There are many ways in which we as people seek to occupy our time, as well as express ourselves. Playing sports, reading, making music, and painting, among other forms of artistic expression, are ways in which we as people seek to not only express ourselves from the viewpoint of the one who indulges, but from the eyes of the creator, to express the emotions and experiences through our crafts or skills. Videogames are no different, despite its culture being a niche, especially in America. To most people, videogames are nothing more than a hobby or an occasional pleasure, with those who indulge in playing them often associated as antisocial or boring. Overall, playing and creating videogames are not particularly viewed with much seriousness within our society, despite the long hours and dedication that goes into both playing and creating. So what is it that is so important and addicting to some within this niche culture that would imply otherwise? That said, my question this week is: “How have videogames impacted you on a personal level?” This is what the people have to say:
“Videogames personally help me distress from certain things going on in my life, and they also serve as a great form to draw creativity and inspiration from. I love simulation games that make me think as well as storytelling games such as ‘The Last of Us.’ I also love indie(independent) games but games by Telltale Games are definitely my favorites.” – Maiya Turner
“A lot of people use games such as ‘Call of Duty’ or strategic RPG games and use them in order to relieve stress which is what I used to do, because it’s easy to take out stress and put that into a game where you might do something violent that you’d never think of doing in real life. I used to play ‘Madden’ a lot, and during that time I actually played football in real life as well, so it actually helped me understand how holes in lines open up, how different plays are ran, how to cover different players, and just the overall dynamics of the game.” – Kristian “GRÉÄTÑĘŚŠ” Thomas
“Music has impacted me because I’m into music, and whether most people realize it or not, a lot of time goes into the music in videogames. That’s how Kanye West got started, he made music for a bunch of 8-bit games. My favorite types of games are story-based like RPGs because they have meaning behind them and by the end of them you’ll likely have a takeaway you can apply to your own life. It’s like a whole new world in which you can live someone else’s life and forget your own for a moment. Of course you shouldn’t neglect your responsibilities but it’s just interesting to think about.” – Isaac Charbel Makoulf Palacioq
“As a hobby, videogames kept me out of trouble. Not to say that I was a bad kid but just where I was at the time, which was just not a good area. And as a kid, not too much was on my mind, especially my surroundings, and I think videogames kind of helped me stay in my own lane. On a personal level, games like Grand Theft Auto V actually showed me how much opportunity and possibility there is in America, especially through online play with other people who have the game.” – Kolby Harris
“Similar to books and other things, videogames have served as a sort of relief for me. Whenever I’m in a mood or stressed about school or a particular situation I’ll just turn on my Xbox and play some Madden or 2K to relax my mind. We live in a generation where many more people play videogames compared to our parents’ generation where people who indulged in it were seen as nerds, and today, people are even willing to put videogames on live TV, and while I don’t play that much, it’s definitely nice to see.” – Mark Stanley
On a personal level, I grew up on videogames. As a child I owned a Gameboy and the very first game I played was Pokémon Blue, which was a franchise that I would take a greater interest in as I grew up simply because I liked to read and I liked being rewarded, even if it wasn’t tangible for following directions. I thoroughly believe that if it wasn’t for games, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I truly believe videogames to be a true Jack-of-all-trades hobby, and my reasoning for this is because videogames are not limited to simply playing and winning, which is also what I believe is probably one of the largest misconceptions to gaming as a whole. There are several genres of videogames just as there are several genres of film and music. To say that you “won” an RPG (games that are typically known for story akin to books), wouldn’t make sense as the objectives and experience change from game to game depending on the vision of the developer. Videogames, especially now more than ever also allow for much more creative storytelling than many books because of the interactive nature of videogames as a whole that require conscious input from the player. For those who want to feel challenged or want something to work toward, several fighting games and shooters have become increasingly popular in their own right with Esports, where exceptionally skilled players at a competitive game such as Street Fighter or Overwatch compete for money, shedding an entirely new light and giving actual incentive to dedicating time to a game you like.
This was Lens of The People, a column dedicated to giving the Houston community a voice and a platform. Stay on the lookout for more, all made possible by The Forward Times!