Have you played video games in your life? Probably. Have you played video games recently? Maybe not, but chances are, yes.
We live in a world where over 10 billion quarters have been spent in arcades playing Pacman. We live in a world where Angry Birds has been downloaded over 500 million times, and counting.
Child’s Play, a ground-roots charity that provides video games and gaming systems to children’s hospitals, just enjoyed their most successful year with over US $3.5 million worth of donations in 2011. In under 10 years the charity has shipped more US $12 million of games, accessories, books and toys throughout the world.
Of course, beyond sales and dollar amounts are other ways to quantify the success of video games in our society.
To date there is one Super Mario Bros. movie, two Mortal Kombat movies, two Street Fighter movies, two Tomb Raider movies and a whole God damned litter of Resident Evil films all starring action/horror/apocalyptic/dystopian enchantress Mila Jovovich.
If I’ve learned anything in my life it’s that great things are always turned into movies.
Nintendo, after cornering a previously untapped market with their motion controlled Wii system, has even released a model of their handheld device called the XL, which features a bigger screen and buttons for those who struggle to read and play the typical versions. In other words, we live in a world where even your grandparents are being targeted as potential consumers of video game products.
Every age and demographic is accounted for in some way or another, whether it’s the group of senior citizens honing their Wii bowling skills at the retirement home or the professional Starcraft player in South Korea taking painstaking efforts to prepare for the next nationally broadcast PvP battle
And so, like anything that has become pervasive in our society — text messaging, the Internet, Lavar Burton — video games have forged their own distinct, diverse culture, based on the popularity, fanfare and experience behind the products.
In short, video games are important. Video game culture is something that deserves to be studied in some sort of public venue. Just because something should be studied, though, doesn’t mean it has to be done in a way that’s stuffy, strict, sincere or really even serious.
Thusly and therefore, Not Serious is an ongoing column series aimed at exploring the more interesting aspects of video game culture.
Look to this space in weeks to come for something interesting, an inquisitive conversation — never serious, always about video games.