video games and society

By Marcus Romanos

Video games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment today not to mention the most profitable. Video games started out as expensive things that most could not afford but have transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry that almost anyone can access. The idea of online video games is fairly new, being perfected during this last decade. It was created for the reasons of bringing people together in a common place where they could communicate and engage in entertainment. Even learn from one another and share ideas.

As video games came in to the mainstream and were becoming more and more accessible to the public via game systems and more importantly personal computers we started to see the use of computer games being used for educational uses as well.  I see this as very important to society because it allowed people to receive information as well as learning new and important ideas. For example when I was in grade school computers were Farley new to me but when I found out I was having trouble with my math I started using a computer program called Math Blaster. It was a fun way of learning math while still learning the core concepts of mathematics. The Ideology and incorporation of technology made it possible for everyone to benefit from this not just me. As we look into how video games are made and for whom they are directed towards we start to see some strange and sometimes startling points concerning culture hegemony.

Culture hegemony is defined as the theory that the ideas of the ruling class come to see as the norm; they are seen as universal ideologies, perceived to benefit everyone whilst really benefiting only the ruling class. I see hegemony effecting gaming and educational gaming in two ways. First I found that education comes from our leaders and highly educated. I don’t see this as a bad type of hegemony but I do feel as though its very constricting making people go about the same material the same way leaving no room for new ways to do things. The second is of how games are being created for specific genders giving boys their guns and girls their lipstick and eye shadow.  It’s a typical trend that our world leaders don’t wish to see change anytime soon. Such games as Call of Duty: Black Ops which promotes big burley guys with a vast arsenal of weapons where your main purpose is to blow stuff and complete objectives that consist of more blowing stuff up. Girls play games like Clique where the main objectives are to make your self the most beautiful girl in school and become the most popular as well. This is problem that goes all the way back to the birth of you and I. When we were born, if you were born in a hospital, you would be put in a blue blanket if you were a boy and if you were girl you would be put in a pink blanket. So the idea that we are shown our gender and what things we should like start at a very early age. This is how I see cultural Hegemony affecting us daily. There are many positive aspects that go along with the world of gaming.

In all cultures and in numerous societies we have all types of people with differing personality types. Some people have great social skills and some have little or no social skills at all. The invention of the computer and gaming consoles have in some cases giving people with little or no social skills a way to express them selves in ways they once never could. For example I was never good at communicating with others on a one on one basis but since becoming an active gamer and playing such games as Call of Duty I’ve been able to better my communication skills. Along with that I was able to meet a whole world of people some of which I am close friends with now and people from multiple countries that have introduced me to numerous cultural traditions. For me gaming has not really affected the way I view my self or made me feel like I wasn’t “man” enough to live my life or find love.

On the other end of the spectrum I found that gaming can cause some very disturbing issues that do not only effect schooling but social and health issues as well. There are all types of gamers but some take it to far, by gaming for hours on end rarely taking breaks and ignoring their basic human needs such as food and bodily hygiene. There have been a few actual deaths related to gaming. Another issue is becoming very anti social, almost a zombie state of mind where you stop talking and loose your ability to communicate on a normal level with other human beings. We might soon see video gaming addiction become one of the many mental illnesses found in the new DSM 5 coming out sometime in 2013.

Through the different ways I have explained gaming and its counterpart online gaming I have described a few of the positive and negative aspects involving hegemony, motivational issues and the ideology behind the world of gaming. It seems to me that it will take some guidelines and some personal restraint on behalf of the gamers to find a good balance between the real and game worlds in order to stay a productive healthy member of society.

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