Kelgray and Beyond

int game_engine(void) {

Video Game Influenced Psychology

Well it’s been a while I know, but I am indeed alive, just busy with SAIT, design, spinning, and learning XNA Games Studio Express to use with Crowded Games, but I’ve been hit with inspiration and I needed a place to voice my opinions so I’m back with the bloging. What I’ve been thinking about is the reasons that my behaviour follows certain patterns, and how those behaviours came to be. More specifically, I noticed that I’d been doing a lot of work for school which either wasn’t for marks or which wasn’t due for a long time, even though I did have projects with more pressing deadlines. I first noticed it when I wrote a fairly lengthly response in the Business Relations forums to a post which was optional, but had not yet responded to the one which I was supposed to have done earlier but hadn’t been able to do since I didn’t have access to the forums until just recently.

The two tasks weren’t all that different. They probably took about the same amount of brain power and effort,
and yet I did the less important one before the important one. Once I started thinking about it I began to see all sorts of similar activities. Working on my programming assignment which hasn’t even been assigned yet before the small activity that we were asked to do for next class. In each case I did meet my deadline, but in each case I procrastinated on the more pressing material and focused on the optional things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this all the time (I’m not that much of a procrastinator), it only seems to happen in cases where I have plenty of time available before my deadline comes, but in those cases it seems to happen often.

As I explored the question further, I began to see similar behaviour in a lot of my friends and colleagues, though it seemed to be somewhat generational. The baby boomers, for the most part, not only seemed to do things differently, they didn’t even seem to understand why someone would do that. I pondered how this behaviour might have been learned by searching for similar patterns in activities which I partook in during my more formative years, especially ones which people like my parents probably partook in less if at all, and I thought of video games.

Now I’m not talking about all video games. I’m sure my parents visited the arcade more than once in their younger years. What I’m referring to are trends which began to pop up in video games more and more as systems got more advanced and it became easier to make more complex games (and then, unfortunately, less as games become more focused on graphics and less on length and content). More specifically, I’m talking about things such as side quests. Taking RPGs as an example, there are often quests you can complete or items you can find which will improve your character, but which are not essential to the plot. I thought about how these tasks are prioritized by the player. Often in games you cannot go back and complete one or more sidequests after passing a certain point in the main plot (or at least you can’t for a certain length of time, or it becomes a tedious task to travel back to where the quest is, or any other number of barriers which make completing that task inconvenient). So as we go through the games we learn that if we complete the less important tasks first then we will be better equipped to complete the important ones.

And it’s not just limited to RPGs. There are similar traits in many other genres as well. There are secret areas and bonus levels in all sorts of games which apply the same concept: Put off your primary task temporarily in order to make yourself stronger. So we have the same situation for your character in the game as I did with my homework above, but with a slight difference. When you complete a primary task in a game, the task is completed, you do not need to return to it. In academia, for example, if we finish an assignment early then we can still edit it and improve on it until the due date arrives. Regardless of that fact, however, I think that the principles that the games taught our psyches as children are fairly sound. It’s the idea of doing something right the first time, so that less editing needs to be done afterwards, which helps to keep things as clean as possible. By completing smaller and less important tasks before my major ones I’m increasing my knowledge of the subject matter and how to apply what I’ve learned to what I’m doing. Of course editing and polishing still need to be done, but by doing a better job on the first draft it should improve the flow of the structure of the assignment and reduce the amount of assignments which need to be done a second time from scratch.

Just an idea I was playing with today. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

January 19, 2008 Posted by | Games, Logic, Philosophy, Psychology, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Videogames | 1 Comment

The End of a Theory

I thought I’d finish up my writings on the Charactorial Theory of Roleplaying Games here.  I actually came up with the conclusion a while ago but didn’t really want to admit it.  Truth is, the theory doesn’t work.  No theory works.  Roleplaying games can’t be defined universally, if for no other reason than the definition of ‘game’ itself is still up in the air.  The best theory I can think of as to whether a computer game is a roleplaying game or not, is the subjective theory which would be that a game is a roleplaying game if and only if you(personally)  play a character while you are playing through it.  Which can include many games that would not be thought of as roleplaying games for some people and disclude games that are thought of as roleplaying games for other people.

I hate having to go back to the subjective argument for anything, but unfortunately, in this case, I think that it’s a necessity.  We simply aren’t going to figure it out, and we have to understand that it’s all based on each person’s individual thoughts about a game.

July 11, 2007 Posted by | Epistomology, Games, Logic, Philosophy, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Videogames | Leave a comment

The Charactorial Theory of Roleplaying Games

Last time I started to talk about the Charactorial Theory o f Roleplaying Games, but I left the definition of what that is somewhat vague.  So now let’s explore it a bit further and see if we can make this work as a solution to the demarcation of roleplaying games.

 So the Characrtorial Theory of Roleplaying Games states that a game is a roleplaying game if and only if you are able to define your character through the game mechanics.  So let’s start by defining what’s meant by game mechanics.  If this term is used too loosely then any game that allows you to enter a description about your character would be included, so we have to be a bit more specific and say that it is the in-game mechanics that matter.  That is to say the part of the game where you actually consider yourself to be playing, rather than the part where you are setting yourself up, getting ready to play.  So the actual character creation part of any game would be excluded in the Charactorial theory of roleplaying games.  Which would mean that according to this theory, it wouldn’t matter what “class” of character you are, be it mage, thief, warrior, etc.  The game mechanics that are set up because of the character creation, therefore, also wouldn’t matter, as we would say that you would simply be playing a different version of the game.  Basically, if your character relies on the game mechanics for his/her definition, then the game mechanics cannot rely on your character for theirs.  One or the other has to come first, and so we’re saying that the game mechanics must come first and the character be made out of them. Continue reading

April 25, 2007 Posted by | Epistomology, Ethics, Fallout, Games, Metaphysics, Oblivion, Philosophy, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Technology, Videogames | 6 Comments

Philosophy of Video Games

Or more accurately, the philosophy of RPG video games.  After spending a small amount of time in Bethesda’s Fallout 3 forums I found a point where two of my passions meet.  Philosophy and videogames. I wanna try to demarcate an RPG and a non-RPG.  Now we could start here with a history of videogames and the RPG genre, but instead let’s start at the present.  Games as they are now.  What makes a game a roleplaying game?

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April 23, 2007 Posted by | Ethics, Fallout, Games, Logic, Philosophy, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Videogames | 5 Comments

A Continuation From Miniskirts

So now I’m stuck in this religious philosophy frame of mind so I figured I’d take my last post a bit further and try to sort some more things out.  In my last post I came down to the idea that in order for the Ontological argument for God’s existence to be true, one must be able to come up with a proof that shows that there is no set of properties that would negate existence and that would be better than existence.


So the next question to ask is that if something does not exist, then does it have to fall under the rules of logic?  For instance.  We know that it is not possible for something that exists to be both red and not-red at the same time. (that is to say that it is red and it is not the case that it is red, not simply that it is something other than red for it is possible for something to be red and something other than red at the same time, but it’s not possible for it to be red if it has no red in it).  But is it possible for something that doesn’t exist to be both red and not red?  Since we’re living within the rules of logic we’d have to say that no it can’t as contradictions are not logically possible.  Which means that my original question now becomes somewhat moot for if omniscience and free-will are inconsistent in existence, then surely they would be inconsistent in non-existence as well.


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February 17, 2007 Posted by | God, Logic, Metaphysics, Miniskirts, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Miniskirts, Beer, and God

Okay, first of all I got a disclaimer to put out there.  I am not taking a religious view of God in this article.  I’m going to speak of God in a purely philosophical manner.  In no way am I saying that I believe in God or that I do not believe in God.  I’m simply putting the argument out there.

That being said, I’m gonna talk about the miniskirt argument against the Ontological argument for God’s existence.  Now I think a little exposition is in order before I start talking about the argument itself.  The miniskirt argument was first created by myself and Brian Greenslade in the Liberty Lounge at Mount Royal College.  The purpose of coming up with the argument, at the time, was simply so that we’d be able to drink beer in class.  The beer in class argument went something along the lines of, our argument against the Ontological argument for God’s existence deals with miniskirts.   You can’t have in-depth discussions about miniskirts without beer, therefore we necessarily must bring beer to class in order to fully discuss the topics that we are supposed to discuss.  We never actually got around to giving that argument to the prof I don’t think, but it was a damned good idea if I do say so myself.

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February 16, 2007 Posted by | Beer, God, Logic, Metaphysics, Miniskirts, Philosophy, Writings | 13 Comments

Philosophy of Language

Once again I’m going to exercise my right as an undergraduate philosopher to talk out of my ass without having to worry about plagiarizing by accidentally talking about something that someone else came up with.  What I’m talking about today is a topic that I started thinking about after visiting The Force Holocron and reading a post about the identity theory of truth.  Now I’ve personally always been a firm believer in the correspondence theory of truth (the idea that a statement is true if it corresponds to a fact), but that’s mostly been because it’s been the best theory that I’ve yet come across.  The identity theory of truth is something more along the lines of a statement’s truth depends on the truth value of its bearer (a proposition for example).  The idea of the identity theory of truth is to get around the fact that with the correspondence theory of Truth, the statement itself does not contain truth.  I thought about this for a while and decided that that is not inconsistent with the way that I see things.

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February 15, 2007 Posted by | Computer Programming, Generalities, Language, Philosophy, Technology | 4 Comments

A defence for Dane Cook

Seems as though lately there’s a mob growing who claim that Dane Cook steals material.  You can take a look at the so-called “damning evidence” here and decide for yourselves.  Personally I don’t see actual material that’s been stolen.  Yes there are asides that are similar while he discuses similar subject matter, but the subject matter itself is matter that is discussed across the board in comedy routines.  It looks to me like nitpicking.  Like saying that Dave Chappelle stole material from Richard Pryor by doing an imitation of a white man in a similar fashion.  It’s silly.  But the main argument against this mob is simple.  If this was actually the case, why hasn’t someone credible covered it?  Who do these bloggers think they are?  The speak as though their Internet-based research is just as reliable as someone interviewing each comedian (or, at the very least, each comedian’s publicist) and getting their points of view on the entire situation.

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February 14, 2007 Posted by | Dane Cook, Generalities, Movies, Philosophy, Popular People | Leave a comment