It’s been 78 years since the first video game was displayed in New York, at the World’s Fair in 1940, and the development of video games has never been clearer than now. The games of the early years look nothing alike the games of today, showing a staggering development in just 3/4th’s of a century. The first games were traditionally big metal machines, performing tasks involving simple mathematics and a few binary numbers. However, it wasn’t long before the machines could handle vastly more information, to the point where the computer became the best board game player in the world! The graphics part of the games lagged behind the mechanics, but in the 60’s and 70’s, the visual part of games were improved, and the well-known arcade machines soon hit the public.
Today, games has the best possible graphics and mechanics to create the best possible experience for users. It has gained a cultural status in our society, and its influences has increased, both positively and negatively. In what way a game influences you is up to yourself to decide. But a society might share a different view on video games than you, which creates a dilemma. We have all seen the titles in the media and tabloids: “Violence is caused by video games”, “Violent games increase aggression”, “Video games influences people to using violence” and so forth. From the viewpoint of the media, it might seem like games are bad for you. But are they really?
All games have a purpose of making the users consider and reflect on certain aspects of our lives. It makes you see the world in a different perspective or scenario, possibly forcing you to do choices that would be different from real life, like Mary Flanagan suggested. In genres like action games, it is common to see a “manhunt” game, especially in the modern times. Here you have no choice other than completing something unethical. You might not find using violence in games as a big deal, but does that mindset travel over to the real world aswell?
I have played my fair share of action games, several of them which one could categories as “manhunt” games. These games forces you to perform violence in order to complete the tasks set by the game developers. But even if i might be violent in a game world, do those thoughts travel with me to the real world? The simple answer is: No. The mechanics of the game and the mechanics of the real world does not match at all. I feel that the quote from Henry Jenkins describes my thoughts very precisely, by using the United States as an example. Sure, a very small amount of the violence we see in society today has a link to video games, but i think that has a lot to do with how we view the games vs real world. Most people see a clear difference between the two, and therefore the violence in the games are never seen in real life. In the end, it is all up to how you view video games as a moral compass and influence in your real life decisions.
That was all for this blog post. See you next week!