Games Gamut

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – Jack grew older with this proverb and has no penchant for play but loves to see his son play. Jack Jr however does not play but is not dull either; he “games” on his PlayStation 3. This form of entertainment has spawned many fads; video game culture has evolved in time, particularly in connection with internet culture. Gaming in all forms has got all the attention be it console based or web-based. Technological advances and commercial success helped the gaming concept take a leap farther than anticipated, the gaming interface has emerged from a mocked and rejected oscilloscope view to a 3-D user interactive view. The PlayStation, X-Box, Wii and et al have become a genre in gaming and redefined the art and passion involved. Apart from these LAN games, social networking games, online portals for games, PC based games, smart phones and a gamut of other categorically identifiable games have become a trendy frenzy.

Would you believe that as of July, 2008 “The PlayStation” has sold a 102 million units and to add to the trivia PlayStation 3 sold approximately 81000 units within 24 hours of its release. The ongoing hoopla in the entertainment industry is not about Michael Jackson’s 3D comeback or the 2012’s breathtaking CGI but the launch of a video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″; a record 4.7 million copies of the game were sold on the first day raking up a whooping 186 million pounds. According to a report published in The Telegraph, UK, Mike Griffith of Activision admits that this can now be seen as a cultural phenomenon. The record shattering orders for launch of video games have proved that these games have emerged as a new medium for entertainment. The social networking websites are no exception on these numbers, Facebook’s Farmville has a staggering 63.6 million users logging in almost every day across the globe and learning the art of farming; ironically the plight of the farmers all over is not cared or understood but a lost sheep or grown vegetable adds to the curiosity.

People across all age groups are smitten by this gaming bug and left them in a frenzy over the blown-out-of-proportions technological advancements of these games. Five year old Mike plays as one of the cheeky monkeys in the “Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party” along with his other friends to figure out who is more cheekier. The Nielsen Active Gamer Study in November 2005 revealed that the average age in a group of 2000 regular gamers is 30 years and this has been increasing ever since. The gender divide is more or less equal between males and females with the female percentage increasing. Apart from fun there are games that are thought provoking such as treasure hunts, castle quests and educational ones such as math blasters, word building which help the children build their mental math and vocabulary. From what started off as fun has over the ages transformed into passion and blossomed into art and culture.

As we take a peek to learn about the effort that goes into making this ground breaking technology we surprise ourselves with the knowledge amassed. A multi billion dollar industry with big players like EA sports, DMA design etc have a wide range of products seeing the light of the day. Games like Halo, Age of Empires, Need for Speed, Grand theft Auto and Moto GrandPrix are on top of the charts. These games have become more user interactive with generations, A joystick to maneuver your car or swing your sword or take a shot gives you a real-time experience. The sixth sense concepts, real-time interactions, internet, computer programming advancements and game developer communities have ganged up to produce innovative games.
Though technically savvy and financially attractive this industry has its own share of controversies; like related forms of media, computer and video games have been the subject of frequent controversy and censorship, due to the depiction of graphic violence, sexual themes, advergaming (a form of advertising in games), consumption of drugs, consumption of alcohol or tobacco, propaganda, or profanity in some games. Critics of video games include parents’ groups, politicians, organized religious groups, and other special interest groups, even though all of these can be found in all forms of entertainment and media. One of the most common criticisms of video games is that they allegedly increase violent tendencies among youth. games like “death Race”, “Mortal Kombat” are proponents of physical violence and have been banned for their content.

Controversies are bound to be a part of any realm but the big picture this industry airs is more glamorous and attractive. A generation awakens to a new genre of entertainment and indulges in a non-existent world of exhilaration. Video Games in all formats are the future for fun and entertainment.

Ikshwak Kandi

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