I enjoyed reading the section in Meyrowitz’s article about grammar (language) of media because it brought up some points about how the structure and syntax of the medium sometimes help our collective understanding of the medium. There are conventions that we as a society (or consumer) expect from those who create medium. For example, when watching a movie, we expect that if a character looks off to the side, the next shot should be what he is looking at so we the audience can see it too. These little “rules” have been established and reinforced over decades—we expect movie makers to follow them to avoid confusing us.
Jenkins writes about the way students learn, specifically talking about how they interact when playing certain types of games. Those who play games regularly will find loopholes that they can exploit, and once they become familiar with the structure of how the game is designed, they can take advantage of these rules. Sometimes this is called strategy, but if you are playing against the computer and you continually employ the same tricks because you know the game cannot stop you, I think you have broken the structure of the game—the programmer has followed a specific convention and you are going against it.
For example, I have been playing the football video game Madden for several years, across all types of systems, although I started on computer back in high school. I have learned that the best way to complete a pass is to put your best wide receiver in the third receiver’s spot and just wait for a linebacker to guard him. For those that are not as familiar with football, basically I am putting a fast player in position to exploit a slower defender. The game typically does not make the appropriate adjustments because it will put its best defenders where my best receiver should line up (the number one spot) but since I have my best guy in the third spot, I score lots of touchdowns. I feel like I have gone against the structure and “rules” of the game because this really would not happen in real life—and if it did, a human coach would make an adjustment.