My three passions are science, cooking, and video games. Most people accept the first two with no trepidation whatsoever, but the third seems to be a sticking point in society, albeit a diminishing one. My father constantly cautions me to play fewer video games, claiming that the time I spend in these electronic fantasies is wasted and detracts from the more important aspects of my life. Truly, moderation must be practiced in all things, for instance if my cooking were left unchecked I would gain an unhealthy amount of weight. Moderation is useful and necessary, but my father’s disdain for video games extends beyond simply the time spent playing them. There is a gap of understanding, largely generational, that manifests generally in older folk dismissing games as immature time wastes. This stems partly from their experiences lying mainly in gaming’s infancy – it is hard to look at Pac-Man and Galaga as much more than colorful distractions.
Gaming has evolved so much since the days of Pong that it is erroneous, even insulting, to boil games down to mere distraction. While it is true there are simple games which serve merely as time sinks, there are also games which offer so much more than mere entertainment. Many games have rich narratives, fascinating characters, complex worlds and true emotional depth. The video game is an art form and I fear that often we do not take a step back from our games to consider them beyond the amusement they offer and this is a shame. While the primary purpose of video games is certainly to entertain, they have the ability to access emotive reactions on a deeper level than film or literature because they offer interaction, an immersive depth that is unmatched by other forms of media.
The purpose of this blog, then, will be to offer an analysis of games and gaming culture that goes deeper than simple reviews. I aim to stimulate discussion and deeper thought, while maintaining accessibility to all audiences. It’s time to think deeper about our beloved pastime, it’s time to travel on beyond gaming.