Superheroes. They’re everywhere. The success of superhero films in the last few years has brought the spandex-clad do-gooders out of the basement and into popular culture. We’ve seen them destroy alien invasions, save people from burning buildings and shrink to a size so small that it can only be understood by theoretical science.
According to data, today’s millennials are the most plugged-in generation in history. On average they spend a whopping 9.5 hours a day engaging with media, usually through smartphones. But it isn’t just mobile devices that have hooked folks—for many people, their drug of choice is video games.
Today, millions of people from all over the world take part in a multi-billion dollar a year industry called competitive gaming. The rise of eSports has facilitated this trend—and people take it seriously.
Throughout history, nearly every generation has condemned their respective youth for one thing or another. In fact, three Ancient Greek philosophers once had similar thoughts about the youth of their time.
2016 marks the 20-year anniversary of the day little cuddly monsters called Pokémon first appeared on everyone’s favorite Gameboy. The title was a labor of love created and slaved over by famed designer Satoshi Tajiri, who, as legend has it, was inspired by his childhood hobby of collecting insects.
Many video-game collectors like to compare the greatest-hits and original versions of titles the way music fans compare secondary and original pressings of records.
For fans of retro gaming, few things are more fun than firing up an old console system on a modern flat-screen TV. Seeing how games of yesteryear look in stunning 1080p high definition is a goal unto itself.
At their best, Nintendo games bridge generations. “Super Mario Bros.”, “The Legend of Zelda”, “Metroid”, “Donkey Kong”—these games, and the colorful cast of characters that populate them, have made appearances on most Nintendo consoles, such was their enduring popularity.
First-person shooters, platformers, side-scrollers, shoot-em-ups—these are just a few of the many video game genres out there. Add all those sub-genres into the mix and you have near limitless options for gaming.
Maddeningly, we’ve all had the experience. You’re progressing through an enjoyable game, devoting your time and being rewarded for it, when all of a sudden there’s a glitch. A glitch that makes it impossible for you to carry on as you were.
In 1941, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote a story called “The Garden of Forking Paths” that was basically a “wouldn’t it be cool” vision of a story that could include all of its different possible outcomes—when a decision was made, the story could follow each of the forking paths that result.
I have killed a lot of digital enemies in my day. I can’t even imagine what my overall gamer kill count and bullet count are—I’ve popped enough related trophies and achievements to know it’s got to be high. Which is why I really appreciated the short, contemplative puzzle adventure title Valiant Hearts: The Great War, which follows four characters through the madness, heartbreak, and tenacity of the Western front in World War I.
Video games are primarily a visual medium—it’s right there in the word itself. But of course they’re more than that, too. There’s the interactivity, of course, and the sound design can really improve or drag down a game…and then there’s reading.
I recently finished two games that I had been looking forward to for some time: a quirky little mobile game (originally on PC in 1997) about game developers called Game Dev Story and the culmination of the Desmond trilogy, Assassin’s Creed III.
I’m a pretty big Final Fantasy fan. I came into the series with VII and have played everything since besides the MMOs and the two sequels to the lackluster XIII. I’ve had conversations with friends about what the Final Fantasy musical RPG that never was would have looked like (I would totally play that—good or bad, it would be hilarious).