, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 552-560
Date: 23 Oct 2012

Games People Play

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Today’s video games aren’t even a little bit like the ones that came out a few decades ago. Not only has the underlying technology dramatically improved, but the medium has matured remarkably in the years since Pong and Space Invaders ruled the arcades. At last, what was once a pleasant diversion—merely a game—has become a fascinating form of expression, worthy of serious commentary and criticism.

This is not to say that your average blockbusters—most of the games you see advertised on TV—are brimming with artistic merit. In fact, virtually every stereotype you’ve ever heard about games and the people who play them is true to some degree. But, as is the case with movies, if you look a little deeper, you will find actual artists producing valuable work. And this is important, because video games do things that other forms of media do not.

Modern processors are capable of displaying stunning visual creations, and game developers are happy to use them this way, making games a last refuge of ...