Is Addiction in Video Games a problem in the future?

With the development of video games, our experience in games is more real. As we can see in the documentary, video games addiction has already become a problem for some children. But whether this problem will expand in the future? If we can experience exactly the same or even better than the real world, why shouldn’t we spend more time in the sim world?

I think the reason why games are so attractive is because of its imperfect simulation. In the game Gator Hero, people react to the visual image and music by tapping the keyboard, which creates a delusion that we are creating the music. * Though players never create a music, they can gain the happiness of creating. In the newest SimCity, we can design every road, every school, every hospital and consider the welfare of out citizens. we can get a sense of achievement of creating a new city in few hours. What people really care about is always the sense of achievement instead of achievement. Though nothing real is created, we can gain happiness. Video games delete those difficult elements which exist in the real world, through which achievements become easier. What’s more, video games also delete those negative elements which may cause bad experience. In the book How do we do Things with Video Games, the author’s criticism of a notorious simulated torture game is not that it’s too realistic, but rather that it’s not realistic enough. He argues that the dangerous thing is to depict torture as a pleasantly sanitized activity; if we could live through an accurately simulated experience, we probably wouldn’t want to do it and we would oppose torture more strongly. *

Another factor that influences our experience is the level of visual reality. As we can see in the official trailer of SimCity and The Sims, everything looks so real. Perhaps in the near future, we can get extremely similar experience in the video games as we experience in the real world, especially with the development of virtual reality technology.

The real world is much harder than the simulated one. Too many people can’t get a sense of achievement in the real world. However, games are much easier. We can make a “big achievement” with little efforts. I think video games potentially provides us an opportunity to flee away from the real world.  “Internet addiction is not an illness, but a phenomenon”, a child in the documentary said. I totally agree with this idea. I think the reason why we addict in video games is because we can get what we lose in the real world from video games. As we can observe, video games are not like heroin, which causes indistinctive addiction for everyone who use it. Video game only attracts those people who are losers in the real life, like the children in the documentary. So whether video games will become a problem in the future? I think it’s irrelevant to how real the simulation is, but how good the reality is. The only way to avoid Matrix is to creating a world which can creates opportunity and esteem for everyone.



*Bogost, Ian. How do we do with Videogames? University Of Minnesota Press, August 5th 2011

The Sims Get Together Official Trailer

SimCity 2013 Official Trailer

Shanzhai — Effective Medicine for Chinese Society

China, as a country who has the largest population for several centuries, whose citizens have great pressure in competition, has transferred Shanzhai as Chinese philosophy for surviving. There is a popular joke in China, “If a Jewish opens a restaurant and it succeeds, you will find another Jewish open a sop beside it, providing relevant services; if a Chinese opens a restaurant and it succeeds, you will find many Chinese open dozens of restaurant beside it”.
This joke depicts Chinese culture in copying. However, it’s not the whole story. Facing enormous pressure to survive, Shanzhai successfully reduces contradictions in Chinese society, and it has become an incubator for Chinese innovation in China.

Shanzhai as a buffer between the rich and the poor in China
I think an important function of Shanzhai, is that those Shanzhai products provide those low income people a chance to access to those products only belonging to rich people. Those best design, best idea, will never open a door to the poor if we claims the protection for innovation. In fact, Shanzhai reduce the substantive inequality in China by providing the poor similar products in a very low price.


Shanzhai as an incubator for innovation
During the time of Nokia, different designs are used on phones. Shanzhai phones, sometimes, with their radical outlook, were once laughed at by people. However, during the time of Apple, the design of professional phones is going to be the same, however, the design of Shanzhai phones are still radical–small Iphone, galaxy with great loudspeaker. Now, if you want to see some differences or some innovation, Shanzhai is the only opportunity.


Some people claims that the reason why Samsung can succeed is because it magnifies disadvantages of Apple. One of my friends says that he totally can’t tolerant a phone only with a navel (means iPhone only have a Home Button). Samsung did very well in providing two side buttons and give different experiences for customers . I think Shanzhai did even better in capture customers demand. The problem is that those innovations are so decentralized and it can’t be maintained with rapid changing in Shanzhai phone suppliers.
However, there are still many companies like Xiaomi, who successfully transfer Shanzhai to a success company. A typical pattern for Chinese company is from copying to developing to self-owned brand finally.

An Ambiguous boundary between Copy and Innovation
Innovations are always built on the innovation of others. If we find a good game, we directly copy the method of the game and change the style and characters in it to a traditional Chinese one, few people will think we are coping. However, if we directly copy the style and character of it and change the method of it, many people will think we are copying. In fact, we are doing similar things. The boundary between copy and innovation is very hard to distinguish. The important part is that we need put new thing on it, and I think that’s what Shanzhai firms are actually doing now.
In fact Shanzhai itself is a great innovation in China, it reduces inequality and it gives China an effective way to develop and catch up other countries. In fact, innovation is just an ideal, and Shanzhai is the gate to it.

Relevent Links:
Shanzhai’s Role in Innovation Strategy Rainer Wessler APRIL 06, 2013
Shanzhai Innovation