Wk 3: Health & Games

What my doctor doesn’t want me to know…

iLecture: Mike Kent: Health


Mike starts by talking about health and the internet and asks who is giving out the information and who is receiving it. What credibility issues does the Internet have when giving out health advice? Does the wealth of information available on the net undermine doctors or does it create a better partnership between patient and specialist?As examples of different interpretations to these questions, he offers up 4 case studies; 2 of which he instantly tells you are unimportant. The two that are important are Annie sites (social sites for anorexics) and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Sufferers) community groups. He claims that Annie sites have a negative impact on health whereas the CFS community groups empower sufferers in a positive manner. He suggests we read Digital Disability by Goggin and Newell.

Then Mike begins the last 2/3rds of the lecture with a long rant about Disability and the internet (his particular passion). He raves on about Apple and Microsoft and places that are not accessible friendly to those with impairments. He says that sites should be designed with disability accessibility in mind, not retrofitted. He talks about Martha’s Vineyard and other places where the disabled are not the minority and therefore don’t feel like a minority.


This lecture gave me a lot more questions than answers. Does information give too much power to the patient, or even to the disease? What right does anyone (least of all, Mr Mike Kent) to judge whether annie sites are negative or positive effects? What allows him the right to determine whether or not the choices that these people make is not in their best interests for that timeframe? How can Mike demand social justice for those with disabilities, when he does not demand rights for those that WANT to be part of Annie sites. I agree that good digital design will incorporate the w3 standards put forward and that accessibility should be put forward in websites. At no point does Mike tie the disability rant into the lecture on Health and the Internet which was very disappointing. I did appreciate that Mike was very aware of his online students during his speech.

Reading 1: The mundane realities of the everyday lay use of the internet for health, and their consequences for media convergence. Sarah Nettleton, Roger Burrows and Lisa O’Malley.


This article is about HOW people give credibility to websites when viewing them for health reasons. They list 6 “rhetorics of reliability” thought processes that users have to determine the veracity and authenticity of the information on the site they are viewing. These processes are:

  1. Real Vs Virtual: A site provided by a ‘real’, contactable source from a known organisation held greater merit than other sites.
  2. Non-commercial Vs Commercial: Commercial sites are seen as being motivated by money rather than by the users wellbeing.
  3. Professional Vs Non-Professional: Sites that actively showed connection with medical journals were considered more noteworthy.
  4. Codified Vs Experiential Knowledge: Forums, chatrooms and other opinion based data was ignored whilst more empirical data was sought.
  5. Replication:  Sites that gave information that followed the general consensus of other sites was determined to be more trustworthy.
  6. UK vs other: localised information was valued more highly.


I found this article somewhat thought-provoking and am looking forward to the exercise to see what I look for when testing the veracity of a website on health. I will be looking for matches or discrepancies on the way that I search for information.

Activity: In your portfolio, compare 2 of the following websites in terms of the products and services they are offering to visitors. How do you think sites like these have affected the health and medical industry? (no more than a page)

WebMD.com is a professional looking website, with the tag line Better Information, Better Health. It’s look is like a glossy magazine and you are instantly drawn to flashy articles on offer regarding mucus, looking younger and avoiding heart disease. The site displays honour badges, indicating it is a website of authority, and has clearly marked links to pages that describe the sites history and agenda. WebMD.com claims it “provides valuable health information, tools for managing your health, and support to those who seek information. You can trust that our content is timely and credible.” They also provide an editorial sponsor policy so site users are completely aware of what content is sponsored and what is editorial.

WebMD doesn’t just specialise in human health conditions and symptoms, it also provides information on pet care, drug therapy, general well being and lifestyle food choices and parenting. It gives an overall appearance of respectability and reliablity.

Allcures.com instantly appears like a pharmacy shopping cart. It’s verification symbols include ones related to credit cards and immediately to the right of it’s title graphic is a dollar sign and the amount you are owing. Whilst it is a registered pharmacy and does cover NHS prescriptions, it does not attempt to give out easy-to-find helpful health information or insight. Its sole agenda is to be profitable. Once you dig inside their linksfrom the bottom of the page, you are able to discover some light reading relating to different health topics, their code of ethics and corporate information. They seem like a suitable place to consider purchasing drugs from.

Discussion Topic:  Drawing on your experience:

  • Have you ever searched on a medical or health issue online?
  • Do you know of any situation where someone has found information that has not matched the advice given by their doctor?
  • What do you think of the use of the Internet by non-medical professionals to seek advice and information about illnesses and other health issues?
  • How much do you think the medical and health professionals where you are need to, and have, kept pace with developments on the Internet?


Yes I have researched a health topic online.

No I have not heard of a situation where the doctor’s information has not matched that of the Internet, when the information given is able to be crosschecked.

I believe that the technology advances are making it impossible for doctors to keep up to date. A general practioner cannot be expected to know specialised areas of medicine, just as a Gynocologist would not be expected to understand the finer points of Oncology. I believe that many doctors are seeing the Internet as a wonderful tool to expand their own horizons and information and also as a tool to direct patients toward. I believe older doctors will struggle as the Internet becomes more and more mainstream as a place to hold medical records AND as a place to learn more about medical procedures and advances.

At Work No One Knows I am a Wizard

iLecture: Stewart Someone


This lecture was quite intense and very engaging compared to other lectures in this unit. Stewart started with discussing play in general and then went on about the history of play on the internet. Central to the themes of gameplay on the Internet since its inception has been gratituous killing of others, which may account for the large number of males that play online, as opposed to women gamers. War Gaming simultes battle, and from there came Dungeons and Dragons which was the first game of its type to have no winning condition, simulates life and showed clear and concise requirements for character development. Stewart claims most computer games are based off this model of gaming. He sees that Championship Manager is the 2010 version of dungeons and dragons.

Geeks create a geek culture, and are a 3rd counter culture because they are capable of creating a world. The next stepin computer gaming was Text Adventures. Most computer games at this time had Sci-fi or Fantasy themes that involved killing. Stewart claims computers are good at games because they are fast at processing multitudes of information, have the ability to retain the games state and save its position, has selective revelation (hold information secret and only reveal it when necessary) and simulate scenarios. Later these simulations would become graphical.

computers cannot play games themselves as they are not sentient and play is voluntary. but a computer is very good at pretending to play, and at facilitating game play. It can also mediate game play when there is more than one player participating.

The next set of killing games available were MUDs (Multi User Dungeons) which spawned the socialogical micrcosm. In turn, people hypothesised that there were four main reasons why somebody plays games. Either they are a socialiser, an explorer, a killer or an achiever. One of these traits was their main motivation for playing the game.

From MUDs we discovered virtual worlds that functioned as entire society. Doom, another killing game, was a pioneer of computer gaming models because in 1995, more people had Doom’s first three levels on their computer than Windows 95. It did this by utilising Shareware – where three levels are given for free and the others must be purchased. Doom had over 2 million players in just two years. It was innovative in it’s moethod of distribution and was the first real time network play available across a LAN.

Quake was next and was, surprise, surprise, a killing game, but this one you could play over the Internet and harvested guilds and communities of players called Clans. This was the first game to allow user generated content through map building and modding.

Online gaming communities were forming and Ultima was the first online MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). It’s effect was enormous and it’s virtual currency was at one time worth more than real US dollars. It also highlighted grief play, where other people torment new people trying to learn how to kill things.

Lineage was next in 1998 with over 4 million subscribers and then Everquest in 1999 was the first 3D rendered MMORPG, which burst this type of gaming into the mainstream. From there World of Warcraft (WoW) emerged and has maintained over 11 million members.

“Take geek culture, have a look at it, sell it back to mainstream – that’s what Capitalism does to subcultures”

Nowadays, social gaming is the focus again, and the internet and gaming are intrically linked. You cannot have one without the other. core to all of this development has been the pay to play phenomenon. Play is fundamental to Human Culture and the internet is a huge playground. And in current times, you can pay to buy tools to play with. Play is defined as challenging, imaginative, freedom, fantasy and communication – all things provided by the Internet. so if we pay for play, “what are we getting used to?”

Stewart says that Internet Culture, Gaming Culture and Computer culture are intricately interwoven because of what games are.


It has been documented that in free play time, children will engage in free play but as they get older they gravitate toward games with rules. Computers and Internets are fundamentally built on rules as code. Games adults play use rules, therefore games made of code feel very natural. Rules make worlds so the Internet can create worlds for us to play in.

Casual gaming is the next big thing: high profit for little outlay, no extensive time or money outlay. satisfies the instant gratification of the current generation and their short attention span.

Video Reflection:

This animation, released via YouTube, is a comic introduction to the World of Warcraft, with a slightly different take: what do the game characters do when they’re not being played?


I didn’t understand this video clip at all. Watched it twice and could still not make heads nor tails of it. I presume it is meant to be about the characters of a game taking time off from work and in their spare time they work for an accounting firm doing tax returns. Maybe. It was difficult to follow, the voices weren’t easy to understand and it didn’t replicate anything I am particularly familiar with. If I am correct on the concept, then I can see the humour, but the execution left a lot to be desired.

Geoffrey Brooks and various commentators. (2008, July 8). Counting Rupees: Korea bangs. Joystiq. Blog Post. (Archived by WebCite).

Focus: the author compares the gaming culture in Korea with the United States and speculates on some of the reasons for the differences.


It seems to me that the majority of the reasons for the difference in gaming culture, comes from Geographical considerations. The articles states thats because 22M people live in Seoul, and this accounts for 50% of the population, so creating a technology platform for this type of demographic is considerably easier than in places like the US and Australia (where our population is more spreadout). The article also mentions that 70% have broadband which is again directly related to the layout of population and geography compared to cultural preferences.

Gaming Rooms close down in areas where there is insufficient need and use which leads to insufficient income. Income will always be plentiful if you have enough interest and concentrated population. Whilst it may be common for Koreans to game more readily than those of the US, I do not see how it is a cultural consideration, more so than a demographic one.

Nabeel Hyatt. (2008, May 23). What Makes Gaming Social? GigaOM. Url: .(Archived by WebCite).

What implications do you think this has on gaming in general and online gaming patterns?


Maybe I’m tired from all this reading or something but this made no sense to me at all. I will have to view other blogs to see if it makes sense to anyone else around.


Assignment 1 Task 1.4

Discuss your personal experience of games. It may be difficult to give a really full account, but try to remember the games you played as a child on the street, in your home. Include all sorts of games (e.g. cards, tic tac toe, hopscotch). Were there people that you tended to play with? What about nowadays, what type of game player would you classify yourself? An enthusiast, casual or occasional gamer? Why do you play games, if you do, and what part do they play in your daily life?


I can recall as a child playing numerous games because we did not have access to a television until I was 10. This was an intentional act by our parents to prevent us from becoming addicted to television at too young an age. My brother was my staple playing companion, as we moved house a lot, but I did play with whatever friends I had made in our current town. We created our own games, would put on plays, play dressups and have tea parties. We would play knuckles (Jacks), and elastics (elastic exercises) and handstands. We sometimes played Hop Scotch and the occasional Tic Tac Toe. One game my brother and I loved was ‘Beat the Heater’ where we had an enormous electric heater with two heating elements. Each element would start to light up from one end and the aim for my brother and I was to compete to see who’s ‘end’ reached the other side first. This could keep us entertained for hours, until our parents got sick of the room going hot, cold, hot, cold.

I attempted to learn to play Chess but never really worked it all out. Later in life, I discovered Monopoly, Backgammon and dice games (Zilch and Thirties). Our first computer and I remember playing Pong. Later in arcade parlours I was the Queen of Gyruss, and I excelled at pinball. I loved Q-bert and Moon Trooper and would laugh at the ridiculousness of the people playing Dragon’s Lair. I remember thinking “That will never last!” And yet, it is the only thing that I think truly has!

My gaming also included computer games, and my friends now included housemates or husbands or family. We would play cartoon RPG’s like Pools of Darkness, and The Orb of Life. Putt Putt Golf was popular and perhaps my favourite thing to do on a Sunday was to go to the Shareware Booth and using a 9.6kps modem, download hundreds and hundreds of games onto my brand new 1.44MB floppy disk (which wasn’t as floppy as the 5 1/4 one). Once I discovered Computer Games, other type of gaming didn’t hold as much allure. I hated having to spend 20 minutes setting up Monopoly when I could play the PC version and it was set up instanteously. I became a beta tester for some games and later discovered casual game sites like Big Fish, Game House and Pogo. I became an affiliate for those sites and I still reguarly buy games from them and still earn money from them.

I fell in love with hidden object games, word games and puzzle games. Myst, Riven, Azada all held huge allure and would wile away days at a time. Last year, we purchased our first console, the Nintendo Wii, and I really enjoy the ‘activity’ of playing and how it joins people of all skills together either collaboratively or in competition. I have made brand new friendships from its connectivity to Nintendo’s WIFI channel, and still am an active player of casual games from Big Fish. I also play a few tangible board games like Twilight (a gift in February this year), the Da Vinci Code (a word game) and whilst we own Monopoly as a board game, I prefer to play it on my Wii. I play games everyday, including Spider solitaire, and use them as downtime, much as some people use television. Most of the time I am playing by myself, in a non-socialising way, but with console games, it is very social. I also play a few games on my Facebook, although less now my studies have begun.

Discussion topic: Is it fair to say online gaming is more a part of everyday life in Korea than, say, Australia? Discuss reasons for the unique aspects of Korea’s gaming.


I think that my previous answer applies and that it is not the culture that determines how strong a hold gaming has, but the geography. I believe that console gaming has a larger penetration here than in Korea and we use this type of gaming because it allows us to connect with people regardless of distance, technology and national broadband schemes.


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