The Culture Of Play And Games
From checkers and chess to popular MMORPGs (Massively Multiplaying Online Role Playing Game), games have always been an integral part of people’s lives. Today, video games have become so popular that they manage to influence culture on many levels such as politics, films, music, and television. Men, women, and children play video games with equal fervor. Their popularity prompted the creation of a special gaming culture that has its own language, social code, and rituals.
The rise of video games started in 1975 with the release of Pong by Atari. Since that time, this form of entertainment has been gaining more and more popularity. Today, video games remain the unrivalled leader of the entertainment industry, gathering more revenue than Hollywood movies. Sales of gaming paraphernalia contribute to international trade, and rare collectible items can cost as much as some works of art at various auctions.
Creation of online games, especially MMORPG, prompted a vast influence on social interactions and people’s behaviors. People that believe these games are dangerous and harmful, claim that they turn players into isolationists who are incapable of establishing relationships in real life. However, statistics show that over 20% of gamers easily form offline relationships. They openly socialize with people who share their favorite hobby at various gaming conventions and gatherings. There are also some concerns about the so-called “identity tourism” effect created by MMORPG. These games allow people to create identities that are different from their own. On one hand, this helps a person relax and have fun by becoming someone they cannot be in real life. On the other hand, some people get too caught up in the game and start identifying themselves with their characters. The question here is whether this is the fault of the game.
Blaming online games for people’s inabilities to differentiate between the virtual world and reality is illogical. MMORPGs offer players a chance to create any kind of character they want. The games are designed this way in order to allow people to make their experience more interesting by playing with an avatar that looks similar to them. The fact that some players abuse this power in order to pretend to be something they are not, and prefer this unattainable dream to reality, is not the developer’s fault.
Video games influence people in many different ways. They give players a chance to form new relationships with those who share their interests, and offer an interesting hobby that can help someone escape harsh realities for a short period of time. The strength of impact that a game has on a person is different in each individual case. It depends only on the player’s strength of will and his or her ability to stay in touch with reality.