Video games sure have come a long way since the WW2 radar and artificial intelligence technology from whence they can trace their origins. Unfortunately for us, a lot of the earliest games were never preserved and neither did they receive much popularity. And so, as an art form, vidya games are only now really reaching mainstream levels of popularity; meaning more resources, more innovation and more people happily rocking out with their console out.
For American gamers E3 is the event on the calendar – ‘Gaming Christmas,’ if you will – but for Aussies who enjoy a GTA here or a Halo there, it delivers the yearly dose of gaming blue balls.
This year Activision (who thankfully look after some of the best games in the world) very kindly offered to take someone from PEDESTRIAN.TV along to the Los Angeles Convention Centre (which is overseas!) to check out the world’s largest video game trade show. Despite already understanding that E3 is a magical place akin to Disneyland we were told that it really is just “one of those things you need to see for yourself.”
So, why should everyone care about E3 and the next generation of games and tech?
Well, if you would be so kind as to excuse the français, as someone recently pointed out: “everyone right now is so sick for the dick of good media” and video games represent all that is good and true in the design and storytelling trades.
Firstly, if you have ever sat back and been impressed by a film which seems to perfectly capture a whole new world separate from our own and wholly immerses all those who see it for two whole hours, video game developers run in there once the two hours are up, kick down any remaining boundaries and say ‘please, come right on in and look around.’
Before the three days of actual event it all kicks off with the Microsoft XBOX and SONY PlayStation briefings, one after the other and, not unlike the thick fug of grime and pollution that covers L.A proper, they were covered in a film of aggressive green and blue (respectively) light theming. Seeing the massive pre-shows is how you know shit is about to get real:
In a time when it can be incredibly easy to run out of media to binge watch (because, quality control), why not play? Game developers are able to tell stories that movies and TV either wouldn’t risk or just do not have the scale to do justice and as Henry Jenkins, Director of Comparitive Media Studies at MIT, once said of video games: “they represent our beliefs our attitudes, the kind of core questions we’re struggling with at a particular time and are rich social documents. The challenge is how to read them because unlike a film which, the director makes a statement that’s unified, a video game is subject to change depending on the players choice.”
In summary, video games are one helluva drug