Wider variety of video games appeals to wider audience

February 7, 2008 — by Melody Zhang

Ten years ago, it probably would have been inconceivable to imagine parents playing video games with their children, and hard to find a girl who could be truly labeled as a “gamer.” In recent years, more people with different ages, genders and backgrounds are picking up game controllers mainly due to a wider variety of video games and game consoles.

The world of video gaming has evolved from just shooter/fighting games in arcades to role playing adventures, rhythm games and strategy games among countless other genres that can all be played at home. Competition in the video gaming industry has grown exponentially as new consoles have entered the market.

The three main consoles are Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PS3, and Microsoft’s Xbox360. Of these three, Nintendo’s Wii has had the highest sales since it was released in 2005 and has yet to slow down due to its wider target audience.

According to IGN.com, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said, “The thing we’re thinking about most is not portable systems, consoles, and so forth, but that we want to get new people playing games.”

Unfortunately, this increase in video gaming has also led to complaints about wasting time and violence in children. Parents should set boundaries in terms of both time and genre of video gaming if they are worried about the upbringing of their children. On the other hand, if parents play video games with their children, they would be able
to both monitor what their children are playing and bond with their children.

Strategy
Recently, there are more video games centered around strategy rather than action as the range of gamers has broadened from mainly adolescent boys to both sexes of nearly all ages. For example, previously labeled as an action-adventure-RPG, the Zelda series recently incorporated many puzzle elements into their newest installment for the Nintendo DS, The Phantom Hourglass, which is already one of the top-rated games. Games such as Big Brain Academy, a series of puzzles used to test the “weight” of the player’s brain, and Picross, a game where a picture is formed on a grid by shading in boxes according to clues, have also made breakthroughs in the video gaming industry and are now ranked almost as high as the traditional shooter games.

Strategy games force players to solve problems, think ahead or analyze data. Simple yet addictive puzzle games such as the ever-popular Sudoku puzzle have always been great time-passers, and now the video game industry is incorporating this idea into their new games. Although these games can be a bit frustrating at times, they help students relax by completing a difficult (and addictive) puzzle and being able to boast that they had in fact solved the puzzle.

“I used to be addicted to Sudoku, so of course I’m now addicted to Picross,” said junior Elizabeth Shin. “There isn’t really a reason as to why I’m addicted. Maybe it’s just that the concept of the game is so simple yet fun.”
Strategy games are also the most popular for get-togethers. They have been enjoyed by a decade of adolescents already and have not yet begun to lose steam. The Warcraft series, for example, is still among the top selling PC games in 2007, 13 years after the developers came out with the first installment.

“[My friends and I] usually [do video game get-togethers] for computer games on the weekends,” said senior Marcus Ritter. “We play World of Warcraft, StarCraft [and] Warcraft.”

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games have always been a favorite for all gamers who usually live a second life through the games. RPGs span from single player games, such as the extremely popular game Pokemon, to games labeled as Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, which support users from all over the world to meet up in virtual worlds over the Internet.

“Currently, I am playing Perfect World (an MMORPG), Kingdom Hearts 2, Skies of Arcadia, Final Fantasy XII, Resident Evil 4, Zelda: Twilight Princess… and the list goes on…but Pokemon beats all,” said Shin, a proclaimed RPG fanatic.

Shooter Games

Shooter games have always been extremely popular since the start of video gaming. One of the top-selling video games, Halo has users shoot at opposing teams until one team wins.

“When Halo first came out, I played it everyday,” said Ritter. However, he eventually went back to playing Warcraft.
Ceramics and art teacher Leah Aguayo’s son Gabriel

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