Today, after passing by an Angry Birds plush doll dangling from a parked car’s rear view mirror, I found myself asking an interesting question: how many casual, practically unclassified gamers, who have been won over by simple, cheap, and easily accessible games such as Angry Birds would be equally enchanted by the higher budget console and PC games if they were to give them a proper chance? I am not dissing Angry Birds, by any means, but think about it. That game has become insanely popular, and I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the person’s car I passed by this morning has never logged more than twenty minutes in golden classics like Half Life 2 or the Zelda franchise, nor learned how to properly control a first person shooter on a console controller.
Yet, that person loved Angry Birds enough to go out and spend their money on a plush doll and decorate their car with it (not to mention having to put up with the damn thing dangling in their face all the time). I am what you would call a gaming enthusiast, but there is not a single video game decoration on my automobile. See what I am getting at here? I am using the rear view mirror plush doll as a mere example, but it seems like there are countless people out there with gamer souls that have never been allowed to fully develop. As the common ‘non-gamer’ methodically logs play session after play session into their favorite telephone game, are they truly aware of the majestic world of virtual wonder and fantastic story that they are missing out on? Or do they simply not know?
For people like me (and you?), telephone games tend to fall into the, ‘things that I play when I’m bored and away from home,’ category, and will rarely rise above that. But how many people out there are still looking at games such as World of Warcraft, or Counter Strike as being on the same level as simple arcade games such as Pac Man or Galaga (or Angry Birds)? From such a perspective, it’s easy to see why a person could think of gaming as a ‘waste of time.’ But from a gamer’s perspective, gaming is no more of a waste of time than reading a book, watching a movie, looking at a painting, or enjoying a delicious wine. It’s all art, and it’s one of the things that makes life both beautiful and enjoyable.
Aside from being a fun observation, I think a number of gamers out there could easily relate to this all too common misconception of their cherished hobby. Perhaps we should gather up our old gaming libraries and start handing them out to strangers who seem to show potential. This way, the next time you see that business woman struggling through level one hundred and twenty five of Angry Birds as she waits in line at Starbucks, you can say: “here, have this copy of Portal 2.” Minds would be blown, and you sir (or madam) would be a disciple for a greater cause.
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