I game. You could say I game a lot. You could even say that I gamed through pretty much my whole reading week because that’s what I happily did. Gaming has been a massive part of my childhood; I can easily remember my own glory days playing Crash Bandicoot on my PlayStation one and Tomb raider on my PlayStation two.
I believe there is more to gaming than the majority would have you believe: the whole process of going to the shop and picking out a game, returning home and losing yourself in hours of gameplay is a truly special moment. A special moment that on the Tuesday of this passing week I got to revel in again with the release of Fallout 4, by some miracle or strategic marketing by Bethesda (the developers of the game) the release day coincided with what I like to think of as the calm before the storm of university life – the widely desired reading week. Returning to my student house filled with glee, game in hand, I set myself down for what would become a marathon session. The only interruption came from my housemate who burst into my room after rushing home, probably missing a few lectures in the process, in order to play his own copy of the game which had been delivered to the house promptly that morning. Who needs Economics or even a degree when you have Fallout 4 to play?
Unfortunately though whilst gamers across the globe sit down and feast into the world of the virtual a large collective of society still brandish gaming as un-educational and solitary. Views based around its violence and uses of profanity are often brought up whenever the subject of video gaming brandishes its stigmatised head. This single-minded approach to gaming does not in any way recognise its achievements and potential as an art form. Those who judge forget that television and movies once suffered from the same judgements, but now in a world that is dominated by critically acclaimed films and binging sessions of Netflix it is hard to comprehend how gaming hasn’t been indoctrinated into this socially acceptable art form.
Aaron, a second year PPE student at Warwick, said “Watching House of Cards is entertaining—and fills up a few days—but it doesn’t come close to the emotional power that a game like The Last of US has, where I feel so connected to a character that I am really distressed when they are in danger. Games like that get me more genuinely involved than any traditional art.”
Gaming is on the same artistic level as literature or painting. I know many argue that this doesn’t do the greats of literature or arts much justice, but I bet if Homer could have had the chance to have played three hours of The Last of Us he would have dumped the Iliad and devoted his creative ability to the gaming industry. Whilst a slight exaggeration on my behalf I do believe the intimacy and interaction between individual and game is far greater than every other art form. What truly makes gaming different is its ability to interact with the reader on a visual, auditory and even emotional level, something that many other forms of creativity don’t fully achieve.
This governs the question why the media tends to ignore the gaming industry, why do movies get the world stage of the Oscars and television programmes the Emmys, yet gaming isn’t internationally renown for its achievements in the field of artistic expression? Whilst the gaming community’s question goes unanswered at this time, I am sure that in the years to come we shall see views on gaming finally complete its shift into the positive. Until this time I shall enjoy gaming and being a gamer – how else am I supposed to fill my time between my eight hours of contact time a week?
Lewis Thomas studies English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick – or at least he pretends to – find him hiding in his room surrounded by cans of carling from the night before, whilst trying to write something that has meaning.