GTA = Play

This past week Target, the retail company, made a huge mistake in Australia. Following a terribly misinformed petition on Change.org by “female survivors of violence” that demanded the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V be taken down from the store’s shelves, Target complied – soon followed by K-Mart. As of right now the petition has a total of 47,350 supporters, a number apparently large enough to force a retailer to remove an award winning and well established video game that has been out for more than a year now from sale. The game (for that is what GTA is, a game) “encourages players to murder women for entertainment.” According to the creators of the petition “the incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points.” While one, you don’t actually gain health by killing a woman in the game, it’s also important to note that by no means are you restricted or given incentive to kill one gender more than the other. In all honesty, after first hearing about the petition I couldn’t help but think it was a joke.

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(Video Game) Play and Nature

Video games are very popular in today’s society. While they are often blamed for being one of the reasons America’s youth is obese, and causes of violence—there are many positives to video games .

Last semester, I took a class here at the University of Michigan called EDUC 222. This class focused on the educational elements often implemented in games—sometimes without gamers even knowing. At the beginning of the semester, we each had to pick a game to play and study over the course of the semester. I chose a game that appeared rather simple, seeing as I am not a very experienced gamer. Continue reading

Is Social Media Play?

In my initial blog post, Social Media as Play, I stated that social media websites perfectly fit Johan Huizinga’s definition of play from Homo Ludens by satisfying the following criteria: freedom, inherent activity, and its limitation of time and space. While for the most part, I agree with my original claims, upon second glance I felt that there was much more to add. Continue reading

Work Hard, Play Hard

What is a ritual? A ritual is preforming a series of actions in a prescribed order religiously. Closely aligned with tradition, rituals are done throughout campus each and every day by Michigan students. In 1932, a large piece of Canadian limestone became known as “The Rock”. In the mid 1950’s, some of those green people from the west painted a large, repulsive “S” across “The Rock”. Almost immediately, a group of Michigan students gathered to paint over the Spartan’s art with some school pride (School, 2014). This inspired the ritual of painting “The Rock”. The beauty of this ritual is that everyone has the power to express him or herself; you see Greek symbols for the frats, advertisements for athletic matches, works of graffiti and art, and even the occasional political opinion. Continue reading

Is Pledging a Fraternity Play?

The University of Michigan is a one of the biggest universities in the United States and has about 27,000 undergraduates enrolled. In order to feel part of a smaller community at a large school like Michigan many students join Greek life. Around 20% of undergraduates at Michigan are involved with Greek life.

university_of_michigan_by_bagera3005-d4kqxbrGreek life at Michigan is more similar to sports than most people believe:
Rush/Free agency: Fraternity rush is most similar to that of free agency in sports. You have players, or rushes, who visit different fraternities, or teams, and try to sell themselves as to why the fraternity should sign them. Then, the fraternity, or team, tries to convince the rushes that their fraternity is the best place for them and they have the most to offer. Eventually, rushes get bids, or contract offers, and they must accept just one offer.
Pledging/Training camp: Once you sign your bid, you are accepted into the fraternity as a pledge. As a pledge you have a period of time to prove yourself, similar to training camp, before the fraternity, or team, decides to admit you as a full-time member.
I am going to focus solely on pledging and if pledging is indeed play according to Johan Huizinga.

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