Multimedia And Society: Video Games

Video Games

The popularity of video games is part of our culture and it seems as though t is going to stay. There are different genres depicted in video games and character developments in the games which has made video games an entity that spans generation of gamers. The video game entertainment industry has developed in a multi-million dollar industry. For many of the game players, video games are an escape into the world of adventure and fantasy. Many see them as a form of pass time recreational activity which is not always the case as Video games are both a form of art and a design. There are many similarities between video games and literature while both are forms of arts, video games explore many of the philosophies studied in literature.

Art is a form of personal expression and the personal expression of the designer of the video game is expressed in the several designs in the video game. A game developer might also use music and video effects to express an expression in form of audio. These elements work together to convey different emotions or ongoing awareness.

According to Edmund Burke Feldman, works of art perform a social function when they ate created to be seen or to be used in public situations or if the works of arts describe or express social or collective aspects of existence in contrast to individual or personal ways of existence. Video games explore the philosophy of art. Most of the multi-player video games are created to be seen or used in public situations. An example of these games is Everquest and Ultima Online which have become parts of a believable, virtual worlds in which infinite events can occur. The games are a gateway to a world in which the participants of the game are able to create a universe in which public situations created by the participants occur.

In Ultima Online which is a fantasy role playing game set in a universe called Ultima, the players join clans and socialize in case they encounter rival gangs they are able to join together in terms of their clans and eliminate the gangs. The game is played by thousands of simultaneous players who pay a monthly fee on many game servers. To resolve disputes the game has game masters who also police the servers for any violation of the game rules and also correct any problem in the game. This is an example of a game that creates a public situation.

Video games also describe a social or collective way of existence, an example of such a game is Conflict in which the players rule Israel and are at war with the neighboring countries this can be viewed as the existence of the never ending was in the middle East which can be seen as a form of a collective way of existence. Another video game that depicts this philosophical idea is Nuclear which represents a satirical cartoonist war between five world super powers. The winner of the game is the one who retains population on earth when everyone else dies. The players in the game use nuclear weapons and propaganda to rule the world. The game that was released in 1989, shows the fear of the nuclear weapons that existed during the cold war and also showed the mass propaganda that occurred at the time. The players of the game observe this collective experience and also participate in it.

Video games also depict the philosophical idea of art as imitation. The player does not only observe the imitation taking place but also becomes the imitator in the game. In Wolfenstein 3D which is a first shooter videogame, after the escape in the initial part of the game, the spy also carries out various mission actions against the Nazis. In the game, the player controls the character of the player in the game and he might begin to feel the fear and anxiety that might be experienced by a prisoner in the real world. The levels of the game also exhaust the player of the game as he tries to guide the spy along numerous corridors in an attempt to try and avoid the enemy. The journey of the spy is a long taxing journey in which the player becomes part of.

According to Aristotle a writer does not relate to what has happened but to what may happen or to what is possible according to the law of necessity or probability. This holds true to game developers as they must foresee the various actions that a player might take and create probabilities in accordance to these actions. In King Quest VI which takes place in a fictional island known as the land of the Green Isles which has different islands and is isolated from the outside world. The player of the game in this case can take different actions in the game to accomplish a task. An example a player can enter a castle in a disguise or create a hole in the wall using a mystical object in both of these cases, the developer of the game must consider this and come up with ways to counter both of these actions.

Since video games are interactive they enable the players to develop an intimate relationship with the characters in the games. In video games the player can conserve, observe and socialize with the individuals in the game. The intimate relationships that occur can lead to emotional responses. In Planetfall which is a science fiction computer game, after the death of the robot Floyd, Janet Murray senior researcher at M.T.I describes the death as pivotal and at this point without Floyd the game changes and the player feels lonely and bereaved. The memory of Floyd and the memory of the robots self-sacrifice remains with the player even after many years as of it was something that directly happened or was experienced. The use of music and sounds in video games to replace words also enhance interaction.

Video games are also used to recreate experiences with the players themselves. In the Civilization video game, the man’s thirst for power is experienced. The games objective is for the player to build an empire that will stand the test of time. The game starts in 400 BC and the players are supposed to build their empire from that time to modern and future eras. The player is the ruler of a civilization and he attempts to build an empire in competition to one or eleven others civilizations. The player is given a choice on the way in which he builds his empire and he can do so by signing peace treaties with other neighbors while being the first to construct a spaceship or he can build his empire by using militaristic means to conquer the world. When players choose the latter means, they might be experiencing the power thirst first hand though they might not be aware of this at first. In a video game such as Quake which is a first person shooter game, the players are supposed to find their way in maze like environments while battling various monsters using various weapons. Just like in the Doom video game in which an unnamed space marine fights frightening crowds of undead and demons so as to survive, the player is transported intro a world of mass carnage the player becomes a representation of savagery in the two games as he slaughters other players and creatures without remorse or vindication.

The use of the word I in most of the role playing video games provide support for philosophical thesis concerning the nature of self. The rules of video games allow the players avatar to do things that the player might not be able to do though the player himself manipulates these actions. In games such as Everquest and Arnachy Online, the players are expected to customize an in game character in a variety of ways which could range from picking a suitable name, picking a 3D avatar height or choosing the skin, gender, color of facial configuration and real theoretical role playing takes part in the video games. In world of witchcraft video game, players are encouraged to play in character through the games instant messaging system. The player then attempts the various tasks that are put before her such as crawling through a cave or fighting trolls. The computer then decides whether the player has succeeded or failed. This provides a lot of fun for the player and the role playing makes the video game more interactive.

Video games sets forth a new type of identity that is consciously created which can be transgressed, dismantled and put back together. This presumed identity has given rise to philosophical contradictions. In video games there seems to be a clear answer to the question of origin which is found in the pressing of the start button and we find ourselves immersed in a world in which we role play as different characters. However in contrast to the real world, the player knows that his origin is artificial and malleable which produces doubt in the conscience of the player as a self-gamer.

 In Silent Hill video game which is a survivor horror video game in which he discovers the true origin of his daughter. The game has five possible endings depending on the action taken by the player. In this game the player is immersed in another world of Silent Hill with little protection other than the dim light of a lantern. The game explorers the philosophical idea of epistemology. The Silent Hill game questions the human understanding, the line between reality and mind is blurred. The reality of the game is watched from a distorted mind. Instead of the game being openly symbolic as it explorers the themes of rape and abortion.

Crono cross (PS1) a role playing video game is about a teenage boy called Serge and a theme of parallel worlds. He is faced with the reality in which he died as a child and the boy seeks to discover the two worlds. Many character in the game help him in his endeavor around the tropical archipelago El Nido as he tries to uncover his past. The game deals with the idea of predetermination versus control over our own destiny. The game is able to balance between the ability of the player to determine the path of the game and other common plots that are unavoidable which leaves the player in doubt as to what he/she has control over and what is unavoidable. The video game uncovers many of the philosophical themes such as the meaning of life and death, role of human being in nature and the question of fate versus freewill. The philosophical themes were incorporated not only in the dialogue but also in the game play. The ending of the game makes the player think on her/his own existence.

The game is about the clash of ideas. Ramza Beoulve the noble cadet is free spirited heretic who has a free thinking attitude and does not belong to any creed. Delita Hyral is another major character in the game who is a commoner who turns to a hero and his ideas are that of a democratic. There are many other characters who represent important philosophical ideas such as Darwinism and Aristocracy. The game represents many ideologies which are not only sophisticated but deep which clash. The game does not take sides but stands aside and lets the different characters in the game take the stage and present their case. The ideologies in this game have their advantages and disadvantages and though they are not complete they all share one thing is common that they are true in one aspect or another and this is where the philosophical idea of pluralistic is displayed as the game embraces all the differences and accepts that we all have a share of the truth.

Xenogears is a video game that depicts the philosophical idea of Neo-Platonism. The followers of this ideology considered themselves as the followers of Plato but in fact they interpreted his ideas in a unique manner. The group wanted to reconcile the Christian theology and the Greek philosophy.

The future prospects of game designs are huge, in modern day gaming is used in banks, marketing and to improve the IQ of people. In the future video games will be played in mobile phones, iPhone and on social media. There is a greater demand for more games with real life stories and more lifelike designs. Modern colleges are offering courses on video game designs and animation. The courses that deal with video design are not only about drawing and how to create a video game but the students are taught more on how to create ideas and concepts for a particular video game. The history of video games is also studied together with the demographics of the characters of the games. The different gaming genres that are depicted in the games are also studied. Video games might also be studied as a philosophy course as they have recently become a subject of attention in some academia sectors.


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