Some parents surf, others speak various languages, some build cars and other interesting, useful things. Parents then pool their knowledge of hobbies and skills, then entrust this wisdom onto their children so they might grow into cool, amazing people that will further the human race.
I was instead, raised by two hardcore Trekkies fluent in MS-DOS, Tom Lehrer junkies, a daily regimen of absurd British TV references with sci-fi and fantasy fiction books abound! Mum and Dad were extremely tech savvy, and there was always a computer in the house – with two in 1994 as our family had both a PC and a Mac. We also lived in Hong Kong through my childhood, a place where new technology was just about everywhere.
Growing up in this culture cultivated a love of computers, graphic design and games in me. (It also cultivated giant glasses and my general uncoordination but that’s another story altogether.)
Dr Ted Mitew in his last lecture, described his ‘Wow internet!’ moment and it suddenly made me think of my own.
In 1996, Command and Conquer: Red Alert was released and I had my first attempt at online skirmish. I was completely annihilated by my American opponent, but my little eight year old mind was blown. Not only was I playing ‘the bestest game ever!’, but I was playing against someone from across the world in real time and even chatting with them. It was incredible. From then on, I discovered online CnC modding communities, downloaded custom maps created by other fans all over the world (I recommend the Nurple maps), played and lost more online games, entered IRC chatrooms and talked about CnC with other people that ‘got it’.
As described by Henry Jenkins:
“Consumption has become a collective process… None of us can know everything; each of us knows something; and we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills.“
Through this online experience, sharing online maps, ideas and tactics, I was connected to another world where I felt like I belonged.
Jumping almost a decade later with online gameplay, custom created content and online communities now in full momentum, I’d like to concentrate my BCM112 blogging on keeping track of Steam, XBox Live and PSN. How are convergent corporate media and ‘grassroot media’ cultures coexisting today and how has it shaped the community?
Just as my parents encouraged their own learnings of Klingons, C:\> and Robert Jordan onto me, so too has broadening online capabilities encouraged game platforms to change, seek and expand with new information.
I can’t wait to talk about copyright.
- Kath (member of the PC MASTER RACE! and possibly older than you)
For more sources and information please read through:
- Henry Jenkins - Worship at the Altar of Convergence
- The Command & Conquer Franchise - wiki page / one of the best game soundtracks ever made / I had this song and this song on repeat for ages
- Bonus Video: All Your History – Evolution of the RTS (Real Time Strategy) game and CnC
- (header graphic by Kathryn Ditchett)
- CnC cover image - source