Hello everyone! My name is Lisa, but most people call me Voo. Today, whilst Haydn is probably off doing something awesome, I’ll be filling in with a guest post crafted lovingly just for you.
You can usually find me over at my website which is called Voo’s Review, I usually write about video games and gaming culture, I’m pretty obsessed with gaming. You can watch me stream the games I play though Twitch and there’s even a podcast. I know our lovely Squibb Vicious doesn’t usually cover this sort of thing, but we figured between us you might enjoy something a little different. I hope you enjoy reading and feel free to get in touch!
You may not think of yourself as a gamer, but chances are that at some point you’ve used your computer/tablet/phone to play a videogame. Whether you’ve played 100 games or just the one or if you even play games for real money, you’re technically now one of the millions of people that get called ‘gamers’. The natural reaction to this, especially if you don’t consider yourself a fan of video games, is to rally against the implication that you’re some sort of geek sat in their bedroom playing World or Warcraft or some dude-bro sat playing the latest instalment of Call of Battlefield Zombie Ghost Dog – whatever the kids call it. Angry Birds, Farmville, Flappy Bird, Words with Friends… These are just a few games that you might have played and though nothing of it, but by playing them you’ve been made part of the demographic and games companies use your details to make more of those titles that you’re likely to play. You’re part of the reason they exist, are popular and profitable, you’re driving an industry and it’s all about games.
Rage inducing, screen-breaking games. They’re a thing.
The fact of the matter is that videogames and the people who play them are far more diverse now than years ago when there was a prominent stigma towards those who enjoyed the odd stint on Super Mario Bros., gaming is now more acceptable than ever as a medium of entertainment. It still occasionally faces an up-hill struggle when it comes to its image, with same games being thrown into the spotlight now and then, being blamed for violence but that generally stems from people who don’t understand the wider positive impacts gaming has on society. It’s easy to blame crimes on a game, facing reality isn’t. Videogames have filtered into our everyday lives, some have been translated into board games, cartoons and movies; they’re not just games anymore, they’re franchises. Now there’s the Windows Phone version of Siri the personal assistant from Apple’s iPhone, and she’s called Cortana, named after a character in a massively popular video game franchise called Halo who happens to be an Artificial Intelligence.
Meet your new assistant. She likes helping you with your schedule and fragging* enemy units.
Attitudes are shifting, partly thanks to the massive leaps in technology and the fact that we’re finding alternative applications for video games in science and medicine. Games help us understand how we tackle problems and think about the world around us, I’ve seen older generations use Nintendo 3DSs and Brain Training games to keep themselves sharp and potentially blunt the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Every day more and more people become gamers of some sort, and if you’ve read this and still think you aren’t? Maybe you should give it a try.
*Fragging: Generally derived from ‘frag’ or fragmentation grenades, tools widely used in theatres of war. In gamer terms, it refers to dispatching the opposition.