How Video Games Have Changed the World – A Reflection on the Past

Specky faced geeks or acne reddened owls were the common people known to sit and play video games in its early days. It has however become the general ‘norm’ for everyone to play video games these days. A large number of women even pose on social networking sites as some kind of nerdy gamer to appeal to a certain demographic. What they fail to realise is, if you’re female and play video games, it does NOT make you instantly hot! (Just a personal peeve)

No matter what era you were born in, you look back at what was being developed when you were being pushed around by your parents and you laugh.  You must however, take a second to realise that without that ‘rubbish’ we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Commercialism

‘Pong’ was not the first video game made by any means, it was however the first milestone in releasing a video game to the general public. When you think back to how people used to spend hours bouncing this ball back and forth it is reasonably astonishing. We must also take a second to remember how Nintendo started off. It began as a trading card store, before becoming one of the most recognisable electronic entertainment systems to date. Not only did this contribute to the economy, it also had massive effect on the culture we live in.

I can’t speak as a tourist of Japan, I can however speak for other people who have been. Cosplay has become a massive regime and it’s hard not to find a cosplay store there. These costumes have incredible and impressive attention to detail; we must also consider how people have not only become engrossed into the character’s stories, but how involved they must have become while playing the games. As a gamer, I understand how they feel leading the life of a game character and delving into their story. Be it Nathan Drake’s exploration of different tombs, Joel and Ellie’s fight for survival or Cloud’s fight to bring down the evil Shinra. This obsession with dressing up as their favourite character has become such a craze, they even have conventions where others, like themselves get together and admire one another’s creativity and likeness of chosen characters. Despite these conventions, cosplay has also become a fashion statement, as some wear it on a day-to-day basis.

Video games are also spoken for music. We can’t deny that Koji Kondo has come up with the most iconic tunes, taking a lot (like myself) down the long winding path of nostalgia. Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers’ music has become so iconic, that it has become a massive influence to some of the chart music we hear today. When I say some, I do mean that very loosely, because of course, we can’t say there’s high quality music being produced today.

The British Revolution

Be it music, war or video games, the British have definitely made their mark! What people tend to forget about this small island in the North of Europe isn’t just populated with just tea drinkers, Mary Poppins and fish and chips shops. But it has in fact given the world some of the greatest designers. In 1982, Sir Clive Sinclair took the world by storm with home computing. Some might be too young to ever remember any of these, but he created the futuristic computer known as the Zed-Ex Spectrum. It unleashed a new experience to people unlike any other in not only giving people games, but giving them the ability to create games. This has gone on to become the whole reason behind indie games and the simplicity of fun. It was almost like a punk era of video games. Who cares if you couldn’t play a guitar, just pick one up and thrash the hell out of it – hey presto! You have music. Sir Clive somewhat hoped for this similar effect, that people who had no clue what the difference between the processor or the CPU would just start coding. This helped gamers immerse themselves within their video games and helped others to experience their warped and scary little minds.

Interaction

I think I can speak for everybody when we thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web. Without this fantastic invention, we wouldn’t be playing multiplayer like we do today. The World Wide Web has been used on things such as Xbox live, World of Warcraft or PSN. We have taken multiplayer from the old fashioned split screen to playing with people from all different corners of the planet who enjoy gaming. I mean, where else would you be able to meet an anonymous pubescent child who claims to have sexual intercourse with your mother? It has really brought us all together in more ways than one.

Pokemon has definitely got to be one of the biggest contenders in defining video game interactions. I speak for a lot of people when I think back to my school days and teachers banning Pokemon cards and anything Pokemon related. It was reasonably dramatic however, when the children would sneak in their Gameboys and we’d all meet behind the bike sheds to trade Pokemon. It seems now that Pokemon has become somewhat of a taboo to actually still enjoy, despite being your mid-twenties. But the nostalgia to some is too overwhelming to ignore.

The Nintendo Wii, without a doubt has influenced the other games consoles where they’ve gone wrong with gaming. Even Sony noticed sales figures of Nintendo Wii and couldn’t deny they’d chosen something that really spoke to a large demographic of people! This has led Playstation to implement Playstation Move and Microsoft to go the extra mile and create the Kinect. We can always say without doubt, when extreme innovations come out, they don’t come without their teething problems – from stories of idiots throwing the Wii remotes through their televisions to people tripping in their living rooms and concussing themselves – I wouldn’t however call these teething problems, more like – it’s never idiot proof.

From Zero to Hero

The Xbox marketplace and Steam have really helped open doors to a lot of people like you and I. Indie games have become the hipsters answer to not buying the next instalment of Call of Duty, but instead – a chance to play something before it’s cool.

The gaming world has taken many leaps and bounds since the tiny dot being bounced from one wall to another with a plain white paddle. I for one look forward to what could be in store for many of us. Virtual reality could become something of an actual reality, or in fact augmented reality. We’re yet to tell.