Video Games: The Consumption Of Escapism

1309 words - 6 pages

In American culture, consumerism is both used to boost status as well as a stress reliever. People purchase items not only to add to their collection, but to use it as a distraction from their daily routines. To escape the stresses that accumulate from either a long day of work or the stresses of studying, people purchase goods that serve as a means of entertainment. Shopping in itself for items that are not particularly needed can be seen as an outlet to relieve stress, because it allows one to add to a collection that one has accumulated over a period of time, such as when a female has an assortment of shoes, or when a boy collects baseball cards. In today’s society it is not always ...view middle of the document...

The first extremely popular game was Pong, which was a game that was loosely based off of table tennis. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that arcade gaming reached a high level of success and entered what is known as the golden age of arcade video gaming, and due to the high success of this industry, many developers invested time into making gaming consoles that could be used at home and could play multiple games instead of just a singular game. With the development of gaming consoles, developers were able to make games such as The Legend of Zelda, which debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and introduced a new type of gaming that led to be an early example of open world, nonlinear gameplay. With the development of reliable consoles, families started to buy these items as ways to entertain their children, and from there the industry grew. When the popular consoles such as the NES, first came out, it was a display of wealth if one was found in the household, and children who had them became popular due to their ability to invite others over to play on the new consoles. Gaming soon had its own cultural phenomena including gaming series such as The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Pokémon, and Mario. Each of these series started as a singular game, but due to the popularity that each game received, each one of these games became its own franchise. Besides just having multiple games, these franchises have their own toys, collector cards, clothing, as well as other consumer items, turning what was just one consumer item, a game, into its own market in which companies could produce more goods for fans of the game to purchase. It wasn’t until later in the 1990s where video games that were once popularly believed to be a preoccupation for immature teenaged boys in social isolation, broke out of this stereotype and has drawn-in a more mature audience.
As of 2013, it was observed that the average age of video gamers was 30, with 36% of people playing games being 36 and older (SOURCE). These statistics show that a cultural boom of video games has started to develop passed the children of the millennial era, but also adults. This can be explained in a multitude of ways, once of which is nostalgia. Nostalgia itself plays a large role in our consumer culture in general, it is a form of escapism that allows one to go back to a time where they were youthful and had less worries and concerns. It is what explains the re-emergence of things such as the Ford Mustang that reappeared in 2005, and the reappearance of leggings from the 1980s in today’s fashion. The word “retro” is...

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