Apr 24 2013

They Who Game: An Ever Changing Demographic

Welcome to a land where your wildest dreams can come true. To the left you can see the vast wastelands of Pandora; to the right Liberty City. Take a peek up and you can see the floating sky-city of Columbia. A quick flash later and spread in front of you is a desert to be traversed alone; or with a stranger. Take a step back and you can be on a peaceful farm, ploughing the fields with your friends. Take another and you’re in a doctor’s surgery with Dr Kawashima. Check your phone and you’ll see flying birds fighting pigs.

btThe stereotypes surrounding gaming have changed dramatically in the past decade. Gaming was reserved for the male eighteen to twenty four year old demographics. I for one acquit this gaming revolution to the birth of the DS. The DS introduced gaming to the masses. I, my sister, and my brother all had one. It was the first time my sister ever took an interest in gaming on any scale. I remember fondly the day when my mum and dad bought Brain Training for themselves and would constantly beg for a go on my DS.

My dad had always been a gamer, starting out old school with a Vic 20 and an Amstrad 6128 before reaching out to owning a Mega Drive and a Nintendo 64. He currently owns a PS3 which I and he regular play online together. My mother however, was not a ‘hard-core’ gamer prior to Brain Training. She owned a PS1 back in the early ’00s; but she only owned a single game; the console version of Dance Dance Revolution. However now it seems she’s fixed to her Samsung playing Candy Crush and the like.

Gaming shaped my early life in ways no one will ever understand but me. Some of my fondest memories are of watching my dad play the original Tomb Raider games and constantly tabbing out and searching for walkthroughs. Other memories I hold dear are the countless games of Goldeneye on the N64 with my dad; I quickly overtook him in skill.

Mswy first ‘real console’ though was the PlayStation 2. I remember ripping it open and being overjoyed. That year I threw a ‘Games Console Party’ in which I brought my friends together for a gaming session with the PlayStation 2, the N64 and the Mega Drive. We thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. My good old PS2 introduced me to a genre I fell in love with; shooters. It was one game which introduced me to shooters. It was a game that seems to stick in everyone’s memory as an all-time classic, Star Wars Battlefront 2.

In recent years gaming has changed. The old school stereotypes of pimply boys pushing buttons on esoteric computers have gone to the wayside. Gaming is a shared experience with all ages and genders. After the DS’s rise, a new era has emerged; mobile gaming. Mobile gaming had been attempted before in the past (I remember having Stuntman on my oldest phone) but ‘true’ mobile gaming emerged with the Android/iOS devices. The forerunner in mobile gaming is of course Angry Birds, a game so simple yet so accessible it captured the crowd and has spawned multiple sequels. Mobile gaming is seen by many as the future of all gaming.

So as we end the current generation of video games and emerge into a fresh new one, what will it bring? Will we have fully motion controllable games like the Xbox360 attempted with Kinect? Will we have our faces and bodies scanned into games such as Call of Duty to feel fully immersed? Will we see AAA games such as the recent BioShock Infinite on mobile devices? Only one thing is sure, we’re in for a hell of a ride in the next few years.

This article was written by Joshua Dover, A 16 year young aspiring journalist trying to break into the industry. Holding a passion of gaming, politics and cats he struggles to find time for essentials such as ‘sleep’. An avid watcher of The Walking Dead he could smash your dead skull in with a twig, albeit a very large twig, with stones attached, and some help lifting it. Email thedoverkid@gmail.com for more information and… Stuff.

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