- Guerric Haché
What makes video games uniquely problematic to society?
There is a lot of debate about video games and their place in society. Some people think they especially wasteful, even compared to other forms of entertainment or hobbies. Others think they have the potential to do more for us than any other entertainment medium.
People commonly spend hours in front of the television (when today's youth reach 70, they will have spent 7 to 10 years watching television), escaping into fictional stories and watching masses of objectionable content that has the potential to negatively influence their outlooks, yet television *as a medium* isn't part of a public debate in the same way that video games are.
Chess and Go are elegant game systems that challenge their players; video games such as Civilization are less elegant and "pure", but they contain a bewildering variety of factors players must take into account when planning their next move, and a wider variety of goals and styles during play. Yet a child prodigy at chess is called a genius, whereas a child prodigy at Civilization is told they're wasting their time and ought to be doing their maths.
Video games are not considered fine art, but neither are Hollywood blockbusters or genre fiction. Yet despite this, and despite video games being the largest entertainment sector in North America, video games are rarely covered in major news outlets, unlike Hollywood blockbusters or genre fiction.
All that said, my question is this: Video games clearly occupy a position in society that is perceived as being problematic. This cannot have to do with the time spent on games (television has similar issues), with the complexity or challenge of these games (some can be remarkably intellectually challenging), or with their quality as meaningful art (Hollywood blockbusters and genre fiction are often of the same quality).
Something else must be the cause. So, what makes video games, when compared to other comparable media/games/art forms, so much more problematic?