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.

Cover Image Credit: Wordpress.com

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Why Sims 4 Is Better Than Therapy

No mom, I'm not wasting my time. I'm planning my life.

If you've ever felt like you've lost control of your life, you can fix that problem for a low fee of $20, by investing in one of my favorite casual games: The Sims 4. Starting off as a simple simulation game, this platform has evolved into a place where people can create unique storylines and almost lead second lives. Because it allows players to control an entire town of people, regulating everything from emotions to hobbies to professions, most people find satisfaction in knowing that every single one of those pixelated humans' lives are in their hands.

When I started playing the Sims, I created a young adult with my likeness, and used my starter budget to buy a small plot of land where I built my first house from scratch- an accomplishment that sent my Sim into debt, ultimately killing her ability to find a partner, which left her living in the local park and eating hot dogs until she died from an overdose of soda. (See, unhealthy sugars CAN kill you).

My second try was more successful- I created an overweight man (it would take longer for him to die of starvation) who was a bit of a nerd, but still charismatic. Long story short, Benson Olson lived a long and peaceful life, ultimately succumbing to old age. From that moment on, I knew I how to maneuver the game properly- and the rewards were so satisfying.

I was able to decide fates, but the game forced me to stay organized. Fathering too many children or going to work too often was often a cause of stress for my Sims, so I learned how to balance their needs while still having fun. The level of patience it takes to play the Sims is crazy- relationships take time to build and sometimes they don't work out too well.

That's where cheats come in handy. The developers of the SIms 4 actually encourage users to use cheats, giving users the ability Sims millionaires in less than a minute, or to force relationships between NPCs, no matter how compatible they may be.

I've often found that naming Sims after people in my life, then making their lives hell has been another benefit of the game- you can totally mess with them by starting a fire in their house, or tipping over trashcans until you're banished. Some of my friends have even requested to become part of my households- in the form of pets, because they're too scared to be 'humans' in my unpredictable Sim worlds.

Overall, the Sims 4 may seem like a timewaster, but the way this game stretches the creative bubble is both beneficial and therapeutic.




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Apple Music Versus Spotify

Which music app reigns supreme?

I recently went through an internal struggle; wanting to stay loyal to apple music with the draw of Spotify including Hulu in their package slowly pulling me in. I had to go based off of my friends' recommendations of both music streaming apps, although they tended to be a bit biased. It was time I tested both for myself and finally settled on the best one. Both get the job done, but there are surely pros and cons for each.

Music Variety

When it comes to this category, Spotify reigns supreme. The app features a lot more remixes than Apple Music does, and I feel as though I’m exposed to tons of new music. Of course this category isn’t terribly important, as you could download any song from the internet and upload it to either app.

Storage

Every iPhone comes with iTunes, so why download another app for music when you’re trying to save space? This was one of the issues I had with Spotify in the first place, it required me to download the app on my phone as well as the program on my computer. My mac already comes with iTunes, but I guess this isn’t such a problem for Android and PC users.

Packages

Spotify definitely wins this round, a normal membership now comes with access to a basic Hulu account! If you’re a student, this means only $5 a month for both services! It’s basically a dream come true.

Shuffle

Random, but this is something that I have noticed as a difference between Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify’s shuffle is significantly less shuffled than Apple Music’s. I find that when I press shuffle on Spotify I constantly hear songs by the same artist a bunch of times in a row, while I never encounter this problem with Apple.

Organization

Apple Music is more organized than Spotify is. On Apple Music, I can choose to arrange my playlists, however, I like based on artist, date added, or even song title. I can do this on Spotify too, but only from my computer. On the app, my music is always organized by date added, which is not my first choice. It’s a small problem, but one I definitely took notice of.

Discover Weekly

One of the great things about Spotify is the personalized playlists it makes every week- and they’re pretty good! Apple Music doesn’t really have anything similar to this, which is a shame and a half.

Radio

Both of these apps have their own version of “radio” services, where you can create a radio station based off of a song, artist, or album. Spotify seems to always been spouting out new songs by the hundreds, even if you’re not sure how some of them made it on the radio playlist. Apple Music seems to play the same few songs on repeat, and keep them the same for everyone. So both apps have their downsides here, but Spotify definitely shows more diversity and gives more songs chances to shine.

My honest opinion: you can’t go wrong with either of these apps. Both have high-quality music with almost unlimited options that are easy to use. I personally use Spotify, but it was mostly because of the Hulu promotion (definitely worth it by the way). I’ve tried both, used both for a few months, and this is my consensus. No matter what you use, happy listening!

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