I don’t know if any of you remember this, but several weeks ago Professor Parham made a point about how technology is growing increasingly opaque to its users. Her example was a car. It used to be that you would open up the hood and screw around till you fixed whatever problem you had. Nowadays, the car seems sleeker and more powerful, yet the sleek exterior looks too intimidating to tinker with. It looks too complicated and actually discourages you from getting to know the technology.
This idea came back to me when I was in lab one night. I was looking at a piece of lab equipment, thinking “man, that looks like a cobbled-together pile of junk.”
The irony, of course, is that that pile of junk is actually a massively expensive, cutting-edge piece of technology. Most of the equipment in lab looks just as…well, shitty. The is, however, an important consequence that comes from this dilapidated and makeshift appearance–I feel perfectly free to tinker, manipulate, examine, modify, and otherwise do whatever the hell I want this machine. My willingness to dig around the machine’s innards has a huge practical significance because troubleshooting and getting successful data relies on knowing the machine well.
The realization will definitely make me more attuned to the physical interface of games, to how my understanding–or lack thereof–contributes my gaming experience.