View Full Version : New term for "video games"?
08-01-2002, 07:34 PM
I know this debate has been on the Qt3 forums in the past, but I couldn't find it when I searched for it, so sorry to bring up this redundant topic...
Has anyone heard a good term for "video games" that doesn't have kiddy connotations? Whenever I tell someone that I review video games for a living they stare in disbelief and wonder why anyone would read a review of Bubble Bobble or Ms. Pac Man.
I have trouble convincing them that there are games out there like Ico, Half-Life, GTAIII, CivIII, Rez, FFIX, et al. that are so much more interesting and intelligent than most people might think.
Movies are lucky because they have everything from the throw-away (flicks) to the everyday (movies) to high art (film, cinema).
I don't think "interactive entertainment" is much help, and "electronic art" is a little too vague and already taken by a publisher. I was trying to think of something having to do with the word "code," but "playable code" seemed too clumsy.
Stealing from the French can be a good idea, but "les jeux video" is a little too pretentious even for my tastes.
Anybody heard anything they liked?
08-01-2002, 08:01 PM
I have two terms for games :
Computer games - Windows gaming
Video games - console gaming (Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox, etc.)
When someone asks me why do I play video games at my age I state that I play computer games. That is a big distinction for me. I have tried console gaming a couple of times but have never been able to get excited about it.
08-01-2002, 08:18 PM
Look, as long as my first memory of gaming is of the the pin-striped suit-wearing TV salesman at Fedmart trying to sell my dad on a Magnavox Odessey (because they were not moving) instead of an Atari 2600 under a giant sign that read "Video Games", that is the name I will call them by. Sure, it is not the best reason, but at least I have one.
08-01-2002, 08:19 PM
Personally, I still consider "computer gaming" and "video gaming" to be basically interchangeable terms. I guess if you want to draw a spectrum you can say Pac-Man is clearly a "video game," and some obscure Grognard Napoleonic wargame or insanely complex flight sim is a "computer game." But I don't play those sorts of games, I play FPS's and RPG's and RTS's, and those are seldom more "complex" or "advanced" than what you see on consoles anyway (and they're often a darn sight easier... i.e. Return to Wolfenstein is a cakewalk compared to Rayman 2). So I just use either term.
Instead of casting about for a more elevated phrase, I think it might be better to appropriate the "demeaning" term and use it for positive purposes. Like "jazz" or "queer" or something. So say it loud: I play video games and I'm... well, not "proud," exactly. But not mortified, either. ;)
When someone asks me why do I play video games at my age I state that I play computer games. That is a big distinction for me.
That must get the chicks.
psss... did you hear that? He's mature, he play's computer games.
Who cares? That is like wanting a new term for pop music because you don't want people to think you listen to brittney spears. Also why make the distinction? Do you brag about all the hardbound books you read vs paperbacks? Or do just read the books because you like books?
08-01-2002, 08:36 PM
Just say video games Eric.
If you're making a living covering them, be proud to be making a living doing something you like doing. Most people don't get to do that. Changing the name to something more "impressive" won't change the meaning or the perception people have of it.
08-01-2002, 09:06 PM
I never understood the self-consciousness with telling people you review games for a living. Hell, I'm proud of it. How many people do what they enjoy for a living? (Or at least for extra freelance cash?)
Usually when I tell people, they're jealous. Compared to what 95% of them do for a living, writing about games seems like some sort of "deal with the devil" Nirvana.
I'd never find myself in the situation Steve Bauman mentioned in his recent editorial, where he didn't want to tell the girl he was talking to what he did for a living. I might start with "magazine editor" to make an initially better impression, but I'd follow up with the game details. If she's going to blow me off for that, I don't want to talk to her anyway.
(Of course, reading about dating conversations makes me so glad I'm married now, but that's another topic.)
At any rate, if people seem at all interested, or they react with "you write for kids?" I explain the demographics of computer gamers, and give some quick anecdotes about some of the more impressive games out there.
If that doesn't work, I strap them to a chair and refuse to let them get up until they can figure out how to successfully start the engine and take off with the latest user-created Falcon 4.0 patch installed. :twisted:
08-01-2002, 09:42 PM
Don't forget the lens caps!
08-02-2002, 05:37 AM
It will probably be easier to wait for the public's perception of video games to change than to get people to recognize a some mysterious new term as representing "thoughtful" video games as opposed to the ones you mentioned.
And I think it is already happening. Sony did a smart thing by putting PlayStations in night clubs, GTAIII is getting a lot of respect from non-gaming sources, and some guys who would normally sneer at video games bought a console just for Tony Hawk Pro Skater.
Games will eventually get more respect, but not because someone invents a new term that demands it.
08-02-2002, 06:43 AM
This reminds me of "Graphics Novels" vs. "Comic Books" vs. "Sequential Art"--who cares. Most of them are still guys running around in pajamas beating up bad guys.
And I bet the distinction between "video games" and "computer games" is lost on most people, including those who are avid gamers. For example, I use the terms almost completely interchangeably.
08-02-2002, 06:53 AM
The thing about games is as we get older, they become more respected as an entertainment medium by default. Back in the NES days, only "the kids" played video games. Then in the Genesis/SNES days, the demographics got a little older because all the kids were growing up. The people that played the 2600 and filled arcades in the 80's were old enough to be graduating high school/college and were spending their cash on games.
Now with the new generation and to a lesser extent the 32-bit generation, the thirtysomethings are still gaming, bringing legitimacy to the medium and the kids are growing up in homes with old and new game systems. It's just like TV was ubiquitous for us and accepted as entertainment but our parents remembered when they got "their first TV". In another 20 years, gaming will be as accepted as listening to music, watching TV or going to the movies. It'll just be something you do for fun like any other pastime and there won't be a stigma attached to it at all (if there still is which I don't really think there is...)
08-02-2002, 07:20 AM
I suppose this (http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2001-12-14&res=l) needs to be linked to.
BTW, if you're the Dave Long that went to La Salle, I'm on to you. And if not, well, uh, I suppose I'm not.
08-02-2002, 07:25 AM
Nope, I'm not the Dave Long that went to La Salle. I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and minored in Art at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA.
08-02-2002, 07:53 AM
If I may be a bit crude and over-dramatic, here's sort of what happens when you start changing the names of things to make them "sound better".
Crippled - Handicapped - Disabled - Differently Abled - Handi-capable - Whatever is prefered now.
The name changes, what people are really trying to fight is the perception that the name implies. The perception simply moves on to the new word and then that one becomes unacceptable.
I heard you went to work for EA on Madden. Please drop me an email!
08-02-2002, 09:19 AM
08-02-2002, 09:41 AM
Ugh, Interactive Entertainment! That sounds like:
1. full motion video of b-movie actors
2. works on my dvd player
3. connects to my cell phone
4. uses a format that is already dead
08-02-2002, 09:47 AM
Not to mention "interactive entertainment" could apply to anything from line dancing to self-gratification....
08-02-2002, 10:28 AM
Correct, but that seems to be the accepted term for it. Or maybe call it "Interactive Digital Entertainment." Or "Interactive Entertainment Software."
Either way, it sounds like something that would be used at a hospital.
08-02-2002, 10:59 AM
>Computer games - Windows gaming
>Video games - console gaming (Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox, etc.)
Bah, don't listen to 'em Sean. I do the same thing. I just think the types of games that come out on consoles are different (not necessarily worse/better or more/less mature, although Nintendo's cartoon characters are pretty goofy) than PC games, with the rare exception that proves the rule. I don't like console games, so I differentiate between the two whenever it comes up.
08-02-2002, 09:16 PM
The unfortunate word is "games." Nobody takes games seriously...why would you? They're games.
I find it odd that people consider all "games" frivolous, un-serious exercises best suited for kids, with two exceptions:
The particular card or board games that they play a lot of. A competitive Bridge player will lift his nose at juvenile games like video/computer games and board games like monopoly. But his game is totally serious and mature.
Sports. They're games, and we even refer to each individual match as a "game." As in, "Did you see the Boston-LA game last night?" But athletes are pop culture figures and sports teams are identifed with the culture of a city or region. So we pay people millions of dollars for the privelage of GETTING TO PLAY BASEBALL FOR A LIVING GODDAMNIT and the general public is passionate and serious about sports. Even if you don't follow sports, you don't think someone who does is juvenile.
I honestly think there's no name you can come up with that will fix the image problem. It'll just take time. Video and computer games have become more pervasive with every passing generation since their debut. My generation is split - lots of athletes and movie stars and musicians and other pop icons my age (28) are openly fans of video games. And it's cool. But my sister doesn't touch them, never really has, and still can't take my job seriously.
When I look at 15-yr olds (I have several younger cousins), I don't see a single one that doesn't at least casually play video/computer games sometimes and doesn't see it as dorky. In ten or fifteen years, games will be standard pop culture taken as seriously as music or movies.
And I don't think we can artificially speed that up.
Technology is helping, though. The more games start to look like real life and less like "graphics" that represent real life, the more easily they bridge age gaps. I could show the original PSX Metal Gear Solid to my mother, and she'd shrug and see a video game. If I showed her Doom 3, she'd see an interactive movie. At some point, the average Joe "gets" computer generated images, and us gamers can't see why that point isn't here now. But it's close, really close.
08-02-2002, 09:19 PM
If I showed her Doom 3, she'd see an interactive movie.
Hey, for those looking for a new term, there's one for ya: "Interactive movie."
But I agree, Jason, and I'm certainly glad about that. Another five or ten years, and it will be way more accepted.
08-02-2002, 09:22 PM
So, is it Eric Gaffney of SeBaDoh?
Inquiring minds want to know!
08-02-2002, 09:55 PM
"Hey, for those looking for a new term, there's one for ya: "Interactive movie."
That has been used already. Remember all those shitty FMV games when CDROMS first started coming out?
08-03-2002, 12:43 AM
In ten or fifteen years, games will be standard pop culture taken as seriously as music or movies.
Or comic books or roleplaying!
Seriously, games will never be cool or taken seriously. Nothing wrong with that, and there's nothing wrong with hiding your obsession from other people.
08-03-2002, 09:03 AM
There's nothing wrong with hiding your obsession from other people.
Oh please. There's something wrong with a society where you have to hide your interests because they're not "cool" or mainstream. There is too something wrong with hiding your obsession from other people.
If your obsession is gaming, there's NOTHING wrong with it, and hiding it will just perpetuate people's misconceptions about what's involved.
If your obsession is spending 6 - 8 hours a night playing MMORPGs, then hiding will just delay your friends and family getting you the intervention you so desperately need. :-)
If your obsession has anything to do with adult diapers or watching Wumpus mud-wrestle Murph, though... Well.... Hide it.
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