Getting Ready for Data Collection: Building a Gaming PC

For those of you who are not familiar with my summer research project, here is a brief description:

This project analyzes how gender plays a role in gameplay and players’ experiences in story-based role-playing video games in which the gender of the main protagonist is optional. Three sources of data on gender will be gathered for a thorough analysis of gender portrayal in these video games: the game developers, the video games themselves, and the players of these games. The first portion will look at the game developers’ interviews and marketing. The second will gather data from the games in the sample. Data from five video game series will be collected by the researcher via capture software. Data collection will occur with playing through each game two times; one as the male option and one as a female option. The last portion of data collection will be gathered through interviews with students at the College of William and Mary who have played the video games in the sample or games similar to them. After data collection, analysis, and conclusions have been completed, a web series about my project will be written, filmed, edited, and uploaded onto YouTube to spread my findings to the greater public. The goal of this project is to reveal gender stereotypes in video games and to work towards creating a more gender equal industry.

For the second portion of my data collection from the video games, I needed a platform where I would be able to have access to most of the games that are in my pool of data, as some of the series span over multiple gaming console generations. Buying multiple consoles and copies of the games online seemed tedious, so I decided to use a gaming PC. However, I am a console gamer who has never made the shift to PC gaming. I needed to obtain one for myself.

From doing research of my own and talking with various friends who are PC gamers, I found out that it was more lucrative to build my own PC so that I could get more quality and customization for my money. I need to make it clear that I have had no previous experience with the hardware of computers before this project. If someone asked me why cores in a processor are important, I would have responded that I didn’t even know that processors had cores in the first place. The more I did research on computer parts and what each of their components are important for in running a computer, the more intrigued I became. It got to the point where I was looking up computer parts and putting together computer builds online as a fun break from my school work.

I ordered the parts about a week before I went home. Once I got home, I got so excited that I started working on putting together the computer almost immediately.

This is what I had before putting everything together:

This is the motherboard after I had installed the processor and the cooler (fan) for the processor.

This is the motherboard after I had installed the processor and the cooler (fan) for the processor.

This is the empty computer case with the power supply before everything was put together.

This is the empty computer case with the power supply before everything was put together.

It took me a long time with a lot of frustration and advice from the internet, but I finally put everything together in the case.

The computer with all of the parts inside before attaching the wires.

The computer with all of the parts inside before attaching the wires.

Now was time to plug in all of the wires where they were supposed to go, and there were a lot of wires. I looked at my motherboard’s manual and online tutorials for guidance and finally put everything where it was supposed to go, hopefully. Now was the moment of truth. I needed to plug the computer into a monitor and see if it would actually turn on.

It's alive!

It’s alive!

The computer turned on! Everything seemed to be working just fine, so I went ahead and installed the operating system and now it is a fully-functional gaming PC ready for data collection! This experience was so much fun and I am sure that I will only have more fun through this entire research project. The next step is setting up a work space for data collection! Here are a couple more pictures of the computer after it was finished:

The outside of the computer once it was turned on.

The outside of the computer once it was turned on.

The inside of the computer after it was completely put together and functional.

The inside of the computer after it was completely put together and functional.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Christian Leatherman says:

    Hey there! I like the idea of your research but I have one concern regarding the hardware that you’re using. I am looking at the picture of the completed build and do not see a video card attached to the motherboard. If you’re looking to play any type of video game at all, you will definitely need a graphics card to run them. For all I know, you may have one but I just can’t see it and if so, then I am sorry for the doubt. I just thought you should know the potential problem 🙂

  2. Hey! As someone who’s dabbled around in the professional gaming industry, I’m really interested to see how your project is going to turn out! This is not *exactly* related to your project, but last month I was watching a panel of 3 professional female gamers talking about their experience in the eSports world, and was thinking that maybe their insight could pose as some help to your project (if you haven’t already seen it, of course) in terms of stigma or how they are viewed . Here is the video, hope it helps, and good luck!

    http://www.twitch.tv/nyugamecenter/b/529427398

  3. dfmcpherson says:

    As a natural science person I have always been skeptical of the social sciences and humanities and whether they actually have much practicality in real life. This project is a great example of how applicable these subjects can be!

    It would be interesting to examine not only the gender roles the games have, but also take it a step further and see how these gender roles might affect the success (in both sales and player enjoyment) of these games. It is very easy to imagine young girls being turned off by a game where they can’t play as a female character, and it is equally as easy to imagine young men enjoying a video game where they get to strut around as scantily clad women. One example that comes to my mind is in the 3rd generation of Pokemon games, players are finally given the option of playing as a girl. I would bet that the number of girls (relative to boys) playing Pokemon probably spiked around that time period.

    This is a very active topic of discussion in the video game industry, and it’d be really neat if your study drew some outside attention.