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Title: - The Medium Is Not The Message  •  Size: 80478

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  •    The Medium Is Not The Message  
    Monday, February 13 2006 @ 08:49 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Explain this to me:

    My kids have a Gamecube hooked up to a 15” LCD monitor/television in their room.

    At some point recently, the screen was damaged. And by damaged I mean that more than half the screen was illegible. The TV was trashed. You can see from the picture included here. If you look very hard you will see that the game Simpsons Hit and Run is on screen. But you have to look very hard.

    The other day I walked into the kid’s room to discover that one of my sons was playing Hit and Run, on the broken screen. Apparently he could see just enough to sort of drive around the town—perhaps simulating driving a car with severe glaucoma.

    At first, I thought this was an obsessive, or maybe desperate, attempt at entertainment. But my house is filled with games and alternative game systems—including Game Boys and Game Boy Advances among other things. A game critic’s kids are never at a loss for videogame fun. Then, a few days later, I witnessed another kid playing at the house, working his way through Hit and Run on the damaged screen. I asked them what they were doing and they said, “Playing a game.” It was if they didn’t notice most of the graphics were gone.

    So, the question I have is this—What’s going on here? Is McLuhan wrong, is the message just more important than the medium? Or is this the perfect example that McLuhan is right—these kids would rather mess with the medium, even when the message is garbled?


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    The Medium Is Not The Message
    Authored by: dococtorock on Friday, February 24 2006 @ 05:05 PM UTC
    This has nothing to do with McLuhan. "The medium is the
    message" means that an idea is inextricable from its manner of
    expression. Whatever your kids are experiencing through the
    broken television IS different – a different "message" – from the
    same game played through an intact television. If you really
    think a garbled picture makes no difference to your kids, stand
    in front of the screen and see how long they tolerate it.
    [ Reply to This ]
  • The Medium Is Not The Message - Authored by: David on Monday, February 27 2006 @ 04:26 AM UTC
  • The Medium Is Not The Message
    Authored by: CapCom on Saturday, February 25 2006 @ 03:09 PM UTC
    I'd say there is some sort of uniqueness to playing your favorite games a different way or through a different medium. It's like listening to a remix of your favorite song, only you aren't likely to listen through the whole thing most of the time. With visual media, particularly with manipulation of image there is a fine line between interesting and playable (like that Gameboy tool that screws up the graphics in your favorite games, making them unplayable). There is also the question of how this affects gameplay - chances are play is only going to be made more difficult or just plain weird through a distorted image (say by playing Mario on Nam Jun Paik's distorted TV - of course the ultimate would be if how you play changes the distortion of the TV). Well, more difficult unless, of course, you're playing Duck Hunt (changing your TV settings can make you hit the ducks every time simply by shooting the tree). There is also the concept of having so mastered a game that you can beat it even on a screwed up TV and with one hand tied behind your back. But if the new type of play isn't appealing or is simply unplayable, then they'll move on to something else or bug you constantly to get a new TV.

    "Until next time..."
    Captain Commando
    [ Reply to This ]
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