From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- This article is about games played on consoles. Computer and video games is about this form of gaming in general.
A console game is a form of interactive multimedia used for entertainment. The game consists of manipulable images (and usually sounds) generated by a game console, and displayed on a television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to the console called a controller. The controller generally contains a number of buttons and directional controls (such as analog joysticks) each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling the images on the screen. The display, speakers, console, and controls of a console can also be incorporated into one small object known as a handheld game console.
Game multimedia usually comes in the form of a cartridge or, more recently, higher-capacity disc, which can be inserted into the game console. Recent advances have allowed games and game demos to be download directly to the console via the internet. Simpler consoles, however, may only have a fixed selection of built-in games.
Video games generally each contain different gameplay, objectives, goals, control-schemes, characters, and other features. Each video game is usually contained on a specifically designed multimedia disc or cartridge, which are generally sold separately from the console and each other. In order to play the specific game, you need the specific console for which it was designed. For example, in order to play the video game Halo, you need to use a Xbox. The most popular consoles in the market today (as of 2006) are the PlayStation 3, Wii, and the Xbox 360
Console and display
Main article: Game controller The different consoles each use different controllers. Controllers are input devices used to interact with the game. So, for example, if you had a game in which you must control a character in order to obtain a red apple, you would be able to use an analog stick or directional pad ("D Pad") to move your character towards the apple to collect it. Video games, of course, are usually much more complicated than this. In the game Pikmin for the Nintendo GameCube, the player uses the analog stick to control his character, the "C" analog stick to tell his Pikmin what to do or where to go, and the "A" button to throw the Pikmin.
Most video games require a screen of some sort. In the case of normal consoles, a television is the most common form of screen used. The screen is used as a source of visual output. As the player pushes buttons and moves analogs on the controller, the screen responds to the actions and changes take place on the screen, simulating actual movement.
Consoles use a large sized (albeit low-resolution) television as their visual output device: optimal for viewing at a greater distance by a larger audience. As a result, many video games are designed for local multiplayer play, with all players viewing the same TV set, with the screen divided into several sections and each player using a different controller.
Video games have generally had access to less computing power, less flexible computing power, and lower resolution displays. Dedicated consoles were advanced graphically, especially in animation. This is because video game consoles had dedicated graphics hardware, were able to load data instantly from ROM, and a low resolution output would look better on a television because it naturally blurs the pixels.
Ratings & Censorship
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board or ESRB gives videogames maturity ratings based on their content. For example, a game might be rated T for Teen if the game contained obscene words or violence. If a game contains explicit violence or sexual themes, it is likely to receive a M for Mature rating, which means that no one under 17 should play it. There are no laws that prohibit children from purchasing "M" rated games in the United States. Laws attempting to prohibit minors from purchasing "M" rated games were established in California, Illinios, Michigan, Minnesota, and Louisiana, but all were overturned on the grounds that the establishment of such laws were in violation of a child's First Amendment rights. However, many stores have opted to not sell such games to children anyway. Of course, video game laws vary from country to country.
Video game manufacturers usually exercise tight control over the games that are made available on their systems, so unusual or special-interest games are more likely to appear as PC games. Free, casual, and browser-based games are usually played on available computers, mobile phones, or PDAs.
PEGI (Pan European Game Information) is a system that was developed to standardize the game ratings in all of Europe (NOT just EU, although the majority are EU members), the current members are: all EU members, except Germany and the 10 accession states; Norway; Switzerland. Iceland is expected to join soon, as are the 10 EU accession states. For all PEGI members, they use it as their sole system, with the exception of the UK, where if a game contains certain material, it must be rated by BBFC. The PEGI ratings are, in most parts (but not all) legally binding, and it is a criminal offence to sell a game to someone if it is rated above their age.
Germany: BPjM and USK
Stricter game rating laws mean that Germany does not operate within the PEGI. Instead, they adopt their own system of certification which is required by law. The USK (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle or Voluntary Certification of Entertainment Software) checks every game before release and assigns an age rating to it - either none (white), 6 years of age (yellow), 12 years of age (green), 16 years of age (blue) or 18 years of age (red). It is forbidden for anyone, retailers, friends or parents alike, to allow a child access to a game for which he or she is underage. If a game is particularly violent, it may be referred to the BPjM (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien - Federal Verification Office for Child-Endangering Media) who may opt to place it on the Index upon which the game may not be sold openly or advertised in the open media. Unofficially, the titles are not "banned" - adult gamers are still technically free to obtain the titles by other means, although it is still considered a felony to supply these titles to a child.
Japanese gaming was overrun in the mid 1980s with the release of the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom, or Nintendo Entertainment System elsewhere) and Super Mario Bros.. Since then, many of the popular games released in the NES era have since developed continuing sequels, including games like Mario, Zelda, and Final Fantasy.
Cartridges were previously common storage devices for console game data, but due to technological advances, most video games are now stored on CDs, or higher capacity DVDs.
Top video games
- Related articles: 2004 in video gaming, 2005 in video gaming
The ten best selling console video games, according to The NPD Group, ranked by total US units sold were:
- Related article: 2003 in video gaming
The ten best selling console video games, according to The NPD Group, ranked by total US units sold (annual 2003) were :
Critics of video games
From time to time, video games have been criticized by parents' groups, psychologists, politicians, and some religious organizations for allegedly glorifying violence, cruelty, and crime and exposing children to these elements. It is particularly disturbing to some adults that some video games allow children to act out crimes (for example, the Grand Theft Auto series), and reward them for doing so. Some studies have shown that children who watch violent television shows and play violent video games have a tendency to act more aggressively on the playground, and some people are concerned that this aggression may presage violent behavior when children grow to adulthood. These concerns have led to voluntary rating systems adopted by the industry, such as the ESRB rating system in the United States and the PEGI rating system in Europe(see above), that are aimed at educating parents about the types of games their children should or should not be playing (or are begging to play).
Most studies, however, reach the conclusion that violence in video games is not causally linked with aggressive tendencies. This was the conclusion of a 1999 study by the U.S. government, prompting Surgeon General David Satcher to say, “...we clearly associate media violence to aggressive behavior, but the impact was very small compared to other things. Some may not be happy with that, but that’s where the science is.” This was also the conclusion of a meta-analysis by psychologist Johnathan Freedman, who reviewed over 200 published studies and found that the majority did not find a causal link.
Critics of movies, television, and books as a group look down on video games as an inferior form of entertainment. This is probably because of the observation that most video games have very little plot and even less character development, which may or may not be true. A frequent counterargument is that this is like complaining that a game of football does not contain much plot or character development, and that although video games include a narrative, they are really about acting in and against a virtual world, which is not primarily based upon passively seeing and hearing. Another point of view compares video games to the movies which during the silent era were also considered mere entertainment.
See also: video game controversy
- List of gaming topics
- Video game console
- Computer and video games
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