Sessler's Soapbox: Not So Fast, Obama

Posted: May 11, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Not So Fast, Obama
Adam takes President Obama to task over his recent comments about video games.

Comments are Closed

  • idtirba

    What we learn or get from video games isn't exactly all that simple. We make, in my opinion,

    conscious or subconscious reflections upon decisions or situations in environments the game

    provides. The sort of adaptability and curiosity invoking experiences we have in video games is

    something I feel that parallels the experiences in life. But I believe it goes beyond that; video games

    offer something, something that is unique to each individual, that breaks the confines of the world

    around us. I mean, yes, where else are we to go to slay "dragons?" And perhaps that is what makes

    video games so fun, they offer us something that cannot be obtained otherwise. Maybe it might be a

    "tailored" experience, for those of us who believe that game experiences are not unique, but it just so

    happens that people like me DO find a unique gratification when, per se, we hear the sounds of

    slaying the "dragon"... or all those achievement points that come with it. (note that achievements,

    online play breed COMPETITION, something that we value one way or another as human beings...

    [yes, that is fun as well]) I believe that video games are more of an art form, in that each individual's

    experience is unique. If we can consider the music, the animation, and the "story" expressions of art,

    how can the overall immersion and integration of these forms in any way not be called an art form?

    -Finding ways to apply video games to real life really isn't that hard; who doesn't play Tetris when

    packing for a trip? Let's just take first person shooters for example, they teach you to be calm under

    any circumstance, to be more constantly aware of your surroundings, to pay attention to and use the

    environment, and simply the fundamental ideas around teamwork... just to name a few...

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:40 PM
  • GoldnX

    Amen to that, I bet if some people worked on video games as a life long dream, which I wish to work with them, they will have a large success and gain tons of money and fame, fame unlike celebrities who get watched and insulted daily

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:35 PM
  • topgamer101

    essentially obama was saying that education is more important and empowering than sitting down to play a video game all the time. He's right. I have a decent education in my chosen fields, but even if I'm not as well rounded as I'd have liked to be, I completely understand his point and would urge others to take some time off every once an awhile to try something new.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:29 PM
  • Quai-gonJinn

    Let me preface my comment on what I think makes a good game by saying this, I am WAY outside the demographic of most of the gamers here on G4. I'm probably older than most of your parents :-( but I have always had a love for games card or board games first then video. I am always intrigued by Mr. Sessler's cogent and often humorous critic on games and gaming in general. Also, I look forward every week to watching a new installment of Feedback and Talkabout. This particular Soapbox was even more enjoyable that others, so I started an account just to add my two cents worth so to speak.

    I tend to play VERY specific types of games which I believe ties into the discussion at hand. Those games tend to be RPG's. For me story is first and foremost. I have to have a reason why I'm performing a particular task or killing a particular enemy. And that reason has to be incorporated well within the lore/universe of the game world. Also as I think Mr. Sessler has mentioned on previous Soapboxes, the environment needs to draw me in and make me want to see what's over the next hill. For example, I'm playing Lost Odyssey right now (I know its an old game) and its one game that definitely does that for me. I was on the fence for a long time before I bought the game. The reviews were generally so so but what changed my mind were the user scores. There was a funeral scene early in the game that was EXTREEMLY touching. It moved me as much as any film or work of literature I've watched or read. Also, the Thousand Years of Dreams are outstanding, provocative , and illuminating. Bioshock is another example of a game that drew me in because of its story, philosophical bent and environment. I personally believe that what makes a good game is as varied as the gamers playing them. I will say though, just as with other media, one has to use discretion and time management when playing a video game, so as not to short change the other important aspects of their life. Just my two cents worth :-)


    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:27 PM
  • DarthAwesome

    I think that is the simple action=reward aspect of games that make them so fun. The action=reward can be so many different things like laying on the trigger of a minigun in MW2 and seeing all the bad guys turn into red mist, or simply wandering around Fallout and finding really cool things. Simple is best because its like paying a dollar for a million dollar car.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:19 PM
  • GrimliJuice

    I play video games like a madman, and most normal people(anyone who isn't so much into video games that they hold alliances to companies like fanboys) who know how long I play says it's unhealthy, it is.

    Don't start throwing out the term escapism, because guess what that kind of justification makes you look like? A junkie. The thing is a lot of people have an addiction to games and barely anyone admits it.

    Also, please stop comparing games to movies. A game can't reach that level of symbolism and "holding a mirror to society's face" thing movies got going on. Don't even try to say they can. The closet a game can get to is probably "Avatar", a message which was banged through your head, fairly hard might I add, throughout the whole ordeal: "Nature is gud der der". Wow thanks James Cameron, you brought movies down to the level of video games.

    Taxi Driver>GTA4, any day.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:19 PM
  • Supercooleo

    What makes a good game can be a many different things to a many different people. To me the core things to a good game is one that can keep my interest, is not overly repetitive, and can give me an experience that I can't get through every day life. Yes there are many little details that can also make a game good, such as, if the camera is shaky, or the controls are clunky it'll be irritating and you won't have as good a time playing it. But if a game is smooth, and can make people feel good while playing it'll be good game.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:14 PM
  • fallout2077

    sessler should get a life or a job at least

    Posted: May 11, 2010 6:10 PM
  • Klok

    "Southern Methodist"??
    Is that one of those fake superstition "universities" that only exist in hyper-superstitious US?

    Posted: May 11, 2010 5:42 PM
  • splashTDub

    lets all admit it, everyone who plays video games, has in some way given it prority over education at one point or another. BUT WHO CARES? There is however a fine line between enjoying games and letting them impact on your life negativly, and provided we dont cross that line then there is no problem. I personally in no way see games (and other entertainment) to be a negative distraction on my life, they provide more of a positive distraction, to relax and escape.

    also what makes a great game is plain and simple - IMMERSION (complete attention; intense mental effort)

    Posted: May 11, 2010 5:25 PM
  • NarutoTheSage

    you can learn everything from video games specialy from kingdom hearts and final fantasy games which i did so obama and other people who say video games are bad need to be quiet because video games good for u and it keep u from hanging out in the street and gettin in trouble and everybody dont have to play sports when will people learn that and yall dont know nothing about kingdom hearts or final fantasy games im the master noobs

    Posted: May 11, 2010 5:23 PM
  • Terokai

    I feel that what makes a game fun is that it allows for the exploration of different ideas, using strong narrative and interesting game play as the vehicle for this exploration. It also allows for new subject to be brought to the gamers attention such as mythology in Uncharted, ethics in pretty much any Bioware game and the philosophy of war as presented in Metal Gear. Video games are a great way to learn about new things and can serve as the launching point for the player to investigate the topics that interest them on their own.

    I am sorry that the president cannot see the value of games and hope that before he criticizes video games or interactive media any further, that he sits down and actually plays a game. from there he is free to criticize like the rest of world, but seriously try it before you knock it.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 5:15 PM
  • bestclipfan

    Why does it matter if games are distractions, movies are just as bad if not worse and no one bags on movies.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:53 PM
  • Angelicsin87

    I wouldn't say this problem is caused by Games and computers, it's more because of ignorance really. Hell, nintendo ds games are very educational and video games can actually make people more creative. Really depends on the game I guess but I still don't think it's cause of games and tech.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:52 PM
  • Major_Rager

    What makes a good game, to me, is the cast of characters. Take Metal Gear Solid 4 for instance, that game has a myriad of problems ranging from gameplay, the length of the cutscenes, and frankly atrocious writing . I knew this going in, yet I still played it, because of a connection I had to the character(s). Not all of them mind you, but I genuinely cared what happened to these people, giving me the ability to overlook the less-than-perfect execution.
    While good characters can make a game, that doesn't necessarily mean bad characters can break it. if a game's protagonists suck, whether it be lousy acting, lousy writing, or they're simply unlikable, I can ignore that. Though if a character is an annoying/stupid twit, that is a dealbreaker.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:49 PM
  • CalMin

    Not trying to be too conspiratorial here, but anytime a Political Leader starts talking about the dangers of "too much information" you have to get a little uncomfortable. With countries like China maintaining control over their citizens through limiting media, I don't wanna even start going down that path.

    I agree there is some trashy stuff out there in video games and on the internet, but I will decide what's right for me and my family.

    Video games allow you to interact with an imaginative world, that we otherwise wouldn't. Although their quality isn't on par with the best books I've read, some of the more creative developers are getting there in terms of storyline and interaction.

    Information and games are healthy and important distraction for society. So don't start adding them to the list of things that are bad for me Mr. President....

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:47 PM
  • Slayinfool

    I like to shoot stuff.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:47 PM
  • CareyGrant

    I like that Adam repeatedly touched on Critical Thinking as I find it's something sorely lacking everywhere. I'm currently going into Dentistry but I was fortunate to get a very well-rounded Liberal Arts education - Go Gonzaga!- that focused on Philosophy in addition to my math and science, and I feel the better for it.

    Being able to think for yourself, to come to logical conclusions, form arguments and then argue those points intelligently to others and communicate effectively, being able to think critically and rationally, these are all blessings we should be cultivating from our education.

    The World needs thinkers, not sheep.

    As for our President's message, I think -if we as gamers can get over their knee-jerk reaction- it's that education isn't given the priority that it should in our country, both by our government -as seen in our criminally underfunded educational system- and our people, as witnessed by their attitudes. We as a people are falling behind in our education and that's gonna really hurt us down the road. Being smart, being educated aren't "cool" any more; attitudes need to change.

    As for video games, I love them! I always have. They can be wonderfully engaging, escapist fun, but like all things: moderation. But in the end, my education will always be more important than any video game, as it should be. They'll still be there when I have the time, but opportunity won't be.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:44 PM
  • Sphincterror

    Fantastic shirt! Where can I get one of those? Anyway, you said the very reason why I love gaming so much. It gives you the opportunity to put yourself in situations that you would never experience otherwise in day-to-day life. That is the most superficial reason for my love for gaming, but I haven't yet found out what the underlying reasons are. I have been thinking on this for quite sometime, but I just can't seem to get a straight answer from myself.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:44 PM
  • slayingsumfools

    As some one over thirty I've been playing games for a long time and I can tell you what makes games for me is the same feeling of escapism. I realize that's kind of a "DUH" statement to make but for me that is the most important aspect of gaming. I'm a person with a disability that I've had sense I was about 5 which caused pain from time to time and disallowed from participating in certain physical activities. Games allowed me to do things that I couldn't do in real life. Whether it was Ninja games like Shinobi or Madden when I was in those respective worlds I was the master of my domain just as I was when playing with GI Joe's in my room (when I was a kid for any smart asses out there) where I could run, flip, fly, or throw touch down passes and for a those brief fun moments I was Shniobi and Dan Marino which equals of course Shino-rino. Game were a part of childhood just books and movies and I hope they remain a part of my adult life for as long as I live.

    As for the President well...some people will never see the value in certain things either because they never had those experiences.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:33 PM