Thursday, December 6, 2012

The evolution of a species. Technology, Psychology and the Digital Game Industry

Today we live in a much different world from the one in which I grew up. There are so many more choices then there where when I was a boy. Technology and the pixel have changed the face of opportunity and set before us an abundant table of distractions.

When I was a kid a bat, ball and glove meant you would be outside for hours, getting exercise running bases in the fresh air with your friends and team mates. You would be developing skills of dexterity and eye hand coordination all the while practicing people skill, getting along with your fellow team mates and negotiating outcomes.
Now days this exercise is starting to be in part replaced by the new technologies that we have developed to make our lives function smarter and more efficiently. We have advanced ourselves into a mindset of interacting in two different worlds.
The “real world” that is and has always been the key to our survival; in which we eat, sleep and work, and the other in which we play. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to judging either, but rather in my role as an artist and social observer I am noting changes. Time will be the judge of weather we got it right or wrong. I am in fact in favor of this evolution.
Clearly, everyone wants to be involved in play on some level. We are all looking for the next best distraction from what appears to be the drudgery of life. Games provide much of this to the world, we are either players or observers in which case we are fans and in so being are playing emotionally, cheering on our chosen team or player to victory. This has been going on since the Greeks invented the Olympics so it is not new.
But, what is new is the sheer connectivity we have to our games.  The wireless connection and mobility to be part of them wherever we are. We can participate as fans from our work desk when the boss isn’t watching, or we can play them on our own as a participant in a virtual reality first person shooter. We can access our social life without ever touching another person and can represent our ego through an Avatar that is more to our liking then our real genetic self.
Games have been around forever, but today they seem to have a new and different driving force in society, as always they give us the distraction we so desperately seek and in so doing make our lives fun filled and rewarding. Don’t they?
I know computer games are fun, I play them, some are addictive and introspective. They draw me into the game-play, I loose track of time. I forget where I am and what I am supposed to be doing. I love it. There’s no way I can’t win this thing! I have got to get to the next level, conquer evil in a clearly recognizable form. Be a hero… now your talking!
Computer gaming weather you like it or not is here to stay and has become big business. There are great new careers in the arts, painters, illustrators people who can create have found an industry that loves them. The starving artist metaphor is gone. This is the brave new world of art expression and is why I love gaming so much. Animators, character designers, matte painters people who know how to express visions through the digital media all have a place in the game industry. Innovation, creativity and science are all coming together to bring us to the edge of a new way to experience the fun filled wonders of distracting the mind. 
Cell phones, tablets and such have freed us from the desktop. Apps both large and small now let us roam free with our games. There is no limit to where we can play now. Communication Satellites ringing the globe provide updates and downloads to anywhere on the planet. We take our games with us just to be sure that we have something to occupy ourselves when a moment of quiet boredom approaches. We are multi tasking one and all both work and play. 
Now this is the evolution of a species reprocessing how we find happiness. Good or bad it is here to stay and I for one am grateful for it on so many levels. I look forward to observing the game and what it will bring to our values as human beings. 
Real world or pixel it is all a game after all.