Post 2008: The game changed

Video games are things which we played before 2001. Most commonly, these were called computer and video games. This period has seen extensive work undertaken into it. However, let’s say that in discussing ‘current’ games that we might put into classrooms, the period 1975-2001 should be seen as the formative years of gaming, and though we need to acknowledge their awesome contributions, there isn’t a whole lot in there that could be ported into classrooms today – as is. Their major contribution is to be the foundation-media that game designers took as their inspiration and influence when games began to explode in the home between 2001 and 2008.

For those interested in games, culture and education, the publishing rate of media about games (what they are, what they do) explodes in this period, as does the emergence of clinical psychologist protests and claims ‘videogames’ are akin to gambling addiction. It’s worth considering then that in 2001-2008, much of what was written was based on the formative era, and as you’ll notice if you read enough — often hints, predicts and waves a finger at ‘the future’ and ‘the implications’ or ‘potential’ of DIGITAL GAMES.

What makes 2008 such a big deal then? – It’s the point at which producers enter the market. Massive, instant distribution of content via Internet catalogues such as iTunes. From 2008, games exploded again – but this time set about commodizing ‘values’ such as friendship in order to aggregate and mitigate the risk of having to back a few games to make money. Now thousands could be on offer to a whole new audience which didn’t buy or invest time in AAA titles.

Today, game players values and game designers values are impacted by these producers. This is evident in the industry issues relating to developing AAA games and game systems in a market which contains a seemingly incalculable number of digital games offered by producer catalogues. While ‘gamers’ were once tagged by their choice of Xbox, PC or PS game-purchases and preferences — it’s impossible to compare this to the games which are pushed online to play-sites or downloaded as apps. This is because THE INTERNET IS MASSIVE and so are the catalogues of games — and the people who play them. To try and measure today’s gaming might as well be measured by lithium battery sales and in terms of player behaviour, well that might as well be compared to people who like to go for a bit of a walk.

Post 2008, games became somewhat of a mutant when it comes to trying to talk about them using the work of scholars in the pre-2008 period — which is kind of scary and exciting I guess.