Video Games Or Social Media: Which Offers A More Meaningful Experience?

Social media vs video games

This hardware generation has seen a noticeable merging of video games and social media. Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and UStream are all embedded into the console experience and players are now offered the capability to share their experiences with the world within only a few button presses away. Sony’s PlayStation 4 has even gone one step further by introducing Share Play, a feature that gives players the capability to meet up and play video games together on a virtual sofa, even if one of you doesn’t own the game – it’s a super clever idea. Video games have empowered players with easy-to-use tools to help enrich and enhance the social media function of their day-to-day gaming activities. Essentially, video games and social media are slowly becoming more inextricably linked.

Social media gaming is, as you probably are already aware of, a huge money-maker. Free-to-play titles like Candy Crush, FarmVille and Clash of Clans have become uber popular phenomenons, roping in young and old players alike, who would normally not have spent their free time playing video games had it not been for social media and its wide-encompassing net. This has brought a ton of gamers into the fold, who wouldn’t have necessarily considered video games as a worthy use of their time. They may be “casual” gamers (I don’t mean that as a disparaging term, personally), but they’re playing and enjoying the art of video games.

For some personal context, whenever I bring up video games to my two older brothers, who are both very knowledgable and scholarly, they both sneer in derision. This is a fairly socially accepted response to video games in this day-and-age. They don’t like video games and I doubt they ever will, but to me there is a real genuine beauty in video games that’s unmatched by literature, film, theatre and music. I’m a staunch believer that video games are art.

Heck, I’d actually go as far as saying that video games are the culmination of a bunch of art-forms. If Marcel Duchamp can call a standard urinal purchased from a hardware store a piece of art in his famous Fountain “objet trouvé,” it’s safe to say that Silent Hill 2Shadow of The Colossus and The Last Of Us are also worthy of such high praise.

From my perspective, I find spending time getting together with friends and playing video games, in both real-life and via partying up online, to be a more meaningful and valuable use of my time than social media. We work together in unison trying to protect our flock of tiki babies in PixelJunk Monsters, we play through the latest art-games together, like this year’s phenomenal Inside, offering interpretations of the narratively subtle environmental storytelling, and together we’ve played through The Last of Us and dissected and analyzed that ending (it’s one of the many reasons why it’s one of my favourite games). I often wonder why video games are perceived so negatively, particularly when compared with something like social media. To me, video games are a positive social experience.