May 21, 2010

PIXELS ARE WHAT HEAVEN IS MADE OF

I have always loved videogames ever since I can remember. I remember a time when I used to walk for miles to the bar where my favourite game was (Donkey Kong in this case). I could feel kind of a supernatural fascination with pretty much any videogame I could come across, proving that it was not that particular game, but gaming per se. How can this be explained?


 What ain't true about videogames

First off, I want to discuss some reasons that are frequently put on the table, but that are not exactly plausible. These are the factors that in my opinion are not essential for explaining the appeal of videogames:

1) AGE. The appeal of videogames is not so much influenced by age as one usually thinks. Today's average age of gamers is 35, according to a recent research. Since a vast majority of gamers has naturally to be considered between 10 and 25, I can see also a lot of people between 35 and 50 playing videogames, in order for the average age to finally reach 35.
This means that we gamers no longer have to feel ashamed to do what our nature of daydreamers tell us to, because the level of technology and realism reached by modern videogames is so high it can please more mature people, who obviously prefer realism when it comes to entertaining experiences (for instance, books instead of comics and movies instead of cartoons).

2) SEX. It has been proven that male gamers are more likely to get satisfaction from playing than female gamers, because the gaming experience activates the reward area of their brains more effectively than in girls. But gaming is no longer a male prerogative. Since the 90s, although there have been many games where the aim has been to decapitate monsters, there has also been an increasing quantity of games where your task is to organize the social life of your electronic characters, and where you decide how to dress them and how to develop their personality; games where you have to manage cities and economies; skill games and puzzle games; games where you can sing your favourite hits and so on. 

3) SOCIABILITY. People playing videogames lack sociability, whereas more sociable people of the same age prefer to hang around with friends and girlfriends. Is this true? Well, the majority of frequent gamers play with friends, and virtually all games offer multiplaying options. Many famous games can only be played online with/against other people.
There was a time when you had to add your own imagination to compensate for the lack of technology in videogames. This is true also for the developers, who used to make it up with more interesting plots and atmospheres.

But there is more to videogames.This platonesque dialogue depicts an almost metaphysical characteristic of videogames.


A long time ago, in (not so) ancient Greece...


DRAMATIS PERSONAE:  

Gametio, grandson of Mariobrosys
Maturitius, son of Austerion
Mongraelian, Maturitius's little dog

---------------

GAMETIO: "I salute you, Maturitius, son of Austerion."

MATURITIUS: "I salute you, Gametio, son of a crossbow. What makes you think I wanna speak to a lonely freak like you? Always wasting time of your life with that electronic garbage, aren't you? What's so compelling about it?"

GAMETIO: "I thank you for the introduction and I am glad to have the occasion to fruitfully expose my point of view on the matter. As you surely know, there is a reality for the Gods, who know everything, and a reality for the humans, who knows what the Gods allow them to know. Now, just imagine being God to yourself, and create your one reality."

MATURITIUS: "I don't follow you, and I am happy not to, because otherwise, knowing you, I would end up in a ditch full of horsecrap. But go on, and i shall have something to tell my friends at the Agorà, to help us laugh while we get drunk, or help us get drunk while we laugh."

GAMETIO: "Imagine that you are watching a spectacle and that you aren't agreeing with how the scene has been set up and with what the actors say and how the tragedy ends. Imagine you can lead the actors by using that prototype of gamepad the creative mind of our master engineer, Sinclairio, has conceived, and make them do what you want them to do."

MATURITIUS: "Mmmmh, like having an aresian warrior make his way with his ephesian sword through the mob of Zeus's high-browed, depilated priests to reach an orgy of naked vestals as final prize? I can see your point in the long distance through the veil of fog Poseidon has laid upon this humid evening."

GAMETIO: "So, see you this evening in our deatmatch?"

MATURITIUS: "Don't know what it is, but it sounds cool."

GAMETIO: "Well, then ... ouch ... what is?"

MONGRAELIAN: "bark bark ... grrr."

MATURITIUS: "MONGRAELIAN, for Zeus's sake, how many times have I told you you ought not to bite other people's asses?! Come here, you stinky freak!"

GAMETIO (uncomfortable): "Farewell, Maturitius."

MATURITIUS: "Farewell, Gametio."


"Mythological hero smashes Google's servers." 

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