Video games hold a special place in my heart. I was part of the first generation that had access to the first generation of games that led to what we see today on the market. I grew up playing the NES, SNES and Genesis, and playing games on Windows 95. Video games came to dominate my adolescent life, to the point where in high school I completely cut myself off from any video game for three months because I wasn’t getting my school work done (which was a great feat of will power, mind you). My point is that I’ve played a lot of video games, and I’ve been playing them for a long time. I would consider myself “hardcore,” at least I did when I was younger! Regardless, videos game culture has touched my life, and this week in Los Angeles, video games are having their olympic event, E3.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the largest video gaming event of the year, where game developers from all around the world come to showcase their upcoming games, and innovative technologies. I can’t help but feel that video games have not only advanced in technology, but made huge gaines in popularity. Video games are so ubiquitous that most cell phones and iPod, two devices not at all designed for gaming, have games you can play on them. I also feel that games have become the mainstream form of entertainment. When I was a kids, playing video games was rarely “cool,” and those who played frequently were the geeks and nerds of the social ladder. Now though, everyone plays video games, and I mean everyone. Look at how many people play Farmville! That is a video game. Look at games like Call of Duty and Halo, which sell as good as, and get as much publicity as, blockbuster movies. Video games are now dominating the entertainment industry, where as they were just a niche industry when I was a kid.
Personally, I’m gleeful that what was nerdy when I was a kid is now mainstream. I love that video games, and more broadly, nerd culture has invaded popular culture. Look at comic book culture. Comic books used to be the “scourge of the youth” in the 50s, and even in the 80s and 90s comic books were only for nerds who lived in their mother’s basement (look at how the “Comic Book Guy” in The Simpsons is portrayed). Yet today, movies based on comic book characters are blockbuster franchises (Spider-Man, X-Men, The Hulk, Iron Man, Batman, Superman, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc…)
Video gaming and nerd culture are now becoming part of the mainstream, and while I may, at some small level, yearn for the days when video games where part of underground culture, I’m mostly very glad that gaming has come to define 21st century entertainment. I can only imagine where the technologies of tomorrow, some possibly on display at E3 this week, will lead gaming. But I know that I am very eager to see! Now excuse me, but I’m gonna go play some old-school Diablo II 🙂
What are your thoughts on video games? Do you have any fond memories of gaming as a kids?