According to Van Rooij (2010), a growing number of people are becoming addicted to gaming. Suggestions have been made that manufacturers of games and gaming systems should provide referral services for those who are spending far too many hours in front of an Xbox, Nintendo, or other gaming device. The technology as it appeared in 1972 was quite primitive compared to the wonders of gaming which are now available thanks to advances in computer capabilities and software. The game of Pong is as far removed from World of Warcraft.as is the special effects of the film A Trip to the Moon (1902) compared to Avatar (2009). According to Tocci (2007), the day of the arcade is over. The advances in technology have turned gaming into an increasingly isolated experience.
Penny arcades first gained real popularity from around the time Louis Lumière began directing back in 1895. The simple amusements soon advanced technologically with the advent of motion pictures. This led to the development of nickelodeons where for a nickel the public could be entertained and amazed by the pictures moving before their eyes. Few if any people alive today ever set foot in a nickelodeon. However, many undoubtedly remember the experience of bringing a roll of quarters to the neighborhood video arcade. Kids met their peers down at the arcade to see who could get the high score at games such as Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Frogger. Life for many kids after school revolved around hanging out with friends at the arcade.
The penny arcades, nickelodeons, and video arcades were not stagnant places stuck in time. Advances in technology meant that what was available one year could well be different from what was available the previous year. What an arcade managed to do was to act as a focal point for social gatherings. The meetings were not always planned, but the important thing is that they did take place. The video arcades which were highly popular until the mid-1990s were geared more toward those under 18. Adults were not forbidden but were not exactly comfortable with the youth culture busy feeding quarters to video machine coin slots.
The increasing advances in technological knowhow, especially from Japan, made it easier to have a full arcade experience at home. An initial investment in a gaming system such as Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation meant that both children and a growing number of adults could play hour upon hour from the comfort of home. The irony is that so much of what made this possible comes from a nation which is known as being very social and family-oriented. Video arcades are still very popular in Japan which says a lot about the mindsets of the people. The same popularity is something that the few remaining arcade owners in the USA long for.
As Fry in Futurama states “Space. It seems to go on forever. But then you get to the end and the gorilla starts throwin' barrels at you.” According to Griffiths (2010). an increasing number of parents have raised concerns that children are more interested in sitting alone in their bedrooms rather than be outside interacting face-to-face with friends. The children throw barrels and they throw fits, but they don’t seem to want to throw a ball around with the other kids. The famous couch potatoes seem to be coming in a younger form of spud than in previous years.
The parents may not need to worry as much as they think they should. The end of the world has been predicted many times in the past. This does not refer to a Mayan calendar or the famous prognosticator Nostradamus. Humanity has survived Pompeii, the fall of the Roman Empire and the British one as well. Life did not end with the coming of jazz, rock and roll, or hip hop. The world has survived films such as Ishtar, Battlefield Earth, and even John Wayne’s portrayal of Genghis Khan. The Pop art of Andy Warhol has not led to tumult and turmoil.
The earlier mentioned World of Warcraft has millions of fans around the world. The sword and sorcery game is very much an interactive experience. People who have never met unite in pairs and groups to face the challenges which the game keeps throwing at them. Many other popular games such as The Sims and DC Universe are designed to be played with and against others. Children are learning social skills even though in a way that was unknown to their parents. The children are learning how to play and how to win and lose. As Professor T. Bird says in the game Battletoads, “Got too tough for you, huh? A few pigs and monsters and you guys crash and burn!" No player wants to be the one who gives up and quits. The boys and girls will be alright in the end. As Crazy Hobo says, “Oh, who am I kidding? The end isn't nigh. What does "nigh" mean, anyway?” Good “nigh” and goodbye.
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