Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' Table

November 29, 2010 -

A column in the Iowa State Daily explains why politicians continue to think of video games as nothing more than kids' stuff, comparing the perception of the pasttime to a college student returning home for Thanksgiving:

"Thanksgiving break is over, and I am sure a few of you were met with the surprise, upon your arrival home, that you would be relegated to the children's table. Despite your learned knowledge as a college student, you were still deemed unfit to sit next to your elders and discuss body scanners, Obama's approval rating and corn prices — opting instead to challenge your cousin to a deviled-egg eating contest.

This is similar to how society views video games. Despite their status as a multi-billion dollar industry and their growing popularity, complexity and depth, video games are still seen as a domain for children and the immature to enjoy overly violent content. I think the usefulness of these ideals have been depleted, and it is about time that video games prop up a chair next to grandpa books, great aunt music and cousin movies and TV.

Misconceptions about video games seem harmless, but these fears have resulted in a number of court cases including a U.S. Supreme Court case, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association, still being debated, that seeks to restrict the sale of "violent" video games to minors. Although I believe the Supreme Court will strike down this restriction, these views about video games will continue, as they have after more than a dozen other court rulings, as long as these misconceptions are not addressed."

The author goes on to say that the videogames of today are no longer kids-only; that video games have evolved so much since their inception that they are sometimes a more powerful medium of cultural significance than books, movies, music or television. The trick, the author believes, is in getting those alleged adults to see that and to understand. Their generation's parents thought that, like video games, rock 'n roll would destroy youth and corrupt them beyond compare, and prior to that, the generation before would be destroyed by jazz music. Those notions proved to be untrue.

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Re: Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' ...

Adults are the bread and butter of the games industry, little johnny certainly isn't purchasing every new release game when it comes out with his own money, and his parents are definitely not buying him every game he cries for.

Video games may be popular gifts for kids this holiday season and on birthdays and now easter (which is just as much as a present giving holiday here as Xmas) however any other time of the year, its adults who are supporting the games industry.  Kids usually don't get video games outside of birthday or Christmas, or if they purchase it themselves with money earned from doing chores.  Its the adults who are buying the systems at launch, the games at launch and are spending the most money on the products therefore being the bread and butter of the industry.

Handheld gaming is also more suited for adults and is thought of by most to be just for kids. Adults don't have time to sit in front of the TV, so what's better than a portable system to squeeze in 15 min or 30 min of gaming here and there.  The systems are mature looking now, and its really not unusual to see a business man in suit and tie whip out a Nintendo DS for some portable fun.  No longer do you have to whip out a purple gameboy just to have fun. Oh and if someone has an iPhone or iPod touch, chances are yeah, they are most likely playing some type of game on it at some point.

Re: Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' ...

"The author goes on to say that the videogames of today are no longer kids-only..."

Were they ever? I was an adult when I was first introduced to console gaming in 1980 . I didn't see them as kid's stuff then. I'm sure the folks creating video and computer games before that were not doing it for kids either. Adults have always been the primary market for video games. The idea that they have, at any time, been only for kids is, in my view, nonsense. I suppose there are some folks who see chess as a kid's game too. Those people are wrong. The fact that some ignorant folks think certain games are for kids should not lure us into believing the lie.

Re: Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' ...

That's a good point. The people who think that video games are for kids probably don't know that it all started with oscilloscopes and primitive computers in the 50s, and grew popular with home computer enthusiasts in the 70s/80s (how many kids had access to computers back then?). A lot of kids (myself included) were introduced to gaming with cheaper consoles in the 80s/90s, when there weren't as many 'adult' titles, but even then the primary market was still adults.

This daft point of view is not limited to the typical 50+ folks we associate it with. I've heard facepalm-inducing comments from 20-something colleagues, e.g. "My brother sits around all the time playing video games, he's 25 for god's sake!" and let's not forget this gem from my younger sister during a train journey; "Haven't you grown out of that [GBA] yet?" she said, without a hint of irony, while listening to banal pop music and reading a vacuous celebrity magazine. I did not credit it with response.

Re: Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' ...

Misconceptions about video games seem harmless, but these fears have resulted in a number of court cases including a U.S. Supreme Court case, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association, still being debated, that seeks to restrict the sale of "violent" video games to minors.

remember folks, that in these cases if something's in quotes, that means whatever's in said quotes has nothing to do with the issue. they're simply fingerquoted, making them so-called

岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women's Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

 
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