Mine was Pong. Yes, I’m that old. My dad was always into the latest gadgets. He probably bought it at Sears. I remember the knobs to move the paddles on the screen and the clunky switch that would turn the TV into a game. This was all when I was about five or six I think. So, really, I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t such a thing as a game you could play on a screen.
And, for the purpose of this blog post, let’s be clear, a ‘Video Game’ is an interactive experience on a screen. End of definition. It is really just that simple. If you are so inclined, you can talk about your favorite genre of video game and tell me all about how it is the only real video game, but I will just laugh at you. Technically speaking, there is no difference between Candy Crush and Call of Duty. They both are bits of code used to put graphics on a screen that you manipulate with your hands.
Whatever. Why do people argue about these things? Why can’t we all just say how wonderful it is to live in a world where not only do video games exist, but we have the leisure time to play them?
I’m reasonably certain that everyone who reads this has, at one time or another, played a video game. Either in an arcade, or on a console or on the very screen where you are reading these words. Yes, if you’ve played solitaire or minesweeper on a screen, then you have played a video game. They all count.
Now, for no other reason than I like to talk about it, I’m going to list my gamer history. If you don’t know any of the stuff I’m talking about here, I feel bad for you. You missed out on a lot of fun.
- Pong was the gateway console game for me. The Atari 2600 was next, then the Nintendo Entertainment System, NES for short.
- On the PC I started with text based adventures: Zork and Suspended (a terrifying game!) and Amnesia – never finished that one. I played all the Sierra games, and Starflight – best game ever.
- Then I had a long gap in time where I was surrounded by technophobes. Came back to PC games via Oblivion and WoW, and back to consoles when I bought a Wii – with the excuse that it could be used for exercise.
- I went the microsoft route, xBox, xBox 360 and now xBox One. Loved the Fable series, and Skyrim. Loved riding the horses in Red Dead Redemption, though I never finished that one. Fallout 3 and 4… Star Wars Battlefront… So many more. And, I am not afraid to admit – Just Dance 3 and 4.
- On PC – I have too many games in my Steam account to list, but I’ll mention Portal and Portal 2, Kerbal Space Program, and the latest favorite: No Man’s Sky.
Video games are such a core part of my personal history, I can’t imagine my life without them. And neither can you. Again – you have played games on your computer or your phone, I’m sure. Maybe you had a Speak and Spell as a kid? That counts too, even if it was only a glorified calculator – though, ET used it to phone home, didn’t he?
Anyway – my whole point is, even if you think you are not, you probably are a gamer. It isn’t a separate part of the culture. It’s like music. Everyone listens to music. Some people get really, really passionate about it, others only turn on the radio while they’re driving – but no one would ever say, oh, music is something I never hear.
It just occured to me – using an ATM could fit into my definition as well. And that’s a game you almost always win, isn’t it?
Video games are everywhere.