Just to give the heading of this post a bit more context, I’m referring to the idea of electronic gaming never being invented. Imagine what the world would be like if Pong was never conceived, little handhelds with side scrolling F1 racers and Donkey Kong, Atari systems and the dawn of “TV games” to name but a few.
Some of you might remember the historic American game crash of ’83 that involved the flood of the gaming market with mediocre consoles and lackluster games peddle to the eager video game mass market. This represented a significant turning point in the video game world bringing along game publishing hardware compatibility and the infamous rise of Nintendo. This was a time when prototypes made it to market, be it ill conceived and weak ports at best. With 12 million Atari consoles sold in the US, overconfidence drove Atari to produce more games than hardware. The gaming industry was in disrepute and no one was having fun anymore. It was perceived that video games had no long term future and sounded the bell of imminent doom for the gaming world.
In 1985, Nintendo came to the rescue by releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and ushered in a new era and set the tone for greater game publishing control and overall QC.
But, what if 1983 was the end of it call and electronic gaming never evolved past the point of the crash. What would you have been spending your time and money on if one of your most loved hobbies met its demise back then?
Crouch, touch, pause, Engage!
Some of you probably have a plethora of hobbies other than gaming to pass your time. We all know a few players who indulge in sporting activities and outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and the likes. Spare a thought for those who are hampered with physical restraints though. Gaming isn’t the healthiest sport or hobby, but it’s something most have turned to be able to enjoy and immerse themselves in the sports they love by playing a digital representation of it. It seems to be a form of engagement for many passionate sports fans.
Not all of us have the physical capabilities or race experience to handle an F1 car, but we can sure as damn race the hell out of them in a game and get some thrill and satisfaction from the experience.
A whole new world. A dazzling place I never knew…
Video games have become one of the most entertaining storytelling platforms over time, crafting beautiful visual art and literary masterpieces that stay with you long after the end credits roll. This form of entertainment fuels the need for more such engagement and immersion and has formed part of many peoples regular indulgence.
Yes, there are billions of books out there that you could entertain yourself with, a magnitude of TV shows and decades of comic books to dive into, but how best do you tell a story of the Legend of Zelda, the adventures of Nathan Drake, the intergalactic escapades of Master Chief, the bond between Ellie and her father? Would you have had the same connection with these characters if they were confined to a book or part of a film adaptation? With games you have the time to explore and discover, interact with various aspects of the story at your leisure and uncover hidden nuances from previous installments and other franchises alike. I’m sure you could get close to some single player storylines and in some cases even embellish on them to create a richer experience, but some instances are one of those “you have to have been there” moments that mere words cannot describe, which brings me to my next point: Would you have more like-minded friends now or less?
Cash me online, howabout dat?
Many of us have formed connections with players and collected groups of individuals that you constantly interact with on a near daily basis in the realm of online gaming. The engagements do lead to meeting others in person and further reinforces bonds with people who you’d deem friends and in some cases, life partners. There are many other ways of connecting with people, but I’m sure you’ll find it a little tougher finding people who are as passionate about something as you. Games and the internet have given us a platform of engagement that has built bridges across the great divide and sure, we have social media platforms a plenty, but nothing compares to doing co-op challenges and formulating strategies with team members to over-throw the opposition.
So, let’s just take a step back and take a look at the vast majority of interaction, entertainment and countless hours of joy gaming has brought us and appreciate the dynamism it has contributed to our time on this planet and just think, what if it never existed, what then?
If you’ve had periods of time without a console or PC or any sort of electronic entertainment, please share your views and experiences and what you’d be doing with your time if gaming was never a thing.