The Video Game Revolution

Those of us who are old enough to have grown up with a black and white television sets often struggle to keep up with the latest cultural and social developments in the modern world. Particularly when the kids move out, and we aren’t given daily exposure to the latest fad or entertainment device, we tend to lose touch.

I therefore found this story about the unprecedented success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 both interesting and surprising. I had no idea that video games were selling for more than $70 a pop, or that a game could sell 4.7 million copies on the day of its release, generating about $300 million in sales revenue. These kinds of figures show that video games are a heavyweight form of entertainment that competes with movies, television, and other popular media. They’ve come a long way from the days of Pong and Ms. Pac Man, and even a long way since the kids used to play Super Mario Cart on their Nintendo.

What does it all mean, when younger people spend so much time playing games that involve blasting zombies or gunning down members of an invading army, sitting alone in a room and communicating with other players via the internet? Does it mean that people are becoming more insular, or does it mean that people are just finding different ways of communicating that allows them to share a common experience with someone hundreds of miles away? I don’t know the answer to such questions, but I think they should be considered — and in any case, the fact of the change in how people spend their time is worthy of note.