UVic prof publishes investigation on zen of Street Fighter

Prof drawn to whether violent fighting games make people violent

To the delight of gamers, university professor Chris Goto-Jones hosted a Streetfighter video game tournament to celebrate publishing his study on gaming.

For years, Goto-Jones, the Dean of Humanities at the University of Victoria has been looking at the effect video games have on the people who play them. In 2016 he published an academic text, The Virtual Ninja Manifesto, which argues, among other things, whether Street Fighter is a martial art. While he was originally interested in the effect violent video games have on people, he said, the focus of his study changed. It led him to a new world and a new way of looking at gaming.

What he argues, is that video games (some more than others) can become a martial art, only people use their thumbs instead of their feet.

“In the 80s there was a fuss over whether learning the martial arts make you violent, and the backlash there was actually, ‘no,’” Goto-Jones said. “The training and the discipline that you get from the martial arts make you better, so what we are testing with this project is if you can say these things about video games.”

Goto-Jones based his research on Capcom’s Street Fighter II as the industry standard. Released in 1991 for Super Nintendo, it gave rise to many more games, such as Mortal Kombat in 1992 and Tekken in 1994, as well as others. Together, they redefined the gaming industry. Street Fighter now his five editions, all staying true to the original model of the game, a 2D, one-on-one fight.

What Goto-Jones discovered, and maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise, is that it came down to the intentions of the players. Some seek improvement, some seek only to win, while others find a type of zen.

Those who seek improvement can find a transformation, and a type of unity with the characters and moves in a game, that mirror the transformation of real life martial arts.

It’s how Goto-Jones came up with the idea of the Virtual Ninja Manifesto. It’s the fruit of his project, and a key part of the presentation he delivered prior to the final round of the Street Fighter tournament in the McPherson Library on Jan. 26.

“What really matters is the intention, the meaning you’re bringing into the game,” he said. “So if you’re playing the game in order to accomplish something uplifting, something spiritual or ethical, then you take out of the game something in that direction. Whereas, if you come into it just wanting to beat people up and exercise violence, then that’s what you’ll take out of it too.”

To be clear, not all 20,000 UVic students were made aware of the tournament. However, anyone who thinks they are a strong Street Fighter player will have to get through applied linguistics Jun Nguyn, who won the inaugural tournament (Goto-Jones expressed interest in holding the tournament again).

“I’ve done a lot of theory, studied how many frames there are between moves, things like that,” Nguyn said. “But I’ve never been in a tournament before.”

For Nguyn, the results of the Goto-Jones’ study made sense.

“People get salty, they get mad [throwing controllers at the television],” Nguyn said. “But I’ve seen people do that and a week or two later, they try again [with a different mentality].”

And yes, through vido Nguyn can find his zen.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Winlaw man dead after collision near Slocan Park

Nelson RCMP are asking for witnesses after Sunday incident

South Nelson sings ‘Wheat Kings’

Grade 4 and 5 students performed at Nelson city council

Castlegar Complex goes to referendum

Area-by-area voting will happen before summer

Reconciliation explored in play at LVR

Off-site presentation by the Capital Theatre

Let the playoffs begin! Nelson Leafs host Grand Forks in Game 1 on Friday

The Leafs finished the season with the third best record in the KIJHL

COLUMN: What’s up with the low grad rates?

SD8 numbers are far below the provincial average

SS Moyie gets $113,000 boost from CBT

Funds will help upgrade historic sternwheeler

Fundraiser for Kootenay Co-op Radio

BBQ and blues at Finley’s

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

Most Read