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

  • punkcomedian

    Video games are similar to things like film and music: they can sometimes have a different take on things that we have never seen or recycle an idea with a brand new twist. The one game I always think of is Gears of War. The game itself, with the exception of one idea, did not really reinvent things. It did something that was right in front of all of us and that is have the character lock to cover and shoot.
    It is games like these that try and re-invent the wheel and explore unknown ideas or even trying to sharpen the others. It is when we see not only sound gameplay ideas, but new and original ideas that a game resonates with the community.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:31 PM
  • gravy666

    Sessler: "Can't let you not like video games, Obama!"

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:28 PM
  • frictionman

    A big problem is that for every one of us that can and likes to have an interesting and engaging discussion about video games, there is a twelve year old screaming obscenities and slurs into his headset while playing his eighth straight hour of MW2 multiplayer.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:17 PM
  • Ender_IF_

    So, it recently seems we always end up at the same point. What more can videogames offer? Can videogames be educational, artitisc, convey some sort of deeper emotion other than mere entertainment? The answer is it depends. Not everything is black and white.

    Videogames are forced to be this obscure field that society cannot understand to this day. President Obama said what is, in fact, the problem: I don't know how to use a 360,Ps3, ipad, etc, yet I can claim they are shallow and something that isn't good.

    People don't realise one simple fact: Videogames are basically interactive movies. Videogames are movies, they are experiences. As any kind of experience or form of entertainment there are many types. You have a summer blockbuster movie, that offers you little educationally as say, Transformers, Iron Man, and then you have The Apartment, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, who killed a Mockingbird..etc.

    Are both forms of entertainment? Most definitely. Are they both forms educational? Not by a long shot. Most importantly: Do I care? Not much. It depends what do i get in the mood of. I maybe want to relax, so I watch Tony Stark saving the world in a mega suit. I feel more serious, I can objectively analize the struggle of Atticus Finch as he tries to save his family and stand against racial injustice in the south.

    So...what about games? Truth be told, we lack a Casablanca, and maybe studios should start focusing in making a truly piece of art in the videogame industry. However, I really believe videogames convey emotions, sociopolitical debates,etc. Try playing something from bioware. Surely you can be a renegade just for the fun of it. But Mass Effect or Dragon Age, for instance, force you to think. Put you in imposible situations you have the power to resolve. It basically puts you in the middle of an eternal philosophical debate: does the end justify the means? If you play a Shepard with yur personality you are asking yourself the question and taking a side with reasoning.That IS education. That makes you think. That puts you in the spot and you have to ask yourself what would you do and "live" with it.

    So then, how come chess is educational, but playing Starcraft isn't? How come reading war history books is educational, but being under pressure in battlefield and designing and executing an strategy for your platoon in seconds is just a distraction?

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:17 PM
  • sbianco87

    so does this mean our country has electronic attention deficit disorder

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:17 PM
  • Valentinog

    Awesome! Didn't know Adam was raise around Richmond/El Cerrito. 510!

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:12 PM
  • Gamedude90

    Video Games are very creative and well thought-out, just like any book that someone reads. It's that creativity that helps our imagination grow, which help us come up with ideas and new ways of looking at the world. Assassin's Creed is a good example of how creative games are. It takes very talented and educated people to come up with such a interesting story and also to be able to set the game during the time periods they take place. Also the fact that it comments on religion and gives a sort of alternative to what we believe in.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 4:01 PM
  • mannychilling

    people need video games and movies so they can escape from the real life bullshiz that go on everyday.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:59 PM
  • MandalorianWarrior

    I think the fact that this forum even exists is a testament to the level of depth in video games and to how far the medium has come in such a short time frame. Can you picture anyone in 1985 having thought provoking discussions about Super Mario Brothers? Jump forward twenty short years and video games are now producing intellectual and emotional stimulation that is on the same level as major motion pictures and novels. Developers are able to introduce their audience to a character that is just as dynamic as any character in a book or movie, and craft memorable experiences for their audience that have a lasting effect.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:55 PM
  • happymeowmeow

    Easier and easier access to information and I guess it's inevitable that it becomes trivialized. The truth still remains somewhat elusive though...it's easy as hell to compile information, much harder to sift the truth out of it...and then there's the whole angle of what everyone thinks is true becoming actual fact even if it isn't.
    I remember talking about what makes games fun, etc before... there is one thing I've been thinking lately
    That videogames can give you a certain mental flexibility, a willingness to adapt, that could be useful in the real world. Unfortunately, there are also the games that encourage mindless repetition, the carrot and stick reward system that WOW and other MMOs have made their bread and butter. But then, the cynic in me is saying THAT could be useful in the real world as well.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:54 PM
  • Doug Otto

    i think it's fun to write reviews. It keeps me thinking whenever I play a game.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:45 PM
  • Jackal904

    I love your shirt Adam.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:41 PM
  • revan9201

    one game that hit me on a personal level and actually had an impact on my life was KOTOR 2. If you had you're character follow the "good" path in KOTOR you begin to hear a story of how perhaps the "Light" path isn't always the "good" path. It begins to validate the very existence of emotions such as anger and hatred, showing them as a more positive influence if we learn to control them. The old Jedi v. Sith battle has always been black and white, but in KOTOR 2 they showed there can be a gray area where people can walk the line and become more than an animal or mere servant. I found that it validated the human condition by showing how strong one can be if they have balance in their lives and don't just blindly strive in only 1 direction. after hearing the rest of the story of Revan he became my favorite Star Wars character of all time.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:36 PM
  • blueboykc

    i graduated in 91..weird..i had no idea adam and i were the same age..

    its amazing how things work out..im a poor schlep nobody and adams king of g4..

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:28 PM
  • dracoraptor

    Games for me are fun when they introduce challenges at a regular interval but don't go overboard, good example is portal there are areas where you go ya thats simple and other areas make you think for a little while. If a game is too simplified or easy than I just get board and the game gets very bland very quickly.

    I apply this to my real life in understanding that the easy way is not always the best. I might say go to a pool today or the beach and where as my neighbors pool is definitely the easier way with less walking and work the beach is a place to socialize and have fun as the waves knock me down.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:27 PM
  • Darkpuppy

    Enjoyed everything Adam had to say. It is very interesting that it is easier now than ever before to learn something nearly the second you need it. I constantly find myself asking small questions and what used to take me hours/days to find the answer to I can now get in seconds. It would be great to see games incorporate some more real life facts/information perhaps even lessons into their structure rather than making that explosion just that little bit bigger, although we all do like a good EXPLOSION!

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:27 PM
  • Noosebound_Ned

    I think that the progression video games have made in the past 5 to 10 years is a pretty good indication that games do go above and beyond being just entertainment. And, as a fellow English major myself, I think it's fascinating that we can be given a game like Bioshock and look back and find it's influences are in thought-provoking literature.

    My hope is that this trend continues and we see more games that take influences from more places. But, more than that, I think that, if we do continue to see deep, intellectual games being made, we will start to see an emergence of thought provoking work done about these games. What I mean is, no one would think twice about writing a doctoral thesis on William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Ayn Rand, or Aldous Huxley, but would anyone, at this point, write about Bioshock, Braid, or the whole of the indie game market? I'm not too sure if it's been done, but I certainly think it's warranted.

    So, ultimately, I feel that to get beyond the idea that games are just entertainment, there needs to be a sect of gamers or scholars that look at games as more than entertainment. We need more educated people looking at and presenting us with educated views on games. And, the discussions like the one Mr. Sessler is trying to foster, I feel, is a big step in the right direction.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:24 PM
  • IamtheBat

    Truth be told, I believe gamers are gradually getting dumber, I don't mean that the players playing are somehow reducing their intelligence by playing the games, what I mean is that as games become more acceptable and easy to come by, the lower skilled and less educated players are coming in larger numbers. I remember playing Counter Strike just 3-4 years ago and never hearing "Newb, Murk, Your Garbage, Scrub" any of this crap kids just slam across video games today. Games are lowering their skill curve to accommodate for a more hostile, and less enjoyable crowd. I really think that the gaming industry needs to get together and end this, but unfortunately many are blinded by what the stockholders want than attempting to hold onto the true heart of the market.

    I did not vote for Barack Obama, but the man brought up something that needed to be said.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:22 PM
  • GatsuBlackSword

    When I was a teenager my 6 month old cousin moved in with my family. Over the next 4 years a huge assistance to help him learn to read was Zelda. He wanted to know what everyone was saying, so he focused on learning to read. At grade 4 He was reading at a grade 8 level, just so he could read what the fairy was saying. I think that's a great example how games can help you learn.

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:15 PM
  • MaxMarston

    Great Soapbox! totally agree with you! :D
    good luck with the speech!

    Posted: May 11, 2010 3:13 PM