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Posted on Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 11:55:42 Eastern
This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.Fact: Games are beneficial to a child's development and help improve the quality of your life. Well, this isn't really a fact as mush as it is a strong opinion, but seriously though, anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves or are too disconnected from modern electronics to grasp the concept of a console for any other purpose besides playing an updated version of Pong.
The digital divide is very real. Just ask anyone who has tried to teach their significant other how to play with them in a co-op console game and has cringed at how their partner is holding the controller. I know most of you know this feel. Or perhaps you’ve watched your cousin play a flight simulator and then move their arms and body along with the controller. If not, give someone a Vita and map which controls they use, if they can find the L and R triggers, or if they even identify it as touchscreen. Painful. Do not let these people around the Oculus Rift. They will be a danger to themselves and everyone around them. This experience has cemented the idea in my mind that people would much rather be told what to do, then to exhaust the gray matter figuring it out. This isn't true for gamers; we feel like we're on the slow bus if someone has to give us a detailed explanation on controls or interface (or maybe it's just me).
On the eve of the release of devices like the PlayStation’s Morpheus or the Oculus, we can only assume the line in the sand will be much thicker between “Those who game” and “Those who do not”. Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, is attempting to partially bridge the gap between the casuals and the hardcore, but I’m going to guess that within 3 months of its release you’ll be able to tell who has some frame of reference for what they are experiencing in VR and who is still sporting training wheels. I feel like this line in the sand will extend past gaming and outline which segments/demographics in society are falling behind technologically.
My family is on the East Coast and I currently live on the West Coast, so I did the logical thing anyone in my situation would do if they had family they wanted to keep in touch with over a large distance - I bought my mother a Chromebook in order to Skype and Gchat with her. Remotely, trying to teach my mother how to use it almost cost me my sanity. This little common sense experiment got ridiculous when I had to explain, over the phone, what the power symbol looked like in order to turn it on. 3 months and several gray hairs later - she's pinging me non-stop about wanting to video chat and sending me stupid YouTube links via email. *whew*
But at the very beginning, I started asking her questions - questions that I'd like you all to answer in your head like "Where would you expect that button to be?" The first time you pick up a controller on a different console, how long does it take you to adjust? Where would your initial guess be if I asked you which icon was the action button on the controller? For us, unlike our parents, it does not feel like we're learning a different language; instead it's more like we're adjusting to the local dialect. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but I see this in my job everyday in the tiniest ways. Being “gamers” (I know some of you hate this moniker) means that we aren’t scared to push buttons and go, “hmmm.. what does this thing do if I interact with it?” Or “What happens if I place this object here?” You do it in your everyday life and you don’t even realize it – on websites, your streaming profiles, your devices, and home entertainment systems.
We’ve also come to expect certain things that seem theoretically possible, but are disappointing when they don’t pan out as expected. For example, see ShadeTail’s post about the lack of integration on his PC for a USB controller. This seems like a simple task, especially since the controller plugs directly in. I’ve experienced this frustration firsthand with the PS controller on the Ouya. Being able to identify instances like this help push the industry to be better by making us a very educated consumer base that can easily identify when we’re being grifted.
Video games teach us things – things like what to look for in everyday life, how to not be scared of exploration, how to create workarounds, how to hack, how to identify bugs – every single GR member is a qualified QA tester, but you wouldn’t think to put that on a resume. These are the things that go unmentioned in gaming, but I’m sure you all know to some extent what I’m talking about. So, when your mom, girlfriend, boss, or politician tells you that you are wasting your time in front of a console – just be sure to remind them of these things and make them feel foolish for missing the boat.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of GameRevolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article, posted earlier in May 2014, has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan