Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Few Thoughts On Video Games

After years of anticipation, Halo 2 was finally released this Tuesday. (For those who don't know what this is, it was one of, if not the most anticipated video game release of all time. It is a "first person shooter" game where you walk around with guns and kill as many aliens as you can.) Across the globe celebrations were held in honor of Master Chief and the Covenant. The minions were truly kooky.

Now I admit, while not chanting the name of Captain Keyes, I, as well, was eager for Tuesday.

A little background:
I grew up with an Atari and a Commodore 64. We were a little late getting a Nintendo, then we had a Sega Genesis, a few PC games and while on my mission the family got a Nintendo 64. Since then me and my brothers both have all had either a Playstation and/or Xbox. The Atari joystick was the best controller for my dad (as it was the least complicated) and he hasn't caught up since. Therefore, he hasn't been a huge participator in the family fun that I call "family fun with video games". However, my brothers and I have maintained a fairly decent rivalry in the video game world (that is, when we are all together). Of course, they always beat me because they have no life and nothing better to do all day. (do you like how I have to verbally abuse them to feel superior to them because they are better gamers than me? I like it, it's a little game I play called, "being prideful and vindictive") Me and my brothers-in-law have also had some of our greatest moments together playing games until 2 or 3 in the morning.

These are all precious memories. "Family fun with video games" and "being prideful and vindictive" (which are not mutually exclusive) pretty well sum up my life with video games. However, now I rarely play. Too much school, homework, work, teaching seminary, husband duties, etc. At times I will play with friends or for relaxation, but it's not a significant part of my life.

The video game industry is enormous. Depending on the source of information, the video game industry has surpassed Hollywood in revenue (I think that's games/consoles vs. ticket sales). Considering it didn't exist 30 years ago, it's size is impressive and will only grow. There have been a few mentions of video games in conference talks and Ensign articles, usually exhorting us to not play them in excess, with special emphasis on young priesthood holders. However, there is little talk about video game addiction. In our culture there is also a lot of talk about how violent games will lead to violent behavior. While I don't disagree, I think they affect each person differently. I know many people who don't let video games into their homes (people with and without children). I'm not quite sure the rules I will employ in my home when we have kids, but for now, things are good. I play every once in a while, my wife has no problem with it, and I don't go out and kill aliens in real life. All is well.

How about you? What rules, habits, experiences, exhortations do any of you have? Please share.