Video Games. What ideas or images flashed into your head when you read that phrase? Were they memories of yourself spending quarters at an arcade machine? Or maybe spending hours behind of a Guitar Hero drum set. Maybe you’re a typical parent who thinks of an evil device that erodes your children’s brains and turns them into head-shooting Nintendo-worshiping zombies. Or maybe you are one of those zombies and that phrase brought back all the great times you spent killing virtual people.
Okay let’s get serious, video games deserve the same respect any other entertainment medium has. They may have not had their Citizen Kane yet, but we’re all sure that point is not too far away, maybe in the year 2016 or so. If video games are one of mankind’s greatest creative and technological achievements, why does their very name carry so much negative baggage? It just might be time for us gamers to think of a new name for our hobby.
Imagine this, the two words “video games” only without the space. It becomes a new word entirely: videogames. The English language is very fond of retaining spaces inside compound words and their removal is a rare and slow process. So by deliberately removing that space, the phrase has essentially been given a boost into a distant idealistic future where videogames are now considered not merely a combination of video and game, but instead are only defined by themselves.
How wonderful it would be to get rid of all the baggage videogames have acquired over the years. The mainstream public’s irrational misunderstandings of the sport will be gone entirely. We can start from scratch now and create a society where videogames get the respect they deserve. The term “gamer” will hardly be of use because everyone will be a gamer, it would just be the equivalent of “first world dwelling human.” The personal lives of Hollywood celebrities may find competition as grocery store isles begin to favor those of game developers instead. This future that once seemed impossible is suddenly not too far away when we think about it now.
Wait, stop. Our thinking may be still too far in the box. Perhaps the word “game” should be removed altogether? Does a work of art like Bioshock really deserve to share a category with Mouse Trap? Obviously the offending word cannot simply be removed from the compound, an entirely new word needs to be created. A word that can truly express every aspect offered by the medium. A word that can define the complexity of Pokémon, the art of Braid, and the verisimilitude of Killzone 2. But the catch is that this word must exclude juvenile toys, as well as anything else we gamers don’t want to be associated with. Game is not that word, but what is? It seems as though we have truly outdone ourselves, we’ve created a medium that not even our own English language can label.
As the one word to rule them all seems so close, suddenly it is so far away. Maybe sometime in the future, when gamers are ready, we will finally find it. We know it has been prophesied that one day the Citizen Kane of games shall come and deliver videogames from being merely a niche market. But before that day occurs the world must be ready. A game of that caliber will only come to be when our language is fit for its use. Some day humanity shall develop a word that can finally express all of the deep meanings and complexities that we today can only describe as video games.