By: Cory H
With the recent advent of all thing technological into the average American life, there are many new phenomena popping up all over the country and the world. One of the most ubiquitous of these is that of video gaming. The stereotype of the nerdy video gamer is a picture almost everyone can imagine. Today’s virtual landscape contains so many different ways for people to connect and play with one another that the old stereotype no longer has any real merit. People of different shapes, sizes and backgrounds can find at least one medium of online entertainment that appeals to them and when everyone is taking part in the phenomenon, there is no stereotype.
When video gaming began, it was just a little joystick controlling a few dots bouncing across the screen. Today, video gaming has too many different variations to name but there are a couple major categories. There is console gaming and online gaming, both of which apply to many different kinds of people. The one that is most ubiquitous in today’s society is online gaming. The Frontline episode watched for class provided two huge examples: World of Warcraft and Second Life. In either of these games, users are able to socialize and build relationships with people they would have otherwise had no means of ever meeting. Some users even claim that the friendships they build here are stronger than their real-life ones because of the massive amount of time spent interacting with them virtually. There are even cases of people forming romantic relationships with their fellow gamers which not uncommonly can lead to marriages. Clearly, the time when video gaming was the hidden time waster of socially awkward high school students is over.
Even in business settings, video games and online interaction have made their presence known. More and more businesses are replacing the airplane with a webcam or other online conferencing tool. Why pay rising airline fees for a first class ticket when you can see the people you want to talk to on a relatively inexpensive screen in your conference room? The Frontline episode also showed an example of a company using Second Life as the medium for their conferences. They are able to conduct business with their colleagues much more cheaply than would not have been possible before the Internet’s advancement.
The advancement and proliferation of online interaction have effects on almost every demographic. While the many positive and negative effects have yet to be thoroughly debated due to the youth of this phenomenon, it can’t be denied that video games and online interaction have become a much larger figure in each of our lives no matter how interested one is in gaming.