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Best Buy Bodhisattva

2007-12-20 18:17:13.312014+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Following up on yesterday's comment about gamers, here's the much-linked Best Buy Bodhisattva and a MetaFilter comment about a pro gamer picking up and doing something similar.

The resulting comments are interesting, I'm noticing two camps. The first comments on the kid's lack of interaction with all of the awed onlookers, but if you were looking for an attention whore you should look to professional sports or "People" magazine, he was doing what he was doing for himself. The second is about putting all of those neurons into a video game, and my reaction to that is split between "what else has your culture given him to emulate in a quest for perfection" and "this is the future, how can we put the side effects of those skills to use"?

[ related topics: Games Sociology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-20 18:58:12.510617+00 by: Dan Lyke

Obligatory Handbell Hero link.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-20 19:59:13.655189+00 by: Nancy

"Attention whore"? I thought I heard my name somewhere.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-21 14:05:05.153433+00 by: JT

Kids have a propensity to learn. With the new "No child gets ahead" act enacted by our glorious government, schools seem to be challenging our kids less and less. If kids aren't able to apply themselves in school because there's no challenge, they'll find a different place, such as video games. Whether it's complicated mathmatics such as the "55 farmers" of GuildWars, "stat-padding" such as in battlefield2 or "point farming" in WoW as listed previously, they will apply themselves into something interesting.

I used to play games quite a bit and even made a decent bit of money playing in tournaments with battlefield 1942, but I have made the distinction exactly as the article above. My girlfriend does very well in the games we both play, but she "makes her guy jump" on the screen, and I don't think about him jumping, I think about hitting the space bar. It's a different type of mentality, one is interacting directly with the machine, the other is controlling a virtual person to make him do what you want.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-21 16:09:30.078736+00 by: Dan Lyke

I totally found the notion dropping of narrative fascinating, especially since back when I was learning how to play an instrument (trumpet) there was much emphasis on interpreting the notes as note names, and then interpreting those names as fingerings. It allegedly makes transposition easier, but clearly these kids are skipping that intermediate step.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-21 16:48:47.651638+00 by: petronius

Here's an idea: is it easier matching your playing of an instrument visually or aurally? Do I flick my fingers differently until the note sounds right, or until some visual display says it is right? Both approaches tell me how close I am to the ideal, but is one easier to interpret than the other? "Ah, if i hold my finger this way it gets higher/bluer/more inside the center of the target, so maybe I should hold it this way + 5% to get where I want to go." Or are different people more engaged by one of the other?

Now the idea of learning note names and interpreting them as fingerings is important to a serious musician, but does the other system make it harder for them to sight-read music?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-02 08:46:43.671057+00 by: Diane Reese

OK here's an interesting test case. My younger son, Phil, is a drummer but has no musical training on other instruments. His dad plays classical, jazz, and rock guitar, though, and I (used to) play piano, so there has always been music around and reading music is a family skill. *He* does not read music, but has become quite adept at "hitting the space bar" and other mechanical reactions a la gaming expertise. He is at this moment in the other room beating Guitar Hero III on hard, having recently completed the medium difficulty. And in an interesting twist, he started playing the electric bass within the last two months. He seems able to pick out a lot of tunes and riffs I recognize, and his dad has been referring to chords and runs as "E" or "A" or "F sharp" or whatever, but I don't see lightbulbs going on over Phil's head when hearing this. The real test will come next week when he takes his first of a series of lessons, which will involve learning to read music (after he has already mastered the fake-guitar space-bar/colored-button version, and has started picking out tunes without reading music). I am curious to see whether Phil's ability to learn to read music will be helped or hindered by his previous experiences, and if anything interesting comes out of it I'll be happy to report back.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-02 15:55:25.352884+00 by: Dan Lyke

Definitely want to hear what shakes out. So far I've seen a lot of indication that it doesn't carry over from one to the other, but...

#Comment Re: made: 2008-01-02 23:41:22.492245+00 by: polly

music lessons, yep, i remember the agony of practice, practice, practice. mom thought we should learn to play the piano. the sisters and i took lessons and banged away daily...practice, practice, practice...for weeks. until the piano teacher realized that i could not read music and was playing "by ear". so ends the music lessons for me (yay). the sisters play beautifully. (yay for them!)