Growing up video gaming has always been looked negatively upon, but in the recent years, I have seen severe changes to the video game industry and also changes in the portrayals of video game players. While I was growing up people around me would laugh at people who played video games and call them nerds or geeks simply because they were simply enjoying themselves playing video games. Not only were video gamers called nerd, unsuccessful geeks but they were also told that video games could rot the brain and also make them obese. Movies and TV shows would also make a joke out of video game players. Video gamers were the anti-social ones, the ones who get bullied, so as a little girl I did not want to participate in something I find joyful. Fortunately, as time goes by the video gaming industry changed and evolved into something unrealistically beautiful and great. Even though video gamers are portrayed as anti-social, nerds, and unsuccessful geeks, video gaming isn’t so bad because modern day video gaming can make a good income and a lot of pop culture people play video games. In my study, I analyzed the type of video gamers in the inter-webs to explore diversity, how they’re portrayed, and both physical and behavioral attributes, whether they’re unsuccessful or successful.
The video game industry has changed and evolved dramatically over the years and also has their players. I was born in the fifth generation of the video gaming industry, and during that time we had the Nintendo 64’s, Game boys and then eventually we switched to the PlayStations, Game cubes, and many other consoles. Now we’re playing video games on our own little handheld smartphone, laptop, or computer. All of these improvements were made within the last decade and a half, the video game industry is evolving fast, faster than ever and it’s still growing. But who are the players behind all these consoles?
In my study, I found that almost all teens play video games. Actually, 97% of teens play computer, web, portable, or console games. Just in America, there’s an average of two gamers in each household and 43% spend 3 or more hours per week playing video games. The study shows that video game players are 44% females and 56% male players. Most video gamers are 18-35 years old, 26% are under the age of 18. After I figured out the ratio of video game players I wanted to see how people use video games in everyday life. (Lenhart, 2)
In the following study, I analyzed video game players on Twitch, YouTube and other forms of medias where people play video games. Twitch is a platform where people can live stream themselves playing video games. YouTube is another platform that video gamers use to upload videos of themselves playing video games or review video games. As I watch multiple players I mainly did not see the normal stereotype portrayals of video gamers. I didn’t see thick glasses, nor did I see socially awkward obese video game players. Instead, I saw people, your everyday normal dressed people playing video games. After I analyzed that aspect I wanted to see who got successful from playing video games.
Given the results of studies, I found that there are a lot of pro video game players. Professional video gamers who play in tournaments and make a huge income. Lee Sang Hyeok a Korean video gamer known as Faker made over $229,659.02 when he was 17 years old and his earnings by year skyrocketed. In the year 2016, his year earning was $418,365.33. He made $897,818.98 for playing the game League of Legends. Not only does he make a huge income off of playing games but he also made a reputation for himself. Faker is a superstar league player, one of the most important people in Esports. Many who play the game aspire to be like him. When the superstar joined Twitch he immediately broke streaming record. His stream peaked over 245,000 concurrent views making his stream the most watched stream hosted by an individual in Twitch history.
This shows that not only did he become successful after playing video games, but he also broke stereotypes about video gamers. As I stated before, growing up I have been afraid of playing video games however, this proves to me that video game no longer looked negatively upon, but rather positively, given the many positive responses from viewers and fans that Faker receives.
Video games has been advertised in many media and another successful individual that got popular by playing video game is the famous PewDiePie. Age 27, PewDiePie is the most subscribed YouTuber on YouTube. He’s known for playing video games and is always in the spotlight. PewDiePie is known as one of the most influential people in the world. PewDiePie’s channel stars his reactions to several of games he has played. PewDiePie, isn’t an anti-social person, he’s rather goofy, energetic and people believe he has a great personality as of why he is now a YouTube personality.
People of the past generation views video gaming negatively and believes the players who play video games as losers. In one of my research, I found that a Pastor by the name of Gene Lingerfelt expressed his views upon video games which contained much negativity. He states that video games are the reasons why girls in his church cannot get a date and that they’re possessed by a ‘retarded spirit’. (Mehta) However, given my studies, I see that PiewDiePie is a healthy successful individual with a loving girlfriend. In class, we learned to analyze advertisement and see behind it and find the truth thus I learned that PewDiePie has made many positive attributions to the community. He helps raises and donates millions to charity. PewDiePie doesn’t just play video games but he helps the world and understands that there are problems in the world.
To break stereotype, even more, is YouTube personality, iJustine. iJustine is a YouTube personality who is also known for playing video games. The YouTuber graduated from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute in 2004 after that she got popular for her 200-page iPhone bill, but that wasn’t what interested me for my research, what did was, she skipped prom to go to a LAN party, a place where people gather to play video games. iJustine says that growing up she was a video gamer and her mother would take away her computer and games as a punishment. But that didn’t stop her from winning a video game tournament. She along with Antonio Brown won a Doom video game tournament.
Yet, despite the shift in video gamers, there are still people who are afraid to tell others that they play video games, and afraid of joining the video game community. One person who falls in this category is record producer, songwriter, and rapper T-pain. T-pain admitted that he was afraid of not getting accepted into the gaming community. T-pain expresses that he doesn’t have anyone to share his interests to even though he has been a video gamer for years. In my research, I found that the celebrity loves playing video game and recently joined the Twitch community and streamed himself playing video games. I thought this was so inspirational to break all stereotypes about video gamers. T-pain is an avid video gamer and he plays games to relief stress and have fun. Video gaming is considered an outlet for him.
Mortal Konsequences by Mamie Ko, explains that that most adult believes that video games makes their child violent and anti-social, and is a waste their time, thus they refuse to let kids play video games. However, given my examples, I believe that not all video gamers are anti-social and that sometimes it’s a good investment. Research shows that almost all teens play video games, (Lenhart, 2) so stopping a child from playing video games can actually result negatively in their behavior. As our culture is growing, video gaming is becoming a huge attribution to our community. Kids will talk to one another about video games, so imagine if a child was unable to join a conversation because they have no prior experience in video gaming, to have no video gaming experiences means that the child might and can be left out of the conversation. Some might even be scared to join and talk about video gaming because of adults negative views.
“Games to do you good” by Bavelier, show that games do well to the brain and does no harm. Bavelier’s study shows that after playing games people can pick up color better and people who play games can pick up invaluable skills. Most video game requires teamwork and because it requires teamwork, people are forced to socialize and learn to how to communicate in a way that will contribute to the team. Those who are anti-social and want to win will have to learn skills to talk to people and communicate with each other. Another good thing about video gaming is that things get hard or complicated and when someone doesn’t know how to do something, they end up looking at guides on how to do it, which gives them more research skills, given that they had to search for the guide.
In class, I also learned about the influence of advertising and I believe that people who popular are also big influences. While the social media blames video gaming for being negative, they’re afraid of these video gamers influencing thousands. People are represented in a one-dimensional way over and over but as the world evolves certain individuals gain popularity and become more influential and as they grow many will follow. I believe that some are afraid of this, they’re afraid that the video game industry will be taking over the market. Seeing as how insanely huge the Esport world has become.
To conclude, my research findings show that in pop culture media, video gamers are looked upon in a positive light. They’re well-respected individuals who do no harm to the public. The portrayal of a video gamer depends upon who that individual is. Video gaming is considered an outlet for people to build upon. We are all alike whether we play video games or not. Female or male, we can accomplish many things.
Mortal konsequences: new studies find video games lead to violent, anti-social behavior in children Ko, Marnie Report Newsmagazine (Alberta Edition), May 22, 2000, Vol.27 http://search.library.pdx.edu/PSU:all:TN_gale_ofa30429588
Teens, Video Games, and Civics: Teens’ Gaming Experiences Are Diverse and Include Significant Social Interaction and Civic Engagement Lenhart, Amanda ; Kahne, Joseph ; Middaugh, Ellen ; Macgill, Alexandra Rankin ; Evans, Chris ; Vitak, Jessica Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2008 http://search.library.pdx.edu/PSU:all:TN_ericED525058
Games to do you good
Bavelier, Daphne ; Davidson, Richard J.Nature, Feb 28, 2013, Vol.494(7438)
Pastor Gene on Video Games; Pastor Gene Lingerfelt, May, 2016
“Faker – Lee, Sang Hyeok – League of Legends Player Profile :: E-Sports Earnings.” Faker – Lee, Sang Hyeok – League of Legends Player Profile :: E-Sports Earnings. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. http://www.esportsearnings.com/players/3832-faker-lee-sang-hyeok
YouTube’s ‘PewDiePie’ Made $7.4M Last Year, Raised $1M for Charity; Paul Tassi, July 8, 2015 https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/07/08/youtubes-pewdiepie-made-7-4m-last-year-raised-1m-for-charity/#579d68e87e8f
Games to do you good: neuroscientists should help to develop compelling video games that boost brain function and improve well-being.(COMMENT) Bavelier, Daphne ; Davidson, Richard J. Nature, Feb 28, 2013, Vol.494(7438), p.425(2)