How does it bring us together?

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Hooowwwwwww doeeessss it brrrinnnggg us together?

  • Once, we threw a surprise party for a friend of mine.
  • The entire party was spent playing Super Smash Brothers.

I used to struggle with this concept of getting together and then…. just sitting there and playing video games. It was like…. what happened to the outdoors? Creating movies and plays? Roleplaying? Having conversations?

I felt like, for the most part, that things like watching T.V or playing video games are “singular, I’m-alone-so-I’m-entertaining-myself-and-I-adore-video-games” activities. You love to paint, let’s say—but you probably wouldn’t invite a friend over under the pretense of “HEY WATCH ME FOR THREE HOURS PAINT A TREE.”

Yet, this understanding doesn’t quite make sense…. if video games were solely single-player… then why in the heck does Players 1, 2, 3, 4 exist?

It’s times like this that I adore slapping in Nintendo quotes:

“Above all, video games are meant to just be one thing: Fun for everyone.”

—Iwata (RIP 😥 )

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It’s a simple concept, really. At one point or another, the friend who came over to check out that new game got tired of watching it and wanted to try it. Then switching controllers back and forth became a tedious dance. Thus, multi-player was born!

Or, at least that’s how I imagine it. But let’s be factual, shall we?

As history will tell us, some of the very first video games in existence were multi-player games! Atari’s Pong (1972) is included in this list. Soon after, restaurants were installing the arcade machines in their stores, and friends were challenge each other to get the highest score. Then came the split screen in Empire (1973), built for PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation).

 

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Fascinating, huh? Contrary to the popular image of an old middle aged adult sitting in the basement with an avalanche of cheetos and no aspirations other than to complete Chrono Trigger on 100% (which is a flippin’ lifetime journey, it seems), video games have always connected people together.

Throughout my school career, meeting another “geek” has always added a buddy onto my roster. My first boyfriend (TMI, sorry) twitched with interest after I corrected him on a Zelda plot-point.

Spoiler alert: Tetra is Zelda, guys.

 

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One of my best friends in the world adores video games like I do, and we have often spent our Friday nights laughing hysterically until 4 in the morning because of the soccer ball feature in Halo Reach.

My sister and I have battle through many Super Smash Bros. games, and I fondly remember when my parents would play with us. My mom and I would play Ocarina of Time together in her bed when I was eight. Once, my dad almost beat us all in Mario Party 4 and I yanked the controller out of his hand to make him decline the final star. That was a horrible, horrible act of evil to commit, by the way.

Games are simply… fun. They challenge a person in different, defying-gravity ways. You can flip and jump and play on life-sized board games. You can send players flying without any visible damage other than a percentage (unless you are playing that kind of game). If you die, you come back to life with a silly vengeance. You compete, you laugh, you kick dinosaur sized soccer balls across mountains…

In a way, they have become a sport.

Furthermore, they have become a professional sport. Among the leagues of casual and hardcore gamers alike are professional speed-runners, hackers, mod-ers, and national competitions. Just a few years ago at E3, Nintendo hosted a Super Smash Brothers competition, with commentary on the techniques players used. I mean, come on—how cool, right?

There was even an audience—a community to cheer the players on.

Video games even inspire charities—which is a post for another day. 😉

The bottom line is… video games bring people together. Most people own not one controller, but at least two.

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Why do we adore video games? Well… there’s a science to it!

“At times like this, kids like you should be playing Nintendo games.” –Earthbound

Man, does the world adore media.

Without realizing it, any form of art stirs and sparks the soul with life. Sometimes, a movie is an escape. Occasionally, a movie is a moving reminder of life and love. Often, it inspires those with creative bones in their bodies.

Yet, it slams the world hard–always.

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One of the greatest forms of media out there besides television and motion pictures is video games. Now, talk about an impact. Has anyone here seen the numbers for Pokemon Go? Raise your hands. Yep, that’s about all of you right there.

It still remains the most downloaded app from the Apple store in history. In history!

 

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Where is this guy at?

 

But that’s just the mobile app game. Let’s take a moment and ask ourselves one thing: what about the actual Pokemon franchise?

Well, considering the franchise has over 70 games, Pokemon stores in Japan, stickers, pillows, pajamas, bedding, a Build-a-Bear Pikachu that was sold out everywhere until recently (I missed out on the Charizard Hoodie, dangit!), an anime, manga books, films, trading cards, and airplanes…

 

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Apparently it’s no longer in operation…. how horrible.

 

I’d say Pokemon has taken over the world.

Pokemon is just one of many, many examples of the love of a simple video game series–don’t even think about mentioning the Zelda series because then this already long post will extend into infinity….

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Did you know that Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda after the princess?

The fanbases extend across conventions like Comic Con, charities like Extra Life, fan art, friendships and families. I am often told the story of my mother and father playing Wolfenstein on computers right next to each other while I bounced on their knees.  No media love seems more involved, as intricately loved as video games.

It seems absurd:

“From a first glance, it looks like an awfully significant waste of time. You’d be better off learning a musical instrument or reading a book. Or even playing a sport nobody understands. Like croquet.” —Huffington Post 

But, then there is this beautiful nugget of truth:

“Video games have democratized the nature of storytelling, which allows players to take part in the stories being told. And when the story is interactive, more complex tales can be told.”

 Video games are unique in that they combined massive forms of media and art into one layered croissant of s
Video games are unique in that they combined massive forms of media and art into one layered croissant of entertainment. Games are storytellers while they also are a story in themselves. They present to you a new world to explore or to pin after while inviting you to make decisions.
““The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy,” said McGonigal, the director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, in her book Reality Is Broken. “Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.”
Psychologically, we human beings are task oriented. Even a simple need like: “I am thirsty” spawns an ordeal (well, that’s what it feels like, anyhow) of quests to obtain said water. So, it makes sense that video games fill that need. Then, video games add a beautiful coating to the tasks by creating a new world–a player is living inside the fantasy, completing the main character’s tasks. A gamer is the center of the story; not an audience member.