Reality is Overreated

Even though I picked up the book later than I would of liked to, and I was short on time to finish it. I found reading “Reality is Broken” by Jane McGonigal to be very enjoyable. Not that I don’t enjoy reading, but I really was invested in what she was speaking about. My mom always mocked video games, saying they “rot your brain”. But to me, video games are no different then your average TV show or Book. Where you’re limited in the experience you can have when watching a show or reading a book, a video game can present infinite experiences. In my opinion one can take more form a tastefully ‘epic’ video game then any TV show. Chapter 6 in Jane’s book really backed up my thoughts on this, and it was nice to see another person with the same view on video games.

In that chapter Jane speaks of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE VIDEO GAME SERIES HALO. She speaks of the ‘epicness’ of the world of Halo, particularly the score created by Martin O’Donell. Touching on the sheer amount of man hours from hundreds of people to create and improve this virtual world, Jane sparked a realization in my mind. On page 109 Jane states that Halo users have created over 21 million posts, discussing and documenting anything Halo. Now do you think that the vast majority of these millions of people would EVER interact if it wasn’t for the shared interest of Halo? Probably not, and that is why I think video games are so amazing!

There is no way you can put Video Games in the same category as a book or movie. Games are greater, they are more complex. When a world is as vast and celebrated as Halo, to the point of individuals from different cultures joining together and sharing experiences they would not have otherwise, you leave the realm of game and enter that of community. To me that is the greatest reason “why games make us better and how they HAVE CHANGED the world”

Devin Chavanne 

 

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4 thoughts on “Reality is Overreated”

  1. Devin, I think you make an interesting claim when you say that video games are more complex than books or movies. I am sure many of my colleagues would be skeptical, though I suppose it depends on how one defines complexity. I suppose we would agree that video games are technically more complex than books and most movies, though films like Avatar are a technological marvel. An MMORPG like World of Warcraft is more complex in the sense that there are millions of gamers each enacting their own version of the experience.

    On the other hand would we say that games express the complexity of human experience as well as films or novels? Probably not, though perhaps the Great American Videogame has yet to be written.

    1. I have to agree with Devin, I believe that video games are definitely more complex in nature as compared to the linear nature of other forms of storytelling. Look at the epic storytelling of the Mass Effect storyline, where depending on the actions of you as a player, determine the eventual outcome of the game. IMO, Avatar is one of the most cookie cutter films I have ever seen. Granted it makes some great use of the visual effects and 3D technology, but the storyline was completely predictable. James Cameron says that he based his storyline on films like “Dance with Wolves”, but it didn’t seem that different for me. Some can make the argument that there are no more original stories but when looking at video games, a player can make his own story, not necessarily following the actions of a director. Thats what makes certain games so unique, the level of immersion is completely different as compared to when one reads a novel.

  2. Devin, I also think you make some very interesting points in your post. I do think that games offer us a level of complexity that books and TV shows don’t quite accomplish. However, I am very skeptical to say that video games are better that TV shows and books. While video games offer us a differ type of challenge and allow our minds to consider unusual possibilities that we might not think of with a TV show or book, I do think that TV shows and books, more specifically TV shows are more relate-able. I go out on a limb when I say this because I know there are books and TV shows that are out of this world. Although, we are able to create Avatars with videogames, which most people would say depict who they truly are inside, I think TV shows and books do a better job a presenting real life problems and solutions.

  3. I don’t think that video games are much better than TV shows or books, but I do see the point that you are trying to make. My mother always boasts that I was able to ready at an early age and wanted me to spend all of my free time reading, but I always wondered why she’d rather my read a book rather than playing a video games when they both occupied my time.

    Now, I do not agree that a video game is more complex than a book. Have you ever read a book where you had to read it at least 2 or 3 times to understand what the author is actually trying to convey in their writing? What about the books that have double meaning or are told from many points of views. To me, a video game is straight forward because the objective of the game is made very clear from the start.

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