Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Games Have Changed the World

Okay. Yeah. It was worth the watch. I know it’s a bit lengthy, but it’s an hour and a half well spent. The format of the program is pretty simple. It looks over the games since the field’s inception and how they have influenced the world, largely in a subversive manner. The buzzword Gamification came up, and rightly so as our lives become more focused on digital connections.

It’s an expected format, but with a new twist. “HVCTW” goes through a top 25 of games that have influenced our current world. But it’s not a random assortment of “this is the greatest game and here’s why” in some sort of quasi-pseudo non-fictional ranking system. Instead, the games are ranked based on date. 25 marks the beginning, 1 as the current trend. Through this method, we are able to see how video games have grown, developed, and changed out viewpoints over the decades. It’s, well, refreshing and so very game-like. Taking an old idea and twisting it into a new format: so game.

And having a non-ranking, ranking system has allowed for the choices in influential games to range from the known to the obscure with the younger generation. While gamers start younger and younger and may laugh at the horror we found in Doom, or the awe in the story of Monkey Island, those products did define a generation and helped create new content. Without Parappa The Rapper, we wouldn’t have the onslaught of music and rhythm games that make up so much of the market today. And Elite gave birth to the open-world landscapes that we come to expect from the likes of Grand Theft Auto and our RPG’s.

The list of 25 represent paradigm shifts. And by no means were some of these games popular. I mean, look at Night Trap. No seriously. Look at it. It’s a sh*t game with no appeal, but it created a firestorm of controversy, helped spur the birth of the ESRB, and gave developers leeway to finally make adult/mature only content. Yes there would still be some parents up in arms, but the ESRB is a big part of gaming today. Without it, games would be regulated by the government, much in the same way movies, television, and music art. Games are the only entertainment medium that have expanded their creative freedom because of the lack of restrictions. And honestly, the industry is going a great job policing itself. A lot of the “violent games” being given to children are of the parents own doing. The business knows better. Retailers know better. So quit blaming the games.

Diverging from topic, I strongly recommend that everyone watch “HVGCTW.” Not only is it great at providing insight into the gamer mindset and the history of gaming, but it doesn’t provide us with fluff like so many other news/docu pieces tend to do. It’s honest. Real. Maybe not gripping, but it’s a welcomed start.


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