Video Games - The Stigma of Modern Storytelling
On the verge of this year’s E3, the largest annual video game convention in existence, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my philosophies about video games. As the generations that grew up with video games continue to grow up, they are more acceptable for adults. However, there is still a very negative stigma against adults enjoying video games.
I think this idea that video games are a “mind numbing time waster” comes from a lack of understanding. It comes almost entirely from those that have not grown up experiencing everything that comes with immersing yourself in another world or competing with friends and strangers online. It comes from lack of experience and understanding of video games in general. I hope to shed some light from a responsible adult, who loves to enjoy video games.
There is a real community for gamers in online competition as well as cooperative play. Humans are not all born to be athletes, but that does not mean people do not still enjoy competition. A video game club in many ways is no different from a chess club. Both require practice, skill, strategy and patience. It is just a different “game” to be played. Therefore, why Chess is acceptable for adults but video games are not is antiquated and narrow point of view.
What do you always hear the video game naysayer use as an alternative to rotting your eyes out in front of a Television? “Go read a book!” they say. Well, I would argue that some of the deepest video games are as detailed to reading an immersive book. Games such as The Last of Us, the Witcher series, The Mass Effect series, even Grand Theft Auto have a long and detailed story the same way a book does. In games such as these however, the audience has the ability to interact and make difficult choices to shape the world they are entering. I have learned a heck of a lot about myself when faced with difficult video game situations rather than reading what a character with a pre-defined personality.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with preferring to play Chess or get lost in the pages of a great book; I am merely suggesting that people should not look negatively on an alternative medium that others enjoy. I do not judge your 2 hours of reading about a make believe galaxy, you should not judge my 2 hours of saving make believe galaxy. The times and technology of the days are changing.
The times and technology change. Story telling has gone from oral history, cave paintings, drawing, paintings, literature, theatre, radio, film, television and video games is just another medium of the art. We all have different personal preferences as to how we like to consume stories.
The stigma is dying slowly as more and more of us that have grown into adulthood through the glory days of video game development. Not everyone in our generation was lucky enough to experience the joy, so hopefully those can become more accepting of a large part of our culture. As with all things in life, people do not have to understand or enjoy video games, but they should not judge other because of that. I do not understand or enjoy line dancing, but I encourage those who do to dance their little boots off.
What do you think? Do you feel judgement when people find out you play video games as an adult?