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A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device, such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing devices, to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset. Video games are augmented with audio feedback from speakers or headphones, and optionally with other types of feedback systems including haptic technology.
Video games are defined based on their platform, which include arcade games, home video game consoles, handheld game consoles, and computers, including mainframes and personal computers. More recently, the industry has expanded onto mobile gaming through smartphones and tablet computers, and remoting cloud gaming. Video games are classified into a wide range of genres based on their type of gameplay and purpose.
The first video games were simple extensions of electronic games using video-like output from large room-size computers in the 1950s and 1960s, while the first video games available to consumers appears in 1972 through way of the Magnavox Odyssey home console, and the 1971 release of the arcade game Computer Space, followed the next year by Pong. Today, video game development requires numerous skills to bring a game to market, including developers, publishers, distributors, retailers, console and other third-party manufacturers, and other roles.
Since the 2010s, the commercial importance of the video game industry has been increasing. The emerging Asian markets and mobile games on smartphones in particular are driving the growth of the industry. As of 2018, video games generated sales of US$134.9 billion annually worldwide, and were the third-largest segment in the U.S. entertainment market, behind broadcast and cable TV.
Early games used interactive electronic devices with various display formats. The earliest example is from 1947—a "Cathode ray tube Amusement Device" was filed for a patent on 25 January 1947, by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, and issued on 14 December 1948, as U.S. Patent 2455992. Inspired by radar display technology, it consisted of an analog device that allowed a user to control a vector-drawn dot on the screen to simulate a missile being fired at targets, which were drawings fixed to the screen. Other early examples include: Christopher Strachey's Draughts game, the Nimrod computer at the 1951 Festival of Britain; OXO a tic-tac-toe Computer game by Alexander S. Douglas for the EDSAC in 1952; Tennis for Two, an electronic interactive game engineered by William Higinbotham in 1958; Spacewar!, written by MIT students Martin Graetz, Steve Russell, and Wayne Wiitanen's on a DEC PDP-1 computer in 1961; and the hit ping pong-style Pong, a 1972 game by Atari. Each game used different means of display: NIMROD used a panel of lights to play the game of Nim, OXO used a graphical display to play tic-tac-toe Tennis for Two used an oscilloscope to display a side view of a tennis court, and Spacewar! used the DEC PDP-1's vector display to have two spaceships battle each other.
These preliminary inventions paved the way for the origins of video games today. Ralph H. Baer, while working at Sanders Associates in 1966, came up with the idea of using a control system to play a rudimentary game of table tennis on a television screen. With Sanders' blessing, Baer build out the prototype "Brown Box". Sanders patented Baer's inventions and licensed them to Magnavox, who commercialized it as the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972. Separately, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, inspired by seeing Spacewar! running at Stanford University, came up with the idea of creating a similar version running in a smaller cabinet using a less expensive computer with a coin-operated feature. This was released as Computer Space, the first arcade game, in 1971. Bushnell and Dabney went on to form Atari, Inc., and with Allan Alcorn, created their second arcade game Pong in 1972, which was directly inspired by the table tennis game on the Odyssey. Sanders and Magnavox sued Atari on patent infringement over Baer's patents, but Atari settled out of court, paying for perpetual rights to the patents. Following their agreement, Atari went ahead with plans to make a home version of Pong, while was released by Christmas 1975. The success of the Odyssey and Pong, both as an arcade game and home machine, launched the video game industry. Both Baer and Bushnell have been given the title the "Father of Video Games" for their contributions.
The etymology of the term "video game" emerged around 1973. The Oxford English Dictionary cited a November 10, 1973 BusinessWeek article as the first appearance of the term. While Bushnell believed the term came out from a vending magazine review of Computer Space in 1971, a review of the major vending magazines Vending Times and Cashbox showed that the term came much later, appearing first around March 1973 in these magazines in mass usage including by the arcade game manufacturers. As analyzed by video game historian Keith Smith, the sudden appearance suggested that the term had been suggested and readily adopted by those involved. This appeared to trace to Ed Adlum, who ran Cashbox's coin-operated section until 1972 and then later founded RePlay Magazine, covering the coin-op amusement field, in 1975. In a September 1982 issue of RePlay, Adlum is credited with first naming these games as "video games": "RePlay's Eddie Adlum worked at 'Cash Box' when 'TV games' first came out. The personalities in those days were Bushnell, his sales manager Pat Karns and a handful of other 'TV game' manufacturers like Henry Leyser and the McEwan brothers. It seemed awkward to call their products 'TV games', so borrowing a word from 'Billboard's description of movie jukeboxes, Adlum started to refer to this new breed of amusement machine as 'video games.' The phrase stuck." In Japan, where consoles like the Odyssey were first imported and then made within the country by the large television manufacturers such as Toshiba and Sharp Corporation, these were also known as "TV games", or TV geemu or terebi geemu.
Components of a video game
Early arcade games, home consoles, and handheld games were dedicated hardware units with the game's logic built into the electronic componentry of the hardware. Since then, most video game platforms have means to use multiple games distributed on different types of media or formats. Physical formats include ROM cartridges, magnetic storage including magnetic tape data storage and floppy discs, optical media formats including CD-ROM and DVDs, and flash memory cards. Furthermore digital distribution over the Internet or other communication methods as well as cloud gaming alleviate the need for any physical media.
Games can be extended with new content and software patches through either expansion packs which are typically available as physical media, or as downloadable content nominally available via digital distribution. These can be offered freely or can be used to monetize a game following its initial release. Several games offer players the ability to create user-generated content to share with others to play. Other games, mostly those on personal computers, can be extended with user-created modifications or mods that alter or add onto the game; these often are unofficial and were developed by players from reverse engineering of the game, but other games provide official support for modding the game.
Video game can use several types of input devices to translate human actions to a game, the most common game controllers are keyboard and mouse for "PC games, consoles usually come with specific gamepads, handheld consoles have built in buttons. Other game controllers are commonly used for specific games like racing wheels, light guns or dance pads. Digital cameras can also be used as game controllers capturing movements of the body of the player.
As technology continues to advance, more can be added onto the controller to give the player a more immersive experience when playing different games. There are some controllers that have presets so that the buttons are mapped a certain way to make playing certain games easier. Along with the presets, a player can sometimes custom map the buttons to better accommodate their play style. On keyboard and mouse, different actions in the game are already preset to keys on the keyboard. Most games allow the player to change that so that the actions are mapped to different keys that are more to their liking. The companies that design the controllers are trying to make the controller visually appealing and also feel comfortable in the hands of the consumer.
An example of a technology that was incorporated into the controller was the touchscreen. It allows the player to be able to interact with the game differently than before. The person could move around in menus easier and they are also able to interact with different objects in the game. They can pick up some objects, equip others, or even just move the objects out of the player's path. Another example is motion sensor where a person's movement is able to be captured and put into a game. Some motion sensor games are based on where the controller is. The reason for that is because there is a signal that is sent from the controller to the console or computer so that the actions being done can create certain movements in the game. Other type of motion sensor games are webcam style where the player moves around in front of it, and the actions are repeated by a game character.
Display and output
By definition, all video games are intended to output graphics to an external video display, such as cathode-ray tube televisions, newer liquid-crystal display (LCD) televisions and built-in screens, projectors or computer monitors, depending on the type of platform the game is played on. Features such as color depth, refresh rate, frame rate, and screen resolution are a combination of the limitations of the game platform and display device and the program efficiency of the game itself.
The game's graphics are often accompanied by sound produced by internal speakers on the game platform or external speakers attached to the platform, as directed by the game's programming. This often will include sound effects tied to the player's actions to provide audio feedback, as well as background music for the game.
Some platforms support additional feedback mechanics to the player that a game can take advantage of. This is most commonly haptic technology built into the game controller, such as causing the controller to shake in the player's hands to simulate a shaking earthquake occurring in game.
As every video game is different, the experience of playing a video game is impossible to summarize, but many common elements exist. Most games will launch into a title screen and give the player a chance to review options such as the number of players before starting a game. Most games are divided into levels which the player must work their avatar through, scoring points, collecting power-ups to boost the avatar's innate attributes, all while either using special attacks to defeat enemies or moves to avoid them. Taking damage will deplete their avatar's health, and if that falls to zero or if the avatar otherwise falls into an impossible-to-escape location, the player will lose one of their lifes. Should they lose all their lives without gaining an extra life or "1-UP", then the game is typically over. Many levels as well as the game's finale end with a type of boss character the player must defeat to continue on. In some games, intermediate points between levels will offer save points where the player can create a saved game on storage media to restart the game should they lose all their lives or need to stop the game and restart at a later time. These also may be in the form of a passage that can be written down and reentered at the title screen.
Means of classification
Video games are frequently classified by a number of factors related to how one plays them.
The term "platform" refers to the specific combination of electronic components or computer hardware which, in conjunction with software, allows a video game to operate. The term "system" is also commonly used. Games are typically designed to be played on one or a limited number of platforms, and exclusivity to a platform is used as a competitive edge in the video game market. The list below is not exhaustive and excludes other electronic devices capable of playing video games such as PDAs and graphing calculators.
- Personal computer (PC)
- A PC game or computer game refers to a form of media that involves a player interacting with a personal computer connected to a video monitor. Personal computers are not dedicated game platforms, so there may be differences running the same game on different hardware. Also, the openness allows some features to developers like reduced software cost, increased flexibility, increased innovation, emulation, creation of modifications ("mods"), open hosting for online gaming (in which a person plays a video game with people who are in a different household) and others. A gaming computer is a PC or laptop intended specifically for gaming.
- Home console
- A "console game" is played on a specialized electronic device ("home video game console") that connects to a common television set or composite video monitor, unlike PCs, which can run all sorts of computer programs, a console is a dedicated video game platform manufactured by a specific company. Usually consoles only run games developed for it, or games from other platform made by the same company, but never games developed by its direct competitor, even if the same game is available on different platforms. It often comes with a specific game controller. Major console platforms include Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo.
- Handheld console
- A "handheld" gaming device is a small, self-contained electronic device that is portable and can be held in a user's hands. It features the console, a small screen, speakers and buttons, joystick or other game controllers in a single unit. Like consoles, handhelds are dedicated platforms, and share almost the same characteristics. Handheld hardware usually is less powerful than PC or console hardware. Some handheld games from the late 1970s and early 1980s could only play one game. In the 1990s and 2000s, a number of handheld games used cartridges, which enabled them to be used to play many different games.
- Arcade game
- An arcade game generally refers to a game played on an even more specialized type of electronic device that is typically designed to play only one game and is encased in a special, large coin-operated cabinet which has one built-in console, controllers (joystick, buttons, etc.), a CRT screen, and audio amplifier and speakers. Arcade games often have brightly painted logos and images relating to the theme of the game. While most arcade games are housed in a vertical cabinet, which the user typically stands in front of to play, some arcade games use a tabletop approach, in which the display screen is housed in a table-style cabinet with a see-through table top. With table-top games, the users typically sit to play. In the 1990s and 2000s, some arcade games offered players a choice of multiple games. In the 1980s, video arcades were businesses in which game players could use a number of arcade video games. In the 2010s, there are far fewer video arcades, but some movie theaters and family entertainment centers still have them.
- Browser game
- A browser game takes advantages of standardizations of technologies for the functionality of web browsers across multiple devices providing a cross-platform environment. These games may be identified based on the website that they appear, such as with "Miniclip" games. Others are named based on the programming platform used to develop them, such as Java and Flash games.
- Mobile game
- With the introduction of smartphones and tablet computers standardized on the iOS and Android operating systems, mobile gaming has become a significant platform. These games may utilize unique features of mobile devices that are not necessary present on other platforms, such as global positing information and camera devices to support augmented reality gameplay.
- Virtual reality
- Virtual reality (VR) games generally require players to use a special head-mounted unit that provides stereoscopic screens and motion tracking to immerse a player within virtual environment that responds to their head movements. Some VR systems include control units for the player's hands as to provide a direct way to interact with the virtual world. VR systems generally require a separate computer, console, or other processing device that couples with the head-mounted unit.
- An emulator enables games from a console or otherwise different system to be run in a type of virtual machine on a modern system, simulating the hardware of the original and allows old games to be played. While emulators themselves have been found to be legal in United States case law, the act of obtaining the game software that one does not already own may violate copyrights. However, there are some official releases of emulated software from game manufacturers, such as Nintendo with its Virtual Console or Nintendo Switch Online offerings.
A video game, like most other forms of media, may be categorized into genres. However, unlike film or television which use visual or narrative elements, video games are generally categorized into genres based on their gameplay interaction, since this is the primary means which one interacts with a video game. The narrative setting does not impact gameplay; a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of whether it takes place in a fantasy world or in outer space.
Genre names are normally self-describing in terms of the type of gameplay, such as action game, role playing game, or shoot 'em up, though some genres have derivations from influential works that have defined that genre, such as roguelikes from Rogue, Grand Theft Auto clones from Grand Theft Auto III, and battle royale game from the film Battle Royale. The names may shift over time as players, developers and the media come up with new terms; for example, first-person shooters were originally called "Doom clones" based on the 1993 game. A hierarchy of game genres exist, with top-level genres like "shooter game" and "action game" that broadly capture the game's main gameplay style, and several subgenres of specific implementation, such as within the shooter game first-person shooter and third-person shooter. Some cross-genre types also exist that fall until multiple top-level genres such as action-adventure game.
A video game's mode describes how many players can use the game at the same type. This is primarily distinguished by single-player video games and multiplayer video games. Within the latter category, multiplayer games can be played in a variety of ways, including locally at the same device, on separate devices connected through a local network such as LAN parties, or online via separate Internet connections. Most multiplayer games are based on competitive gameplay, but many offer cooperative and team-based options as well as asymmetric gameplay. Online games use server structures that can also enable massively multiplayer online games to support hundreds of players at the same time.
Most video games are created for entertainment purposes, but there are a small subset of games developed for additional purposes beyond entertainment. These include:
- Casual games
- Casual games are designed for easy of accessibility, simple to understand gameplay and quick to grasp rule sets, and aimed at mass market audience, as opposed to a hardcore game. They frequently support the ability to jump in and out of play on demand, such during commuting or lunch breaks. Numerous browser and mobile games fall into the casual game area, and casual games often are from genres with low intensity game elements such as match three, hidden object, time management, and puzzle games.
- Educational games
- Education software has been used in homes and classrooms to help teach children and students, and video games have been similarly adapted for these reasons, all designed to provide a form of interactivity and entertainment tied to game design elements. There are a variety of differences in their designs and how they educate the user. These are broadly split between edutainment games that tend to focus on the entertainment value and rote learning but are unlikely to engage in critical thinking, and educational video games that are geared towards problem solving through motivation and positive reinforcement while downplaying the entertainment value. Further, games not initially developed for educational purposes have found their way into the classroom after release, often those that feature open worlds or virtual sandboxes, such as Minecraft.
- Serious games
- Further extending from educational games, serious games are those where the entertainment factor may be augmented, overshadowed, or even eliminated by other purposes for the game. Game design is used to reinforce the non-entertainment purpose of the game, such as using video game technology for the game's interactive world, or gamification for reinforcement training. Educational games are a form of serious games, but other types of serious games include fitness games that incorporate significant physical exercise to help keep the player fit, flight simulators that simulate piloting commercial and military aircraft, advergames that are built around the advertising of a product, and newsgames aimed at conveying a specific advocacy message.
Video games can be subject to national and international content rating requirements. Like with film content ratings, video game ratings typing identify the target age group that the national or regional ratings board believes is appropriate for the, ranging from all-ages, to a teenager-or-older, to mature, to the infrequently seen adults-only titles. Most ratings systems include additional descriptors that provide further breakdown of the game's content to help consumers guide their purchases.
The regulations vary from country to country but generally are voluntary systems upheld by vendor practices, with penalty and fines issued by the ratings body on the video game publisher for misuse of the ratings. Among the major content rating systems include:
- Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) that oversees games released in the United States. ESRB ratings are voluntary and rated along a E (Everyone), E10+ (Everyone 10 and older), T (Teen), M (Mature), and AO (Adults Only). Attempts to mandate video games ratings in the U.S. subsequently led to the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association in 2011 which ruled video games were a protected form of art, a key victory for the video game industry.
- Pan European Game Information (PEGI) covering the United Kingdom, most of the European Union and other European countries, replacing previous national-based systems. The PEGI system uses content rated based on minimum recommended ages, which include 3+, 8+, 12+, 16+, and 18+.
- Australian Classification Board (ACB) oversees the ratings of games and other works in Australia, using ratings of G (General), PG (Parental Guidance), M (Mature), MA15+ (Mature Accompanied), R18+ (Restricted), and X (Restricted for pornographic material). ACB can also deny to give a rating to game (RC - Refused Classification). The ACB's ratings are enforceable by law, and importantly, games cannot be important or purchased digitally in Australia if they have failed to gain a rating or were given the RC rating, leading to a number of notable banned games.
- Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) rates games for Japan. Their ratings include A (all ages), B (12 and older), C (15 and over), D (17 and over), and Z (18 and over).
Additionally, the major content system provides have worked to create the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a means to streamline and align the content ratings system between different region, so that a publisher would only need to complete the content ratings review for one provider, and use the IARC transition to affirm the content rating for all other regions.
Video game development and authorship, much like any other form of entertainment, is frequently a cross-disciplinary field. Video game developers, as employees within this industry are commonly referred, primarily include programmers and graphic designers. Over the years this has expanded to include almost every type of skill that one might see prevalent in the creation of any movie or television program, including sound designers, musicians, and other technicians; as well as skills that are specific to video games, such as the game designer. All of these are managed by producers.
In the early days of the industry, it was more common for a single person to manage all of the roles needed to create a video game. As platforms have become more complex and powerful in the type of material they can present, larger teams have been needed to generate all of the art, programming, cinematography, and more. This is not to say that the age of the "one-man shop" is gone, as this is still sometimes found in the casual gaming and handheld markets, where smaller games are prevalent due to technical limitations such as limited RAM or lack of dedicated 3D graphics rendering capabilities on the target platform (e.g., some PDAs).
With the growth of the size of development teams in the industry, the problem of cost has increased. Development studios need to be able to pay their staff a competitive wage in order to attract and retain the best talent, while publishers are constantly looking to keep costs down in order to maintain profitability on their investment. Typically, a video game console development team can range in sizes of anywhere from 5 to 50 people, with some teams exceeding 100. In May 2009, one game project was reported to have a development staff of 450. The growth of team size combined with greater pressure to get completed projects into the market to begin recouping production costs has led to a greater occurrence of missed deadlines, rushed games and the release of unfinished products.
Cheating in computer games may involve cheat codes and hidden spots implemented by the game developers, modification of game code by third parties, or players exploiting a software glitch. Modifications are facilitated by either cheat cartridge hardware or a software trainer. Cheats usually make the game easier by providing an unlimited amount of some resource; for example weapons, health, or ammunition; or perhaps the ability to walk through walls. Other cheats might give access to otherwise unplayable levels or provide unusual or amusing features, like altered game colors or other graphical appearances.
Software errors not detected by software testers during development can find their way into released versions of computer and video games. This may happen because the glitch only occurs under unusual circumstances in the game, was deemed too minor to correct, or because the game development was hurried to meet a publication deadline. Glitches can range from minor graphical errors to serious bugs that can delete saved data or cause the game to malfunction. In some cases publishers will release updates (referred to as patches) to repair glitches. Sometimes a glitch may be beneficial to the player; these are often referred to as exploits.
Easter eggs are hidden messages or jokes left in games by developers that are not part of the main game. Easter eggs are secret responses that occur as a result of an undocumented set of commands. The results can vary from a simple printed message or image, to a page of programmer credits or a small videogame hidden inside an otherwise serious piece of software. Videogame cheat codes are a specific type of Easter egg, in which entering a secret command will unlock special powers or new levels for the player.
Video games have a large network effect that draw on many different sectors that tie into the larger video game industry. While video game developers are a significant portion of the industry, other key participants in the market include:
- Publishers: Companies generally that oversee bringing the game from the developer to market. This often includes performing the marketing, public relations, and advertising of the game. Publishers frequently pay the developers ahead of time to make their games and will be involved in critical decisions about the direction of the game's progress, and then pay the developers additional royalties or bonuses based on sales performances. Other smaller, boutique publishers may simply offer to perform the publishing of a game for a small fee and a portion of the sales, and otherwise leave the developer with the creative freedom to proceed. A range of other publisher-developer relationships exist between these points.
- Distributors: Publishers often are able to produce their own game media and take the role of distributor, but there are also third-party distributors that can mass produce game media and distribute to retailers. Digital storefronts like Steam and the iOS App Store also serve as distributors and retailers in the digital space.
- Retailers: Physical storefronts, which include large online retailers, department and electronic stores, and specialty video game stores, sell games, consoles, and other accessories to consumers. This has also including a trade-in market in certain regions, allowing players to turn in used games for partial refunds or credit towards other games.
- Journalism: While journalism around video games used to be primarily print-based, and focused more on post-release reviews and gameplay strategy, the Internet has brought a more proactive press that use web journalism, covering games in the months prior to release as well as beyond, helping to build excitement for games ahead of release.
- Influencers: With the rising importance of social media, video game companies have found that the opinions of influencers using streaming media to play through their games has had a significant impact on game sales, and have turned to use influencers alongside traditional journalism as a means to build up attention to their game before release.
- Esports: Esports is a major function of several multiplayer games with numerous professional leagues established since the 2000s, with large viewership numbers, particularly out of southeast Asia since the 2010s.
- Trade and advocacy groups: Trade groups like the Entertainment Software Association were established to provide a common voice for the industry in response to governmental and other advocacy concerns. They frequently set up the major trade events and conventions for the industry such as E3.
- Gamers: The players and consumers of video games, broadly. While their representation in the industry is primarily seen through game sales, many companies follow gamers' comments on social media or on user reviews and engage with them to work to improve their products in addition to other feedback from other parts of the industry.
According to the market research firm SuperData, as of May 2015, the global games market was worth US$74.2 billion. By region, North America accounted for $23.6 billion, Asia for $23.1 billion, Europe for $22.1 billion and South America for $4.5 billion. By market segment, mobile games were worth $22.3 billion, retail games 19.7 billion, free-to-play MMOs 8.7 billion, social games $7.9 billion, PC DLC 7.5 billion, and other categories $3 billion or less each.
In the United States, also according to SuperData, the share of video games in the entertainment market grew from 5% in 1985 to 13% in 2015, becoming the third-largest market segment behind broadcast and cable television. The research firm anticipated that Asia would soon overtake North America as the largest video game market due to the strong growth of free-to-play and mobile games.
Sales of different types of games vary widely between countries due to local preferences. Japanese consumers tend to purchase much more handheld games than console games and especially PC games, with a strong preference for games catering to local tastes. Another key difference is that, despite the decline of arcades in the West, arcade games remain an important sector of the Japanese gaming industry. In South Korea, computer games are generally preferred over console games, especially MMORPG games and real-time strategy games. Computer games are also popular in China.
Copyright of video games
Creators will nearly always copyright their games. Laws that define copyright, and the rights that are conveyed over a video game vary from country to country. Usually a fair use copyright clause allows consumers some ancillary rights, such as for a player of the game to stream a game online. This is a vague area in copyright law, as these laws predate the advent of video games. This means that rightsholders often must define what they will allow a consumer to do with the video game.
Although departments of computer science have been studying the technical aspects of video games for years, theories that examine games as an artistic medium are a relatively recent development in the humanities. The two most visible schools in this emerging field are ludology and narratology. Narrativists approach video games in the context of what Janet Murray calls "Cyberdrama". That is to say, their major concern is with video games as a storytelling medium, one that arises out of interactive fiction. Murray puts video games in the context of the Holodeck, a fictional piece of technology from Star Trek, arguing for the video game as a medium in which the player is allowed to become another person, and to act out in another world. This image of video games received early widespread popular support, and forms the basis of films such as Tron, eXistenZ and The Last Starfighter.
Ludologists break sharply and radically from this idea. They argue that a video game is first and foremost a game, which must be understood in terms of its rules, interface, and the concept of play that it deploys. Espen J. Aarseth argues that, although games certainly have plots, characters, and aspects of traditional narratives, these aspects are incidental to gameplay. For example, Aarseth is critical of the widespread attention that narrativists have given to the heroine of the game Tomb Raider, saying that "the dimensions of Lara Croft's body, already analyzed to death by film theorists, are irrelevant to me as a player, because a different-looking body would not make me play differently... When I play, I don't even see her body, but see through it and past it." Simply put, ludologists reject traditional theories of art because they claim that the artistic and socially relevant qualities of a video game are primarily determined by the underlying set of rules, demands, and expectations imposed on the player.
While many games rely on emergent principles, video games commonly present simulated story worlds where emergent behavior occurs within the context of the game. The term "emergent narrative" has been used to describe how, in a simulated environment, storyline can be created simply by "what happens to the player." However, emergent behavior is not limited to sophisticated games. In general, any place where event-driven instructions occur for AI in a game, emergent behavior will exist. For instance, take a racing game in which cars are programmed to avoid crashing, and they encounter an obstacle in the track: the cars might then maneuver to avoid the obstacle causing the cars behind them to slow and/or maneuver to accommodate the cars in front of them and the obstacle. The programmer never wrote code to specifically create a traffic jam, yet one now exists in the game.
Effects on society
Video game culture is a worldwide new media subculture formed around video games and game playing. As computer and video games have increased in popularity over time, they have had a significant influence on popular culture. Video game culture has also evolved over time hand in hand with internet culture as well as the increasing popularity of mobile games. Many people who play video games identify as gamers, which can mean anything from someone who enjoys games to someone who is passionate about it. As video games become more social with multiplayer and online capability, gamers find themselves in growing social networks. Gaming can both be entertainment as well as competition, as a new trend known as electronic sports is becoming more widely accepted. In the 2010s, video games and discussions of video game trends and topics can be seen in social media, politics, television, film and music.
Beneficial uses of video games
Besides their entertainment value, appropriately-designed video games have been seen to provide value in education across several ages and comprehension levels. Learning principles found in video games have been identified as possible techniques with which to reform the U.S. education system. It has been noticed that gamers adopt an attitude while playing that is of such high concentration, they do not realize they are learning, and that if the same attitude could be adopted at school, education would enjoy significant benefits. Students are found to be "learning by doing" while playing video games while fostering creative thinking.
Video games are also believed to be beneficial to the mind and body. It has been shown that action video game players have better hand–eye coordination and visuo-motor skills, such as their resistance to distraction, their sensitivity to information in the peripheral vision and their ability to count briefly presented objects, than nonplayers. Researchers found that such enhanced abilities could be acquired by training with action games, involving challenges that switch attention between different locations, but not with games requiring concentration on single objects.
Controversies surrounding video games
Video games have not been without controversy since the 1970s. Parents and children's advocates have raised concerns that violent video games can influence young players into performing those violent acts in real life, and events such as the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 in which the perpetrators specifically alluded to using video games to plot out their attack, raised further fears. Medical experts and mental health professionals have also raised concerned that video games may be addictive, and the World Health Organization has included "gaming disorder" in the 11th revision of its International Statistical Classification of Diseases. Other health experts, including the American Psychiatric Association, have stated that there is insufficient evidence that video games can can create violent tendiencies or lead to addictive behavior, though agree that video games typically use a compulsion loop in their core design that can create dopamine that can help reinforce the desire to continue to play through that compulsion loop and potentially lead into violent or addictive behavior. Even with the Supreme Court ruling that video games qualify as a protected art form, there has been pressure on the video game industry to keep their products in check to avoid over-excessive violence particularly for games aimed at younger children.
Numerous other controversies around video games and its industry have arisen over the years, among the more notable incidents include the 1993 United State Congressional hearings on games like Mortal Kombat which lead to the formation of the ESRB ratings system, numerous legal actions taken by attoney Jack Thompson over violent games such as Grand Theft Auto III and Manhunt from 2003 to 2007, the outrage over the "No Russian" level from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in 2009, and the Gamergate movement in 2014.
There are many video game museums around the world, including the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas, which serves as the largest museum wholly dedicated to the display and preservation of the industry's most important artifacts. Europe hosts video game museums such as the Computer Games Museum in Berlin and the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in Oakland, California is a dedicated video game museum focusing on playable exhibits of console and computer games. The Video Game Museum of Rome is also dedicated to preserving video games and their history. The International Center for the History of Electronic Games at The Strong in Rochester, New York contains one of the largest collections of electronic games and game-related historical materials in the world, including a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) exhibit which allows guests to play their way through the history of video games. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC has three video games on permanent display: Pac-Man, Dragon's Lair, and Pong.
The Museum of Modern Art has added a total of 20 video games and one video game console to its permanent Architecture and Design Collection since 2012. In 2012, the Smithsonian American Art Museum ran an exhibition on "The Art of Video Games". However, the reviews of the exhibit were mixed, including questioning whether video games belong in an art museum.
- Lists of video games
- List of accessories to video games by system
- Outline of video games
- Video game collecting
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|Library resources about |
- Video games bibliography by the French video game research association Ludoscience
- The Virtual Museum of Computing (VMoC)