Go Play Your Video Games (Part Two)


Read Part One here

Once the Mario 64 buzz had subsided, it was time for a step forward (via Mario Kart 64 which still ranks as the best in the series and arguably one of the best car sims). Like many others, I awaited the arrival of what was then known as Dolphin with baited breath. Nintendo showed screen shots of this wonder console, and in a time before the PS3 and 360 well, my God it was as next-gen as we thought we would get. But then, it all went a little quiet. And what had started as this rumoured powerhouse suddenly became just another console. I went dark side, I went Sony.

To this day it still ranks as the only time I have actively pursued and acquired a Sony product. The Playstation 2 was making waves, lauded for its realistic visuals and of course the online gaming universe was coming to consoles and Sony could provide it. I caved. I found myself with a PS2 and Resident Evil Code Veronica. I didn’t have a memory card however and to this day I am more familiar with the first level of Resi than any other game I have ever played as a result.

The PS2 is arguably where the modern popularity of home consoles began. Until then ownership of such devices was limited to nerds and their kids. But then along game Grand Theft Auto 3. Yes, the start of the mainstream controversies, GTA 3 set Gerry Ryan’s phone lines into overdrive. Picking up prostitutes, check. Gunning down civilians, check. An entire city as your playground, check and mate. It was gratuitous, it was excessive, it was glorious. This is where we blatantly reach the crux of this argument. What is it about video games? What is that addiction?

On the face of it, video games let you live out fantasy lives, those you wish you had or know you never will. Yet no game let’s you simply be a millionaire in a mansion playing with expensive toys. No we get to be gangsters, soldiers, space marines, hell we’ve even had an opportunity to be a shark. Video games provide alternative fantasies, fantasies we know only exist within these games. They are not what we aspire to, simply what we know we can receive when we pick up a controller.

Influential? No. Not really. When an unstable person picks up a weapon and the media throw the blame to these digital feasts, they are incorrect. Influence and cause are two very different things. It must also be noted that for every person who comes under a supposed negative influence through this medium, dozens more are inspired upon the career path they will then pursue, producing even more of these wonderful electronic concoctions.

And yes they are addictive but so too are all the things in life that bring the most pleasure. The need for regulation of time spent playing video games is no different to that spent gambling, yet when one spends a day at the races and places the odd bet, no reactions are found. Put that same person in a bookies for five hours a day and all hell breaks loose. We’re not morons, that’s simple logic and yet video games receive a blanket denouncing. The majority of parents buying games for the ever youthful collective of children playing their Marios or Skylanders constantly throw their eyes up at the “lunacy” of it all, yet if they once took the time to realise the blessing that is bestowed upon their children that they have such advanced technology for their hobby at such young ages, things could progress far more. This medium if the present and future, and an increased embracing of it will stand much more than this needless degradation, and the sooner the better.

Image courtesy of news.bigdownload.com

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Bachelors Degree in Arts from NUI Maynooth. Double Honours English & Philosophy.

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