An ex-friend of mine recently came out with the statement, “I don’t understand people who still play video games, it’s so childish”. My knee jerk reaction was to slap them about the face and say “No it’s not, so there”, accompanied with a stuck out tongue, naturally. Realising that this didn’t aid my position very much, I put my thinking cap on: are video games just for kids?
From an objective stand point there is certainly a childish connotation that goes along with video games. Perhaps it’s simply due to the word “games”, because adults aren’t aloud to have fun, they have to pursue careers, build families, pay taxes and die with nothing to show for it: at least that’s how I understand it works. More likely, and prepare for a healthy dose of teenage angst, people just don’t get me… or it rather.
Compared to film and television, video games are the new media on the block: lest me forget that all the worlds ills were once blamed on violent films and television, just like GTA is the cause for every war in history ever. This is were the key point lies: society as a whole just sees and hears about the violence and it’s affect on kids – who shouldn’t even have those games, parents I’m looking at you. It’s not something that the games industry can easily shake, particularly when the old guard of mass media doesn’t want to look any deeper.
Video games have the potential to be a much more powerful form of media. In terms of connecting people for a start: I’m a big MMO fan and I’ve met some awesome people through WoW, GW2 and SWTOR, my girlfriend and I played WoW together whilst I was away at University and it turned out to be a brilliant bonding experience. Storytelling for another: How many debates and forum posts are formed after a new chapter of The Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us comes out? About the choices people made or the snap decisions they regret, decisions that are much more evocative due to how involved with the characters you’ve become. Watching a protagonist move through a rich plot is magical; being the protagonist that weaves the plot is Gandalf high-fiving Dumbledore level magical. It’s getting easier and easier for creator’s to find an audience: Indy development has had a colossal upswing recently, meaning that it’s easier than ever to make a statement or send a message that you think is important via video games.
We have to move past the idea that video games are just for nerds or just for kids. Video games can be an outlet for anything. All I ask is that you ignore the opinions of other until you’ve formed some opinion for yourself: this statement pretty much applies to anything really. Jeez, this got real deep real fast.