Should we stop calling it "games"?

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#1 Posted by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

I really like playing video games. I like it a lot but no matter how much someone tells me everyone plays games now, my experience in the real world doesn't reflect that. There is still a stigma attach to it when you tell someone you "play" "games" compare to if you "listen" to music or "watch" movies. The language we use to describe what we do is associated with what children do rather than something broader, attributable to anyone. It may be true that most people do play games of some kind but the stuff you kill time with on the phone is different than what we do here as a hobby. What we do, what we chase has potential for experiences with mechanical and emotional depth. It's far beyond what must've been the appropriate and literal term "video game" represented but it seems wrong now.

I think video games are important but I'm wondering if it needs to be relabeled in order for it to even have a chance of being taken seriously as a form by the general public. Interactive entertainment sounds too long and ridiculous but there's gotta be something else right? Is it even possible to rename video games to something different? Is it too late? Do you agree, disagree?

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#2 Posted by supermonkey122 (1232 posts) -

I agree with you, but it's too late. You can't really "rebrand" an art form.

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#3 Posted by deactivated-589cf9e3c287e (1984 posts) -

No.

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#4 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4452 posts) -

I'm sorry the english language is the way it is?

You never suggested a new term.

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#5 Posted by shivermetimbers (1721 posts) -

Chances are those who already created a stigma against games wouldn't take them seriously if we did call them something else. The fact that they are called games and that seems synonymous with 'toy' is just a tool they use to criticize them.

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#6 Posted by Technician (781 posts) -

Why do you need the general public to take it seriously? Do you take the general public seriously?

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#7 Posted by viking_funeral (2881 posts) -

I agree with you, but it's too late. You can't really "rebrand" an art form.

Like art nouveau. Nothing has been new about it for almost a century, yet that's the name.

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#8 Posted by glots (4382 posts) -

As great and mighty as Giant Bomb is, this is probably once again one of those things, that they can't help with. I'm not even trying to be snarky, because I'm pretty sure noone can help with this "problem". Like @supermonkey122 said, it's too late by now. Maybe someone will come up with something more media sexy for VR when and if it catches on big time, if something.

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#9 Posted by MikeW1980UK (133 posts) -

So I used Google to search "game dictionary definition" and go this:

Game

  1. an activity that one engages in for amusement. "a computer game"

Sounds about right to me.

I'm one of those people who considers video games a toy. A form of entertainment. I don't come play games for some deeper meaning on the human psyche, or some other philosophical metaphor.

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#10 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -
@liquiddragon said:

There is still a stigma attach to it when you tell someone you "play" "games" compare to if you "listen" to music or "watch" movies. The language we use to describe what we do is associated with what children do rather than something broader, attributable to anyone.

I'm going to play some football with friends tomorrow. Then we'll go home and play some scrabble. After that, I'll be attending the play "Death of a Salesman."

Nope. Doesn't check out. That word is used all the time for much more than things that only refer to children. If someone judges you for playing video games, that's on them. If someone judges me for playing video games, chances are I don't care about their opinion anyway.

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#11 Posted by Mike (17997 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac: I edited one of your sentences out, you'll see what it was. Come on dude.

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#12 Posted by Ringedwithtile (100 posts) -

We still call film 'film', despite a large majority of films not being made with film at all.

I think 'games' is A-OK.

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#13 Posted by BeachThunder (15165 posts) -

It's a terrible name, but it's probably here to stay though. 'Movie' is also a pretty terrible name, even worse than 'video game', so let's not start calling them 'inties' (y'know, short for 'interactive').

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#15 Posted by Carryboy (1098 posts) -

If your embarrassed about playing games then it probably has something to do with the rest of your makeup, also alot of your post comes across as super pretentious.

Its called games for a reason, its because they are games.

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#16 Posted by Retris (436 posts) -

This idea worked so well with wrestling getting renamed sports entertainment.

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#17 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4499 posts) -

I am a practitioner of Floppy Finger exercises.

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#18 Edited by FrostyRyan (2924 posts) -

Honestly? Yes. But it's too late and it's ok regardless.

There are a lot of games that are getting hard to call games. And by the way, plenty of games aren't just meant to be fun. Some are meant to explore complex ideas and emotions. Some are meant to be depressing.

If we're going to accept video games as an art form, it's time to stop treating them like toys, regardless of what we call them.

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#19 Posted by TheBadYetiMan (47 posts) -

No. This is the same silly argument that people had in the 90s, when there was a push to rename comics to "graphic novels". Generally the only people who would be for either change tend to be fairly pretentious and self-conscious.

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#20 Posted by ripelivejam (13226 posts) -

Experiences.

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#22 Posted by IVDAMKE (1824 posts) -

Nope, they're called video games because they are video games. If other people associate that as a negative thing and look down upon you because of your choice of hobby then that's their issue not yours.

You just need to own the fact that you're into games, if someone belittles you about it you just need to disregard that person and show them that their opinion is of no worth to you.

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#23 Posted by Quantris (1313 posts) -

Honestly? Yes. But it's too late and it's ok regardless.

There are a lot of games that are getting hard to call games. And by the way, plenty of games aren't just meant to be fun. Some are meant to explore complex ideas and emotions. Some are meant to be depressing.

If we're going to accept video games as an art form, it's time to stop treating them like toys, regardless of what we call them.

Counterpoint: the interaction between people and toys during "play" is arguably a key part of "games as art"; for me the explicit participation involved in play is what makes it special compared to more passive art forms, and video games in particular are one of our most prevalent examples of this type of art today. So treating games like toys isn't really the problem vs. dismissing toys and play as inconsequential in the first place.

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#24 Edited by FacelessVixen (2666 posts) -

I can't really express a thought about this other than saying "Fuck people who look down on video games and video game culture," so I'll go with that as my post.

The anime nerds on the other hand...

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#25 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4499 posts) -

Artistic video-libations/gun-holes. "I got me that new gun-hole. It's not as good as last year's gun-hole, and I already hate next year's gun-hole without even trying or knowing what its called. I miss the old gun-holes." It has a nice ring to it.

Sword-hole works too.

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#26 Posted by Pierre42 (454 posts) -

There's nothing especially wrong with the terminology I'd say. Its not like "play" and "games" are inherently derogatory terms. Its just long ingrained attitudes and I'd rather see if we can change those before changing the words themselves.

In honesty I think the label "gamer" is something we could do without as I think it is probably counterproductive as well.

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#27 Posted by GreggD (4595 posts) -

Interactive Entertainment

you're welcome

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#28 Edited by poobumbutt (962 posts) -

@liquiddragon: I like the term "video games". People should grow up. A different term would still result in these people - people who have an outside, biased perspective - thinking that when I say I "play games", I'm referring to something along the lines of Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball.

"Games" are fine. People suck.

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#29 Posted by TDot (462 posts) -

Interactablables?...nope... no that's terrible.

I do hope that one day we can just get over people claiming at one game is not a game based on some nebulous idea of what a game should or shouldn't be.

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#30 Posted by CornBREDX (7371 posts) -

No. I don't believe in changing the meaning of words or renaming things to different words so people don't feel uncomfortable about how others perceive their hobbies.

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#31 Posted by Teddie (2157 posts) -

I dunno, don't people refer to professional sporting events as "the big game" and stuff? How is that any better?

I think that it's becoming such a common hobby that pretty soon the only people who try to discredit someone else for enjoying video games will be grandpa yelling at the kids on his lawn to "get a job!" etc.

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#32 Posted by DarthOrange (4213 posts) -

There is still a stigma attach to it when you tell someone you "play" "games" compare to if you "listen" to music or "watch" movies. The language we use to describe what we do is associated with what children do rather than something broader, attributable to anyone.

People also "play" sports and "play" instruments and yet no one bats an eye. I don't think the word "play" in and of itself is inherently associated with children.

Any stigma typically comes from people who don't play video games. And why would you want their approval? You are never going to get into a conversation about video games with them because they don't give a shit. Just like no one is going to get into a conversation with me about baseball because I don't give a shit.

I think video games are important but I'm wondering if it needs to be relabeled in order for it to even have a chance of being taken seriously as a form by the general public.

I strongly disagree. In what way do you think they are important?

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#33 Posted by mlarrabee (3917 posts) -

It's all about the stigma. I mean, just think about how dumb "movies" really is.

I don't worry about it much. Compared to film, games have made it into right around the sixties. It's just the process new media has to go through, and it's always spanned several decades.

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#34 Posted by Slag (8159 posts) -

I do think they need a better more descriptive name because it leads to pointless gatekeeping over what is a "real game". due to a (in my opinion) misplaced obsession with things like fail states. What that name would be I have no clue.

But I completely disagree with your reasoning for why there should be a change. A rebranding isn't going to make non players somehow respect games as a medium of artistic value, nor should that even be a reason to consider a rebanding.

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#35 Edited by bacongames (4008 posts) -

It's a roundabout way of addressing the root of the topic which is perception of the culture inside and out. That's a larger current that every form of art and entertainment is subject to in different ways. Despite it's incredible popularity and penetration rate in homes around the world, think about the stigma around sitting on your butt and watching a lot of TV. If you think back to any recent popular form, whether it be TV, movies, recorded music, and books, they each have plenty of examples of the culture being negotiated and change over time.

There is a temptation to see video games as particular, and I agree that it's dumb the way that kind of stuff lingers, but in reality it's far from exclusive to video games.

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#36 Edited by monetarydread (2890 posts) -

Nope. Play is an essential form of human entertainment and games are a core component of play. You can call it whatever you want to, but these are games under the strictest sense of the definition, so why would you want to change that? I think a more efficient method is to wait a decade until the people born after 1982 take over the world.... its not too far away, we are in our mid-thirties already.

Also, don't worry about the stigma attached to the title. One thing you realize when you get older is that things happen in waves, five years from now nobody is going to even remember gamergate.

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#37 Edited by atomicoldman (831 posts) -

But they are games, and you do play them. That's what you do with games.

You also "play" sports. You can go to a football "game," and watch it be "played" by professional adult athletes.

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#38 Posted by bigmess (458 posts) -

I think there's room for the term "game" as well as other terms like "interactive media/narrative/art".

The biggest issue I have with "game" is that it denotes a win state. One can beat a "game" like Super Mario but a player doesn't exactly beat something like The Beginner's Guide- they simply finish it. Should that errm... "game" be labeled as a "game"?

It's easy to forget that video games are still a relatively new thing. I think the stigma attached to the term "game" will eventually fade. This stuff takes time.

Or maybe we'll all be calling them "vids" in fifty years like the dark dystopian future I'm hoping for.

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#39 Posted by Gruebacca (813 posts) -

Not to be an objectivist, but games are games. If people have a problem with that, screw them. If you have a problem with people having a problem with that, then you need to stop worrying about those people because those people suck and don't matter.

Rebranding an entire medium would prove the weakness and humiliation of its supporters, and there is nothing weak or humiliating about games. The solution isn't to change words but to change minds.

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#40 Posted by j4yk (32 posts) -

I was just playing some interactive art created by a indie studio. Cant get more hipster than that.

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#41 Edited by Sweep (10608 posts) -

I've always liked the phrase Interactive Fiction, though I also appreciate a lot of games would not fit under that particular umbrella. Interactive Experience covers it, though it's a bit of a mouthful, and is still uncomfortably vague. Technically a roller-coaster is an interactive experience, for example.

Give it 10 years, everyone will be calling them VR's.

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#42 Posted by atomicoldman (831 posts) -

@sweep said:

I've always liked the phrase Interactive Fiction, though I also appreciate a lot of games would not fit under that particular umbrella. Interactive Experience covers it, though it's a bit of a mouthful, and is still uncomfortably vague. Technically a roller-coaster is an interactive experience, for example.

Give it 10 years, everyone will be calling them VR's.

"What are you doing?"
"Interacting with an experience."

I dunno, man.

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#43 Posted by TwoLines (3654 posts) -

@sweep said:

I've always liked the phrase Interactive Fiction, though I also appreciate a lot of games would not fit under that particular umbrella. Interactive Experience covers it, though it's a bit of a mouthful, and is still uncomfortably vague. Technically a roller-coaster is an interactive experience, for example.

Give it 10 years, everyone will be calling them VR's.

"What are you doing?"

"Interacting with an experience."

I dunno, man.

I'm VRing so hard right now dude.

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#44 Posted by Atwa (1690 posts) -

Everyone that try to brand them something else, just sound really pretentious.

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#45 Edited by dudeglove (13779 posts) -

All games are gonna be eventually called "minecraft" anyway, so let's just settle on that.

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#46 Posted by TheBadYetiMan (47 posts) -

@pierre42 said:

In honesty I think the label "gamer" is something we could do without as I think it is probably counterproductive as well.

I've never understood this logic at all. I don't see anyone getting all up in arms that other product/entertainment based identities like "movie buffs", "sports fans", "hip-hop heads", "avid readers", etc are "counterproductive" labels.

Nope. Play is an essential form of human entertainment and games are a core component of play. You can call it whatever you want to, but these are games under the strictest sense of the definition, so why would you want to change that? I think a more efficient method is to wait a decade until the people born after 1982 take over the world.... its not too far away, we are in our mid-thirties already.

Also, don't worry about the stigma attached to the title. One thing you realize when you get older is that things happen in waves, five years from now nobody is going to even remember gamergate.

Uhm, I'm pretty sure that GamerGate was actually the ones who were all "the title of 'gamer' is fine" and stuff. Remember how there was that deluge of "The concept of 'gamer' is dead" articles?

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#47 Posted by goonage (185 posts) -

No.

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#48 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

@thebadyetiman said:
@pierre42 said:

In honesty I think the label "gamer" is something we could do without as I think it is probably counterproductive as well.

I've never understood this logic at all. I don't see anyone getting all up in arms that other product/entertainment based identities like "movie buffs", "sports fans", "hip-hop heads", "avid readers", etc are "counterproductive" labels.

@monetarydread said:

Nope. Play is an essential form of human entertainment and games are a core component of play. You can call it whatever you want to, but these are games under the strictest sense of the definition, so why would you want to change that? I think a more efficient method is to wait a decade until the people born after 1982 take over the world.... its not too far away, we are in our mid-thirties already.

Also, don't worry about the stigma attached to the title. One thing you realize when you get older is that things happen in waves, five years from now nobody is going to even remember gamergate.

Uhm, I'm pretty sure that GamerGate was actually the ones who were all "the title of 'gamer' is fine" and stuff. Remember how there was that deluge of "The concept of 'gamer' is dead" articles?

Jeff was / is bizarrely intolerant of people who self-identify with the term "gamer." I remember a Q&A once at PAX or something where he reduced the term to (and I'm paraphrasing here) "if you identify as a gamer, you're telling the world that one hobby is all you are," which I personally think sounds absurd.

I remember him saying something about people who consider themselves to be "gamers" needing to "spread their wings", as if gamers believe that one term is the sole defining aspect of their existence, or something. Anyone happen to remember which Q&A panel that was? I'm interested to see exactly what he said again.

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#49 Edited by Toxe (4 posts) -

[..] but the stuff you kill time with on the phone is different than what we do here as a hobby.

Reading a street sign or a book are different things yet we call both reading. I don't see why playing games should deserve more sophisticated terms.

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#50 Posted by dudeglove (13779 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac: Erm, no he didn't, and Jeff is actually quite tolerant considering who he has to put up with over the years. I'm pretty sure it was the PAX Q&A (whichever one was after or during the unpleasantness of 2014).

Jeff's specific beef with the term "gamer" is that its origins sprang from some bullshit marketing team's coke-addled hive mind, and Jeff has a long standing hatred of marketing in general when it comes to video games.

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His dismissal and utter disgust for the term isn't aimed at the people self-identifying, his disgust stems from the fact that marketers invented some imaginary audience segment that never really existed in the first place (you can perhaps trace it to the first Xbox's marketing and "doin' the dew" color scheme but the phenomenon probably stretches back further than that), and since then every game company seems to have an arbitrary quota of "gamer" mentions in their pressers. He wants folk to "spread their wings" because, while he's never really stated this openly, Jeff absolutely hates the idea of being pigeon-holed or shoved into some sort of niche (personally I think Jeff is a not-so-secret anarchist which is great).

By saying "I am a gamer" you aren't making some sort of bold statement about yourself, you're playing into the hands of people who will not stop trying to sell you junk.