What I Wish Everyone Knew About Video Games.

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The average video game player is no longer a stereotypical, socially awkward teenage boy.

 In fact, the median gamer is 37 years old and happens to be female. 

And this makes sense — we know that games can make us smarter and more creative. 

Games are excellent for problem-solving skills, have been shown to combat mental decline, and are being used as therapy for children with autism or ADHD.

Games are capable of producing an intense emotional response in the player comparable to 

what you experience watching a tense thriller on screen or reading a gripping novel 

possibly even more so because of the extra sensory input that comes from interactivity.

I believe that the average gamer is a person with a wide range of interests and an inquisitive nature.

 They have been exposed to different things from every corner of the world.

In short, they are savvy consumers 

who can use their intelligence to help inform them as they navigate the bewildering array of choices available in today’s market.

 In this post, I want to share some of those key lessons with you 

so you can begin carving out your own path as a video gamer and helping others on theirs.

Let’s get started.

 The games you play say a lot about you.

You make inferences from the games you play, and this is true whether or not they are going to be violent or family-friendly.

  If a game features a dark story involving a controversial subject,

 you will make a leap in your mind based on the meaningful cues in the environment.

For example, 

did you know that one of the best-selling games of all time there have been significant industry changes in how games are marketed?

 In 1994, Nintendo released Super Mario Brothers 3 , an action-adventure platformer with few violent elements and no blood or gore .

It was considered family-friendly, even though it had Mario throw fireballs at his enemies to kill them.

Today’s more violent games, like God of War , are packaged with sexually suggestive box art showing scantily clad women.

The more violent the game, the more prominent the sex has become in marketing campaigns.  

When these elements of sexuality and violence are packaged together,

 they suggest that more extreme acts of violence are expected from the player.

You see this in movies, too.

  Take the movie Hostel , for example.  It’s a horror movie with extreme violence, but it has no gore in the theatrical edition . 

 A minute of blood is added to the final cut of the film when it is released on DVD. 

Here’s what they did to make sure you knew there would be bloodshed in the film.

Emotions are central to telling stories, but they are not all equal.

 Some emotions have deeper meaning than others.

 A theme that can be blown out of proportion by an inaccurate inference can have tragic consequences,

 just as a harmless inference can miss its mark altogether.

  Games are not just for kids.

Often, when I hear people say that games are just for kids, they believe that the only gamers are children or young teenagers.

This is not true.

  Today’s global gaming population reaches well into the mid-thirties , with female gamers making up nearly half of it!

I’ve had conversations with gamers of all ages who have told me they don’t fit the demographic profile of players they thought were typical of this hobby .

 And I’ve had older gamers tell me they were shocked to discover how many younger people are playing their favorite games.

Nope, it’s not just nerds who play video games . 

There are a lot more to you out there than you think.

  Gamers are not the problem.

Game developers, marketers, and even members of the press often make incorrect assumptions 

about gamer motivations because the idea of violence as a commodity is too easy to fit into their existing mental framework.

  There is no such thing as an objective review.

This may sound like a bold statement, but I think you will find that it is true. 

When a critic gives a score to a game or summarizes its features in a review,

 they are making an informed estimate about the relative value of the product .

 This means that two reviewers could come up with wildly different ratings for exactly the same products based on their own experiences and biases .

This means that you should make your own informed estimate, based on the information you have available to you at the time.

 You can use this as a guide as you make your purchase decision for video games.

For example, I’m really not fond of first-person shooters (FPS) as opposed to third-person action (TPS) shooters because 

I believe they are typically less fun to play. 

However, I recently reviewed a FPS called Rainbow Six Vegas 2 . 

The review was very positive overall, but because it happened to be a FPS shooter, I gave it a score of 7/10 instead of 9/10 .

A review of Halo 3 on the other hand, was given a perfect score of 10/10 because it’s exactly my kind of game.

  Multiplayer is the future.

A similar trend is happening in MMOs, which are also seeing substantial growth in terms of both players and revenue .

 It turns out that gamers are craving social interaction, even through video games!

 One study found that 72% of female MMO players had online friendships that they considered very important to them,Clean ERSJ

 while 77% said they had more close friends online than offline.

You can get help from other gamers.

Video games are almost always reviewed by people who have played them more than once .

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