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

Controversial bylaw tabled, ‘beautified’ Kent kiosk

The lastest from the District of Kent council

Chilliwack-Kent MLA decries ‘classic, big tax-and-spend’ NDP budget

Laurie Throness says budget relies on strong economy but contains no ideas to help it grow

Driver of vehicle down 90-foot embankment rescued on Highway 5 near Hope

Rope rescue conducted on mutual-aid call with Chilliwack SAR, Hope SAR and Agassiz fire department

Missing man located in Harrison Mills

Social media helps track down missing man

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Barnful of ducks die in early morning blaze

The cause of the fire is unknown

Horses and science combine for new program at Fraser Valley school

‘I get to do something I’m passionate about,’ says Chilliwack equine studies student

Thieves make off with live trolley wires in Vancouver

Authorities warn that touching live wire can be deadly

WATCH: Vancouver Island family builds eight-foot igloo in their yard

Sunday snowfall on the mid-Island leads to all-day family activity

TransLink ready for the snow

Officials at TransLink say they are ready for the snow that is supposed to fall this weekend

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

BCHL Today: Merritt’s Buckley nets scholarship and Vees slam Salmon Arm

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Most Read