By Alex Jhon, S.S., M.Hum.
Have you ever wondered or even realized the possibility of using video game references as your daily conversation metaphor? Nowadays, there have been many researchers claimed that video games have influenced on how people may acquire or retain certain skills; one of the most evident is on how an individual learns vocabulary—in extension of course we are talking about metaphor here. A few decades ago, video games were considered to be a waste of time or even impractical as a learning tool. However, several scholars such as Prensky, Gee, Squire, Shaffer and many more argued that video games do have their gimmicks in pedagogical premise. The usage of video games in the field of learning is namely called as Digital Game-Based Learning (henceforth DGBL).
As you read this article, if you are a gamer, you may probably have parallel agreement that video games are good for learning as well. You may even have an idea or two (maybe more) on have video games have been helping your life. Namely some, help to enrich your vocabulary, give examples in pronunciation, understand the importance of tactical skills, and many more. But the main reason of course, that video games are also fun to play regardless your age, gender or preference.
If you were born in the 80s, you would say that Super Mario Bros, Pac-Man or Tetris to be your favorite video games. If you were born in the 90s, you would mention titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighters, Golden Axe or Puzzle Bubble. Furthermore, if you are still playing video games until now, you will definitely mention iconic characters such as Crash Bandicoot, Solid Snake, Ezio Auditore, Chris Redfield, Heihachi, Dante, Kratos and many more. Regardless of your personal preference and reference, whether you have played several titles or not, it would be possible that you may have known the names that are being mentioned before. Why is it so? Video games have been making iconic characters throughout several decades, these characters grew up along with the players. Of course people with different age may have different preference of his or her favorite or memorable video game characters. However, this is where it gets interesting; do you realize that you mental image of a video game character has built up the society’s vocabulary globally? Namely, metaphor.
1. plumber, mustache, red hat, Italian, mushroom
2. yellow, round, coins, eat, ghost
3. zombie, muscle, mansion, Raccoon City, Stars
4. bald, white skin, brutal, Greek, gods
5. hedgehog, blue, fast, ring, red shoes
Whether you live in the 80s, 90s, 2000s and so on, most of you will think of the same characters, right? (1) Mario, (2) Pac-Man, (3) Chris Redfield, (4) Kratos and (5) Sonic. These certain impressions are built upon the successive selling of these franchise and how fun the video games to a lot of people regardless whether they are gamers or not. These characters have very significant characteristics and storyline that people easily recognized them amongst other video games characters. Of course, not all video games characters can be used for metaphorical expression. One possible criterion would be that the video game itself has been critically acclaimed to be a fun and great game.
The interesting thing is that, you may have even heard expression by using these iconic video game characters nowadays. How often do you unconsciously think of some description when hearing something like the examples below, try whether if you get this expression or not:
1. My pipe is broken, I need Mario.
2. He eats like Pac-Man.
3. That guy is so Chris Redfield.
4. If he’s angry, he will go Kratos on you.
5. She runs like Sonic.
Without being told the meaning of each of these sentences, you would probably know what are these metaphor means, right? Mario (Super Mario Bros franchise) is a plumber, if your pipe is broken, call a plumber. When someone eats really fast and continuously, he or she is considered to eat like Pac-Man (Pac-Man franchise). Chris Redfield’s (Resident Evil franchise) muscular body is considered to be well-build so when a guy has that body, he is considered to have a Chris Redfield body. Kratos (God of War franchise) is known for his rage and brutality, so if someone is truly mad, he can be defined to have a jam-packed anger issue such as the god of war himself. And of course, Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog franchise) is really inhumanely fast, if you are fast then you are the blue hedgehog itself.
Finally, now try to consider this for a thought, what are the other video games characters that you can use as a metaphor in your daily life? And you will be amazed to find a lot that you can use!
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