Those that know me best are aware that I am a bit of a casual gamer, and have always been an advocate for them being a great form of leisurely entertainment with unlimited potential.
In recent years, we’ve read many a report and seen many a puff piece on Breakfast TV about the negative effects that video games have on young kids, and especially the supposed ‘violence’ and addictive nature that video games bring, especially amongst popular games such as “Fortnite”.
Whilst yes, there are elements of that can be seen as potentially harmful to kids’ wellbeing, it’s important to remember that this form of entertainment media is NOT designed with the intention of causing harm. If anything, games allow story tellers and creators of digital content to thrive and show off their talents in what is currently THE most profitable industry.
FUN FACT; the average development team for a modern AAA game contains 2 times the amount of developer talent on the team than a film crew. The job opportunity is only growing. In 2018, the wild west themed game Red Dead Redemption 2 had the largest opening weekend every in the entire history of entertainment, grossing over $725 million US in just 3 days. To put that in perspective, only the 30% of Hollywood film gross that amount of money in their entire lifetime.
Interactivity is something that no other visual entertainment medium can bring, and the potential games have by giving player the ability to craft their own adventures
I was read about a concept called ‘green gaming’, whereby gaming as well pushing the envelope for storytelling, can also be used as an education tool. It’s almost all about creating contain within a game that evokes sustainable thoughts and ethos.
Research carried out by Australian university RMIT has found that thoughtfully created games can help boost performance in maths, science, reading and social awareness amongst high school students. The key phrase here is THOUGHTFULLY CREATED, whereby games are made with the intention of fueling positive mentality and messaging through the experience.
The newly released ‘Crash Bandicoot 4’ is very literally connecting the virtual world with the natural world through a collaboration with Australia Zoo and Wildlife Warrier Robert Irwin.
The plot of the game revolves around the titular marsupial fighting against interstellar forces to ensure the protection of his homeland and natural habitat. Whilst that plot description it is a little far fetched, that game has been designed with the intention of raising awareness and empathy towards the declining habitats of Australia’s wildlife, and has been crafted to nature the relationship between the human and natural world.
Robert Irwin notes that “Our mission at Australia Zoo is to make sure that nature is protected and appreciated. Our collaboration means supporting and helping with all our conservation efforts including at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, especially raising awareness of endangered species and protecting our Aussie wildlife, like the bandicoot,” he said.
I could keep going on about this topic, but one message is clear; no matter how much some will go on about the damaging effect of some games, the video game industry will never truelly go away, and will always find new ways to inspire minds of consumers and creators into making content that is informative as well as entertaining.