Video Games and Senior Thesis Leave Me Feeling Empowered
The climax of our academic careers here at Arcadia is our senior thesis project. This has been what’s occupying most of my time as a senior. I’m learning how to write a full academic paper over the course of two semesters.
Taking thesis from home has given me the experience of what it’s like to fully teach myself about a subject. Obviously, the point of thesis is to learn these skills, but being home and learning everything online has an added layer to it. The effect is actually very empowering and exciting for me, and makes me feel like I can learn anything.
Learning from home, specifically digitally, is something that actually heavily influenced my thesis topic. I chose to look at the transfer of culture through the medium of video games and how that affects our understanding of other groups of people and cultures. Being an International Studies major, I had to make sure the topic was narrow enough to focus on, but still global in nature. I decided to look at Japanese culture and Japanese games.
No longer is culture bound to a particular society or the physical movement and human exchange of culture. Technology gives the tools to experience the way of life of different people much more easily than before, and no one needs to “teach” you anymore. How one experiences and learns culture has a profound impact on how one receives and accepts it. First impressions are very important after all, and culture is no different. Being exposed to culture through a positive experience can be beneficial for that person to learn more, as well as respect it.
When it comes to experiencing Japanese culture through media, video games might seem like an odd choice, considering that anime holds such a high cultural value. Aside from personal interest, video games are still often considered to be “neglected media,” which exhibit strong popular appeal and economic relevance, contrasted by a lack of cultural prestige and scientific coverage. However, culturally, the video game market is rapidly expanding as it gets more and more accepted in mainstream media, and that makes me excited to use them as the lens to view my paper.
Video games also have a unique feature: They are interactive. Players absorb a particular narrative while taking part at the same time, enabling them to experience a shift in their perceptions and self-perception. I’m so excited to weave something that affected me so much personally into my biggest academic achievement. I’ve already learned so much about culture, history, and education, and I’m really looking forward to being able to see everything come together next semester.
Good luck to all my fellow seniors out there taking on thesis with me!