Its National Video Games Day! I’m not normally one to follow the random “national” celebrations that appears in my Twitter feed but I really don’t even need a day to show my appreciation for gaming. Video games are a key part of modern culture, they shape a lot of modern culture from clothing to language. In the UK alone according to one site there are “As of June 2018, there are 2,261 active games companies in the UK” and “The UK is the 5th largest video game market in 2017 … approximately 32.4m people in the UK play games.” – source: https://ukie.org.uk/research
It’s insane to think how far gaming as form of media and even as an art form has come despite all the complaints leveled against gaming over the years. So today I thought I would take a moment to outline some of the ways gaming has benefited my life up until this point. And let’s show some love for video games in the comments, how has playing games benefited you?
Problem Solving – First up and in no particular order, gaming has helped me improve my ability to problem solve. Portal is the game that instantly comes to mind but the puzzle game genre is a personal favourite and has entertained, confused and puzzled gamers for years. My personal favourite puzzle game would be The Room and its sequels! The Room is both challenging and visually amazing for a mobile game.
The Big Questions – Videogames have also offered myself and many others the opportunity to reflect on the bigger questions in life, philosophy and ethics. There are some amazing games that take on some interesting topics around morality and choice (think The Walking Dead), parallel universes (Bioshock Infinite) and what it means to be human (Soma). The questions some games explore are ones we would otherwise not be able to address or would not be able to address in as immersive a way as video games allow.
Creativity and Imagination – The list would not be complete without a point on how video games encourage creativity and imagination. Gaming offers a totally new way to explore stories compared to TV, film and books. Games are longer that movies and as a result can cover more complex and sprawling narratives that take 100s of hours to complete. Video games also offer innovative stories, worlds with deep lore and new perspectives that help encourage our own imagination.
A Foundation To Grow From – Video games also offer many of us so much more. Gaming has offered a springboard for future developers and coders, for authors looking for inspiration and for Youtubers, bloggers and streamers. Gaming is not just about the games themselves but the world that has grown up around it and the opportunity video games have provided people to create, innovate and even earn a living.
Community – Similarly linked is my last point, community. Video games have above all else offered community. I remember my first day at secondary school, being nervous not really knowing anyone till I heard some people talking about games. We shared our XBox Live names and from there we became friends. Similarly whether it would be the people we have met online gaming and stayed in touch with; the awesome people you see at game conventions or your fellow bloggers and readers. It’s hard to deny the sense of community that springs up around video games.
So that’s the gifts given to us gamers and no doubt I’ve missed some. So on Video Game Day lets show some love for Video Games! Get someone who doeasn’t usually play them involved, thank your favourite Youtuber or streamer in the comments and don’t forget to thank the amazingly tallented developers who create the games we love to play!
HAPPY VIDEO GAME DAY!
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