Games Aren’t That Great

Video games have been around for less than a century. They are the newest generation of entertainment media, slowly attempting to earn acknowledgement and acceptance alike to its predecessors. As it has been for these former contenders, the road is a bumpy one. Video games have had it rough as the general public refused to look it in the eye, dismissing it as a child’s plaything – until recently.
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As more people begun to adopt the new media, Video Gaming begins its pilgrimage to the grand realization of its vindication; to become mainstream.

But the obstacles still stands; the trial is still on going for Video Games.

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More people than ever are taking note of this new rising media. It is coming under heavy fire by various publications and concerned parents, meanwhile being the target of affection and black-hole of time for many teenagers and young adults. The camera has never been more focused on this upsurge as people thirsted for knowledge of this new media, or perhaps to re-affirm their beliefs. Vigilant parents and myriads of educated individuals encumbered themselves to deliver the banhammer, in the spirit of protecting their young and securing the productivity of their country, arming themselves with studies that desecrated the name of video games.

This movement, however, is not unmatched. Unsurprisingly, gamers have sprung up from their couch and fancy battlestations to protest. It is tempting – intuitive, even, to shield video games from this puritanical hellfire. Especially when you have adopted video games as an essential component of your day to day life.
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The Counterattack

The staunch believers of video gaming began to band together, demanding for better sources of anecdotal evidence and re-examination of less supportive scientific papers. We start to criticize our straitlaced, prudish contenders for their asinine standards, principles and beliefs. Today, whenever the media broadcasts any apparent negativity towards video games, a few of our less civil zealots go on to massively vocalise against such tabloid drivel, usually employing disparaging remarks.

Thankfully, such behavior is frowned upon and clamped down in the gaming community, so much that the offenders know that they are the fringe.

A significant amount of the counter-arguments are now profanity-free, less boorish and more coherent. While many of these arguments put forth are parroting popular pro-gaming opinions, the logic flows; maybe not smoothly, but acceptedly sensible and reasonable. For once, it seems that we are at an equal standing with the anti-gaming community.

No Cause For Celebration

In our desire to evangelise video gaming, the need is met by frantically grasping at any argument or anecdotal evidence that seem useful in proving that games are useful. Not to say everyone does it, but it’s what usually comes forth first for any for-gaming argumentation.
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It is tempting to. After decades of the mainstream media and our parents denouncing video games , after all this time, developers and players would want to believe that this hobby that we’ve devoted ourselves to is good.

Alike the politicians and vigilant parents that use a single clinical trial to condemn video games, the affected gamers use a single piece of neuroscience journal entry to advocate the goodness of video gaming.

Moving Forward

This is an amateur, wanna-be videogame journalist’s blog. I play tons of games – my life is centered around video gaming. I do wish to one day witness video gaming being treated as a proper artform and healthy hobby, the dissolution of the video gamer stereotype and the acceptance of women gaming in our community.

Uncritical observation and idle speculation is unhelpful, and only benefits the status quo. If we continue to adopt a blinkered attitude towards our cause and negating all criticism, not to mention any grain of contemplation is met with perfunctory answers.

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This article isn’t meant to say that games cannot bring about positive change – of course it can! But the uncritically optimistic outlook adopted by many is a key concern and an obstacle for paving the path of video gaming. Dare to ask questions about articles on video gaming, be skeptical and modestly cynical.

Even now.

5 thoughts on “Games Aren’t That Great

  1. Fantastic article. I do agree that a critical eye is needed, but being cynical is easier for some than others. Hopefully, with practice, some of us can approach the issue with a more educated eye, by both the gamers and the outsiders.

    I would look forward to more science based articles that weren’t based on correlation. There are always additional factors, and as a result, I haven’t spent much time pursuing such articles because they feel more of a time suck than most forms of entertainment.

    As for my personal love of games, they were a solid escape from the life that I had, and where I was when I was younger was far different than I am today. I can’t say that games aren’t as important today, but do to the nature in which I was raised, I feel a strong guilt for enjoying such times, hence I am writing to you, instead of playing one right now. This has given me much consideration for future generations.

    While I am not a parent, I have often considered how gaming has changed my life for the good and the bad, and what I am seeing in children these days, and I am heavily debating on when the appropriate time would be for my child’s introduction to the platform (times the maturity and communication factor). My reasons for gaming could be an entirely different reason for anyone else’s in my family, and figuring out those differences may be determination in the age at which I try bringing them into the living room.

    Nevertheless, I know that I won’t be one of those who goes so far as so banning entire communities from their chance to enjoy the games. Each person growing up has their own understanding and threshold for what games are right to them, or could be that they have no new desire for games at all.

    Sorry for the ranting, but I think I just needed an excuse to type, and hopefully this adds a little to the conversation.

    All in all, since there have been statistics that gaming will soon be a part of every child’s life by the time they hit 18…(I wish I could reference the article, but I read that 5 to 7 years ago), hopefully the stereotypes will dissolve because of how accessible games have become. Maybe not automatically, but gamers raising more gamers will continue to change the face of the genre, and in many ways, it may dissolve from a clique group of people entirely. Only later may we have to worry about cliquish types playing different genre’s of games, then we will have another set of studies to follow. Nope…that is wrong…that is already happening (hardcore vs casual).

    Anyways, I enjoyed the article.

    1. Sorry for the late reply, I thought I’ve hit the “post comment” button on my previous reply, but apparently I missed:/

      I can identify with your worries, I’m not exactly sure what sort of games I should be recommending to the younger generation, be them nieces and nephews or my own children. But either way, the younger ones in my family seem to be taking up the medium anyway. This is part of it going mainstream, I guess.

      If they’re going to be picking these up, its best that we present ourselves as an approachable neutral party in regards to gaming itself. It’s a stretch to claim to be a beacon of light for the ignorant, wide-eyed children, but at least don’t try to contort their beliefs to suit your own. Provoke them to think for themselves, and find their own answers, albeit with occasional help from the adult.

      Gaming still has a long, long way to go. It’s a shame that we probably wouldn’t be here to see it when it finally attains that level of recognition.

  2. I agree though I would take it one step further and argue that when gamers start to form communities they tend to become very factional. One need only look at the vitriol spit on video game websites. The gaming demographic is inherently reactive which is in a way suppressing the notion that video games can advance beyond mere electronic entertainment.

    1. True; it’s difficult to prove the point when the most vocal of your community is made out of largely rude, adolescent males. A lot of the discussion that goes on in video game sites are less than intellectual; it easily settles into virtual fist fights between multiple factions with no regards to the initial topic raised.

      A key reason to why we’re not being taken seriously is because we don’t, either.

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