Video Games in a Pandemic
Pierre Attiogbe '23
In October 1958, the first video game was created. It was a tennis game and resembled a simpler version of the later released 1970s game Pong. It wasn’t until the 1980s that video games became more mainstream, as arcades and gaming consoles started to release in the market. Since then, video games have changed tremendously, whether it be the style of game, the hardware used to create the machine, or the overall aesthetic of the consoles. Unlike in the late 20th century, when the top games included titles such as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario World, today's top video games include Call of Duty, Fortnite, Minecraft, and Among Us.
Comparing the Mario Bros. series to the Call of Duty franchise, it is hard to find much in common between the two games. Yet, they were both the games to have in their respective eras. The Mario Bros. games focus mainly on adventure and are less intensive, not asking the player to give it their all. In contrast, Call of Duty games keep their users focused through rigorous and realistic action. The evolution from casual games to ones that demand extreme focus is one reason why the use of consoles has grown exponentially.
Recently, games such as Fall Guys and Among Us have become incredibly popular. Similar to the Mario Bros. series, they don’t ask for one’s full attention to play the game. Among Us is a game in which teamwork and communication is essential. Each player is assigned either the role of a crewmate or an imposter. The crewmates must complete their chores and work together while the imposter tries to get all of the crewmates without being caught. This game is similar to Mafia or Werewolf, a game that is played with large groups in-person. Due to the pandemic, Among Us is now a popular alternative online because since friends don’t get to see each other as much, multiplayer games allow for friends to focus less on the game and more on just chatting with each other, different than other action packed games. To complete the common goals, Among Us requires players to communicate and work together, which is a rare opportunity given our current predicament.
In the future, games like Among Us will most definitely start to lose their popularity primarily because people will once again resume a normal way of life. Video games that utilize player communication, like Among Us, will become somewhat less prominent as people can play games in person. Furthermore, it is worth questioning if people will start to rethink Call of Duty’s design, keeping users on for longer amounts of time. Today, screen addiction is mostly placed on apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. However, in the near future, it would not be surprising if people start to focus more on video games marketing and game development strategies as a cause of screen addiction. More casual games might see a comeback, especially multiplayer ones. We may never know for certain what the future holds, but for video games, it certainly looks bright.
The content of this article, as with every article posted on The Exchanged, does not represent the views of the staff of The Exchanged nor the National Cathedral School, St. Albans School, Protestant Episcopal Foundation, or any employee thereof. Opinions written are those of the writer and the writer alone.