The Gaming Industry
I always wanted a Game Boy growing up. I put it on my Christmas lists every year, and never got one. When I was seven years old, my parents finally caved in and bought our family’s first video game console: PlayStation One. It was the coolest thing ever! I think not having that Game Boy now fuels my craze to purchase new video game consoles. Ever since that PlayStation One, I have had almost every big-name console on the market.
The history of video game consoles dates back to the 1940’s. Since then, I don’t believe any other art form, besides cinema on which video game platforms function, has had a bigger launch and evolution. From clunky big arcade games, to crappy machines you had to blow the dust from the cartridge; now we have the capability to play thousands of games from old to new, right in the palm of our hands. We can put on a headset and be lost in a virtual world.
According to Riad Chikhani of TechCrunch.com, the first at-home video game console that is similar to video games seen today wasn’t created until 1967, by Ralph Baer and his team when they released his prototype, the Brown Box. The Brown Box was licensed to Magnavox, which released the system as the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. It preceded Atari by a few months, which is often mistakenly thought of as the first game console (Chikhani, 2015).
When the first multiplayer game came out in the 1970’s people were in awe. Gaming went from Pong, two pixelated blocks hitting a ball back and forth on single screen, to games like Battlefield 1 where you can simultaneously play in WW2 battles on teams 32v32 with up to 64 players from all across the globe together in one game on one single shared map. Battlefield 1 is an example of a game mainly focused for multiplayer use and compared to most other games of its type has quite bit smaller campaign mode.
This love of the multiplayer game mode has done more than created games that specialize in online gameplay, but it has created countless online communities. Communities have grown from just a couple of guys playing Madden in different dorm rooms to what are known as clans. “In computer and video gaming, a clan, community, guild or faction is an organized group of players that regularly play together in one or more multiplayer games, but is focused on a particular game” (Wiki, 2017).
Games are made up of numerous elements which work together to communicate an idea or an experience to the player. Every one of those elements (visual, sound, narrative, and the gameplay) speak. Games can communicate in multiple layer of subtext simultaneously. I was interested in dynamic meaning and how when a game changes, the experience it creates changes. When done right, dynamic meaning can feel like a conversation; the game is actively listening and speaking back to the player (How Games Speak, 2017). I agree that all games speak to its players.
Chris Melissinos wrote an article for Time magazine discussing video game art forms. He stated that “video games will prove to be one of the most important mediums of art that humanity has ever had at its disposal. Technology has expanded the canvas upon which artists are able to paint and tell their stories. As an art form that has only existed in the digital space, video games are truly a collision of art and science.” He goes on to say that “video games are the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience while still retaining the authority of the artist.” I disagree that video games are the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience.
Chikhani, R. (2015, October 31). The History Of Gaming: An Evolving Community. Retrieved October 12, 2017, from https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/31/the-history-of-gaming-an-evolving-community/
Melissinos, C. (2015, September 22). Video games are one of the most important art forms in history. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/collection-post/4038820/chris-melissinos-are-video-games-art/
Video gaming clan. (2017, July 07). Retrieved October 12, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_gaming_clan