My 18-year old consultant can’t understand why I haven’t written a column about games – video and computer games, that is. The numbers are impressive; last year the Australian games industry turnover was $2.46 billion. To put that in context, movie box office and home entertainment films totaled $2.3 billion. So games are serious business with growth being stimulated by the availability of tablets, larger screen smart phones and faster graphics processing.
Games don’t often enjoy a good press because of a media focus on violent depictions in ‘shoot-em-up’ games. They aren’t all like that. While ‘action’ is the number one genre by volume, it is important to note that 61 per cent of all games were classified ‘Unrestricted’ by the Classification Board. That doesn’t necessarily qualify games as an art form but taken individually there are many that are validly well regarded as art, both in terms of the art of storytelling and of the visual art.
One example, Journey, released in 2011 by Santa Monica Studios, is exceptionally beautiful to look at. And it tells an emotional, compelling story without dialogue or textual communication. Another is recent award winner The Last of Us which has outstanding visuals with a powerfully emotional story.
But your grandsons may be a declining proportion of game players as women now make up nearly half of all players while the fastest growing segment is people over fifty.
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