Metacognition: Gaming Time Is Serious Time

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

Does popular culture – including games – deserve serious study?

Yes.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I’ve made a tertiary comment on this before, but I do think that video games are an important medium in today’s society. They are certainly ubiquitous, even if they aren’t universally accepted as legitimate forms of art or entertainment.

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Although some might disagree, I do think that popular culture events or items should be studied after a certain point, and when it comes to games, I think there is no better time than now. How a society plays can tell you a lot about the society, and looking at the types of games we play, how we interact with them, and what we think is important enough to be consumed during leisure time starts to touch on the pulse point of the things important to our society.

When I say that, I don’t mean surface level themes. For instance, I wouldn’t say that the popularity of games with dragons in them says that dragons are important to us. But if, for instance, a lot of games started focusing on political unrest and war, then there might be something important happening in society that caused a shift.

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To put this a different way, one can also look at games in a more studious, rather than predictive, fashion. For instance, American football is based on a battlefield, “winning” yardage until you beat your opponent. So is chess. From these games, we know that, well, conquering was important to the people who designed the games.

Anyway.

If we study how, why, and what we game, we can learn about the how, what, and why that makes us tick.

I’m sure that my answer doesn’t surprise you, though. It’s what this site is all about, after all.

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Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~Athena

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5 comments

  1. Awesome post! I agree. Video games are a great form of art (although heavily debated) and can mirror what society deems important. Take the more liberal use of female video game leads. 20 years ago most female characters were sexualized and only a handful had any real depth but now characters that are strong and independant like Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn or even Kait from the upcoming Gears Of War 5 game shows that our society is now valueing having strong role models in games.

    -Luna 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a great point! You’re on to something, that taking a look at how the use of certain characters/genders/portrayals has changed over the years is a testament to how society has changed and how its values have changed (for the better, I think!).

      Liked by 1 person

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