Video Games and How They Interact With Us

These days there are many people who enjoy playing video games. Some people can even play for hours each day. So what is it that draws us to video games? Through books, we can read fascinating tales and we are able to live vicariously through the characters. Movies allow something similar. In Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage, he points out that human people are visually biased (page 117). McLuhan also argues that people enjoy television because it is projected at us (page 125). This is unlike reading a book where we must imagine the images ourselves, and it brings the movie one step ahead of the book. Video games are another step up even from that. While talking about television, McLuhan says, “You are the screen” (page 125). Video games allow us to be surrounded by the screen. Video games take us to a whole new world where we can create an alternative self and live alternative lives. If we make a mistake or decide we want another start, all we need to do is create another save file. If we want a different life entirely, all we need is another game.

This is how I view myself.
Pictured above is Arno, of Assassin’s Creed. While playing as Arno, I am a man skilled in swordsmanship in parkour. In reality I am none of those things.

Video games allow us to explore ourselves in a way that books or television never could. While television can show us what we want, videogames allow us to be what we want. Through choosing the right game, a player can achieve anything. There are games that allow us to do anything from becoming a trained assassin to becoming the mayor of a town. Usually, we can even change our character in some ways to make them exactly what we want to be. Sometimes this simply means choosing a different set of clothes, or switching out the character’s weapon for one that is more you, but sometimes this can mean changing things like species, gender, or appearance. During the time that we are playing that game, we become that character. If I am playing a game and my character is killed, I do not say, “My character died.” I say, “I died.” I speak as if I am my character regardless of whether I spent three hours altering his appearance and abilities or if he was the only character to choose from and I was not able to alter anything about him. Because the player has complete control over that characters actions, the player and the character become one. It is in that way that the player is able to insert themself into a fictional world. With new virtual reality technology, people are going to be able to enter those other worlds like never before. Goggles with fold down headphones allow people to experience 3D sound [1]. While there are currently not many games that support this type of feature, it won’t be long before virtual reality enters homes around the world.

Being able to enter another world in that way can be exciting. There are no limits to what a person can be. The life a person has in a game can be something that they would never once desire for their actual life, but since the world of the game is fictional, it can be fun to live it for a little while. People are naturally drawn to the chance to do the things that they would never be able to do in their own life. In video games we are assassins, race car drivers, and Pokémon masters. Video games allow us to create a brand new life. Whether it is a more exciting life, or a more manageable one, video games provide us with whatever we need.


[1] Oculus Rift Product Review

Image – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/371476669239195106/

 

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7 thoughts on “Video Games and How They Interact With Us”

  1. I like how you mentioned how common it is for people to talk about themselves as if they were a character while playing a video game (like saying “I died”) because it shows how personal someone could feel towards a video game. With the way video games are set up, they could subconsciously be giving off a message to the players while they play the game.

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  2. I agree, video games are a great way to escape reality for a little while, and create a new identity through a game type or another. I enjoy playing video games and I play a variety of game types, so it is a good way to invest one’s time into relaxation or excitement. It is kind of scary to think where video games are heading too, because with simulated virtual reality games could mislead some to think that the realities are combined. I know that’s not the direction you are writing toward but it is an interesting thought, a scary one too, to think of where video games will manifest to in the future. Good blog!

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  3. Definitely agree with your last bit about living a fictional life that would otherwise be impossible for us. I think this is the single greatest appeal of games, for better or for worse.

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  4. I have played video games for most of my life and I agree with a lot of the things you have said. There is many great fantasies to explore with video games and this is why they appeal to people. It’s crazy to think about how much more realistic these games will get and maybe think about the effects that come with it.

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  5. I completely agree with your thoughts. One part that I’m interested in is what player will say when their character died in the game. I used to wonder why people say “I died” instead of “My character died” in the games (I will also type “I was killed” while I was playing League of Legends). Now I think what you said answered my questions. People just control the characters and be characters for a while just in games so at that time they are “one”. And your post reminds me of other things about video games. I think if some people played games which create whole new worlds in them (for example, GTA 5), people may be influenced by violence or other negative aspects and can’t recognize the difference between the reality and games. If the virtual reality is pervasive in the future just as you described in the post…That will be a big problem.

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  6. I really enjoyed your blog post on video games. I especially liked the part where you analyzed why someone says “I died” instead of “my character died/was killed.” I agree that this is because we put so many hours into the game that us and the character merge into one. I also agree that video games are a step up from movies because, in a way, video games are movies that you control.

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  7. It is crazy to think the amount of effort and time we put on playing video games, it has become one of the most dominant ways of entertainment and fun for people this days. Instead of going outside to play basketball a lot of people prefer to stay inside and play NBA 2k15 on their PlayStation 4. Hopefully we can learn to balance this virtual reality and the actual reality to enjoy life outside the TV.

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