Video Games Need More Respect as a Relevant Art Form
In mainstream media and general public opinion, video games are not considered a valid source of art like film, television, dance, and music. There is a side to the medium that many refuse to acknowledge, and despite incorporating a variety of different forms into one, it is still subject to great debate. Video games are as important to popular culture, entertainment, and education as all other types of artistic expression.
Gamers are often primarily portrayed as an overweight, acne-faced male pulling all-nighters in their mom’s basement, yet it would be hard to come across someone who has not played a video game. After the release of Pong in 1972, children and adults alike ushered into arcades to indulge in the virtual tennis game, and continue to play today on home consoles. There is no set physical or personal attributes for the gaming community, and there is a responsibility on other forms of media to reverse the perception.
A major criticism that video games receive is that it promotes a lack of physical activity. However, the opposite occurred after the 2006 release and eventual sale of over 101 million Nintendo Wii units. The system came packaged with Wii Sports – a game encouraging families to bond together, have both collective and individual fun, and participate in physical activity. Additionally, Wii Fit is an intuitive experience that utilizes a balance board to track and educate users on weight loss, develop a greater level of stamina, and mask the monotonous tasks in an entertaining way.
Violence and the influence it has on players is the most common debate in video games. According to an Oxford University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media, time spent playing video games had a greater effect on children than the actual content. Like everything, moderation is key to a healthy upbringing.
Industry juggernaut Mojang has built a version of their game Minecraft for teachers to develop lessons and assignments within the virtual world. The engaging and inventive development has incorporated fun with academics so some students can become more enthusiastic about learning to apply real life knowledge through a tangible method.
Over 35 million PlayStation 4 consoles have been sold since last November alone, with major properties such as Tomb Raider, The Last of Us (upcoming), Doom, and Halo spawning feature films and television shows. Popular culture is infested with gaming related content, but its contribution continues to fly under the mainstream’s radar.
Video games consistently prove their relevance in entertainment, everyday life, and as an incredible educational tool. Its legitimacy as respected art continues to be disregarded, and the effort of all artists, level designers, directors, and programmers must be thoroughly recognized without discrimination.