An interesting phenomenon that is present in popular culture is that of video games. Video games are a form of interactive storytelling that has rapidly grown with the development of new technology throughout the world. Each video game that is created is created with some sort of purpose, either for the one making the game, or the one viewing the game. Many games have some sort of message behind them and their world, that can be noticed to the viewer, and give meaning. Video games are also sometimes used to form communities, where players can all enjoy and experience the world together,
The video game industry has been growing each year as more and more people become exposed to what it is, and what makes people enjoy playing it. A video game nowadays can be compared more to a movie, where the actors are off doing something in their world. However, the difference lies in the interactivity, where the users can actually impact how the story plays out. Video games also come in many different genres, and can sometimes be used artistically to show traces of the developer’s feelings through the game. Each game is different from the next, and there is a good chance that someone can find a game that they can relate to or find interesting.
The cultural idea of Hegemony as discussed by Storey also holds when applied to the gaming industry. The culture is very much a negotiation between the sides of the developers and their audience. Many modern games are also allowing the general public to test out a game while it’s being made in order to receive input on it, and make something closer to what the people want to see. This is their way of creating something following their original ideas for the game, but also incorporating the ideas of the audience. This can also be applied in reverse, where someone who is playing a game sees something out of it, and then they make some other game based off of the idea. This was commonly seen with mobile apps that made generic clicking games, however each one had a slightly different theme around it. They saw something that people liked, and each made their own take on it, to please the consumers.
Oftentimes video games are also created with a focus on, or relation to current events at the time it was being created, similar to books influence. For instance, the Lord of the Rings book series was influenced by World War 1, which was impactful to the author. One recent example for video games is a game titled “Mr.President!”, which is very clearly based on the recent US election. The focus of the game is that the player controls a bodyguard for the president, and is supposed to jump in front of a bullet heading towards him. The game is very simple, but it clearly shows a relation to current events, and also in a sense gives the person a choice if they want to sacrifice themselves to save the president’s life.
The use of video games has also been improved, and impactful enough that they aren’t always used for entertainment either. People sometimes use trivia games or academic games to improve their knowledge, and simulation games to improve various skills. Certain companies and schools implement their own video games to use as a teaching mechanic, so that the person might have a better chance at retaining the knowledge needed later on. For instance it is very common to see people using typing games as a method of becoming faster at typing fast and accurately.
I believe that a topic involving video games would be very worthwhile and important to study, given the fact that not only are video games something that is used for entertainment in popular culture, but also used as a learning tool. They also provide meaning to the audience very similarly to books, television shows, and movies. The one major thing that separates video games from the rest however is the layer of interactivity with the audience, and actually encouraging choices to be made, and to impact the rest of the game. Video games are not as simple as they are commonly made out to be.