What ever happened to the good ol’ days?

The new era of gaming has been set upon us, one that has broken all the other rules of gaming since I’ve known it. Flashback to the 1990’s, the game systems that were out were the playstation, sega genesis and the N64, Xbox was not even created yet. Times were good, playstation had the Final Fantasy games in their pocket, Grandtheft Auto, and of course Spyro! Sega had their trademark Sonic while N64 had Mario. Then the next gen of systems came out; Playstation 2, Dreamcast and the Gamecube. Dreamcast tries a revolutionary thing, they try to do online gaming. Sega had the idea of uniting everyone through the interenet and take gaming to a whole new level. One where people can play with and against each other from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately the world was just not ready for this advancement because normal people did not have cable internet and dial-up was just not able to handle gaming. This cost Sega dearly as the company went bankrupt.

Around the same time Xbox hits the market and also shakes up the world of gaming. Xbox gave rise to the Halo series and it rose to the top ranks with a single game under its wing. Xbox was marketed to older teens and adults, much like the Playstation was, while the gamecube was marketed toward younger children. Xbox started to give playstation a run for their money when they started taking titles from them such as GTA and spyro and eventually even final fantasy, all the while still able to keep Halo as their exclusive.

Flashforward and here we are today. A new generation of systems has come about us; The Xbox 360, Wii and PS3.The time was finally right and online gaming has been taken to new heights. Not only can you play online with each other but you can play gameshows from your console, even play motion sensor games with friends online! What a crazy world this has become eh? Prior to this new generation of consoles, gaming systems were only expected to stay current for about 4 years, during this time the gaming companies would be looking for new ways to improve their systems and come out with the next console with better graphics, better processors and pretty much better everything. The new consoles however are expected to be able to last up to 15 years meaning that we probably wont be seeing a new system come out until around 2015-2020. With the new ability to play on the internet companies can just update the systems with new patches, even games can fix bugs and glitches via the internet.

What I find most concerning is the fact that gaming seems to be taken to a new level of reclusiveness. It used to be that you would invite a friend or two over to play video games. You could play against each other in sports of shooter games or you could take turns playing RPGs and so on. With the new rise of online gaming I hear a lot of “oh, I’ll just see you online” when I aske friends to come over to play video games. There is a certain feeling that you get when two people are actually in a room playing together but now it just seems like people want to stay in the comfort of their own homes to play. It seems that with the new rise of party chatting and online playing things have been shaken up a lot. Not only are things different between playing with friends but it is also different because you are playing against people that you cannot see. This gives rise to the people who I call E-thugs; the people who are tough only in online settings. This is the kind of person that will trash talk your ear off even though you are doing multiples better than him, the person that everyone time they kill you or score on you will call you a noob and tell you that you suck. Sure you can block this guy but what about all the other thousands of people that you meet that are like this?

I used to play in tournaments for Halo 3 and when I was at the tournaments people treated each other with respect. Often times I wondered if these guys would be different if we were only playing online and had no face to face interaction, are these the guys that shove every kill down the throats of people less skilled than themselves?

With the new rise of video games comes a whole new set of problems. I am always respectful when I play competitive games. Whether I win or lose I always commend people on their wins, I am always the guy that says “Oh man that was an amazing shot that you had on me.” but more times than not, the courtesy is never returned. The new era of games is upon us and I say that new is not always better.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 14:27:19

    This, I think, is the biggest hurdle that educational technology has to traverse – what happens to students, psychologically and socially, if they they spend large amounts of time on the internets, “by themselves”? What happens if you take the traditional classroom completely out of the mix? Will they develop the social skills needed to live “normal” lives?

    To these questions, I think there are many arguments as to why the children will be warped. However… I don’t think kids will ever stop “hanging out,” and I don’t think kids will ever stop going through a (sometimes scary) phase where they learn to understand other people’s feelings, or how they affect other people’s feelings. After all… were we terribly warped because we spent too much time playing video games? Were the generations upon generations of children who only went to “tutoring” completely warped, before “school” as we know if was invented? In fact… I will turn this question around on it’s head: aren’t students warped by having to sit in classrooms? They are a completely artificial environment, that doesn’t reflect the realities of their future work or social lives in any way. What are students going to learn from a classroom, socially, except awkward and or innappropriate childish behaviors and authoritarian based interaction styles? What do children who only play games with a specific group of friends from roudn the corner learn about more general social interactions? How will they learn to deal with people who are different, that they HAVE to work with and negotiate with to meet mutual goals? Who are from another country in another part of the world?

    Of course, maybe this isn’t really a dichotomy – maybe there’s a whole spectrum of versions of this. For example, I play Global Agenda with my brother, and when I can it’s in the same room. However, I also play with and against a host of people from Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, and Great Britain, and literally dozens of other countries. Some people are downright evil… but… you know what? They are going to learn REALLY quickly, without ever seeing anyone else face to face, how to carry themselves in a way that is socially acceptable. Either they get banned (by moderators sometimes, other usually other players will simply “ignore” them” or kick them out of their alliances) or work with people, and everyone wins. (Gee’s Feedback Principle, WTF.) Isn’t this more realistic social learning than you get with friends who put up with your crap? Certainly more realistic than most classroom interactions…


  2. Craig Belpedio
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 10:59:31

    Actually, I disagree with the whole “I’ll see you online” thing. Sure, when my friends and I are hundreds of miles apart we game over XBox Live (because that’s all we can do). However, when we’re all back home, we have LAN parties and online at each others homes because we have more fun when we’re playing together in a shared space.

    Even if we’re not playing the same game we get together and play in the same room, just to hang out and chat while we’re working on finishing a quest or leveling a character or destroying enemies in an FPS.


  3. ivalentinexi
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 11:39:04

    Maybe my friends are just lazy then 😛


  4. jasshill
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 19:34:41

    There are definitely pros and cons associated with the evolution of gaming. Sure there is a lack of respect amongst gamers in the online world, because there is no face to face interaction, and people don’t necessarily have to worry about being called out for their actions. Perhaps, friends do not get together as much to play video games, something I have not personally experienced. I personally feel that online gaming is a great thing. As a college student it provides for a great opportunity to play games with my friends from home. It allows us to keep in touch, have a conversation while we are playing, and relive the days at home when we hung out at someone’s house and played video games. Furthermore, who would have thought 5 or 6 years ago that we would be able to stream movies or watch sporting events via our gaming consoles. I think that the technology imbedded in these consoles is a good thing, and enables us to stay in touch with friends, even if we are hundreds of miles apart.


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