‘World of Gaming, Gaming in the World:’ video games and their impact


Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

The “World of Gaming, Gaming in the World” Symposium was a forum where students and professors gathered to discuss video games and their impact on society and themselves as individuals, said Dani Dymond, senior and English major.

“They just wanted to look at video games as being more than just a pastime, as more than just a hobby,” said Dymond. “All of our presenters spoke about how it goes beyond just sitting at a computer playing video games. That it really transcends because it is interactive and Charles Baraw wanted that presented in our panel.”

“World of Gaming, Gaming in the World” was sponsored by the English Department, the Communication Department, and the Women’s Studies Department and featured various student-led discussions covering topics such as storytelling, sexuality, gender identity, female character design, violence and education. The student panelists who led this discussion consisted of Anthony Mitrano, Kevin Redline, Zanny Stowell, Chelsea Green and Carlin Huckel.

Dymond, said the student panel was a significant aspect of the event because other students were able to connect with the discussion on a deeper level and it allowed professors to observe their students in a different setting.  

“We wanted to have student voices present because we think that is really important. We had one graduate student and the rest were undergraduates to go along with the keynote speaker, because having their voices heard was just as important as the keynote speaker,” said Dymond. “I think audience members responded to that really well: to see and hear their peers talking, as well as professors seeing their students speaking was really great.”

Ximo Granell Zafra, translation and communication professor for Jaume University in Spain, Southern’s sister school, was the keynote speaker.

He said he often referred back to the students’ discussions in his presentation because their topics all connected to culture and the localization process he described in his presentation. He discussed the reason for localization in mediums such as video games as being because of the differences in culture and language, how games need to be available in different languages and cultures so that they may be more profitable in those regions.

“I tried to give an overview of what is involved within audio visual translation,” said Zafra. “I [started] with dubbing and subtitling: the most traditional way of making audio products available to audiences who do not understand the source language.”

Baraw, English professor, said Zafra’s work in translation, localization, and video game design intrigued him and his colleagues to learn about video games overall. They figured the students’ familiarity with those products could offer professors who were unfamiliar with the medium some insight.

“We wanted to discuss a topic that many of us, myself included, who are text-based people, really did not know anything about,” said Baraw, “so we thought, ‘let us have the students be the experts.’”

Baraw said he was struck by the students’ presentations because, not only were their observations reflective of common societal concerns, but they also offered hopeful viewpoints to accompany those concerns.  

“What students brought to the table were deeply expressed cultural values, but they were also aspirational,” said Baraw. “They [said] where they want the culture to go: to be more tolerant, to be more inclusive. That seems, to me, another version of localization. To hear these young people, these gamers, start talking about the way the world should be in the world of games.”

Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

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