Sunday, July 4, 2010

Video Games and the Modern World

No doubt the title of this post will scare off most people who aren't interested in video games. The irony is that this post actually hopes to address that very issue. There are many reasons why people are disinterested in video games. But the main and forthmost reason is that majority of the people don't recognize the intellectual merit in modern video games. Long gone are the days of Pong, where player interaction is limited to just two keys (up and down) and simple visual coordination on where the ball is expected to land. Modern video games have evolved to the point where they are incredibly complex and comparing it's development to a movie with tremendous technical difficulty would be an accurate measurement. Skeptical? Read on.

As stated before, the days of Pong are deceased. The evolution of a generic round ball flying around a flickering screen has come a long way indeed. Video games now don't just involve intense visual and sound effects but also stories and characters that require a lot of intellectual thought. Now what is so special about this? Like movies, some video games attempt to make a message, or invoke true intellectual discussion on certain philosophies. Take the video game called "The Witcher" for example. You assume the role of a monster hunter. Sounds typical enough, yet far from it. "The Witcher" places you as a neutral individual in a very fascinating world, one oppressed by religious fanatics and power hungry political parties. The choices you make throughout your journey have a very vivid effect on the world. What is even more fascinating is that "The Witcher" offer mostly morally ambiguous choices. There is no true "right" or "wrong" choice, and the outcome of your choices become much more apparent as you progress throughout the game as an attempt to emulate reality (and a successful attempt it is). A lot of these outcomes have positive and negative effects, very much like how it is in the real world. The game itself doesn't force you to take sides, but allows you to, each with it's own repercussions. "The Witcher" is just one of the brilliant games that are under appreciated due to the social stigma that video games are "merely for entertainment". Due to the nature of the game and the themes that it explores, it is branded as a game intended for adults (M-18+) which further proves it's seriousness. Modern video games have moved way past that and should be considered art forms. My summary may not do enough justice to the thought put into the game, but the general idea is that video games no longer exist simply to entertain, but also serve to educate and inspire.

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