Before I get the “Video Game” a most loathsome term for a medium I love… Hey, who do you think’s going to win 2012’s Best Picture this weekend?!
If it were up to me, it’d have to be this:
And the award goes to… SOME KID ON REDDIT!
What? That is clearly this year’s Best Picture!
Wait, you thought I meant “Movie” and not a photograph…well why the hell didn’t you just say so? Oooooooh, because we’ve entered that one time of year where well-meaning people of the digital age refer to movies, films, flicks, etc., as “Motion Pictures,” for no better reason than they were deemed as such by an organization formed back when theaters didn’t have sound or color – when a movie venerating the Klu Klux Klan could take Tinsel Town by storm!
Is this really who you wanna be, Games?!
I kid, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! “Motion pictures” owes its continued usage to blind respect for the past. But for many, many (MANY) reasons, games aren’t – and shouldn’t aspire to be – like movies, among them that the medium is more interactive, more creative, and better suited to evolution. (Or to moving the hell on.)
Which is why I have a bone to pick with the term “Video Games,” a phrase that pains me every time I write it. So far, self-appointed linguists and grammar Nazis have only come to the table to bicker over whether or not to put a space in between “video” and “game,” a question which I would argue is fucking stupid.
Yes, “videogames” is at least a stand-alone word, suggesting a medium of its own. Those who vehemently uphold the two-word spelling, just because that’s how it’s always been done, are so pathetically afraid of change, so rigidly affixed to tradition, they’re like people who die in floods for ignoring weather warnings not corroborated by their Shaman.
To call them “Video Games” implies that your Marios and Haloz are little more than a subgenre of an outmoded technology. Seriously, when was the last time you picked up a “video” at a local Best Buy or Redbox kiosk? To me, that ancient word conjures images of VCRs, bulky CRT televisions, and tracking errors. And the only things my copies of All Dogs Go to Heaven on VHS and Saints Row: The Third have in common is Burt Reynolds and the fact that I love them. The video below will literally show you the most fun I’ve ever had with playing a “Video Game”
The term “video games” was coined during a time when both were relatively new things. This one you watch, this one you can play. A distinction was made so people still using words like “nards,” “Reaganomics,” and “gay cancer” wouldn’t electrocute themselves trying to figure out which rectangle plugged into what whirl-a-ma-gig. An etymological line was drawn to distinguish what your grandparents watched from what you play. But as Grandpa & Grandma’s generation continues to pop off, is this namesplanation really still necessary?
People wonder why this little medium of ours doesn’t get a lot of respect, and I move it’s got something to do with the fact that the term “video games” relegates them to a stupid subcategory. And for what – so people who’ll never play them aren’t confused? I imagine some irrelevant old fart explaining it as, “this is a video, meant to be enjoyed by the whole family. Art! That is a video game, a silly little spin-off something your friends come over and yell at.” So less than videos, basically. A toy.
Wait, that’s film, ya moron!
The only publishers who still bother emblazoning the term “video game” across their box are LEGO and licensed movie games, products whose demographic (dumbass kids) aren’t the one’s doing the purchasing (dumbass adults), so I somewhat understand wanting to spell it out in the marketplace. But you know what? If you’re so unobservant, lazy, and out-of-touch with a mainstream medium enjoyed by millions that you can’t understand multicolored jewel cases with banners prominently displaying “PS3”, “Xbox”, and “Wii” in enormous fonts, you probably don’t adhere to traffic signs or read warnings on prescription medication either. Losing $60 is the least of your worries and I hope you do, if only to learn a valuable lesson.
Look: Photographs became “photos.” Moving Pictures became “movies.” Where’s our hybrid, dammit?! I know the gaming press is a largely uncreative, unadventurous lot, so I understand the trepidation in attempting to introduce a hella new, clutchtastically streets ahead word into the lexicon. But I propose we move to “VGs” – or “vijees!” It’ll only sound stupid for, like, a year maybe. And it’ll be a helluva a lot better than walking into a Target, asking, embarrassed, where the “Video Games” are, and being pointed to the toy section.