useful starting point, but one might be able to add various other characteristics.
          To start with, McGonigal rejects ‘winning’ as a specific trait. She argues that there are games you simply cannot win, such as Tetris, as therefore it is not a universal characteristic (McGonigal, 2011, p. 24). However, this could be contradicted. In her terms, ‘winning’ would be defined as ‘ending the game and reaching the goal as intended by the game itself’. But winning could also be regarded otherwise, namely by reaching a goal you set up for yourself, for example breaking your own record, or breaking your friend’s record. There is always some sort of ‘winning’ in each game: you would, for instance, mainly replay Tetris to get further than you got last time. In that way, winning becomes a universal aspect of every game.
          Furthermore, ‘level of skills’ could be added to the list. A game always sets up a specific level of particular skills a player is required to have to be able to play it. This too is a universal characteristics of games. You might think of a cognitive skill (when the game demands some sort of thinking) or a mobile skill (when the game demands you to be maneuverable) and so on. You cannot play a game of Monopoly without the ability to move your hands, or without thinking about the strategies you’re applying.
          Grasping all the aspects of an abstract concept such as games is a difficult task. Although McGonigal’s definition of games is very extensive, narrowing down the concept to four traits might be too ambitious. This list is to be further complemented.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Penguin Press HC, (pp. 19-34).

Reality is Broken four defining traits

In culture it is associated that games are a form of pastime entertainment, although society is against them. The indications of games are often connected with players how are immovable form the playing screen until they get to the next level, highest score or complete the mission, therefore manufacturing the player to become a competitive person, doing the best of their ability on achieving whatever it requires on prevailing goals.

"the stereotype that gamers are highly competitive people who care more about winning than anything else."( McGonigal, 2011, p.24)

 McGonigal's four traits of the definition of a game are a goal, a rule, the feedback system and the voluntary participation. Here the author's first trait is a goal, which gives the plaer a sense of purpose. The goal provides motivation for the player to achieve specific missions within the game. This indication creates the sense to players sending more time on games that in real life.

She continues with rules which are set of instructions that player most obeyed by to succeed goal. Challenging the player to reflect their options on overcoming the hurdles of the contest, illustrating as a player accepting the way in which the game should be played fairly. However players will try finding ways of breaking the rules.

"They unleash creativity and foster strategic thinking" (McGonigal, 2011, p.21)

Fallow by feedback system which encourage players to keep on playing, this is attained by rewarding the players with passage to the next levels, points or a scores. In turn keep the player inspired on succeeding completion. These possess motivation for players on striving for accomplishment, although inhabiting personal strengths and weaknesses not knowing when to stop.

These in concludes voluntary participation that all players accept that the game will contain challenges to overcome, along with independence consent of staying or leaving the game at any time.

As many features that are related with games complement the four defining traits are the mean selection found in every game.

"Everything else is an effort to reinforce and enhance these four core elements "(McGonigal, 2011, p.21)

McGonigal, J.(2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Press HC.


Besides providing a definition for games, McGonigal (2011, pp.19-22) writes about stepping away from the negative bias on games and explains their usefulness in this first chapter of Reality is Broken. She argues that our everyday lives are rather boring (McGonigal, 2011, p.29), but games on the other hand are much more exciting with their intensive feedback and goals with reward systems. Our daily routine would be more interesting if it was more like a game: instead of "reminding each other: This isn't a game. We can actively start encouraging people (...): This could be a game" (McGonigal, 2011, p.34). Indeed it could be a good idea to see 'useful' things such as studying, charity work, recycling or our daily jobs more as games.

This is the idea of gamification. In his TEDx talk, author Gabe Zichermann describes this as "the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to engage audienes and solve problems" (TEDx Youth, 2011). An example of gamification could be Duolingo, a website on which people can learn a new language. Duolingo tries to make this difficult task more interesting by adding game elements that are also described by McGonigal (2011, p.21), such as an extensive feedback system and clear goals. By being able to compare your progress with friends or by receiving rewards for coming back every day, Duolingo users can also experience fiero (McGonigal, 2011, p.33), making learning more exciting and game-like.

However, the idea that this sort of gamification could for instance revolutionise eduction might be utopian, because it does not fit in McGonigal's (2011, p.21) definition of a game, namely when gamification is part of school or a job it is not voluntary participation anymore. We normally like a game because we can choose to do and to stop doing its work (McGonigal, 2011, pp.21-22). With educational or professional gamification this is not the case. Furthermore, in these cases the 'game' has real life consequences so the stress it produces is not eustress anymore (McGonigal, p.32). In other words: for now it seems that Gamification might help people do useful things, but only if they choose to do them, otherwise it does not classify as a game.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Press HC.
TEDx Youth (2011) TEDxKids@Brussels - Gabe Zichermann - Gamification [online] Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2013).

What Makes A Game?

In describing what exactly makes a game, McGonigal argues that all games consist of "four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system and voluntary participation" (2011 pp. 21). Taking these in turn, she goes on to describe these four fundamental aspects and their relationships with each other, with the objective of showing just how similar games are at the most primitive level.

Firstly, the goal is described as being "the specific outcome that players will work to achieve" (McGonigal, 2011 pp. 21). The goal, then, simply represents the main objective of the game, for example in rugby union the objective is to score more points than the opposing team to win, or perhaps in a first-person shooter such as Call of Duty, the main objective of the game requires the player to move from point A to B while completing sub-objectives along the way.

Of course, to make things fair for all players, rules must be drawn up and adhered to, allowing them to participate and experience the game on an equal footing. Rules "place limitations on how players can achieve the goal [and therefore] foster strategic thinking" (ibid.). This strategic thinking enables different tactics to be introduced and employed, for example using different approach methods in Call of Duty to reach certain objectives.

These varying strategies can be rewarded through the numerous methods of feedback employed by games. In addition to this, feedback is used to maintain player participation and represents an effective means of telling players how far they are from attaining their objective. In relation to video games like Call of Duty, this feedback system usually appears in the form of an objective list and updates in relation to player progress. Feedback is important for games, acting as "a promise to the players that the goal is definitely achievable [as well as providing] motivation to keep playing" (ibid.).

The final doctrine relates to voluntary participation which, according to McGonigal, "requires that everyone who is playing the game knowingly and willingly accepts the goal, the rules and the feedback" (ibid.). This simply highlights the fact that participation is not compulsory, affording "common ground for multiple people to play together" (ibid.) and ensures that "stressful and challenging work is experienced as safe and pleasurable" (ibid.).

McGonigal, J. (2011) Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (New York: Penguin)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Reality May Be Broken, But 'Other Reality' Is Coming To An End

Jane McGonigal opens the first chapter of her 'Reality is Broken' book with a quote from Bernard Suits about the definition of a game.

Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles
(Suits, B. 2005: 54-55)

In his book, entitled 'The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia' Suits offers up the concept of the Lusory Attitude, which is a psychological mindset where the player will be willing to accept the rules of the game, in order the reach the goal.

"To play a game is to attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by rules, where the rules prohibit use of more efficient in favour of less efficient means, and where the rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity" (Suits, B. 2005: 54-55)

McGonigal sets out the four main aspects of a game; goal, rules, feedback and voluntary participation. The rules make the goal hard to reach, this is what challenges the player and ultimately sets out the game as a whole. Without rules, the goal would be a one move completion. Feedback is a way for a player to know how far they are through the game. 

However, feedback, in certain instances is not necessarily important, especially for the "infinite" games which James P. Carse talks about in 'Finite and Infinite Games' (1986). These games are ones which the player does not want to finish. A loose example of this is Rockstar's 'GTA V' The player wants the story to continue and want it to be very long, because once its over, their 'other reality' is gone.

Games are being seen to form the same structure, but what has been so successful about the industry is how differently this structure can be interpreted. 

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Press HC.
Suits, B. (2005, The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, Broadview Press.
Carse, J.P. (1986), Finite and Infinite Games. New York: Ballantine Books.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Interfaceless interface

Bolter discuss the indication of computer interface and how society is able to interact with graphical user interface, as the ionic tools sure as buttons are starting to become more invisible. This indicates that this is not a real concern, with mass culture is growing up with these changes of interface the user adapt quickly. The fact is that society is aware of how to browse repeatedly throughout various transparent interfaces, without clear indication of navigation.

'Immediacy is supposed to make this computer interface "natural" rather than arbitrary." (Bolter, 2000, p.23)

Alberti's window theory is an opening window to allow the user to view the  subject, for instance video games that are played on the Wii, acquires the user interacting with the virtual self. This is so user would interact with objects on screen the same way that they would in the real world, allowing the user to move natural around the interface through the platform, by controlling their own input from the controls. The games are noticeably assembled with programming although creating a cyberspace of ourselves, however the transparent interface leaves the user unsure of what is real.

'technology is taking people beyond and through the display screen into virtual world' (Rheingold, 2000, p.29)

As society involvement through new media which allows the user to be interacting all the time, through new devise such as mobile phones. Often such as paintings that are place in new digital format give raise on creating a different set of meaning through the convention of how the content is display. Therefore the content is not interpreted the same.

'the representation of one medium in another'(Bolter, 2000. p.45)

Jenkins discussion media convergence of 'multiple black boxes', number of devices that society access information, whereas Bolter view on how the user of the devices is able to interact to technology that the interface takes the user into the cyberspace that is much similar to the real world. New media such as second screen experience blurs the line of what is real and unreal, where the user can interact more with the characters' lives on primary text through various interaction interfaces that seem real.

'Media convergence is more than simply a technological shift' (Jenkins, 2006, p.15) 


Bolter. J.D. (2000)  Remediation: Understanding New Media New Ed. MIT Press.

Jenkins. H . (2006) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide Revised. NYU Press.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Immediacy media

"Virtual reality is immersive, which means that it is a medium whose purpose is to disappear." (Bolter, 2000, p. 21)

Immediacy media is the attempt to try and convince the user of the technology that it is not a machine but is instead just a natural process of life. It attempts to hide any evidence that it is a machine doing different functions but is a living organism that can do what you want it to in the easiest possible way it can. It leads you into a false sense that it is not in fact going through designed programmes that it has been made to follow but instead, seamlessly does them as if it was breathing for you or I.  

Furthermore other technologies such as smart phones we can also witness the seamless nature that we have become use to in our devices. With the touch screen that the majority of smartphones use today we can do whatever we want with just one swipe of out finger. As use the touch screen it feels a though the movements of our fingers on it is more natural than pressing a button. We now do not see it as a device but as an extension of ourselves.

"... ten years ago we thought of computers exclusively as numerical engines... we now think of them also as devices for generating images..." (Bolter, 2000, p. 23)

Computers now appear to us to be more like canvas' to create new pieces of art, instead of the powerful calculators that they originally were designed as. We begin to see them as creative tools that we can use to help express ourselves in new ways. We can use them to create pieces of art that appear to be as realistic as possible without having to use another piece of technology such as a camera to take a photograph with. Tecnology has evolved over the years to become more than a machine, it can now be seen as a brand new creative organism.

Bolter, J. D., (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media, MIT Press

Remediation, Hypermediacy and Immediacy

Bolter talks of remediation as new media keeping certain roots to its developed past. Remediation being "rivalry between the new media and the old" (Bolter, 2000 p.45) . Bolter suggests older mediums can be accessed through digitization on a computer screen but being transparent allowing the viewer to attempt to have the same experiences as they would with the original medium. Manovich argues that New Media is the digitization through numerical representation, modularity automation, variability and transcoding. If using Manovich's suggested principles of new media, Bolter couldn't argue his case for an original experience from an older media reprocessed on a new medium.

Having access to so many forms of media, from old to new, manifests into Hypermedia. An example would be through the use of new media technologies such as watching Television, Surfing the web and listening to music at the same time. Older mediums hympermediacy would be physical and representational through "stained glass, relief statuary, and inscriptions" (Bolter, 2000 p.34). Bolter also suggests we can see hypermedia within paintings much like a desktop of the computer. The example given is in Dutch "art of describing" being "absorbed and captured multiple media and multiple forms in oil. Much like the oil paintings, computers emphasis the idea of hypermedia, using multiple windows, and multiple recreations of images, pictures and paintings.

Taking from Debra Shaw's Technoculture, the idea that media creates ideologies through the development of technologies. Our hypermedia society we live in with the over crowded market of ideologies created by immediacy through the likes of musicians. Musicians such as Bruce Springsteen or Beyonce. Bruce Springsteen with his muscular but sensitive presence, and Beyonce with a strong feminine prowless. Like with the dutch oil paintings and technological advancements allowing corporations to go after ideologies "sought to satisfy this same desire" (Bolter, 2000 p.24). With digital technology it still uses the same immediacys although in a dffferent stance. Using the same connotations as we would use in everyday life, "Trash" or "Recycle Bin" for a digital files to be deleted, we put food and paper in to there respective trash cans or recycle bins.


Bolter, J.D., (2000). Remediation: Understanding New Media New Ed., MIT Press.

Shaw, D. (2008). Technoculture: The Key Concepts; Oxford Berg Press

Manovich, L. (2001). The Language of New Media. MIT Press.

Breaking Barriers

As I study immediacy, I find myself compelled to read further into its influence over us throughout history.  From one time to another we have grown to expect immediacy in almost everything we involve ourselves in.  Paintings to photography, film, computer animation and games, we have broken down the barrier of limited perspective in an art form.  With photography and film there is a limitation automatically set by the photographer/director so that our perspective is solely focused on what they want us to see.  It was considered by many including Bazin that, “photography and cinema…are discoveries that satisfy, once and for all and in its very essence, our obsession with realism.” (Bazin, 2004) 

It’s apparent this ideology couldn’t be farther from the truth as now we crave for greater and greater levels of immediacy to satisfy our thirst-quenching need for more.  Once computer animation and gaming reached new heights we find ourselves going through the virtual window and able to accomplish what we couldn’t before, getting a full 360 degree turn of our surroundings and breaking down any fourth wall previously set by the producer of the content.  Even with computer gaming a simple use of a mouse and keyboard gives us the ability to accomplish incredible feats otherwise impossible in reality.  Ever more interesting is that it won’t stop here, as content manufacturers improve upon elements within their games by providing various items and clothing to increase our feeling of individuality and keep us involved in a ‘second life’.  Ironically these is in fact an open world game online with the very same title that takes these very same methods to take people away from reality and use real money to fund their ‘fake’ life.

We are surrounded by various technologies, “that millions of viewers today find compelling,” but with each passing day we have a growing desire for more immersive experiences. It is because of this I can’t help but question whether we have come too far to take a U-turn and learn to live without our need for immediacy or if we are doomed to never be truly satisfied.


Bazin, Andre. 2004) The Ontology of the Photographic Image (Oxford, Oxford University Press) Cited in Bolter, J.D. (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media (pg 26)

Bolter, J.D. (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media (Cambridge, Mass; London: MIT Press)

One to Another

"The representation of one medium in another" (Bolter, 2000 pg 45.) This is talking about the fact that we no longer just use are phone as a conventional ring and message it has now become our lives. We find ourselves not simply watching television we find ourselves watching it but also on our phones at the same time. It has come to the point where it just doesn't seem good enough to watch a television but that we now have to be on our phones checking Facebook or on twitter. We even find ourselves turned into cyborgs by the fact that we don't even read things on Facebook we find ourselves sitting there pointlessly scrolling.

We find that old media such as the television has been transformed as we can now interact with it bringing television from old media into the new media with the whole thought of second screens coming along but we find that second screening isn't enough any more as there is people out there who are trying to make a third or even fourth screen for us as become more and more active. 'At some point in the future we'll start thinking more strategically about the marketing value associated with a second or multi-screen content experience.' ( Forbes. 2012. The Big Problem with the Second Screen. [ONLINE] Available)

So we now find ourselves not happy with the conventional way of viewing but that we have to make our lives around phones and new media. Its like the fact when you are out with your friend you don't spend your unconditional attention to them but i bet that you are texting the whole time and eve on Facebook when you are with your friends. We never actually leave our phones down anymore. New media has took over society and culture as we know it.


Forbes. 2012. The Big Problem with the Second Screen. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 06 November 13].

Bolter, J.D. (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media (Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press)

Invisible Interfaces

Bolter talks a lot about computer interfaces such as the Desktop (GUI) replacing command line interface and says that transparent immediacy has the goal of completely hiding the interface and allowing the viewer direct contact with the media.

“In this sense a transparent interface would be one that erases itself, so that the user is no longer aware of confronting a medium, but instead stands in an immediate relationship to the contents of that medium.” (Bolter, 2000, p.24) For those of us that have grown up with computers and digital media, the idea of an interface without icons, buttons or windows to navigate is quite strange and hard to imagine. We’ve grown so used to this interface we often forget it’s there. They have become second nature to us. That we have to learn how to use computers rather than have the innate ability to interact with them as we would objects in every day life, tells us that these interfaces are unnatural. “Nevertheless, the possibilities of the windowed style have probably not been fully explored and elaborated.” (Bolter, 2000, p.33)

However, technology is now at a stage where virtual reality is now becoming possible, where a person can become completely immersed in a virtual world that has little to no interface but is instead controlled by the body of the person using it. A good example of this is the Oculus Rift headpiece that allows you to see almost your full natural field of vision in the game you play, but also control where the camera points by turning your head to where you want to look instead of using an analogue controller.

As New Media exists solely on technology, we interact with it via interfaces. When one medium is represented in another, it’s called remediation (Bolter, 2000, p.45) so the same could be said of a painting given a digital form. Manovich calls this change from Old to New Media, transcoding (Manovich, 2002, p.63). We go from being able to interact with the physical object naturally to having to interact through an interface which is unnatural though as technology improves along with our understanding of it, that interface can be come transparent.

Bolter J.D, (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media New Ed. (MIT Press)
Manovich, L (2002) What is New Media and Principles of New Media from the Language of New Media (Cambridge, Mass :London MIT Press)

Virtual Reality

According to Bolter (2000, p.45), new digital media are characterized by remediation.  Remediation denotes that a new medium stays connected with its older form in a certain manner. Although still defined in terms of its predecessor, each new medium  promises an improvement by offering more transparency (Bolter, 2000, p.46). This implies that new media technology wants to offer an immediate experience in which there is a direct relationship between the user and the content of a medium (Bolter, 2000, p.24). This transparent and immediate experience is the goal of virtual reality.

Virtual reality relies on the principle of the Albertian window. Alberti wanted to achieve transparency in his paintings by using the linear perspective, which gave rise to a certain depth in his works (Bolter, 2000, p.24). The painting could be regarded as an open window through which the subject was seen. In this context, looking through is not similar to looking at, for example, a television. ‘Looking through’ can be found in the field of computer games, where it is now made possible to look through the eyes of a fictional character. Virtual reality wishes to go even further by trying to make the interface invisible e.g. virtual reality glasses such as The Oculus Rift.  This device allows gamers to control the game through certain head movements, leading to greater immersion into the virtual world. The player has, as it were, jumped through Alberti’s window.

In this respect, being in a virtual environment is a ‘disembodied’ experience. The mind is completely immersed into a virtual world in which the body can be seen as obsolete (Shaw, 2008, p.81). However, virtual reality can simultaneously be understood as an embodied experience, since it feels ‘real’ to the user. Meredith Bricken (1990) states that “cyberspace participants interact directly with the virtuality to experience the embodiment of the application. This environment is ‘as if real’.”  This embodiment can lead to what Biocca (1997) calls the cyborg’s dilemma:

 “The more natural the interface the more “human” it is, the more it adapts to the human body and mind. The more the interface adapts to the human body and mind, the more the body and mind adapts to the non-human interface. Therefore, the more natural the interface, the more we become “unnatural,” the more we become cyborgs.”

Nevertheless, virtual reality has not yet achieved complete transparency due to obstructing elements. However, Erkki Huhtamo (1999, p.42) argues that “technology is gradually becoming a second nature, a territory both external and internalised, and an object of desire. There is no need to make it transparent any longer, simply because it is not felt to be in contradiction to the ‘authenticity’ of the experience.”


Biocca, F. (1997) The Cyborg's Dilemma: Progressive Embodiment in Virtual Environments, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(0).

Bricken, M. (1991). Virtual worlds: No interface to design. In M. Benedikt (Ed.),Cyberspace: First steps (pp. 363–382). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bolter, J.D., (2000). Remediation: Understanding New Media New Ed., MIT Press.

Shaw, D. (2008). Technoculture: The Key Concepts; Oxford Berg Press