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April 15, 2013 | by  | in Arts Games |
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Are You Game?

When a lot of people think of modern video games, they’re left with a sour image of ultra-loud Halo and Call of Duty, crappy boy/girlfriends and EB Games on Cuba St plastered in more sheets of plastic than a scene from Dexter. However, these kinds of unpleasant things are just the most visible aspects of the hobby—and those most present in pop culture. They’re the aspects most likely to turn people away and create the feeling that “video games are stupid and for sweaty manbabies”. And yes, while some games are indeed attractive to the more Mountain-Dew-reliant amongst us, the medium is much too wide to just dismiss in a single thought.

Video games have fingers in virtually every electronic pie. Consoles, computers, phones, tablets and handhelds all have access to games that range from adventure games requiring wiggly thinking and perseverance to multiplayer shooters that encourage shouting at and stabbing of others across the internet. It is almost impossible to generalise about content, style, goals or even the intended experience video games provide, beside the fact that they are interactive entertainment.

The sheer breadth of the medium makes it confusing, almost insulting, to hear people say they don’t like ‘video games’. Not a specific game or games, but straight-up all of it. That’s not like saying you don’t like action flicks or rom-coms, because ‘video game’ is not a genre. It’s more like saying you don’t like any of the pictures that move on a screen in front of you—films, TV, videos of cats sleeping in funny places, everything. Dismissing an entire sphere of potential entertainment experiences because it’s ‘dumb’ is a total assurance that you’re missing out on something.

To show the breadth of the medium, here are a few games you might want to take a closer look at. If you like cop procedurals, puzzles and thinking in wiggly lines, L.A. Noire or Ghost Trick might suit you. Or if listening to your own music on your computer while a game generates itself around your song choice’s beat, speed and rhythm sounds interesting, Beat Hazard or Audio Surf are worth a shot. For 2-D love stories with a left-field twist, maybe try Braid or i saw her standing there… and then she was a zombie. Maybe playing in a physics sandbox that provides tools to create almost anything sounds like your style? Garry’s Mod or the Flash game Fantastic Contraption are the way to go. Without a doubt, in a medium as wide-ranging in price and content as video games, there’s something to pique anybody’s interest.

It’s important to try something before you judge the entire medium as holding absolutely nothing of value to you. You might be surprised. If you can’t find anything you enjoy, or just aren’t able to find any good recommendations but are willing to take the plunge, send me an email at for some advice. I guarantee that in a medium ranging from space opera to skateboarding or tower defence to train simulator, there’s a piece of interactive entertainment to suit every taste.

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