First I had the main question: how does artificial intelligence alter my perception of reality? Later on I switched it to: how do video games alter my perception of reality? Since I found out there are multiple aspects of gaming related to the connection between social, psychological and political I geared towards in the end: why are video games an important medium and what is present or could be present to benefit humanity? Video games: a tool with endless possibilities.
My excitement went through the roof when I figured out that video games could become the main theme of my text. While researching, a lot of revelations came to me, I found research on how videogames are used to help with traumas and connected it to how I used gaming as a tool to cope with traumas or difficult situations. Taking a break from reality, I could literally pause life and let my mind focus on fictional things. But it is not just fun and games, gaming also served as a communicative tool, communities gave me a place to interact with other people. Playing video games also served as a learning tool: I learned English through playing Runescape.
↳ Charlie Kelly in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
It also scares me what can be achieved with videogames if created with bad intentions, for instance using the video game medium to spread racist ideas and propaganda or refraining people from having the freedom of speech. The danger of people who just want to fill their pockets and make use of gambling mechanisms to spread addiction. With augmented reality and virtual reality games and equipment becoming much more affordable and at the same time the quality of video games visually and storytelling-wise is getting better and better with the years, I see a future in which game developers need to be as open as possible to show their intentions with their video games, to keep the medium a healthy platform accessible for all.
When taking all the aforementioned into consideration, I will answer the research question: what kind of problems and solutions reside in the medium of video games? As follows:
Video games can give you a sense of accomplishment. They serve as a great platform for interacting with others online, VR and AR. At the same time, they offer you a private space when you need to shut yourself off from the outside world. Learning with video games have proven as a great add-on for educational institutes, resulting in better engagement and performance. The medium even showed how one can make a career as a professional gamer. It gives the opportunity to spread your ideas as an artist, or to experiment in a creative way. It has proven its strong sides in the pandemic, serving as a creative platform for artists to experiment with live concerts in a game environment and hosting festivals, to have interaction with the audience. Recently the medium is even used in the modern production of series, such as The Mandalorian.
While the medium is also taking heavy hits, like the alleged claims that video games promote violence, which is until now not proven. Addiction in video games is also a big problem which needs more attention and also hidden gambling mechanics which recently came into the spotlight are a big threat to the players. The representation of gamers is something which is underrepresented of how they are in reality. Video games also got infused with propaganda, which can have surveillance consequences or brainwashing effects about other ethnicities. The medium unfortunately also created a place in which racist remarks do not have consequences as they have in the real world.
↳ Ocean Albin & Ian Scheufler, Monster Collabo (2020).
However, there are great changes on the horizon, China is forcing the industry to make changes in the responsibility game developers have and need to act upon. The medium serves as an environment to heal from traumas. The further incorporation of video games will lead to better education, while also getting more recognition from the general public. BLM protests have forced the gaming industry to also pay respect and act upon the problem of racism. The industry is a monopoly, which can result in excluding owners of one console not being able to play games from the other consoles. While on the other hand opens up the development of new exciting techniques and big gaming titles.
Video games will continue to shape me and my artistic practice, by producing 3D works I produce as much of a maker as a user of the medium. The medium gives me a platform in which I can tell stories and even escape reality. Bringing awareness to negative aspects in the medium, for instance how gambling mechanics are implemented to misuse your addiction to generate income. I can see this aspect grow into or be part of my graduation work. When awareness is spread and implemented, the medium of video games can add to the quality of life, both in visual, psychological, social, political settings—but we have to watch out for the big evil, neglectance and addiction—when we are aware everything is possible in a video game.