In this 100th essay special, I offer some brief reflections on the value of games media in its various forms.
With all sorts of successful streamers and YouTube channels, watching video games for entertainment is a major industry. And it’s no surprise that so many people want to get in on that, often in the hopes of being the next big success. But it’s useful to ask…why do people watch any of this stuff in the first place?
Do you need to finish a game to review it? This is a question that has been asked over and over again by fans and professionals alike. But it’s by stepping back and asking what the whole point of a review actually is that we get to a clearer understanding of the topic.
A sequel to last week’s essay on the psychology of violence in video games. This essay will examine how the use of violent rhetoric by gamers ends up being counterproductive, and thus should be halted and called out.
If you have any experience with video games, you’ve probably experienced violence in those games at least once. And if you have any experience with discussion about video games, you’ve probably experienced the claim that video games cause violence in some way. In a series of essays, I’ll be examining the role of violence in games, the research surrounding that violence, and what we should be doing about it all as people who are ultimately immersed in this violence.
In this short essay, I look at how games teach us how their mechanics work, and one way in which that teaching goes wrong: when the mechanics are too hard to understand because we aren’t given enough information.
Stories have a wonderful ability to allow us to explore complex moral topics without needing to engage in the direct harms that happen in those stories. Using the game Blasphemous, I wanted to explore the concept of guilt and how guilt figures into being a moral person according to the game’s themes.
Video games demand that we keep going and continually work to overcome the hurdles that confront us…but is that always a good thing? Using the game Undertale, I look at the theme of determination, and how the game portrays determination as a way of exploring the value of sticking to your goals and seeing them through.
What does it mean to look at someone else as an enemy, and to kill them in a game? It’s an action that we undertake all the time, and yet to what extent is our character “in the right”? In looking at the themes of the video game NieR, we can see how a problem of perspective in everyday life gets explored through video games.
Video games allow you to steal stuff all the time from other characters. In fact, games make it pretty easy to get away with theft. And yet…we recognize that theft is morally wrong. So what can we take away from all the stealing we do when we play games?