By: Shahriar H.
Like books and movies, video games are just another form of storytelling. It’s something that cannot be argued, as it is a fact. If you find yourself disagreeing with this, then obviously you’re not familiar with video games, and shouldn’t read this article until you are (or simply keep an open mind). There is a lot of controversy around the subject, and I’d like to share my opinion. I’m all for video games and gaming, but I’d also like to touch upon some topics I’m against relating to video games. This article might change, reaffirm or instill a new perspective of video games in you, and because of that, I encourage you to keep reading!
Firstly, people against video games say that they make the players violent, they are addicting, they can rob you of reality, they’re expensive and that they’re generally useless. I believe that people who think this probably haven’t played any video games themselves. Their points are mostly double standards. For example, some parents refuse to let their children play video games that have inappropriate themes, but many will allow them to watch movies that surpass any inappropriate theme that could be in a classic video game. Of course, there is a group of parents that keep their children extremely sheltered, but they are an exception.
Let’s tackle the points one by one. First of all, violence in video games does not make the player violent. The player could just as easily read a graphic piece of literature and be inspired to do violent things, but they most likely won’t because they’re a sensible human being. Second, video games are meant to be addictive; if they weren’t, they would simply be bad video games. Similar to if a book or movie didn’t have an interesting plot, it would lose the reader/watcher’s interest. It’s up to the player how much time he wants to spend playing video games, not the video game. It is not the game’s job to rob a player of his reality, but the player’s choice to get away from it. I want to make it clear that although I am for video games and gaming, I am absolutely against ignoring reality. Being a part of reality is what makes you human. Thirdly, I can agree that some video games sold today are expensive, reaching from 20 to 60 euros. Some games are worth their price, others, not so much. It’s usually corporate greed that raises the prices so high or sells games in a series while it should be one full game. However, just like any other products, they go on sale (thank Gabe Newell for Steam)!
Fourthly, video games are not useless. This is where it can be seen as an art. Of course, like with all arts, there is good and there is bad. Good games will exercise the player’s mind, leave him with emotions, and most importantly, entertain the player. Bad games don’t do any of that or simply don’t do it as well. As I’ve mentioned before, they’re just another form of storytelling. Video games are different because they let the player connect with the game personally. It lets them play as the protagonist and lets them interact with the virtual game. There are consequences and repercussions to their actions just like real life, which encourages a much deeper emotional investment and instills morals. There are games which focus more on teamwork and tactics, and others which focus on story and plot. Games can leave players with an important message, take them into a world of fantasy, train them how to think quickly, or even teach players how to work in a team. The video gaming platform is a diverse one, and it is wrong to call it useless.
An example of a good game would be the classic; Assassin’s Creed 2. AC2 gives you something that cannot be described, only experienced, which is what makes it such a good game. Finishing the game left me speechless and wanting more. An example of a bad game would be Call of Duty (although, not the Campaign), because all it requires the player to do is point and shoot in multiplayer. No team work, no tactics, just run around and shoot (although it can be fun at times). Unfortunately we see a lot of bad games because they’re not taken as seriously as literature might be. On the topic of specific games, an extremely controversial one is Grand Theft Auto. Too many people see GTA as a braindead violence simulator, and I beg to differ. The creators of GTA meant for the game to be a satire of real life; the game is meant to be controversial. The player is the antagonist, and is able to do anything that he wouldn’t dare do in real life. Robbing banks, shooting sprees, joy riding; you name it. It’s a world where the balance is tipped for the evil, making it a satire of life.
To wrap up, video games are another storytelling device, therefore another form of art. They could even be considered better than literature or movies as they allow you to interact and create a personal connection to the game. They can be expensive, but it’s up to the player to decide how much he wants to spend. They’re also addicting, but once again, it is the player’s choice whether he wants to ignore reality. I want to make it clear that although I am for gaming, I’m against ignoring reality and spending insane amounts of money on games. What do you think of video games now?