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Video Gaming: What does it mean for each and every one of us?

NES In 1983, Nintendo launched the Nintendo Entertainment System, initially released in Japan as the “Family Computer”, referred to in the US and Europe as Famicom. This computer ushered in a new period of video gaming. It built upon Atari’s endeavours and Amiga’s coding exclusivity. However, by the 90s video gaming became less of a ‘family’ event to a more ‘individual’ event. This morphed the relationship and therein the development of titles. The sociability of two-player gaming was sidelined in favour of more grandiose single-player experiences. This, by 2006, was seen by the popularity of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3.

Why do people play video games? It’s a difficult question – even if you have Wikipedia’d the answer, which for those of you who haven’t, is quite simple. The reason you guys play is “mainly for entertainment.” However, it’s fair to say that the amount of emotion that is invested into a game and console, in reality, means no singular answer will really highlight the true answer to the question. It’s a difficult question – the meaning we apply to an electronic box that plays games?

In recent months, IGN have created a ‘gallery’ of responses surrounding peoples’ experiences of video gaming and what it means to them. Some of the responses include “a way of connecting with family living away from home”, a “way of relating with past periods of your life.” Others found playing video games was “escapism” and a way “of giving more meaning to life.” The comments seem to relate around notions of belonging, of remembering and of engaging. These themes are ever present throughout the wider narrative of the IGN experiment.

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Research conducted by the University of Taiwan found that “social influences” were big markers towards video game engagement. Thus, arguing that people’s experiences of video gaming, post-2007, are predominantly around being enclosed in a “flow of social influences”. Another notable study found that motivators, behavioural attributes that engaged people with video gaming, focused predominantly on the interactive process as a journey. This journey becomes a crucial element in their digital existence – thus completing a level, finishing a game or coming first on a multiplayer game, gives the individual a sense of worth.

Personally, ever since my first console – the wondrous Sega Master System with Alex the Kidd, video games have been a mixture of socialisation, of escapism, of engagement and of self-completion and self-challenging. These behaviours and attributes are the central part of why, I personally play video games. The happiness, the sense of satisfaction when you get your “Juggernaunt Maniac” on Call of Duty, when you beat someone three ranks higher than you on FIFA 14 Online or how angry I feel when I get smashed online by Battlefield 4. These numerous feelings, thus, helps me to build a relationship with the platform and the games.

How do you connect with your console? Why not add some of your thoughts or suggestions to the comments box below? We would love to hear from new and old gamers – from NES to PS4 we want to know why you play and why you enjoy playing. So, get writing in the comments section below? What does video gaming mean to you?