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Social Sci LibreTexts

1: Electronic Games and Entertainment

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    • 1.1: Electronic Games and Entertainment
      Video games have come a long way from using a simple joystick to guide Pac-Man on his mission to find food and avoid ghosts. This is illustrated by a 2007 Southwest Airlines commercial in which two friends are playing a baseball video game on a Nintendo Wii–like console. The batting friend tells the other to throw his pitch—and he does, excitedly firing his controller into the middle of the plasma television, which then falls off the wall. Both friends stare in shock at the shattered flat screen
    • 1.2: The Evolution of Electronic Games
      ong, the electronic table-tennis simulation game, was the first video game for many people who grew up in the 1970s and is now a famous symbol of early video games. However, the precursors to modern video games were created as early as the 1950s. In 1952 a computer simulation of tic-tac-toe was developed for EDSAC, one of the first stored-information computers, and in 1958 a game called Tennis for Two was developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory as a way to entertain people coming through the
    • 1.3: Influential Contemporary Games
      With such a short history, the place of video games in culture is constantly changing and being redefined. Are video games entertainment or art? Should they focus on fostering real-life skills or developing virtual realities? Certain games have come to prominence in recent years for their innovations and genre-expanding attributes. These games are notable for not only great economic success and popularity but also for having a visible influence on culture.
    • 1.4: The Impact of Video Games on Culture
      An NPD poll conducted in 2007 found that 72 percent of the U.S. population had played a video game that year.Chris Faylor, “NPD: 72% of U.S. Population Played Games in 2007; PC Named “Driving Force in Online Gaming,” Shack News, April 2, 2008, The increasing number of people playing video games means that video games are having an undeniable effect on culture.
    • 1.5: Controversial Issues
      The increasing realism and expanded possibilities of video games has inspired a great deal of controversy. However, even early games, though rudimentary and seemingly laughable nowadays, raised controversy over their depiction of adult themes. Although increased realism and graphics capabilities of contemporary video games have increased the shock value of in-game violence, international culture has been struggling to come to terms with video game violence since the dawn of video games.
    • 1.6: Blurring the Boundaries Between Video Games, Information, Entertainment, and Communication
      Early video games were easily identifiable as games. They had basic goals and set rules of play. As games have developed in complexity, they have allowed for newer options and an expanded idea of what constitutes a game. At the same time, the aesthetics and design of game culture have been applied to tools and entertainment phenomena that are not technically games.