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Blog #7: Video Games

October 23, 2012

When it comes to video games in our modern day, I personally consider them to be another facet of the broad “home entertainment” genre. Video games serve as a way to interact with one or more pieces of technology a person may own. Video games now sever as a social experience, a technological experience, as well as an entertainment experience. Chapter 14 in the text also addresses how the modification aspect (to the console itself, but mostly downloadable content of a particular game) has increased the appeal of buying a gaming system. The role of video games in society today means different things. Starting at the top with corporations like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, video game systems and games are another outlet for potential profit demographic. The consumers of these products are no longer all nerds who lock themselves in their parent’s basement, but people from every walk of life. I personally know people who use their gaming system a lot, and others use it very little. Some people I know barely play actual video games at all, but instead use their system for other applications like Netflix and YouTube. The text cites how the adaptation of broadband internet to video game consoles allowed for this wider range of home entertainment. The options for what a person can do with a system have amplified enormously since the inception of the video game concept.

 

The affects video games have had on society could be considered a double sided issue to some individuals. My parent’s generation (the skeptics) still think of video games as something juvenile that will eventually “rot your brain”. However, this is far from the truth when discussing the influence of video games on society. Systems and games today allow for real time social interaction with a wide range of people from around the world. People can first meet in the virtual world, then later meet in the real world to expand their social horizons if the feel fit. Video games have also grown into a group physical activity. The text cites how hit series like Rockband allows for friends to gather and engage in a common video game all at the same time with physical interaction. Other product developments like the Xbox Connect allows for the person to be monitored by the gaming system, turning themselves into the controller. This is something older generations may not be able to grasp so well.

This being said, I will admit that video games can have drawbacks. I personally know friends who, I myself would say, play video games too much and too often. I have heard of people logging 12+ hours sitting in front of World of Warcraft, something that simply astounds me. While social interaction is increasing via online gaming communities, I would have to say that it is not a substitute for face to face social interaction. Another downfall that chapter 14 of the book addresses is the violence in certain games. The book explains and I somewhat agree with how certain games franchises (Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, etc.) glorify violence to impressionable youths playing and learning from the games (social learning theory). I would have to categorize this as a place for the children’s parents to step in and be aware of what they are buying for their children.

In conclusion, video game systems help to fill an entertainment void in many people’s lives today. The use and gratification one gains from interacting with video games is similar to using other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, music, etc.) but the appeal of video game systems is the growing integration of all these other entertainment mediums into one central location. People use these systems because they crave entertainment and perhaps want to escape their realities, just like the use and gratification that came with radio and television. Perhaps why the combination of game systems and traditional entertainment media has been so successful because of this relationship. People have expressed their satisfaction that comes with integrating the total user control of a video game combined with the potential of combining TV, movies, and music.

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