Enough’s enough

January 2, 2010

Recently, I’ve been painfully aware of it. There is a certain stigma to being a ‘gamer’. To some, it labels us as nerds, geeks, losers. Many perceive it as a childish pursuit, as if it were still the end of the 80’s and we were only now unwrapping our NES consoles from underneath the tree in our pyjamas, or should that be going mental over our N64s? The truth is, our favourite pastime is at a difficult age. Videogames haven’t been around long enough for them to be a ubiquitous medium – most would not bracket it in the same class as TV or film as an entertainment channel. But why not? Why is five hours of TV each night deemed a more acceptable exercise than the equivalent time spent with a controller in hand? Ultimately, how do we convince the non-believers that gaming is not only an increasingly commonplace activity, but one that aspires to be a more valuable cultural artifact than television?

So, it comes down to this. Your friend derides your games-playing. He thinks its unhealthy; he thinks because he watches films or listens to music in his spare time that he is culturally superior to you. How do you convince him? Which game, from the past or from the present, epitomises the promise of videogaming to you? Which one do you put in front of your friend to silence his derision, to open his eyes to a medium that not only stands toe-to-toe with other forms of entertainment, but one that, dare we say it, even aspires to become art?

You have one chance to convince. That’s all that will be afforded to you before the same outdated, tired clichés about the silliness and childishness of videogames come tumbling out of his mouth. Its time to stand up and be proud of being a videogamer. Like those who profess to being film buffs, or music connoisseurs, there should be no shame of being the videogame fanatic. So, which game will it be?


5 Responses to “Enough’s enough”

  1. teeny Says:

    This post has struck a chord with me. I spent the holidays trying to convince my non-gaming relatives how good gaming actually is – it didnt work.

    My mum was convinced Wind Waker was an actual cartoon. In fact, the Zelda series as a whole has been pretty mature when it comes to story telling and artistry. Then there are games like Dead Space, Uncharted and Fallout 3 which are epic in scope and have enough set pieces to really stand up to Hollywood.

    In terms of cultural significance, I cannot really think of one. Perhaps I am just playing the wrong games 😉

    I think the problem partially is that videogaming is still an extremely young medium. Cinema has had a seventy year head start, and music has been around literally forever.

    Videogames still have some hurdles when it comes to storytelling, as well as input, which I think makes it difficult to convince those who ridicule it. Movie watching and listenning to music is pretty much universal in its accessability.

  2. Daniel Smith Says:

    Good article that will always be a hurdle for the non gamers to overcome.

    It could be a variety of games that you could show them. Something simple like Mario Kart Wii could pull in the casual, slightly intrigued racing fan.

    Operation Flashpoint for all those that find Recent conflicts interesting and want a experience that comes as close to replicating what they see on T.V.

    An obvious nod must go to the FIFA series, it comes as close to the real thig now as we have ever got and yet the early FIFA games are not a patch on what we now see. Almost like the way Cinema has come in the past 40-50 years.

    At the end of the day it comes down to who you are trying to get involved with your love of the media. If he/she is a racing nut you are not going to show them a RPG are you.

    It will always be a sticking point, trying to get the skeptical and doutfull to be swayed your way. But lets face it, ain’t that half the fun? It is your love, your passion and if they are not turned to your ways then it is their loss.

  3. Dako Says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but haven’t found a definitive answer. As Daniel said, it all boils down to the person you’re trying to get to understand videogames.

    I have a friend who writes for a living, but who’s not into videogames, and I was thinking what game would I recommend, other than casual games; thought about Phoenix Wright because of the interactive storytelling and involvement in the story, but then I thought about Braid, which ending is awesome and not achievable with any other medium I believe.

    At this stage in videogaming, most games try to imitate other mediums, but the real strength of videogames lies in its endogenous and interactive nature, where you’re actually involved in the experience and not just an spectator. That’s what I want to show others about games

  4. noobcake Says:

    That’s a tough question as we all view entertainment differently. And like other forms of entertainment video games come in a multitude of various flavours. You could argue that even the classic (and most basic of games) Space Invaders or Pacman are design classsics.

    Then there are ground breaking games, Doom, Final Fantasy7, Resident Evil, even the Hobit back in 80’s was amazing. For me the real advancement in gaming has been in the last few years where interactivity has really been changing.

    From MMO’s like World of Warcraft to COD, there are ever evolving ways to pit yourself against others in gaming arenas. Alliances are forged and sundered like in real life.

    Recently I have had the pleasure of playing Uncharted2, a breathtaking game both in story, interactivity and graphics. This type of game is truely blurring the lines between movies and games, and I hope it just gets better from here!

  5. From these considered responses, its clear that its a topic that I’m not alone in feeling passionate about. Thanks for your input guys.

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