Video games have been around for over 40 years, whether it be small blips on a screen, or two paddles exchanging returns with a single dot, video games have always been specifically about one thing... entertainment.
I am preaching to the choir on an epic level by adding that, but entertainment is not always the core quality of a video game anymore. There was a time when video games were sheerly meant for keeping the kids happy, or giving people something to do with their spare time, nothing more... pure entertainment, like a game of Tennis.
When playing Tennis, in most cases there is nothing emotional about it, maybe there is the anger that is created from defeat, or the "joy" that is created from victory in a match... but overall, playing a game of Tennis, basketball, football, etc. is purely for the sake of both sport and enjoyment.
Then there is the film industry. They have been the main-storytellers for a long time now, but that is starting to change. It wasn't all that long ago that you had to read a book to get any kind of impacting story, rather than watch television or play a game. Once the film industry rose up to the top, they became the main entertainers, and the television industry along with it. People were making movies about books, and books about movies... games were nowhere in the mix. Back then, I'm sure making a game meaningful, was like trying to morph Baseball into Shakespeare.
If you really want to go back a ways, music was one of the most common forms of storytelling besides literature, writing operas involved a lot of storytelling, and there are entire stories that have been taken from operas and vice versa.
In this new age and era, video games are not always created for "entertainment purposes". Writers can communicate to us through these interactive experiences in a way that no other form of entertainment can. We can literally feel what the character feels, because do a degree we are the character... It makes us a point of interest, makes us the one affecting and being affected by things.
Although there are still games that are only meant to entertain, there are also so much more video games that try to make contact with us, hit us in places we never thought possible, make us feel things that most films cannot, because we are not there, we are not literally IN the action.
Many people face hardships throughout life, and the workplace can be rather special. The average Joe/Jane will definitely begin to feel very unimportant after working in a habitat where no one is particularly "special". A lot of people just work their hours to pay the bills, and live their lives without the slightest feeling of importantance. I mean, if you work in a small cubicle for 8-10 hours a day, and pass away prematurely, you'll just be replaced. Sure you may have family members that'll mourn, but overall - unless you're someone famous - the odds are you're just another face in the crowd, slowly trudging through life, just trying to make it by.
That is where video games come in. When played responsibly, they can really make us feel like an important part of the world we are in. We are not usually "just another unit" or "another face"... games usually put us in a position of great importance. We can be the biggest and greatest, and the most wanted to our enemies. We can be cared for, and protected, but also endangered by the many enemies that have an unwavering desire to destroy us, to prevent us from accomplishing what only WE can accomplish.
Maybe we can think of games such as Fallout or Skyrim... we are placed in a world that we alone can bend, we can shape the societies and lives of the people throughout the lands.. Maybe we are more interested in games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, fighting for a cause, outsmarting the enemy, one battle at a time, or maybe even games like Heavy Rain or Red Dead Redemption, where we are very human and mortal, fragile and stoppable, but it is something like family that pushes us on to fight the next fight. We are responsible for the people who are in danger, and we will stop at nothing until they are safe.
The odds are, most of us will never end up in situations such as these, which is actually a good thing, but living these experiences virtually, lets us experience what we would otherwise never experience. Extreme dangers, exhilirating adventures, and thrilling suspenses plunge us into other worlds. Worlds we would have created as children playing outside, or perhaps worlds as adults that we would have wrote about.
Claiming responsibilites, being given immense power, and becoming the person of interest... All the unlikely things instantaneously become possible with the gaming industry. We do not witness a storyline unfold, we are there when it unfolds.. we are what unfolds.
Its a very special kind of storytelling that cannot be done any other way, and it is a way for us to feel important and/ or independent in all the things we do.
In my childhood, and in the present... I enjoy video games because they let me experience new things, see new sights, explore new worlds, fight new battles, and discover new purposes. Sure it may seem a bit crude - the way we control everything with a controller (In most cases) and power up a system to get things started - but behind the controls and puppetstrings is an infinite amount of new realities for us to dive into.
That is why I think video games are and can be an important part of society, not because of the fact that they're entertaining (which they are) but because of the fact that they make us important, even when we feel unimportant.
Thank you for reading this, and any feedback or responses of anykind would be appreciated.
Long live the Fusers.