Video Games Close Up Look
It’s a billion dollar industry and we’re still learning about its effects and potential. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Ivory: I think in the last couple of decades, we’re seeing a trend in people realizing that video games have a big cultural role in our society. In some good ways – we’re starting to finally see video games as a legitimate art form, the way we see cinema and things like that, and in bad ways where people are starting to spend time worrying about people spending ten hours a day playing a machine.
Jimmy Ivory is an associate professor in the department of communication at Virginia Tech. He studies the role that video games play in our society.
Ivory: There’s a lot of people that have been worried about video games making people harm other people. They haven’t found a lot of evidence for that.
We’ve moved a lot from what these video games do to you – violent content or 3D screen or something, to questions like, what do people do with each other in video games? Because I think socially that’s increasingly the more important part. Not what does it matter that you’re pretending to be a soldier, but what does it matter that you’re talking to all these strangers and maybe not always being nice to each other.
Video Game FX and music
Ivory: One thing the video industry I think has made a lot of money off of over the years, has been military themed games. I’m not totally sure what that says about us. Could say something about the nature of our society and how we look at the military as something ingrained in our pop culture.
This “Call of Duty” franchise is an example to me about how it’s a real tight rope trying to see if these things are good or bad in culture. For some kids, is this the only information they get about things like the Normany invasion? Maybe. Also, is having fun in storming the beaches the best way to learn about and simulate the horrors of war? Maybe not.
Ivory: You’re going to aim with that.
Metzner: I’m probably supremely bad at this. So what am I doing?
Ivory: Go ahead and hit the A button there.
Metzner: “A” button?
Ivory: Yeah, the one with the A on it.
Metzner: Oh. (laughs) OK, I got it.
So much for my career as a gamer. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.