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Silly People - Games Aren't Just for Kids
October 10, 2007 10:31 AM   Subscribe

According to the ESA, the average gamer is "33 years old and has been playing for twelve years" and the average buyer of video games is 38. So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians (more here and here) continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy? In the wake of the British Board of Film Classification again banning the controversial Manhunt 2, despite edits to tone down the game from its publisher, Newsweek's N'Gai Croal takes a look at "The Problem (and the Danger) of the continued Infantilization of Videogames".
posted by cmgonzalez (102 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy?

'Cause they're fucking dumbasses.
posted by dopamine at 10:34 AM on October 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Because the easiest position a politician can take is one that is "for the children".

When he is in office, of course, the fathers of these children do renovation work on the politician's summer home, which is paid for by the contruction firm that just got a 2.1 billion dollar project from the government that the politician is involved with.

So, in a way, it really is for the children.
posted by four panels at 10:35 AM on October 10, 2007


While I agree, I find the use of the editorial "we" annoying, and a bit pretentious.
posted by stenseng at 10:42 AM on October 10, 2007


They play pretty fast and loose with their figures. They include computer games, which skew much older, and it looks like the "has been playing for 12 years" only applies to adult gamers.

According to the ESA stats, 40% of console gamers are under 18. Which is pretty kid-oriented, eh?
posted by smackfu at 10:52 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy?

Because they're called "games".
posted by mkultra at 10:53 AM on October 10, 2007


Not a single cite for any of those "facts" on the esrb site. Despite agreeing that media coverage of gamers is absurd, it doesn't help your case if you don't back up what you say with any kind of evidence.
posted by eisbaer at 10:54 AM on October 10, 2007


Video games are released with ratings, yeah? Problem solved. I'm not a gamer myself, so I have no idea, but can't parents use something along the lines of a V-chip to ensure grownup stuff doesn't find its way into their kids' X-Box?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:56 AM on October 10, 2007


It's not just mainstream media. I've seen MeFites use the same viewpoint. It's a matter of gaming becoming more mainstream - something that is happening, gradually, as the original generations of gamers grow old and game with their children.
posted by NationalKato at 10:59 AM on October 10, 2007


Not a single cite for any of those "facts" on the esrb site. Despite agreeing that media coverage of gamers is absurd, it doesn't help your case if you don't back up what you say with any kind of evidence.

Yeah, they should cite properly, but this is all from the ESA's annual survey of gamers, run by Hart Research.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:01 AM on October 10, 2007


This is a good question - though, to be fair, I'm almost 30 and I'll admit that there does seem to be something about playing video games that brings out the child in -

O WHAT U FRAGGED ME? NOW U DIE!!!! HA HA PWNED

Wait - what were we talking about? Oh, right. Yeah, I'm sympathetic to the idea that attitudes may change as gamer cohorts get even older, more numerous, into positions of media power, influence, etc.
posted by chinston at 11:01 AM on October 10, 2007


Because they're called "games".
posted by mkultra


A lot of things are called games. Sports contests, for one, which aren't just for children last I checked.
posted by NationalKato at 11:01 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm over 40 and I played Manhunt for Playstation 2. It was one disturbing ride. The plot is that you are trapped into being in a snuff film and have to kill people to get out, but after your first kill, you know it's too late. I stopped playing after the 1st chapter. I wouldn't recommend this game for anyone suffering from delusions/anxiety disorders/ or of a gentle mind.
At this moment, I am playing Persona 3. The main characters have to shoot themselves in the head with a gun in order to release their super-counterparts. It's a very popular RPG
game with mature players.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:01 AM on October 10, 2007


Video games are released with ratings, yeah? Problem solved. I'm not a gamer myself, so I have no idea, but can't parents use something along the lines of a V-chip to ensure grownup stuff doesn't find its way into their kids' X-Box?

Yes, most consoles released now have parental controls built into them that allow a parent to restrict the content that can be played on the box based on ratings. Of course, that requires the parent to actually learn about the console and change the settings instead of just assuming that it's a safe babysitter.
posted by evilangela at 11:02 AM on October 10, 2007


Because no one really believes ESA. The fact that most of the game buyers is adults doesn't mean that the games a being played by them. They buy them for their kids. The fact that some adults play occasionally hardly balances out the hours of game play put in by kids. A lot of twenty somethings game a lot and they should be able to play what they want, but I see a lot of parents buying Halo for their 12 year old kids and it makes me cringe.
posted by caddis at 11:04 AM on October 10, 2007


the average buyer of video games is 38

That figure has got to include an awful lot of parents, grandparents, and godparents buying games as presents for kids. In other words, beyond suggesting that adults are happy to support kids playing Halo and Grand Theft Auto, this figure doesn't say much about who plays or does not play electronic games.

So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy?

Because game play is pretty much infantile behavior (to borrow and probably misuse a phrase from pop-psychology). Lots of fun, but not "adult" in the usual sense. Just because lots of people of adult age do it, doesn't make it a "grown-up" activity, like supporting a family, or constructing a community, or creating art, or all kinds of things that we, as a society, tend to look favorably on.

Of course, lots and lots of fun behaviors are fun because they aren't very "adult" -- drinking beer at 10 AM, driving a car way too fast, unprotected sex with a new partner, and anything with the word "hobby" attached -- but most of us do them (at least once in a while) anyway, and are the better for it. It's part of being a self-actualized person, I think. But pretending that these things are "adult" simply because adults do them is dishonest -- the pleasure comes precisely because they are not adult. Redefine electronic games as "adult," and we will all have to go to work for fun to escape from the drudgery of the game.
posted by Forktine at 11:08 AM on October 10, 2007


It's a ridiculous soap box issue, one to lump in with "Hollywood Values." I'm just a little older than the average age the ESA gives and every single person I know who is near that age plays video games, either casually, semi-regularly or hardcore. (Granted, I work in the industry, so my anecdotal evidence may be a little skewed).

Like rock 'n' roll, comic books and hip-hop, there is a generation gap that needs to be aged out. At the advent of popular home video gaming, with the popularity of the Atari 2600, games were so simplistic that they didn't entertain most adults. In the early 1980s, home console gaming was the realm of children and adolescents. Unfortunately, this first impression still sticks with the masses who are mostly ignorant about the present state of the medium.

I'm buying Manhunt 2 for the Wii and I won't be playing it with my kid in the room for the same reason I won't watch movie or television show with a questionable rating with him around. I'm a parent. That's my job.

but can't parents use something along the lines of a V-chip to ensure grownup stuff doesn't find its way into their kids' X-Box?

Yes. Those features are built into each of the current generation of consoles. You can prevent games above a certain rating from being played.

But pretending that these things are "adult" simply because adults do them is dishonest -- the pleasure comes precisely because they are not adult. Redefine electronic games as "adult," and we will all have to go to work for fun to escape from the drudgery of the game.

So anything "fun" is not "adult." Right.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:11 AM on October 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


You know, back in the early '80's, my dad was working for No Such Agency on a push to provide his section with, as he put it, "a computer on every desk." His boss resisted the idea on the grounds that computers were for games, and he didn't want his analysts to "sit around all day playing games."

So my dad changed the name of his project from "XXXX Computer Initiative" to (here taking a word from office furniture jargon) "XXXX Workstation Initiative." His boss jumped on board immediately, and opened up the taxpayers' coffers.

Of course, in the early '80's it wasn't all that easy: networked computers weren't in manufacture, and most of the vendors he went to with his specs said, "We can't do that. We make such-and-such, not networked computers." Not Scott McNealy at Sun Microsystems, though. A big government contract was just what he needed, and Sun had no existing assembly lines to retool or staid practices to shake up. And McNealy, like my dad's boss, loved the term, "workstations."

The rest is history.
posted by breezeway at 11:16 AM on October 10, 2007 [13 favorites]


So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy?

Because they're called "games".


It galls me to say it, but the irritating euphemism "graphic novel" is finally starting to get comic books taken seriously: Joe Sacco's stuff, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, etc. Admittedly this took something like 20 years, and you still get the occasional "BIFF!POW! COMICS AREN'T FOR KIDS ANYMORE" article. Is there a similar term we can start using for video games? "Skill Based Interactive Environment Artifacts"?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:23 AM on October 10, 2007


cmgonzales: "According to the ESA, the average gamer is "33 years old and has been playing for twelve years" and the average buyer of video games is 38."

Regardless of the silly way that video games might be regulated, this statistic reflects the infantilization of society as a whole more than anything else.

On preview: put on Forktine's side.

eyeballkid: "Like rock 'n' roll, comic books and hip-hop, there is a generation gap that needs to be aged out. At the advent of popular home video gaming, with the popularity of the Atari 2600, games were so simplistic that they didn't entertain most adults. In the early 1980s, home console gaming was the realm of children and adolescents. Unfortunately, this first impression still sticks with the masses who are mostly ignorant about the present state of the medium. ['But video games themselves aren't adult.'] So anything "fun" is not "adult." Right."

You neglect to cover the fact that rock 'n' roll, comic books and hip-hop are all icons of the growing cult of youth. Fifty years ago, many of the central parts of human interaction were things denied to children - cigarettes, booze, nightclubs, jazz, dancing, nice clothes. Kids couldn't wait to get older because they got the feeling that all of the important things were things you only got to touch when you were grown up. Nowadays, by our early 20s, we're already old, we've experienced everything fun or pleasurable we'll ever experience, and we look back toward the nostalgic days of our youth. It's easier and easier to see this growing, especially among people around my age (28). The new Transformers movie was tremendously popular, we're constantly talking about toys from the late eighties and early nineties, we love cartoons.

Maybe I'm totally wrong. But even if I'm somewhat right, it's not as though there's an easy fix; it might not even be a problem. It seems useful to recognize how we've changed as a society, however. Even fifty years ago, professional sports, while popular and partaken by many adults, were seen as largely a part of childhood. Now, that perspective is foreign to us.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


At this moment, I am playing Persona 3. The main characters have to shoot themselves in the head with a gun in order to release their super-counterparts. It's a very popular RPG
game with mature players.


I have been playing that with my daughter. We think it is hilarious, that each character shoots them self in the head. As a matter of fact shooting yourself in the head probably happens more than anything else in the game. Wait till you get the Unicorn spell. It is super dorky the way the Unicorn whips it's head around and smiles.

I can't imagine the game manufacturer will not get sued by someone eventually.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:29 AM on October 10, 2007


So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy?

Because it's an easy platform add to a campaign; protecting children from something deemed potentially distasteful. It's like being tough on crime *lite*.

For me, it's an easy way to identify media sources and politicians who will no longer hold my attention.
posted by quin at 11:30 AM on October 10, 2007


If it's on the Wii, it's for kids, and thus, AO rated games should not come out on the Wii.
posted by smackwich at 11:30 AM on October 10, 2007


Manhunt 2 isn't really going after the women-over-40 demographic that helps keep that average age so high. My guess is that the game's profitability is pretty dependent on the teenage set.

That's also to say, the average gamer probably would have concern about the content of Manhunt.

I'm not saying Manhunt should be banned or even that I won't play it or enjoy it. But it is what it is, and to argue that it isn't seems a bit infantile to me.
posted by pokermonk at 11:32 AM on October 10, 2007


If it's on the Wii, it's for kids, and thus, AO rated games should not come out on the Wii.

Maybe Nintendo will release a special edition Wii made for adults so that we can buy them all over again.

I hope it is black.
posted by Hicksu at 11:34 AM on October 10, 2007


Is there a similar term we can start using for video games?

Narrative Puzzles?
Virtual World?
Interactive Fiction?

I think trying to find such a term will show people just how corny "graphic novel" is as an all-encompassing moniker.
posted by pokermonk at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2007


A lot of things are called games. Sports contests, for one, which aren't just for children last I checked.

They're called "games" individually, but collectively they're not- they're "sports". Generally speaking, a fan of, say, football is more than happy to go to "a game", but if you call football itself "a game", it's usually considered a put-down.
posted by mkultra at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2007


If it's on the Wii, it's for kids...
posted by smackwich


Guess you haven't seen many of the Wii commercials, eh?
posted by NationalKato at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2007


So then, why do members of the mainstream media, as well as politicians (more here and here) continue to reference gaming as something akin to a child's toy?

The gaming industry historically has not been intertwined with the federal government the way the film, television, and music industries have been (set aside the book publishing industry for a moment). As such, games are are considerably more counterculture, both qualitatively and quantitatively, than film or music is now, both of which have become increasingly corporate throughout the 80's and 90's.

The game industry has remained largely independent. Games were for a long time not beholden to advertisers or large corporate entities. Ironically, this is changing now as the technical requirements for creating games necessitates huge budgets and corporate underwriting.

But thematically, games are outside of what is called the mainstream. For example, the plots of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were practically subversive - the message was that you can trust neither your government nor its enemies. You are a scientist fighting an oppressive government run by a shady G-man in a suit - the only character in the entire series who wears a suit, in fact. In addition, many games come from independent publishers in Europe and Asia, which may include in their games an anti-US government message.

Grand Theft Auto is a game in which you become a criminal in a world where crime does pay. See also manhunt, etc. Games (in particular the ones that fall under the mainstream media's disapproving eye) have traditionally explore a darker side of society or people. Obviously I'm not talking here about Katamari Damacy or Super Mario, but rather the games that need to be "kept from the children." Unless it's America's Army, in which killing on behalf of the government is made available to the public for free.

There's also an element of the television media attacking games because that's it's biggest competitor. But why should a game like HL2 or Doom 3 be rated unsuitable for 12 yr-olds, when a 12 yr old can turn on their TV and watch CSI with all it's dead bodies and autopsy porn? Because the TV news media does not do stories about how bad it is for your kids to watch the shows made by the same network as the news you're watching.

In time though, this will change. As games become more corporate, their themes and messages will start to imitate those of blockbuster films, pushing a mainstream, government and corporate approved message, brought to you by Coke.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:38 AM on October 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


but if you call football itself "a game", it's usually considered a put-down.

That's ridiculous, in my opinion. 'It's just a game' is something you hear often in sports, whether the young or old are playing. What are casinos filled with? Games of chance. You're pigeonholing that term.
posted by NationalKato at 11:38 AM on October 10, 2007


Guess you haven't seen many of the Wii commercials, eh?

Oh I've seen them, with the couch full of hipsters having a great time and all, but I also own a Wii.

Given the lineup of games, you'd have a hard time convincing me that the system was truly intended for adults. Manhunt 2 stands out among that list for one reason: it doesn't belong.
posted by smackwich at 11:40 AM on October 10, 2007


Those features are built into each of the current generation of consoles. You can prevent games above a certain rating from being played.

That involves getting off my self-rightous 'parenting' ass and actually interacting with my child and perhaps reading a page of a manual. I prefer Walmart's video game purchasing policies to police my children thank you very much!

Wont you PLEASE think of the PARENTS?!?!?!
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:42 AM on October 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who wonders why the European Space Agency is commenting on video games at all?!
posted by mrnutty at 11:43 AM on October 10, 2007


I have no idea what you're talking about in regards to "nostalgia" and "cult of youth", because I'm not playing a side-scrolling game in my room alone. Like with anything else, there are incredibly degrees of sophistication.

I picked up Halo 3 after learning friends from disparate parts of the world had been playing it. I thought it'd be a great opportunity to stay in contact (this opens up an entirely new debate on how communication costs have reached a near zero level of frictional costs). More importantly the team dynamics and complex behavior that emerges is astonishing. Without any practice or established methodology, strategies emerge and teams act as cohesive units, often acting not out of self-interest (such as getting the highest score on the team), but sacrificing or playing in a support role for the good of the whole.

And while that may seem obvious and intuitive, anyone who has worked in a team environment at work can attest to individuals working more for the end goal and not the process. It is somewhat akin to "The Prisoner's Dilemma", that after a few games players begin to realize independently and simultaneously that while individual statistics usually develop from a high degree of randomness, the aggregate contributes to the whole in a beneficial way. For example: Sure I can always go for the rocket launcher and die 1 out of 3 times getting there, but I get 10 kills. Or only 2 during a game. But, if I instead stick with a team (and negate my possibility of getting anywhere near as many individual points but greatly increase the chance of the team winning ... something that is non-intuitive as the process unfolds), this seems to occur throughout the team almost instanteously.

If anything such lack of community and common goal was suppose to decrease as we entered a "youth, me culture" -- but on the contrary multiplayer games have the ability to expedite the learning process in non-hierarchal teams with shifting objectives and outcomes. Ask any management consultant how common and valuable these skills are and he or she would laugh at you.

Sure society learns such values through traditional types of play, but how many people will spend 3 or 4 hours a night playing basketball against a diverse and changing group of people?

NB, I just finished helping a friend setup a study in which he monitored the efficacy of professional sports teams playing Halo 3 as a form of practice. The thesis being that just because Halo 3 is passive and enjoyable does not mean such things are mutually exclusive with improving cognitive aspects of the sport.
posted by geoff. at 11:45 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


the continued Infantilization of Videogames

That's a really odd use of that term, considering I know a bunch of 40 year old men who rush home daily to play the latest version of Grand Theft Auto or John Madden Football. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I would say that the infantilizing effect is arguable more in the other direction.
posted by psmealey at 11:47 AM on October 10, 2007


I'm 28, and most if not all of my similarly aged friends play either console games or Pinball (or both) regularly...We have Guitar Hero II competitions at our local bar, etc...I think that as our generation has aged we want our entertainment to age with us (and since the technology has evolved with us this is possible.)

I don't think that some of them would be playing as many console games if there weren't some ultra-violence...sometimes after a stressful day you want to mercilessly murder pixel people, so that you don't flip out and actually murder real people (not that i expect this to actually happen, ever.)

Nthing parents needing to take responsibility for their spawn...
posted by schyler523 at 11:49 AM on October 10, 2007


Given the lineup of games, you'd have a hard time convincing me that the system was truly intended for adults.

Yeah, because traditional adult party games are so serious. Never anything that would be just as fun for a kid. I recently went to a work outing where there was a projector set up with Wii Sports. It was one of the most popular things there, and I'd say the average age was somewhere north of 35.
posted by mikeh at 11:49 AM on October 10, 2007


Even fifty years ago, professional sports, while popular and partaken by many adults, were seen as largely a part of childhood. Now, that perspective is foreign to us.

I'm pretty sure that video games will follow the same path. I disagree with your stipulation that the popularity of video games is due to an infantilization of society. I don't play video games out of a nostalgia for youth. I play them because they entertain me-- in the same manner that television, movies and books entertain me.

And while rock and comics may have held the trappings of youth at some point, they have evolved to levels that are far more "adult" than their original incarnations. They have matured. Video games are going through that process now.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:50 AM on October 10, 2007


Maybe I'm totally wrong.

I'm happy to say that you are totally, completely, absolutely, unequivocally, 100% unspeakably wrong. As wrong as it is possible to be. Rock and roll, hiphop, video games, comic books- these are all new mediums (or genres, in the case of rock and roll and hiphop). Sure, they were originally aimed at youth- but over time they've matured. Anybody who claims that Sandman is for children is too ignorant to be judging comic books. Anybody who claims that video games are for children without playing Deus Ex shouldn't be talking about video games, for lo: he speaketh without knowing about things he understandeth not.

The early films were regarded as low entertainment- crap for the young and the stupid who couldn't appreciate plays and books and opera. But time went on, and the artists and directors and whathaveyou started making great movies, and the elitist idiots died off, people came to accept films as a legitimate form of high art. Of course, films don't have to be, but that's true of every medium. Sure, film has There's Something About Mary, but just head down to your local used bookstore for any number of crappy mass-market paperbacks. So it is with video games and comic books- there's some really good, really deep stuff, and a lot of mass-market dross.

This has been a big theme- people who love the old mediums claiming that the old mediums are "adult" and "mature" and that the new mediums are "infantile". It's stupid and short-sighted and ignorant. But I take pleasure in one realisation: in a hundred years, we'll all be dead, and there won't be a single person alive born after the invention of video games, or the Vertigo-isation of comic books, just like there's almost nobody alive today born before the invention of movies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:51 AM on October 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


Given the lineup of games, you'd have a hard time convincing me that the system was truly intended for adults. Manhunt 2 stands out among that list for one reason: it doesn't belong.

Most third-party developers and publishers were blindsided by the Wii's success, and thus, going on the Gamecube's numbers, didn't put much investment toward releases on the system aside from tie-ins, minigames, and minor releases.

However, that is slowly changing. Still, there are already games on there that definitely have adult appeal. Just because a game isn't rated M doesn't mean it isn't intended to appeal to adults as well. Thinking that would mean that the only games adults might want to play are those rated M, and that's simply not true.

As far as the question of average age goes, sure, there are many older women playing casual games, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the gaming population as a whole isn't getting older. Personally, I started gaming around age two and I'm now a few years from thirty. And yes, I consider myself a hardcore gamer, and I play both on consoles and on PC.

Susan Arendt did a wonderful piece for The Escapist on the topic of female hardcore gamers and being over 30, and the types of looks and opinions that some of these women get that they should have 'grown out' of this activity.

I know plenty of gamers in their late 20s, 30s and even early 40s. I have no trouble believing that the average age of gamers is not merely rising, but in the adult realm already.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:52 AM on October 10, 2007


Scapegoating - is a propaganda technique that has been used throughout history as a means for people to move blame and responsibility away from themselves by attributing it to others (or to an object or event). A scapegoat is the person or group made to bear the blame for or punished for those errors committed by others.
posted by Rashomon at 11:53 AM on October 10, 2007


A lot of twenty somethings game a lot and they should be able to play what they want, but I see a lot of parents buying Halo for their 12 year old kids and it makes me cringe.

Why? I admit I cringed a little the first time I saw a six year old playing America's Army, but a 12 year old playing Halo doesn't seem that bad to me.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:01 PM on October 10, 2007


BrotherCaine, will you still be saying that when that 12 year old finds his daddy's gun and starts shooting innocent aliens?

THEN WHAT WILL YOU DO?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:02 PM on October 10, 2007


It's entirely possible that there is an infantilization of our society going on, and while video games may be a symptom or cause, it's also entirely possible (and there's evidence to back it up) that video games have matured into a medium with adult appeal.

It's entirely possible that someone will (or has) made a video game that makes an artistic statement as grand as a Kurosawa film, a Fitzgerald novel or a Picasso painting. It's just another medium for storytelling (albeit with an interactive element).
posted by drezdn at 12:03 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are also grownups who play with dolls.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:03 PM on October 10, 2007


There are also grownups who play with dolls.

When they really should be reading from the Approved List of Canonical Classics and going to the Opera in fine coats and going out to the Symphony after a dinner at Chez Pecuniary.

Man, fuck the normativising of upper-class culture.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:08 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's entirely possible that someone will (or has) made a video game that makes an artistic statement as grand as a Kurosawa film, a Fitzgerald novel or a Picasso painting. It's just another medium for storytelling (albeit with an interactive element).

While I'm not comparing a videogame with a painting or film, seeing as how interactivity changes the playing field, I will say that these games have already been made. Years ago.
posted by NationalKato at 12:10 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


You just made my monocle fall out of my eye in an almost comical fashion!
posted by ND¢ at 12:10 PM on October 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


a 12 year old playing Halo doesn't seem that bad to me.

Considering it's rated T, that isn't so bad. Halo is relatively mild, as far as shooters go. I have a thirteen year old cousin who was asking me a bunch of questions about Silent Hill 2 back when I was playing it. Now that would be something to cringe seeing a 12 year old play. Of course, that's rated M, and my 24-year old self was carded when purchasing it (which I find annoying, but if it keeps it away from real kids without parental guidance, then a 2-second ID check isn't that terrible). My problem with such a policy is when it is enforced, it doesn't allow for exceptions.

When I was a teen, my mother, who is disabled, signed off on permitting me to rent anything I wanted from our Blockbuster account, despite being under 18. I always cleared R-rated movies with her, but she didn't have to show up at the store with me every time, and that's helpful when your parent has mobility issues.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:10 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


As long as lots of game users are kids and lots of the games they use are very violent, parents will complain and politicians will react and the argument will focus on kids, so don't say you're surprised or baffled that the news focuses on games and kids.

(You know the line of reasoning: unlike the 37-year-old sitting in his underwear in his parents' basement, kids, people like to assume, are impressionable and not beyond hope, and so... )
posted by pracowity at 12:10 PM on October 10, 2007


NationalKato, I have no doubt you're right. I didn't want to make the claim with absolute certainty though as I'm a casual gamer (New Super Mario Bros., Katamari, Brain Age... that sort of thing).
posted by drezdn at 12:13 PM on October 10, 2007


A few years back I was mountain climbing in Peru during a presidential election when one of the candidates gave a radio address. I don't speak much Spanish, but there was one phrase used repeatedly that I had no trouble recognizing: por los jovenes

On the other hand, he was probably talking about things that are *actually important* for our children: education, jobs, the prospect of a better life than the one their parents had.

Guess we've give up on that in the US.
posted by Slothrup at 12:15 PM on October 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Um, Pope G. I think Space Coyote was talking about these.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 PM on October 10, 2007


Halo 3. 24 Hours. 170 Million.

It doesn't matter what anyone says any more. Consumers are voting with their dollars.

Soon, my children, soon politicians will begin embedding Halo 3 speak in their public discourse instead of outdated religious cues.

pwnd indeed.
posted by ewkpates at 12:18 PM on October 10, 2007


I will say that these games have already been made. Years ago.

Ah, Deadline, how you moved me.
posted by GuyZero at 12:21 PM on October 10, 2007


Man, fuck the normativising of upper-class culture.

I don't think "normativising" is a word*, but I think I know what you mean, but I can't quite figure out what word you actually meant to use. Anyway given the false dichotomy, I'd take upper-class culture over lower-class culture. I think people should pursue leisure activities that seek a higher purpose.

In the context of banning Manhunt 2, while banning the game doesn't solve anything, I certainly hope that game designers aim higher than visceral torture/slaughter porn as a theme for a game.

* Google shows 89 hits for it, but that's it. I assume it's a typo, but there aren't any good replacements for the "v" that make sense. Really, what does it mean?
posted by GuyZero at 12:29 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


smackwich: Given the lineup of games, you'd have a hard time convincing me that the system was truly intended for adults.

I gotta respectfully disagree with ya on this one:

Brothers in Arms Double Time ESRB RATING: M (Mature)
Driver: Parallel Lines ESRB RATING: M (Mature)
Far Cry Vengeance ESRB RATING: M (Mature)
Godfather: Blackhand Edition ESRB RATING: M (Mature)
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon ESRB RATING: M (Mature)

And these are just a handful that I grabbed. I totally agree that the vast majority of the games for the Wii are kid oriented, but there is nothing inherent in the gaming system that makes it a kid's console.
posted by quin at 12:34 PM on October 10, 2007


Age of the video game industry = ~30 years

Average age of video game players = ~35 years

It's as simple as that. Many of those who grew up playing video games still are, and they will into the future. Their tastes and what they play will probably change over time, but games are here to stay.

Saying that video games are for kids is the equivalent of saying that movies are for kids.

Halo 3 is rated M, btw.
posted by Durhey at 12:35 PM on October 10, 2007


Saying that video games are for kids is the equivalent of saying that movies are for kids.

Or saying comic books are for kids. We have any comic book readers in the audience? Hmmm?
posted by NationalKato at 12:37 PM on October 10, 2007


Yeah man, I like Moon Knight, Sgt. Rock, Unknown Soldier, and Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman.
posted by breezeway at 12:39 PM on October 10, 2007


As soon as NPR holds up a video game for its high quality, the mainstream media will start running their "Video Games, not just for kids any more." My guess is this will happen in 2015.
posted by drezdn at 12:48 PM on October 10, 2007


Actually, NPR did a glowing review of Katamari Damacy, a game which I tend to hold up as proof that games can very much be art.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:00 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think "normativising" is a word*, but I think I know what you mean, but I can't quite figure out what word you actually meant to use. Anyway given the false dichotomy, I'd take upper-class culture over lower-class culture. I think people should pursue leisure activities that seek a higher purpose.

I'm going for the verb form of normative. Normative + ising. How would you suggest I spell it?

Also, the idea that upper-class culture makes you better at anything other than being upper-class: teh lolz, sir.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:06 PM on October 10, 2007


NationalKato:
While I'm not comparing a videogame with a painting or film, seeing as how interactivity changes the playing field, I will say that these games have already been made. Years ago.

Which games? I like my games, but so far I don't think they're achieving the artistic heights that books or films have reached. I mean, your Deus Ex and your Half Life 2 stand out by raising the artistic level of games, but they're still not Shakespeare.

Also, the requirement that the gameplay be fun sort of limits what can be done artistically with the story...
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:08 PM on October 10, 2007


'm going for the verb form of normative. Normative + ising. How would you suggest I spell it?

You see, this is what happens to the mind when you spend too much time playing video games.
posted by caddis at 1:09 PM on October 10, 2007


Arguing that gaming isn't a grown-up activity like raising a family runs a little contrary to the fact that the current generation of video gamers make gaming a family affair. Last year, the Entertainment Software Association released a study that found that 69 percent of U.S. heads of household play video games regularly, and eight out of 10 gamer parents play video games with their children.

I published an article last year that looked into the phenomenon that children growing up today are likely to not just have parents that grew up playing video games, but have parents that still play video games today.
posted by ShawnStruck at 1:11 PM on October 10, 2007


Novels have had several centuries to develop great works of art, and it took a few centuries of theater to produce a Shakespearean work. Film has had more than one hundred years to produce great art.

Video games have had 30 odd years, but even then video games have been profoundly limited by the technology available.

On top of that, since they are different mediums, a "work of art" video game won't necessarily be apparent to someone unfamiliar with the medium.
posted by drezdn at 1:16 PM on October 10, 2007


Anybody who claims that Sandman is for children is too ignorant to be judging comic books.

You know, and I realize this is a slight deviation from the video game subject but forgive me, but you know, as much as I dig comics, and that's a lot, all the usual suspects that get trotted out whenever someone talks about how comics aren't for kids anymore -- Sandman, Watchmen, Dark Knight, et al -- were comics I first read as an adolescent. And I'm willing to bet the same is true of most people who point to these books as things not intended for children. I'm just sayin'.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:21 PM on October 10, 2007


the Entertainment Software Association released a study that found that 69 percent of U.S. heads of household play video games regularly

Does this include the Solitaire that came with Windows? ESA figures are not trustworthy as they have an inherent interest in promoting gaming to older users and in not making it look like violent video games are targeted to kids.
posted by caddis at 1:30 PM on October 10, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "I'm not a gamer myself, so I have no idea, but can't parents use something along the lines of a V-chip to ensure grownup stuff doesn't find its way into their kids' X-Box?"

Vista has this capability built in too. I have no idea how secure it is, my three year old isn't much of a hacker yet.

NationalKato writes "A lot of things are called games. Sports contests, for one, which aren't just for children last I checked."

See video games just need more shoulder pads, tight pants and ass slapping in order to get respect.
posted by Mitheral at 1:52 PM on October 10, 2007


all the usual suspects that get trotted out whenever someone talks about how comics aren't for kids anymore -- Sandman, Watchmen, Dark Knight, et al -- were comics I first read as an adolescent. And I'm willing to bet the same is true of most people who point to these books as things not intended for children. I'm just sayin'.

And I read 1984 as a child. So?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:58 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Funny, I am a very wired grownup, with a long history of work in tech-related areas and many, many friends who grew up, like me, with the PC (my first was in 1986).

Not one of my many tech-obsessed adult friends, many of whom actually work in tech, is a gamer. Not one.

So who are these people? Or is just that they never leave their homes?
posted by spitbull at 1:59 PM on October 10, 2007


Kittens for breakfast, I thoroughly enjoyed Shakespeare as an adolescent, does that make his work intended for kids? I'm not sure that anything isn't 'for children' by those standards.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:59 PM on October 10, 2007


Novels have had several centuries to develop great works of art, and it took a few centuries of theater to produce a Shakespearean work

In English, maybe, but the Greeks were putting out pretty respectable literature about as far back as the records go. So I would disagree that it takes a long time to make an art form "great".

The issue for video games is that there is a big barrier to entry. It's relatively cheap to write a novel. One person can do it in a reasonable timeframe. Even Shakespeare probably punched out those Shakesperean works in a pretty short timeframe with paper and a goose quill.

Video games, on the other hand, require a lot of capital investment and at least a few highly trained people who have significant opportunity cost to their time. Modern games, like Halo, require a huge staff of people to develop. So there's much more pressure for commercial success which is (stero)typically at odds with artistic merit.

teh lolz, sir

The idea that killing time playing video games without any purpose is a goal that we should encourage people to pursue: the lolz indeed. I'm no defender of cultural proscriptivists, but at the same time let us not hold up games (video or otherwise) as ends in and of themselves. (As opera or novels or any art should not be ends in and of tehmselves). We learn about ourselves and the world we live in through play. Let us find a greater purpose beyond seeing what it's like to be a psychopath.
posted by GuyZero at 2:22 PM on October 10, 2007


Nintendo's women gamers could transform market -- "Japanese women have overtaken their male counterparts to become the biggest users of Nintendo’s Wii and DS machines in a seismic shift that the company said would 'transform the video games industry.'"
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on October 10, 2007


I am 43 and have played computer games for 26 years. Call it over 35 years if you count playing Pong on the TV. Currently I play GTA on the PC and no I don't live in my parents basement playing it with all of my freetime. I also play non-computer games such as chess, hold-em, and sheepshead all of which don't have an "infantilism" stigma associated with them. Or do they?
posted by JJ86 at 2:26 PM on October 10, 2007


Funny, I am a very wired grownup, with a long history of work in tech-related areas and many, many friends who grew up, like me, with the PC (my first was in 1986).

Not one of my many tech-obsessed adult friends, many of whom actually work in tech, is a gamer. Not one.

So who are these people? Or is just that they never leave their homes?


Well actually, I play videogames (granted it is mostly FIFA for the last year or so), I work in the tech field, several people in my office (a network opperations center) range from casual sports gamer to waiting in line for halo 3. I also have friends outside of the industry who game, one is an architect, a VP of a smallish bank, and a guy who owns his own siding business.

Videogames are neither just for people who live in "mom's basement" nor are they just for kids. All walks of life play videogames but gamers might not know what happened on american idol or dancing with the stars.
posted by hexxed at 2:32 PM on October 10, 2007


"but at the same time let us not hold up games (video or otherwise) as ends in and of themselves."

Those fucking losers with their chess and poker and scrabble tournaments.
you can turn your "culture" sideways and stick it in your elitist asshole.

I'll be over hear playing games.
posted by Megafly at 2:51 PM on October 10, 2007


Video games, on the other hand, require a lot of capital investment and at least a few highly trained people who have significant opportunity cost to their time. Modern games, like Halo, require a huge staff of people to develop. So there's much more pressure for commercial success which is (stero)typically at odds with artistic merit.

There's two problems I have with this argument though. The first is that most movies cost as much, if not more to make than a video game, and would therefore have the same bar to making "art." The second is that while games like Halo are made by giant programming groups, there's potential to make video games (and video games as art) as a lone gunman. I think a few artists with backgrounds in art film/video are starting to see the possibilities in making art pieces using video game technology that is very much open to someone working alone.

With technology like the xgamestation, the entry price into the field is actually lower than film.
posted by drezdn at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2007


The gaming industry historically has not been intertwined with the federal government the way the film, television, and music industries have been...

Ah, memories of Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh (2005) and Tipper Gore (1987) on videogames.
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on October 10, 2007


but if you call football itself "a game", it's usually considered a put-down.

That's ridiculous, in my opinion. 'It's just a game' is something you hear often in sports, whether the young or old are playing.


Exactly. Boston radio commentator Bill Littlefield also differs. His nationally syndicated sports show: 'Only A Game.'
posted by ericb at 3:27 PM on October 10, 2007


With technology like the xgamestation, the entry price into the field is actually lower than film.

Your point is valid, but your example is unnecessary. If someone has a PC to hook the xgamestation up to, then they already have enough to make video games. The fun of the xgamestation seems to come more from low-level programming and technology issues than game design and creation.

The whole "video games as art" debate is full of vague terms. Personally I'm don't think we're there yet (wherever "there" is). But for single person projects, something like orisinal seems closer to art than the cloned 80s games they have on the xgamestation website.
posted by Gary at 3:33 PM on October 10, 2007


I'd never seen orisinal before. That's some cool stuff. Thanks Gary.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:41 PM on October 10, 2007


So...is it ok to play videogames if your mom lives with you? Cuz I’ve got my own house and a wife and sandwiches and stuff.

Funly enough, comics did go through just this sort of thing, and they completely rolled over. I wonder what excellence in storytelling was lost to that witch hunt, not only from that era, but what could have advanced technique and the state of the art today.
I suspect the infantilization of comics was a form of defense mechanism. The politicians said kids are looking at this stuff, it’s bad for kids, make it more childish. And the industry (with several exceptions one of which was hounded mercilessly) said “duhhhh-okey” and you have the comics code and underwear over the pants and emasculated “heroes” who work out all day but strangely don’t have the testosterone to even discuss getting laid without sweating profusely.

Video games seem fairly similar in that respect. Perhaps it’s trouble with the narrative in video games, but you do have movies, novels, comics, etc, exploring sexuality without being mere pornography.

I like some video games. I tend to play strategy games, but I don’t want my choices to be watered down. Comics are just coming out of that hole.

Incidentally, novels are new (hence the name). Greek literature has existed for a long time, but all that had to evolve - you got your verse up until the 15th century or so, then prose, etc. etc.
And again - romance, eroticism - driving the genre in many ways. Especially with the victorians. Not so with video games or comics.
...hmm...y’know, Hillary Clinton strikes me as a sexually repressed type of woman who would read romance novels. Perhaps there’s some relationship there - some antagonism between the respective fans... indeed casting video gamers as emasculated mommas boys. Keeping them at home, away from girls, erotica, etc.
Hmmm....
posted by Smedleyman at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2007


Pope Guilty: "This has been a big theme- people who love the old mediums claiming that the old mediums are "adult" and "mature" and that the new mediums are "infantile"."

Sigh.

Christ, Pope Guilty. Yeah, I've heard all that. And yes, I've read all of Sandman, the Watchmen, and Nausicaa (to take just three examples) I was playing Zork avidly when it was only available on the Apple IIe and Out Of This World when it first became available as probably the most inventive platform game up to that point, I've enjoyed Katamari Damacy and Dance Dance Revolution. I've been around the block there, and I don't have a "hatred of new media," as you're putting it.

In fact, sometimes it seems to me that all the holier-than-though handwringing that one sees nowadays about fear of new media just stems from Scott McCloud-style pretension. This is America, friend; very few of us are pompous old assholes who can't stand anything with a mouse, a controller, or an illustration on any page. You'll have to go to Ukraine or something to find those people, as much as you'd like to.

You'll notice my comment had nothing to do with new or old media.

I'll try to put it more clearly:

There have always been games, whether they were played through a console or with a pile of rocks. Once upon a time in America, games were considered the province of youth, be they baseball, football, or anything else. Now, they're not.

That was my point. And you haven't argued that there isn't a cult of youth, although some other people (see psmealey's comment above) have agreed with me that there appears to be. At the very least, am I the only one who looks around himself and sees that his generation really hates the idea of 'growing up,' and that adulthood really doesn't have any real benefits any more? And isn't just slightly possible that this has some correlation with the vast number of things that were considered 'for children' some decades ago and are now common pastimes for grown-ups?

As I said, it isn't only the media that's changed. Professional football, professional baseball, professional sports in general, are thousands of times more popular today than they were, whereas even just a few decades ago they were considered either somewhat a childhood thing or something not engaged in after college.
posted by koeselitz at 4:22 PM on October 10, 2007


hexxed : All walks of life play videogames but gamers might not know what happened on american idol or dancing with the stars.

Hey, I resemble that remark.
posted by quin at 4:24 PM on October 10, 2007


the average gamer is "33 years old and has been playing single for twelve years"

much better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:26 PM on October 10, 2007


To be more blunt: nearly everyone, and especially the men, that I know that's my age is overcome by an infantile urge. This has to do with the keening indie-rock music they listen to, it has to do with the way they form relationships, it has to do with their engagement in politics and thought. And it pisses me off. I'm trying to be open-minded, and I've enjoyed video games as much as the rest, but maybe, just maybe, the fact that most of them spend countless hours on their couches with controllers in their hands watching shapes move across a screen has something to do with that.

It's easy to love games, and they can help us form motor control and logical skill. But there's fuckload more to life. Isn't there a time when you get done forming motor control and logical skill and actually want to go out and live?
posted by koeselitz at 4:30 PM on October 10, 2007


Kittens for breakfast, I thoroughly enjoyed Shakespeare as an adolescent, does that make his work intended for kids? I'm not sure that anything isn't 'for children' by those standards.

I'm not casting aspersions on the comics mentioned above, which are all comics I think are fantastic, it's just something I've noticed. I don't think these books are "for children," per se, but it does seem significant that an awful lot of children (teenagers, anyway) have read them. To me, it implies that our expectations of what the average child can handle, entertainment-wise, may be something of an underestimation. Tie this in with the main topic under discussion as you wish.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:38 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


you can turn your "culture" sideways and stick it in your elitist asshole.

I'll be over hear playing games.


If the only reason you play games is to pass the time until you die, then you can take your games and shove them in your nihilistic asshole. I suggest taking up non-stop masturbation as well. I'm sure you'll enjoy the rules.

I am mediocre at both chess and scrabble, but I play them all the time. There is nothing elitist about the desire to get something out of playing a game like bonding with a friend or a sense of accomplishment that comes from practice and accomplishment.

I am not arguing for the infantalization of games. Go wild. But if you think that it's elitist to say that Manhunt 2 is in poor taste and that you could find a better game then your bar for elitism is pretty low. There's a pretty big gap between having an opinion and being elitist.
posted by GuyZero at 6:27 PM on October 10, 2007


Koeselitz, there have been people noticing a growing trend of lost boyism. Rejuvenile would be one such example. The thing is, it's hard to prove that it actually exists, it's hard to show what's causing it, and it's hard to prove it's a negative.




As I said, it isn't only the media that's changed. Professional football, professional baseball, professional sports in general, are thousands of times more popular today than they were, whereas even just a few decades ago they were considered either somewhat a childhood thing or something not engaged in after college.


I really don't think this accurate for several reasons. First off, if you watch footage from old baseball games (or really any sport) the stands are filled with adults. How many people say, I root for team X because my dad or granddad did. While your desire to follow a sport may be developed during childhood, it's been carried out through adulthood as long as there were sports (I imagine most of the people at gladiator matches were adults).

In addition, while sports do make more money now, and have more people at a game, it's as much a function of modern marketing and population growth as a "cult of youth." It's far easier to follow your team by watching on television than it was 60+ years ago.

Personally, I do think it's a bit negative to chase youth like we do. To me, part of the cause is a willingness to question preconceived notions of what it means to be an adult (say for example, is it childish to play with legos if it leads to helping learn programming and robotics?).

It's a result of advertising and marketing as well. It seems like among my generation (I'm 28 too), there's a desire for approval/be cool, i.e. know about the current bands, read the right books, etc. In the book Nation of Rebels, it's theorized that part of this might be because class is no longer a function of how much you make as it is measured by the culture you identify with.
posted by drezdn at 6:33 PM on October 10, 2007


There's two problems I have with this argument though. The first is that most movies cost as much, if not more to make than a video game, and would therefore have the same bar to making "art."

Big-budget moves cost a lot, but a lot of movies are made on pretty lean budgets. From what I remember of the one film class I took in school, a lot of classic films were pretty simple affairs. Contrast "The Seventh Seal" vs "Transformers". So film can be cheap.

The second is that while games like Halo are made by giant programming groups, there's potential to make video games (and video games as art) as a lone gunman.

So, I'd agree, except I simply don't see any examples of this. And, at the risk of actually being elitist, my opinion is that people with the technical ability to make a video game have more alternatives for their time than do film auteurs - it's hard to give up a possible six-figure income to be an artist. Or there aren't enough "creative" types with the requisite technical skills. Anyway, I could come up with half-baked theories all day, but the simple fact is that it hasn't happened yet. Whether future technological changes will make videogames more accessible as an art meduim remains to be seen.
posted by GuyZero at 6:35 PM on October 10, 2007


As soon as NPR holds up a video game for its high quality, the mainstream media will start running their "Video Games, not just for kids any more." My guess is this will happen in 2015.

Besides the Katamari piece mentioned, they also did a respectful interview with Peter Molyneux when Black and White came out. And I'm sure I've heard at least one story on Second Life.


(Oh it is too a video game.)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2007


Games and art: I'm sure people are making lots of art games, they may be rubbish or they may be great, but then that is true of all art. But Hollywood and whatever the current top 10 selling books are tells us that it's a bit much to expect popular games to be art. No one expects it of the latest Bond movie or Crichton book, so why hold Halo 3 up to a higher standard? Art in games will be a fringe, just like art in movies is and high quality "literature" is.

As for some of the attitudes shown here, well, people can continue to look down on gaming as somehow inferior to going to the movies or playing boardgames or watching TV or whatever as a pastime, and it will continue to be a massively popular and social activity regardless. Although clearly some people here spend their every waking moment curing cancer, and not gaming, or responding to meaningless threads on a meaningless website, and more luck to them.

Is playing my friend at chess while sharing a good single malt a worthy pastime? But he's in London and I'm in Brisbane. Is playing him at chess on a computer while talking to him using VOIP a worthy pastime? How about if I ditch the chess and play him at a real time strategy game such as Starcraft?

And everyone who isn't anti-gaming should go play Portal.
posted by markr at 7:11 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, I'd agree, except I simply don't see any examples of this. And, at the risk of actually being elitist, my opinion is that people with the technical ability to make a video game have more alternatives for their time than do film auteurs - it's hard to give up a possible six-figure income to be an artist. Or there aren't enough "creative" types with the requisite technical skills. Anyway, I could come up with half-baked theories all day, but the simple fact is that it hasn't happened yet. Whether future technological changes will make videogames more accessible as an art meduim remains to be seen.

Who cares? Is The Godfather not art because Francis Ford Coppola didn't write, direct, act, edit, and produce the whole thing himself? Is Silent Hill 2 not art because it was produced by a team? Is Watchmen not art because Alan Moore didn't draw it? What is the value in having a single person?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:41 PM on October 10, 2007


Yeah, y'know, I see the light now!

I mean, right now. video games are not considered to be an important part of our cultural history that should be carefully preserved like any other medium. They're just silly, disposable entertainment.

And I suppose, purely as a thought-experiment, if video games were ever to become considered culturally significant, or someday viewed in a different light, absolutely nothing of value would be lost at all!

...right?
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:46 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


ShawnStruck writes "And I suppose, purely as a thought-experiment, if video games were ever to become considered culturally significant, or someday viewed in a different light, absolutely nothing of value would be lost at all!

"...right?"


I seriously doubt film would disappear as a medium. But that's not a compelling reason not to take it seriously. Fear of losing film?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:57 PM on October 10, 2007


I assume Shawn's point is that "classic" films from the silent era are now permenantly lost to us because they weren't valued at the time. And that we could see a repeat of this with games.

Try reading it again with more sarcasm.
posted by markr at 10:17 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


markr--

Well, bit rot is an ever-present problem in trying to archive the code for video and computer games of days gone by.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:41 PM on October 10, 2007


Just finished Portal, and it struck me as a work of art.

I think people who make the claim that video games are somehow beneath other mediums don't actually play many video games. Does it seriously have to be fucking Godfather or Shakespeare to get any respect?
posted by cj_ at 11:46 PM on October 10, 2007


... and what's with the insinuation that different mediums are mutually exclusive? Am I somehow not allowed to watch a fine film, play some chess, and play games?

It's a false dichotomy. I enjoy all kinds of different forms of art and entertainment and different times, in different contexts, and with different people. Let's be realistic here, if you're wasting your time reading MetaFilter, you have a lot of free time. Free time is abundant in the industrialized world. Believe it or not, I can squeeze a lot of different activities in there. People that insist certain mediums or activities are inherently superior to others forget we're talking about entertainment here or what?
posted by cj_ at 11:53 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


TheOnlyCoolTim:Which games? I like my games, but so far I don't think they're achieving the artistic heights that books or films have reached. I mean, your Deus Ex and your Half Life 2 stand out by raising the artistic level of games, but they're still not Shakespeare.

I stated that I wasn't comparing videogames to books and film, so why are you comparing them to Shakespeare? Games like the recent Portal and Bioshock. Past games like Baldur's Gate and Indigo Prophecy. Games with stellar design, complex narratives and morality, and interactivity that places you directly in the role of protagonist place videogames above the 2D, simple worlds of Mario and Pac-Man...and in many cases have been more engaging than a novel. Better than Shakespeare? In my opinion, it depends on which of his writings you're referring to.

Upcoming games like Mass Effect are attempting to advance videogame storytelling to levels unseen in prior years. The industry and art has evolved, but those who still consider videogames to be for children alone are ignorant to this. Their loss.
posted by NationalKato at 7:53 AM on October 11, 2007


cj_: "I think people who make the claim that video games are somehow beneath other mediums don't actually play many video games."

Is there actually anybody who makes that silly claim?
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 AM on October 11, 2007


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