Video game

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A video game is any form of electronic interactive entertainment. They are typically played on computers or machines made specifically for the purpose of playing video games typically called video game consoles.

Video games became popular in the late 1970s and over time the industry has continued to grow, eventually becoming a multi-billion dollar industry [1]. Video games may fit into many different genres from shooters to educational titles among many others.

Nature of Video games

Video games vary greatly in type and complexity, but all games are alike in that they translate player input (from a controller, mouse, keyboard or motion sensor) into onscreen actions. Games are usually stored on some sort of digital media - ROM cartridge, CD, DVD, or even cassette tape for early computer games - though older or more inexpensive games may have dedicated chips which are pre-programmed to play certain games only. In recent years, game developers have moved to digital distribution, allowing anyone with a credit card or Paypal account to purchase games online. On PCs, this is often done through Valve corporation's Steam service, or Electronic Arts' Origin service, while the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have their own digital distribution services.

Home consoles are classified by generation to indicate their relative power and date of release. The current major consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U) are considered eighth generation. Handheld consoles fit less rigidly into these same generations.

Various genres

Video games in the course of their existence have grown from the simple arcade style games, and have become more detailed and separated from one another. Genres can now include first person shooters, racing, simulation, role-playing, sports, action, strategy, masssively multiplayer online, puzzle and many others. Even then, games can combine genres, such as Mass Effect (Role Playing and Third Person Shooting), or not fit nicely into any genre, like The Mystery of the Druids. The most popular genres tend to be shooters, action, and roleplaying games. Many video games are based off of movies, such as Star Wars.

Popularity and Controversy

Games have risen in popularity over the years, as is shown in the rise of video games sales from the 1980s until today. This has brought with it a various amount of controversy as the video game industry continues to grow with its original player base.

Not very many significant studies exist on video games and their effects on behavior. While they do cause improvement in hand eye coordination some people also believe that they can cause violent tendencies. Some attempts were made to ban or legally restrict mature rated games in the United States but the supreme court struck it down due to a lack of evidence and because they state that video games are protected under first amendment rights as free speech. [2]

It has also been suggested that it is the role of parents to regulate what their children play, and that laws restricting video game vendors are an effort to replace parents' decisions with the government's decisions.[3] [4] [5]


Most of the controversy comes from the rising trend toward violence in video games, as pioneered by Doom, Quake, and the Grand Theft Auto series.

Some people point out that violent video games cause violent behavior in some children. The effects of violent video games on the developing psyche of children and adolescents vary greatly and of course have much to do with the mental stability of the subject in question. In the USA, all retail games carry ratings from the ESRB, a video game ratings organization.

Some claim that kids who don't play video games at all seem to show more violent tendencies. Of course, as expected, those who played violent video games for large amounts of time also showed violent tendencies, however the study claims that this is a "risk marker", not an actual cause.[6]


Although nudity is not prominent in western video games, there are various products containing sexually-suggestive material. One reason for the relative lack of explicitly sexual material in western games may be the refusal of retailers including Wal-Mart[7] (the leading distributor of video games in the United States) and Toys R Us[8] (the world's largest toy themed retailer) to sell games carrying an "Adults-Only" rating. One notable target of controversy is the Grand Theft Auto series after a third-party mod was released that allowed the player to engage in a mini-game containing explicit sexual material. Mods are, as "third-party" would imply, fan-made and are not the responsibility of the game's developer. Other sources of this criticism relate to the game Tomb Raider as it was one of the first games where a female character (the protagonist) is depicted and advertised as a sex symbol.[9]

Video Games and Society

As video games become more popular, their impact on society becomes ever more present. A prime example of this is the massive ad campaigns for the Halo series, as well as Grand Theft Auto. Advertising, merchandising, and even social pressures have changed in the ever-growing influence of video gaming.

Due to their popularity, various corporations have begun placing advertisements for their products within the context of the game. Second Life, an Internet-based virtual world, has attempted to blur the lines between real-world and virtual world, and companies such as Adidas, Reebok, and Dell have set up virtual stores selling real-world products within the game. Reuters also operates a news bureau reporting news in the game.

Education in Video Games

While most popular video games are experiencing an increase in violence, language, and sexuality, other gamers and game developers are beginning to view video games as an educational opportunity. Firaxis Games, a noteworthy video game development company, has been creating a video game series called Civilization for nearly a decade. [10] Civilization is a simulation game that allows the player to lead a nation from ancient times to modern day. It features a dynamic military system, politics, trading, and historical content. It has been recognized for its unintentional educational properties. [11]

Microsoft Flight Simulator is another example of a video game being recognized for its unique educational properties. [12]

Faith in Video Games

Faith in Video Gaming has, as a rule, either led to the creation of new and dynamic antagonists, or video games that are mediocre, such as Spiritual Warfare and Bible Adventure for the Nintendo Entertainment System, or The Bible Game for various systems. Bible Adventure in particular is infamous for its poor design and lack of playability.

The Bible, or other such religious texts, tell a story spanning many different viewpoints. Turning these ideas into a video game, however, most often leads to games that tend to bore most video game audiences.

Religion has, however, taken a prominent place among the various heroes and villains in video games. The Breath of Fire series and the Shin Megami Tensei games, in particular, use a god as a main antagonist in many of its incarnations. Other games to use religion in some way include the Final Fantasy series, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, Black and White, Heaven and Hell, Xenogears, Okami, and the Tales series, particularly Tales of Symphonia. Many games present religion in an antagonistic manner.

Games may include a fictional religion as part of the setting if the use of a real religion may invite undesirable controversy.

See Also

External Links


  1. Bond, Paul (18 June 2008). "Video game sales on winning streak, study projects". reuters. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  6. New research reveals kids who don't play video games at all are more at risk of violent tendencies
  8. See Toys "R" Us's video games policy
  9. Ashley, Robert. "The Secret History of Videogame Sex." Official Playstation Magazine Feb. 2006: 96-99.