REVIEW: Video Games 101

By Tim Russell

Too often people are confused by video games. Admittedly, nerds can be awfully complicated sometimes. So, consider this a primer, because I’m here to ease the pain of USU students and promote gaming literacy. Below are the top five myths non-gamers should understand.

#1. Video games are just for nerds.

Let’s be clear, I am a nerd. I’m not ashamed to say so. Also for clarification, no, we don’t act like the nerds from “Revenge of the Nerds.” We’re approachable, I swear.

But onto my point, there seems to be a common misunderstanding about which demographic video games are really for. They’re for everyone. In the past year gaming has grown tremendously, especially among female gamers. Because, much like Justin Timberlake, Nintendo is bringing sexy back to people of all ages. How? By releasing affordable and easy to play games. Nintendo is convinced even your grandparents can be gamers, male or female.

#2. Controllers are just too hard to use.

Video games are really not as hard to play as some people think. For those who don’t play, it’s easy to take one look at a gaming controller and feel discouraged. But I promise – it’s not that bad.

In one way or another we all use computers in our lives and most also use keyboards. So ask yourself, “which has more buttons/keys, a keyboard, or a gaming controller?” If you can use a keyboard, you can use a controller. All it takes is practice.

#3. Gaming is like a foreign language.

Okay, so it is not really a myth, but worth mentioning. It’s normal to feel frustrated and intimidated by video game lingo. Even game titles can be hard to pronounce and understand. The problem is a mixture of technology language and Japanese, mostly Japanese.

Popular gaming originated from Japan. And here in America, the majority of games played are produced by Japanese developers. So even though most US games are in English, the occasional foreign words do pop up.

Furthermore, the video game industry has it’s own style guide. No really, even professionals don’t know what the heck is going on.

#4. Games cost too much money.

When it comes to games, you pay for what you get. Let’s say you’ve been tasked with purchasing one, perhaps as a present. Do not buy games sitting in a discount bin.

The average cost of games today is roughly $50, which is because they’re extremely technical and expensive to make. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a popular title to be in development for two or more years. So, if you ever see a game selling brand-new for significantly less than $50, think twice. There are better ways to spend money.

#5. One game console is better than another.

Purchasing a gaming console should solely depend on what the user plans to use it for. No console is superior to another and they each offer a different experience.

For example, I’d recommend a Nintendo Wii to anyone wanting an approachable beginner experience. The Wii is also a great party console. Pros: affordable, and easy to play. Cons: not many Wii games appeal to hardcore gamers.

The PlayStation 3 is for users who like high-definition, online play, and Playstation Portable functionality. Pros: blu-ray support, and free online play. Cons: expensive hardware.

The Xbox 360 is very similar to the PlayStation 3. The biggest difference would be the large amount of Xbox 360 games available. Pros: great online play, and affordable. Cons: hardware is prone to malfunctions.

There’s a lot to be said about gaming, much more than just five topics. So, I’ll be here every other week spreading the video game love. This means reviews, local events, and more – it’s a good time to become a nerd.

Tim Russell is a sophomore majoring in print journalism. You can reach him at tim.russell@aggiemail.usu.edu.


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