The History Of Video Games And Why It Matters

The History Of Video Games And Why It Matters

The video game industry needs historians.

If you Google "timeline of video game history," you will more than likely be met with a link to the Museum of Play, the "largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play." The International Center for the History of Electronic Games and the World Video Game Hall of Fame both call this museum their home, providing a haven for research and the recognition of electronic gaming and its impact on modern culture.

Why is it so important that we have institutions like these? Why should we support the dedication of scholars and journalists to the historical preservation of gaming?

The most basic answer: it’s an endlessly cool subject. I may be biased as a History major, but the events and objects of the past that show how we’ve gotten to where we are today are endlessly fascinating. The building blocks of the video game industry, as with any industry or medium, are full of stories of engineering genius and human creativity (the sorely missed warmth and passion of Satoru Iwata provide many examples). Historical preservation allows people who are truly excited by gaming to explore their interests, learn about the medium they love and possibly take part in the industry’s future.

Similar to film, music and literature, video gaming has developed and changed greatly over time. While the gaming industry may be the youngest of these forms of entertainment, it has very rapidly become a dominating force in pop culture. The amount of fervor and opinion surrounding various games and consoles runs the gamut from childish Internet arguments all the way to high-brow scholarly debates. Industry analysts research the monetary impact of different happenings in the medium while journalists and critics ponder the cultural impacts and quality of these products. The games themselves have grown into such a complex variety of narratives and objectives, play-styles and lengths, that there is a game for everyone.

What was once an industry dedicated to simple games and digital toys has blossomed into a medium of lifelong passion and artistic expression. Art and technology intermingle as artists and computer engineers work alongside writers, actors and composers to create sprawling worlds and unique narratives. Independent developers work tirelessly to create quirky and creative passion projects, while online fan communities come together to preserve the stories and codes of the past. Video games have gone through the growing pains of legal troubles and censorship (which still persist today) as well as looming economic stagnation. Multiple generations worth of childhoods have been affected by gaming, resulting in a shared, warm nostalgia for these digital landscapes.

None of these things happened overnight. Every game, console and company has been built upon hard work, imagination and the eternal human desire to create. As in the worlds of books and movies, there are a great many who find themselves emotionally invested in video games. In such a burgeoning industry full of creativity and experimentation (where technology and art collide with unprecedented audience interaction), the need to preserve for the present and the future is of the utmost importance.

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Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?

In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

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I Regained My Humanity After Deleting My Social Media Accounts

I know it may sound crazy, but I promise it's refreshing.

I’ll admit, I’m pretty old school when it comes to technology (or almost anything in life in general), but I’ve had it with social media.

I’ve been spending too much time scrolling down a screen to keep up with other people’s lives. I spend more time checking up on posts of girls showing off their boobs or ass and feeling insecure about my own body instead of looking at myself in the mirror and appreciating myself for who I am.

I spend more time scrolling through strangers' profiles to see what they do and what their interests are instead of doing things that actually bring me pleasure and knowledge, like reading the book that has been waiting for me on my nightstand for months.

I spend more time taking pictures of the scenery around me for my streaks rather than looking up and actually enjoying the view for myself.

So I did it. For these reasons and many others, I deleted my social media (the ones I am completely addicted to, at least). And yes, I will admit that these past two days have indeed been hard. I’m constantly being tested by the Universe in having to find entertainment from activities that do not involve stalking strangers' lives or relying on my phone.

I have so much time on my hands now that I’m actually kind of bored. I wake up to no notifications on my phone except for some regarding school, I start my homework and finish it in three hours instead of the usual five to six hours, I finally picked up that book sitting on my nightstand and started reading it (I’m on page 73 in just one day), and I even have time to stare at the blue sky and admire the trees. I’ve become a total responsible philosopher in just two days.

I also have free time when I’m on the shuttle on my way to and from school. I just sit there and have nothing to do. So today, I decided to read and acknowledge the people beside me. I smile at the guy sitting across from me and the girl that walks in, but of course, they must think I’m being a total creep, because that’s what our generation has labeled those who smile and are trying to be kind: a creep. I don’t really care though, I’m just content because I’m starting to feel human again. After so many years of investing my time on superficial accounts, I’m taking the time to greet and look at the real people sitting right beside me.

I’ll be honest, I’m not so sure how long this rebellion of mine is going to last, but so far, these two past days have been refreshing. I’m enjoying the free time to do the things I say I never have time for. I’m also kind of relieved that people don’t know my every move or my location (that should be what’s creepy, not me smiling at people just to be polite). I like having more time for myself to write, read, reflect, cook, go to the gym, and just live. Plus, I think my eyes are appreciating the rest from not staring at the horrible phone screen all day.

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