Updated: Jul 27, 2018
I truly believe video games are the most diverse form of media entertainment we will ever know. It has evolved so much in its young existence, faster than film, music & any other forms I can think of. It's a shame gaming seems to have a harder time validating itself than many other recreational activities. It is often stigmatised publicly when heinous acts are blamed on it & some of it's more popular titles. Video games also have another, less vocal obstacle to scale, so many people still deem it a childish pastime. When I have broached this issue with my gaming clique they have all felt this way at some point. When working in games retail, it's funny how often people laugh at the concept of the game they're buying being for themselves. The fact that a 35 year old man finds hilarity in the idea he may be purchasing himself a video game is amusing, just not for the reasons they're chortling at. We have a few old age pensioner ladies & gents who personally own PS3's & regularly buy games, I'd love to see their response to these unsavoury chuckles. I've known people get marginally insulted at the prospect of them procuring games for themselves, some react like your accusing them of buying pornography. These reactions are very telling, lots of people still find the process of gaming to be beneath them.
All cultures have had many types of performance & art which they've used for entertainment, be they scripted, competitive or improvisational. As people we've been entertained by art, stories, drama, comedy, music, competition(both viewing of or taking part in) & activities we involve ourselves with. Video games are a performance put together by their developers. They are one of the few forms of entertainment that can strike most of those examples in one sitting. To push this point to its limit, there are many video games I've played that have hit every form of entertainment above by themselves. Art, story, drama, comedy & music can be found whilst fending off the competition. When victorious you get a sense achievement because it was your skill that overcame the odds.
Nintendo opened many eyes to gaming with the DS & the Wii. Both machines drew the attention of some previously inaccessible demographics. People who, in the past, would have looked at a control
pad like they'd witnessed it drop from space, now had high scores they were proud of. Although they converted many to the pastime, others still viewed the experience as fun, but for its childish novelty. Almost like grandpa playing musical chairs at a kids party. Smartphones & tablets have continued the DS's legacy as the accessible gaming companion to those who don't consider themselves gamers. The affordable cartridge replaced by the free app. Dedicated game purchases reduce for those platforms, taking chunks of their short lived acceptance boost with them.
Gaming shouldn't be thought of in an odd or negative fashion. I think people out of the computer game loop sometimes see gamers as being a lazy breed. They maybe make the assumption that you must be an unmotivated individual, who spends all your time hunched in front of a screen. There can be people who are more susceptible to these trappings but the characteristics aren't exclusive to gaming. People can immerse themselves in many hobbies without question, an avid gamer seems to regularly conjure a poor image. So many of my friends game & not many of them would fall into the lazy or unmotivated category. Most of my smartest friends take a lot from gaming, it only adds to their overall lexicon & personality.
The quality of the content can be outstanding. Most fans of the medium will be able to point out some great example pieces to show the uninitiated. At times games receive slithers of reassuring acclaim. Classic fm had some interesting entries in its 2012 Hall of Fame list. The brief introduction to this voted list read:
"The ultimate chart of classical works has been revealed.
From symphonies to sonatas, concertos to choral works, it's all in your definitive guide to the nation's 300 best-loved classical pieces."
In this list of "Ultimate" classical works, Nobuo Uematsu's "Aerith's Theme" from Final Fantasy VII charted in at 16 of the top 300 classical pieces of music. To have reached this position it had to have collated thousands of votes of people wanting it to chart. I know this may weaken my argument that gaming isn't taken seriously, it bolsters the point that the content can be rich in quality. It's good to see that some of the stellar work done by the great minds in this industry does get recognised from time to time.
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