In days past gaming was almost exclusive to arcades where youth would stand around each other and watch as someone tries to beat the highscore on the newest arcade cabinet. Many things have changed since the introduction of the personal computers and home gaming. The atmosphere of a cramped arcade is now the comfort of a living room, the highscore roll on a cabinet is now a global network of people’s achievements in every game, taking turns on a cabinet has become competitive online competitions with servers and little to no face to face interactions.
Bringing It Home
Bringing gaming into the home with console and home pc gaming has really helped bring gaming as a media into the mainstream market. ‘Gamers’ no longer need to go out of their way for a gaming experience, one can simply buy a platform and have it readily available whenever you want. This boost in the popularity of gaming has spurred the expansion of genres of games as it’s new found accessibility allows many new people to enter the world of gaming. Unfortunately, confining gaming to homes has perpetuated the stereotype that gaming is somewhat anti-social even though sharing games and gaming experiences is one of the most social past times of the current age.
Putting in on The Web
The combination of the internet and gaming has exploded gaming as a culture. As I mentioned previously gaming is a very social experience, with the internet connecting gamers from one room to another to somewhere on the other side of the world, huddling with your friends around a small screen has become a ‘party’ of screens where everyone is invited. No other medium has this same sense of simultaneous experience between users, people can watch the same movie online but it’s not considered watching the movie ‘together’ whereas two people playing the same game is considered playing together. Gaming isn’t very passive as a medium either, users engage with games quite deeply especially compared to other mediums such as film, television and music. Through engaging with the medium users are engaging with each other, a kind of social interaction that isn’t face to face but more than just talking through a phone. The anonymity of the internet often inspires sour behaviour in groups and individuals and this is very clear in gaming as seen here,
The idea of a ‘gamer’ has really developed into a well known stereotype and this would not have as easily been the case if it weren’t for the development of gaming in the home and the rise of gaming on personal computers.