Category Archives: BCM 240

Reflection: Digital Storytelling

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Gaming has always played a huge part in my life, and more recently I’ve really enjoyed online gaming, and the space that it creates. Everything online has that away but together aspect, and you can see that really well through online gaming. I might be playing by myself and then I’ll get a request from someone to help them with a raid and I’ll end up spending like 2 hours playing with that person that I don’t know, or I might simply be walking along in game and see a bunch of people having a dance party, so I’ll join in. For me online games have really just created a space for fun, a place where I can let my hair down, metaphorically speaking. It was this love of online gaming and the space that it creates that drove me to my research topic, looking at the way online gamers actually are in comparison to how they’re shown to be in the media.

Who and why?

I interviewed three people who where all online gamers, and all with slightly different experiences, and viewpoints. As well as my three interviewees I included my story and experience, as a practice of reflexivity, to show where I was coming from in carrying out this report/ storytelling piece.

 

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Challenges

I had initially planned on having a face to face interview with all of the people I talked to, but that plan fell through, with all of us either having uni assignments due, or working, a double whammy of Hagerstrand’s constraints . Meeting my interviewees was made even harder as even when I was free at the same time as one of them, I wasn’t able to get to them as I have no car. I ended up only having one face to face interview, and then I used the questions from that, and just sent it to them on Facebook. I had also planned on talking to another one of my friends, but unfortunately the combination of uni assignments and work meant that they had no free time to take part.

 

The platform

I decided to use my blog for this task for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s the format in which I’m the most comfortable writing in, and I’m also really starting to enjoy using my blog and seeing where I can take it. Secondly, I just thought the format would work well for the piece I wanted to create. Finally, I wanted to see feedback from those that read it, and get ideas for how I can improve, and also see if it works in showing the people behind online gaming.

 

Results

I was surprised, looking at peoples answers, at how different some of our experiences have been, I can’t imagine me ever having to worry about people finding out my gender, and harassing me because of it, but that something Laura feels she needs to do to have fun while she’s playing, I’m curios as to if this is a common thing that females have to deal with, sadly I think it might be. I was sure there would be some overlap in all of our experiences with online gaming, but I wasn’t expecting all of us, to various extents, to see that the medias portrayal of online gamers is very much exaggerated.

 

Usefulness to the media industry

In a perfect world I would love to think that, from seeing these peoples stories that media would stop depicting online gamers in such an unrealistic manner, grouping a huge group of people and showing them all as this one caricature person. Realistically, I think that my project could show that online gamers make up a huge group of people that you can target as an audience. If one company/station whatever started creating content for that audience, and made an effort to be accurate with their depictions of gaming/gamers, they could potentially gain a huge following of loyal followers.

Further research

I really want to know if Laura’s experience with online gaming and the measures she has to take to be able to play the game without being harassed because of her gender, is a thing that a lot of female gamers go through. I think it’s important that we look into that issue, as females make up around half of the people playing, and that’s a lot of people.

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Digital Storytelling: Online Gaming

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Image source: https://plus.google.com/+NathanielClay/posts/BoFkvhko3nd

Before anything I would like to give two facts I think are important to know before you read anything else.

  1. Of the 1.6 billion people online, 44% play online games
  2. Approximately 50% of gamers are women

Being a gamer, and more specifically an online gamer, I noticed that there is a trend for the media, whether it be television, movies, or the news, to portray online gamers and broadly gamers as a whole, in a negative, unrealistic way. It seems bizarre to me that this is still happening today, because as you can see from the statistic above, online gamers are hardly a minority group, in fact if we look at gamers as a whole they make up almost 20% of the worlds population.

Through interviews with online gamers, and personal reflection on my own experience with online gaming, I hope to show a realistic picture of who an online gamer is and what the online space is like.

 

Will,29 aka Voluntarius

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When did you start online gaming?

I started playing when I was 17.

Why did you start?

I got into it because a few mates thought it would be fun to play online, and it would be a bit easier than everyone organising meeting up.

Why have you continued?

I have continued playing because I enjoy the variety of games that are online and the different people I have met through online gaming.

What game/genre do you play the most?

The genre of games that I play the most is rpg (Role playing games).

Do you tend to keep to yourself, just play with friends, or interact with other players?

I tend to do a bit of all of them; I enjoy playing with friends the most, but I like being able to play alone or with new people. It’s always fun seeing how other people play.

Has your experience with people online been positive or negative?

My experience with other people online has been genuinely positive. I do occasionally get the annoying people but it’s rare.

Do you think there’s a negative image of online gamers that is portrayed in the media?

I think the image portrayed is usually exaggerated quite a bit. But I don’t think it’s been overtly negative.

Do you think you’ll continue gaming online in the future?

Yes, I will be playing online in the future, I’m looking forward to seeing how the games and the community advances into the future.

Finally do you have any stories about online gaming/ interacting with others online that you want to share?

Haha! No. I really have anything interesting to say about experiences online.

 

Laura,20 aka ltreglo1.

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When did you start online gaming?

I started online gaming when I was 10 years old.

Why did you start?

I started because my older sister, who is three years my senior, was already doing it so of course I had to play them too. It is because of her that I am interested in games. I would always sit and watch her play the X-box or the PlayStation, but I was never allowed. But the computer we had was our parents so that was the first console/device I was able to play games on.

Why have you continued?

I have no idea. I waste so much time because I am just addicted. It gives me the escape that I love and as an avid reader I love the imagination involved in a lot of the fantasy games. I did have to cancel my World Of Warcraft subscription at the start of university because it was getting out of hand how much I played it, but I did buy myself one month recently and remembered just how much I loved it.

What game/genre do you play the most?

If I had my way the only game I would need to play is World of Warcraft, but that is expensive because you have to pay a monthly subscription. I do love Tera because it is very similar to WoW and is free which is always a bonus.

Do you tend to keep to yourself, just play with friends, or interact with other players?

When I was younger and playing I was very confident, I was actually a guild master (it just makes me laugh to think about it now) and had a large group of friends who I always did raids and quests with. However now I am a solo player, if i want to do a raid I just go with randoms, which always bothers me because it is never as good as with friends. I do still try and interact with other players when I get the chance in hopes of making friends, but it hasn’t happened within the past few years.

Has your experience with people online been positive or negative?

Overall my experience has been positive, it has been fun and definitely overshadows the negative that does happen. As a female player I find there are a lot of lewd and sexual remarks made on the public chats. But the bad always has a louder voice than the nice and there are still genuinely nice people online. But because of this and trying to protect my enjoyment of the game I don’t tell people my gender, age or name.

Do you think there’s a negative image of online gamers that is portrayed in the media?

Definitely there is the image that we are slackers and incapable of being and existing within normal society. There is the stereotype of the hermit who is only awake at night, but that isn’t true for everyone. I know most people who look at me would not assume that I was a gamer. The gaming community is growing, so of course there are people like that who are hardcore and really into the games to the point of being creepy, but most people are just normal people who enjoy playing games.

If yes, what would you say to people that haven’t played?

I tell people just to try it because everyone will find something they like about a game. It combines all the great elements of facebook,books, and tv and movies. You can’t judge something that you yourself haven’t tried.

Do you think you’ll continue gaming online in the future?

I will definitely try and continue gaming, but now that I am out of school it is getting harder to fit the time in around work, university, friends and sleep. It will probably just be the case of not being able to play for such long hours in a row.

Finally do you have any stories about online gaming/ interacting with others online that you want to share?

This year one of my non gamer friends tried playing a mmorpg (massively multiplayer online role playing game for the first time, at a lan (local area network) with me. That was pretty fun, and hilarious.

 

Clancy,20 aka OfTheOverflow

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When did you start online gaming?

I started online gaming in 2010.

Why did you start?

I started because I was geographically isolated from friends out in Greenwell Point (a half hour drive East from Nowra).

Why have you continued?

I have continued because it is some of the most fun you can have at home, and it’s a good way of chatting with friends while mutually playing a game.

What game/genre do you play the most?

I probably play FPS (first person shooters)/Rhythm games/racing games equally.

Do you tend to keep to yourself, just play with friends, or interact with other players?

It depends; while playing PS4 console I’m usually playing with friends, but on PC I’m by myself at the moment.

Has your experience with people online been positive or negative?

I don’t usually chat to randoms, but when I have it’s all been mature and friendly but that may be due to the games I play being catered to a more mature audience.

Do you think there’s a negative image of online gamers that is portrayed in the media?

Absolutely a negative image, not entirely undeserved. The guise of anonymity allows immature people to be assholes, especially to women for some reason.

If yes, what would you say to people that haven’t played?

Just give it a go, or at least talk to a gamer.

Do you think you’ll continue gaming online in the future?

I will absolutely continue; I’ve literally have a match of Battlefield running in another tab.

Finally do you have any stories about online gaming/ interacting with others online that you want to share?

Way, way too many hilarious memories and stories to list. I have hours of clips that I’ve not uploaded just on my HDD. This one’s a classic for me though:

‘Keanu’ is Kezza6421, meant to be the magnet for C4 but our other friend got launched a millisecond later by it instead

 

 

Hayden,20 aka Flopsy

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When did you start online gaming?

I have played games pretty much my whole life. I can still remember playing Snowboard kids on the Nintendo 64 with my Dad. I would have only been around 4 at the time, but in terms of online games I would have started when I was around 16 years old

Why did you start?

I started out just playing Call of duty, Battlefield and other Fps’s like that, just because heaps of my mates were playing them and I didn’t want to be left out.

Why have you continued?

As I continued gaming online and off, my love for it grew, and when I realised that you could play a lot of my favourite types of games online I was hooked. If I was playing a game online it not only meant I could play it, but usually meant I could also hang out with my mates.

What game/genre do you play the most?

I play a bunch of different games in all different genres, but I guess at the moment the game im playing is the mmorpg Tera. I think the genre I play the most would probably be rpg’s, I just love the idea of creating your character and then progressing through the story, getting stronger and stronger.

Do you tend to keep to yourself, just play with friends, or interact with other players?

I think I’ve done a bit of all three. I love when I can find a time where me and some mates can all be on at the same time and play together, but that’s not always easy with uni and work. Usually I’d say then that I just keep to myself, a lot of the time it’s just easier that way; that’s not to say that I don’t play with randoms, a lot of the games I play have part where you have to play with others, and most of my experiences with that have been really good.

Has your experience with people online been positive or negative?

As I said before, most of my experiences have been pretty good, of course in every community there are always a few people that can be, in the nicest way to put it not fun, but they only make up a small percent of gamers out there. I will say something I’ve noticed is that for certain games the amount of ‘not fun’ people can be larger, but I’m not sure why that is.

Do you think there’s a negative image of online gamers that is portrayed in the media?

I would say that there is a definite trend to generalise all gamers as the same outdated image of a white, nerdy guy with no social skills, who still lives at his parents’ house, and I’d say that’s a little on the nose to say the least. In my experience the gaming community is made up of a vast range of different people, the only thing I think we all have in common is that we like games.

If yes, what would you say to people that haven’t played?

To people who haven’t played, I think the easiest thing to understand online gaming is just to talk with a gamer. After a quick chat you’ll be able to see that were just normal(ish) people, who are usually nice…, unless you steal one of their kills, in that case prepare to be in a world of pain.

Do you think you’ll continue gaming online in the future?

Yeah, at least for a while, or until my friends decide to give up, it’s always going to be at its core a bit of fun.

Finally do you have any stories about online gaming/ interacting with others online that you want to share?

I remember one time, I was just walking along in game, and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a character in a tree. I was a little curious as to what they were doing, so I stopped to watch. After waiting for a while, I asked what they were doing, and I turned out they had only just started playing games and somehow got stuck in the tree and didn’t know how to get out.

Reflect This

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I honestly have no idea what I’m doing half the time, and that’s just in day-to-day life. I couldn’t count the amount of times I’ve just finished writing a blog post, and for the life of me have absolutely no idea what I’ve actually written. That was part of the reason the name of this blog is ‘My uninformed opinion’, because most of the time it just feels like my posts are just me giving my opinion, with some sources thrown in for good measure.

Starting another set of blog writing for BCM240, I was a bit concerned about my writing, and sure enough after the first lot of my blog posts were finished my main piece of feedback was,

“Some additional sources could thicken the discussion further.”

It was the feedback I always knew was coming, but what was I going to do with it?

Well the answer seemed childishly simple, include more sources. I think we all know that simple solutions always tend to be harder in practice than we initially planned they would be, this was certainly the case for me, though I think that ended up being a good thing. I had thought I would just jump on Google click the first link that came up and there would be my source, it didn’t end up being that simple. I found that finding a useful source that was also trustworthy/ reliable was a lot harder than I thought, I didn’t like the idea of just grabbing some random bit of info from Wikipedia or something and putting that on my blog, I’m a bit pickier than that. Looking at more sources than I had been ended up being a really good thing for my blog. See I love learning new information about something, and by looking at more sources I became more interested in the topic and was able to write with greater enthusiasm, and I think that comes through in my writing.

 

I didn’t just stop at including more sources though, to try and end up with a better blog I looked at the one point that seems to come up whenever people talk about starting a blog, finding your voice. See for me the concept of finding your voice sounds to abstract, like something someone who meditates every morning, eats paleo(and makes sure to tell everyone about it), and has a huge mandala tattoo, because it’s just so spiritual.

When I looked into it though it was a lot less abstract than I had thought. Your voice is your way of looking at something, a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world. The way I understand voice is that it is the parts of your writing that go around the information you’re trying to show. So I had figured out what voice was; now how was I going to develop my own?

Well Srinivas Rao, a personal development blogger gives this advice,

“People should write as if nobody was ever going to read what they wrote. If you approach your writing that way you’ll find that there are no limits to how off the wall you can get with your ideas.”

I found this bit of advice really helpful, though it was hard to put into practice when I first started off trying to implement it. I had certain topics/ tasks that I need to do for this blog, and I know that eventually some of the posts are going to be read and marked, so it was hard to just be so open with my writing. I found in taking on the advice I was able to write better though, it meant that I wasn’t solely trying to meet the criteria that was set and was able to bring a bit of life to my writing.

 

One of the other comments I received in my feedback was, “Think about following other blogs and linking further.” If I’m honest I hadn’t ever really thought about this, but it makes so much sense.       The majority of the people that are reading my blog are other students, so why wouldn’t I include more sources from them, they’re writing on similar if not the same topics and will always have some way of looking at something that I would have never of thought of. It comes back to voice as well, a lot of people talk about envisioning your audience when you write, and writing for them. I’ve started to try and do that with my writing, to share in the experience that were all going through, and to be open and able to say “Don’t worry, I don’t know what I’m doing either.”

Some of the littler things I’ve done to make my blog better address this bit of feedback,

“Are there also ways that you can personalise further?”

I wasn’t 100% sure on what to do but after looking around, I came across an article on the WordPress beginner site on the difference between tags and categories and realised I hadn’t been tagging in the most efficient way.

The article splits tags and Categories like this,

“Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your site.

Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words.”

By tagging my posts correctly, I should not only be able to show my readers what my posts are covering, but also hopefully increase my readership.

The other small change is the naming of my posts. I had been lazy recently and started giving my posts headings like, BCM Week 2 Post, and let’s be honest, no one wants to read that, so I started having a bit more fun with my headings.

 

Well that’s it; it’s been interesting doing another set of blogs and hopefully throughout my posts have gotten better.

Cheers

Hayden

Just One More lvl

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I’ve played videogames for as long as I can remember. Some of my best memories from my childhood are of my Dad and I playing 007 Golden eye on the Nintendo 64. My love for gaming has only grown as I’ve gotten older, along with the number of hours I’ve put in.

In my late teens I started to delve into the world of online gaming, mostly just because it was easier to play with my friends than for any of us to go over to that persons place. What I’ve realised playing online now for a few years, is that there seems to still be this stigma around online gaming and the gamers. People seem to think that gamers still all fit into the stereotype of a white, socially awkward nerd, and that’s really not the case.

For my digital storytelling project I plan on looking at the digital space of online gaming, looking at the people who fill that space.

What do I want to know more about?

I want to learn about what motivates the people to use this space. What their experience of the community that fills that space has been like. The social rules of the space, and how/if there enforced.

Who will your collaborators be?

Thankfully I know a lot of online gamers, of all shapes and sizes, so hopefully I’ll be able to talk to them.

What kinds of digital platforms might help you explore and present what you find?

Well I’ve been looking at a few of the game forums and getting immersed in that space, as well as asking questions. I think I’ll present my story on this blog, it works for what I want to do and will look pretty good hopefully.

Thanks

Hayden

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I love the cinema and always have, and as far as I can remember there has never been a time in my life where I haven’t regularly gone to see movies at it. It started with me going to see movies with my dad, or about the age 7 every second week he and I would go and watch a movie on Saturday. It was just the thing that we did; as well as just loving movies, I loved sharing in the experience and then being able to talk about it afterwards.

That’s why I was far from disappointed when I found out my task for this week is going to the cinema, writing about my experience while looking at Hagerstrands constraints.  As he is the one who introduced me to the cinema I thought there was no one better to go with for this task than my dad.

Before I go into the movie experience , let’s look at what Hagerstrands three constraints are-

Capability constraints. These are limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors such as the need to sleep or to eat, access to mobility tools and the availability of temporal and financial resources for conducing activities and making trips (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.38).

Coupling constraints. These are restrictions on the autonomous allocation of time due to the need to coordinate with institutional logistics (schedules or given locations) or interactions with other individuals (appointments or meetings) (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.38).

Authority constraints. These are limits on when activities can or cannot take place, or where they must or must not be located, imposed by external parties. For example, mandatory closing hours is a potential constraint on individual behaviour (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.39).

So, into the night.

We decided to see the third instalment of the new Star trek series, Beyond. We had missed out on seeing at the commercial cinemas due to my lack of free time(coupling constraint), so decided to go to the uni movies, which was a completely new experience for me.

We arrived for the movie pre bought snacks in hand, wanting to avoid taking on the second mortgage it requires(capability constraint) to be able to afford the watered-down soft drink and ever disappointing bucket of popcorn.

Walking into the foyer, I saw the snack bar and ticket lines and relaxed in the familiar setting. It was only when I handed my ticket (which was quite a bit cheaper than my usual fair) to the cinema employee to get it ripped, and they didn’t give it back that I began to realise this might not be the cinema experience I was used to.

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My fears were confirmed when we walked into the cinema, it was chaos. A fire fight had broken out between two rival gangs wreaking havoc on the back rows, a virgin was being sacrificed to the great old one by a bunch of cultists who were taking up the seats down the front, and the earth had split in two spilling out lava onto the whole left side, and we were expected to find our seats in this. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating but people were talking too loudly in my opinion.

See, like my fellow Communications student Kayla, I like going to the cinema because it’s a space that’s sole purpose is to be a space for you to watch a film, and for me being at the cinema means you abide by the social expectations put on you while you’re there, that have been so deeply entrenched in me.

Thankfully during the actual movie everything was as it was meant to be, people were quite, I saw no illuminating lights of cell phones, and I was able to enjoy the movie in peace.

 

Now you all know I’m a bit of a cinema etiquette nazi, please don’t judge me.

Cheers

Hayden

Getting Connected

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This week I sit down with my Mum again to have a chat, not about the old familiar friend of the Television, but the new kid on the block that she’s still trying to suss out. All of the writing in this piece, except that in brackets and the titles, are directly quoting my Mum.

Introducing the internet

We first got the Internet when you were about twelve; you needed it for school, so you’d be able to keep up. It was this Pre paid dongle that was slow, and dropped out, but for the time it was fine. When we moved houses though into the house were in now we got broadband. I think we both slowly increased the amount we used the internet, as we discovered more to do with it. I mean I don’t use it as much as you but, it’s still a lot more than I used to. I think the handiest thing has been being able to bank online, especially when I’m working, the last thing I want to do with my day off is spend it at the bank.

Communication

All we had when I was growing up was the phone, and there was only usually the one phone in the house. If you didn’t want to use that you had to send a letter, now there’s Facebook, and Skype, and other things like that, that allow you to keep in contact. I find I don’t use the phone to contact people that much anymore, I mean even Poppy Jim (80yrs, describes most tech devices as ‘whizzer wozzers’) uses Skype to talk to his brothers in England, I never thought I’d see that.

Work

I get emails from work, to get rosters and keep in contact with my boss and other people I work with.

As a nurse I have to keep up to date with my education, and being able to use the internet makes that much easier, like at the moment I’m doing a project for work and I’m able to do it all at home. It’s a huge change from when I was at school or uni, where we had to share resources, and sometimes there might only be one textbook.

Internet crash

If the internet goes down we can’t do anything. The old cables we’ve got are really unreliable; every time it rains the internet seems to go down. The internet provider keeps saying that when the NBN, (which were technically already supposed to have) gets put in the drop outs will stop though, hopefully there right. The way everything is set up now, you become reliant on the internet to work, and it’s a huge pain if it goes out.

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Connected but disconnected

When I grew up, of course family’s still all did their own thing, but I think it’s harder now for family’s to spend quality time together. You really have to work to set boundaries around technology. I remember when people used to come over to the house, the TV went off and you had to play or go and do something with them. Now everyone has their own devices, so even when there together there disconnected from the people there with. Again, I think it’s up to parents to put those boundaries in place, and I don’t know if that’s happening. From what I see a lot of parents seem to think that as long as there quite its fine. If kids are always on their devices then socially they can be totally disconnected, which isn’t good because it’s important, especially across generations to be able to be able to just sit down and talk.

Advantages/ disadvantages

It’s much harder to control what your kids see or watch when they have access to the internet, I mean you can put the parental locks on and position the computer in a shared space, and all the things people suggest but really you just have to be vigilant in knowing what your kids are watching.

 

Special thanks to my Mum again

Cheers

Hayden

Images: http://kicks99.com/2015/12/03/engineer-in-his-late-30s-tells-fascinating-story-about-his-life-before-the-internet-changed-things/

http://giphy.com/gifs/the-simpsons-internet-friendship-k0oymZt9Pyf4c

TV Flashback

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I love television, for as long as I can remember it has been my go to source of entertainment and an ever present dinner guest. TV has always been a big thing in my house, I mean at last count in a house occupied by just my Mum and myself there are four TV’s, if we got two more we would have a TV in every room. With this in mind I had a chat with my mum, Lucinda, about her memories of TV growing up.

It would seem parents have been using TV to distract their kids for a while now as Lucinda’s earliest memory of TV, is sitting down on the floor watching Playschool while her Mum did the ironing.

In terms of TV shows, when she was younger, Lucinda remembers watching shows like, Romper Room and Humphrey B Bear. When she started getting to school age though, Lucinda remembers watching Disney movies on a Sunday night, but they weren’t exactly the types of movies I thought of when I heard Disney.

“I don’t know if they were really appropriate for kids. I would have let you watch them. They were usually like Westerns, or documentaries usually showing animals hunting. As a six or seven-year-old, they could be a bit frightening.”

In terms of watching television when Lucinda was a bit older everything was determined by her mother. “Mum ruled the roost, so we usually watched the news. Everyone would only be allowed to start watching once she had sat down and was ready.”

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Having to share a room with her brother growing up, Lucinda remembers the rude awakening that came every Saturday morning at 6 AM. It was the sound of the Thunderbirds theme song erupting from the small television they had in their room. “I remember waking up and I’d moan, ‘Urrgh, Thunderbirds!”

One of Lucinda’s fondest memories is watching sport on the TV with her Dad.

On Saturday all the shops used to shut at at 12 o’clock, and so did Dad’s office. He used to come down from flick on the TV and put on the sport. He’d watch any sport that was on, that was where I got my love for AFL and netball.

My mum’s experience of TV when she was growing up is quite different to my own in a lot of ways, but we both experienced the way that TV can bring the family together to share in the experience.

 

Huge thanks to my Mum for letting me write about her experience.

Thanks for reading

Hayden

Images:

http://imgur.com/gallery/wFZkqlq.

‘The Simpsons’ on FXX Live Blog: Day 1 of the 12-Day Marathon