Diaries from The Forest (vol. 3): Shark Attack!

This is the third volume of my particular Diaries from The Forest series. This is based on alpha 0.02To know more about these diaries, please, have a look at the first and second volumes.

Shark Attack!
I decided to move quickly on this occasion. First collect some items around the wreckage and then move towards the beach. It worked perfectly in my mind, what could go wrong? So, I took some provisions, including two circuit boards from the plane (how can they possibly be useful on an island like this?).
I tried to hit a rabbit with a couple of tennis balls, but I missed. Not a proper way to catch animals, I think. 
After that, I hit a rabbit with my axe. That seems to be a better way to secure food for myself.
I kept collecting things that I consider useful for my short-term future, i.e. some sticks.
I was headed to the beach once again. A sudden burst of painful memories came to me at that moment. I needed a couple of minutes to compose myself. 
I saw a school of sharks in the distance. I decided to have a closer look.

While I was swimming carelessly, I spotted a turtle under the water. Do you know the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? A hint: this is a turtle. And it's in the water. But you can also see them wandering on the island. Walking on soil. I think you've already figured it out.
Out of the blue, a shark started to follow me. I thought it was amazing at first...
... and then I realised that it was coming closer very fast...
...extremely closer...
To my shame, I was devoured by a shark. It seems that I have a new enemy on the island. Days survived, 1.

It's interesting to see how PewDiePie - the most famous Youtuber - deals with the sharks in the following video:

Is the introduction of new actors in a game, even supporting ones,  relevant enough to make a difference, to transform the global experience, to make people notice it?

An open letter to journal reviewers

This time I'm not going to write about video games, not even sociology (at least not in a specific sense). I'm in angry sociologist mode and I would like to address my complains to all those journal reviewers/referees out there, including myself. You know, those people who, taking advantage of the blind review process - let me hold my laughter for a moment, become the jury, judge and - if it comes to that - executioner of your paper. It's going to be brief and I'll keep it simple. Here I go:
  • Journals usually don't let you submit articles containing more than 8000 words (some ask you for less, others might let you add a few more words). Keep that in mind when you are reviewing the text: it's an article, not a fucking PhD!
  • Remember that you are discussing the content of the article, not the works of the people who are cited in it. If you have a problem with them, go and tell them directly, don't use me as a scapegoat!
  • Suggest whatever you want to suggest but don't fucking patronise me. I'm a doctor! And if I weren't one, well, I wouldn't like to be patronised either!
  • Reviews are intended for evaluation purposes, it's not an excuse to show the world how much you know about the subject. Look for your own damn audiences!
  • The amount of articles published in high impact factor journals  that are cited in the paper is NOT indicative of its quality. It's NOT that simple!
  • Don't you like the article? That's fair. Can you just reject the article politely and provide academic reasons that are exclusively related to the article? Even if you think the text is complete rubbish, you don't need to behave as a pretentious plonker. If not nice, be at least professional!

The rant stops here. Only temporarily. One last thing: if after reading this, you keep playing the idiotic reviewer role, here's what I have for you, courtesy of Phil Fish:


Videogames and Sociology: Twitter's pic of the day summary (31-35)

This is the seventh round of Pic of the day RECAP (31-35). To understand what all of this is about, check out the original entry.

31 - Doom 3:  That way

We are always compelled to behave in a certain manner by different forces (invisible or not). Some of them are subtle, like the smell of  recently baked pies. Others are more direct, like a panel in a road which gently reminds you that your speed is being checked by radar. Of course, there are those that are extremely persuasive, like the one we are able to see in the picture: an armed soldier telling us that we must go that way. He doesn't even sweeten his mandate a little bit with a "would you mind..." or a similar grammatical construction that could show a shred of politeness. We're talking about power here. I
n Foucaldian terms, conduct of the conduct. The most interesting thing of Foucault's notion of power, apart from its relational nature and its link to knowledge, is that there wouldn't be power without freedom. Power exists because you have the chance of not following what is asked of you (directly or indirectly). In fact, if you have a gun pointed at your head, that's hardly a power relationship (although you still have the freedom to cry "shoot!"). When someone does something after having the opportunity to do several other things, then, my friend, that's power.

32 - Papers, please: Papers, please

Speaking of power, let's talk about the power of inscriptions. According to Latour, who initially borrowed the notion from Derrida, inscription is "a general term that refers to all the type of transformations through which an entity becomes materialized into a sign, an archive, a document, a piece of paper, a trace. Usually, (…) inscriptions are two dimensional, superimposable and combinable" (1999: 306). I could write words and more words on inscriptions and their importance in life in general and in science in particular. However, I will focus on the particular transformation that entails ID documents such as passports, work permits, visas, national identity cards or driving licences. What do they all have in common? They're papers (well, some of them are more plastic than paper but that doesn't matter here), yes, but very specific ones: they all translate an entity - your body, your life, your skills, in sum, your identity -  into a bidimensional document. It's all there: when you were born, your sex, your name, your address, your likeness, your marital status, your occupation, your ability to drive, to work, to reside. But like any other kind of translation, there is not just a simple correspondence between what is being translated (basically, you) and the translation (the inscription). Everything is transformed in the process. Don't you believe me? Play Papers, please or just try to enter in a foreign country without the required documentation. After all, if those papers are just a plain translation of you, and you're already there, why should you need anything else? And then it's when you start thinking that your body, your identity, yourself might be actually the translation of those inscriptions.

33 - Fez: Reality is perception
Fez is, among other things, about the reality of the real. If we state that reality is perception, we are suggesting that reality is, at least to a certain extent, what we think reality is and not what is just out there. This sounds like ontology to me. But far from the philosophical debates in which the notion of ontology is born, I prefer to use a more practical definition. For instance, García Selgas considers that what "allows us to talk about ontology is not the aspiration of drawing the being of things, but the acknowledgement that every scientific theory entails a specific model of what it deals with" (2003: 29). Substitute "scientific theory" for "theory" or just "personal perception" and, voilà, you are there. Nevertheless, remember that perception is just that, an assumption of what reality is, not reality itself (if there's any). Be specially careful with walls, gravity, policemen, boundaries, grumpy old people, wet floors, and other regular impersonations of the real. Don't go wild just because it's all about perception.

34 - Outlast: Witness

Witness. Is the word written in blood referring to the noun or the verb? If it's the former, who is the witness, that dead guy sitting on the loo? In that case, is that bloody graffiti trying to convey the message the dead of the witness? But is it referring to that particular witness or the witness as a social figure? That would be an interesting interpretation: the witness, a dead body with his head between his legs, is lost in one of the darkest corners of reality, those of its wastes. He's not witnessing any more. And if there is no witness to observe the events that are happening in reality, who would produce narratives of them? Will they stop happening because there is no one watching? Even though this might be seen as a creepy scenario, in my opinion, there would be a more unsettling one: that it is a verb, an imperative: "witness!". You would be situated in the position of the witness, forced to watch and trusted with the responsibility to give testimony when the time comes. And there is no bleaker situation than witnessing the end of witnesses. 

35 - Gone Home: You can do better

You can do better, you can always do better. But what about doing worse? Because there is also always space for doing things far worse. Would we say things like "I try hard but it doesn't get any worse"? Or should we say something like "I don't try anything at all but things keep improving"? It might seem odd, but there are a few reasons why we should try doing things worse, at least as an experiment. One of them would be to prove we are in control of things: if you are not able to worsen what you did before, this could mean that your achievements are due to external factors and not as a product of your determination and expertise. Another reason would be to look more human and less conceited. Because nobody wants to hear that they are too good to be true (unless they're in a song). And finally, probably the most important reason to do worse: to do better later on. In the end, worse and better only make sense in relation to each other. 

Previous entries:
Videogames & Sociology: Twitter's pic of the day summary (11-15)
Videogames & Sociology: Twitter's pic of the day summary (16-20)
Videogames & Sociology: Twitter's pic of the day summary (21-25)
Videogames & Sociology: Twitter's pic of the day summary (26-30)

  • García Selgas, Fernando J. (2003). “Hacia una ontología de la fluidez social”, Política y Sociedad, 40 (1): 27-55.
  • Latour, Bruno (1999). Pandora's Hope. Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press.