By: Edna I. Cruz Reyes
May 3, 2012
An 8-year old boy watches intently while his uncle plays a video game called Final Fantasy III. When his uncle leaves the room he starts playing, amazed by what he sees, but confused because he does not understand English. When his uncle returned, the boy told him that he could not understand the game, and in reply he just searched for a big dictionary (yeah the ones that look like a Bible), and handed it to the little boy. In frustration, the boy left, only to return a week later determined that he was going to play the game. So he used the aforementioned dictionary, and two weeks later he completed the game.
This is how Jay Paul Torres, creator and administrator of the virtual community Mind4Games and a gamer at heart, started to grow up in the in world of gaming where many people around the world are immersed today thanks to the advancements in technology. From casual and social games to shooting and fighting tournaments, the gaming industry has captured audiences from all ages.
It all started 45 years ago, when German-born American inventor Ralph H. Baer invented and played the first video game console designed for standard television. The Brown Box, invented in 1967, became the prototype for Magnavox’s Odyssey which revolutionized video games and made possible future developments such as the ones we see today. “The Father of Video Games,” as he is also known, was awarded the National Medal of Technology by Former President George W. Bush in 2006.
Thanks to Bauer, the expanding market of video games has reached a peak in the last decade, where millions of people can play in their home or on the go, through the use of mobile technology. But as Jay Paul states, “Before, the concept of gaming was about playing, today the gaming world has evolved into a growing market of micro-transactions through games.” Most of these micro-transactions take place in mobile application markets and in Facebook mini-games where the player usually pays an extra fee in exchange for a better game experience.
The video game industry caters to different gaming styles and preferences. From different gaming platforms and mobile devices to PC games the array of game choices can be overwhelming. Among the most popular game genres are:
- Adventure games – One of the biggest hits in this genre is Tomb Raider.
- Fighting games – Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Soul Calibur, and Marvel vs. Capcom are among the most popular choices in the market.
- First-person Shooters – Doom was the game that pioneered this genre.
- Educational games – Gaes like Putt Putt and Dora offer young children a good educational experience through games.
- Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) – Everquest was one of the pioneers in the online gaming industry, where players around the world role-
played online with their characters and teamed up to do quests or massive raids.
- Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMO) – Follows the concept of an MMORPG, but character development is the main focus and not the story itself.
- Mini games – Mario Party and Plant vs. Zombies have mini-games within the normal game.
- Platforming games – The most popular example of this type of games are the super Mario series.
- Puzzle games – The classic example of this genre is Tetris.
- Racing games – Gran Turismo offers the most realistic gaming experience so far.
- Real-Time Strategy (RTS) – Command and Conquer, Starcraft, and Warcraft are amongst the most popular games in this genre.
- Rhythm action games – Gamers can dance the night away by playing Dance Dance Revolution, or they can simply play rockstar in Guitar Hero.
- Self improvement games – Brain Training by Nintendo can give your brain a challenge.
- Simulation games – EA’s franchises Sim City and The Sims lead the market in simulation games. Another popular simulation is Microsoft’s Flight Simulator which is used as real flight time simulation in aviation schools.
- Shooting games – Time Crisis and Counter Strike provide a stress relieving shooting experience.
- Sporting games – For a sporting experience with your favorite sport and athletes try Pro Evolution Soccer, or Wii Sports.
The list could go on forever, and with such a wide market and media glut comes the challenge of how to reunite a big community. This is why Jay Paul came up with the concept of Mind4Games, a virtual gaming community where gamers could share ideas, opinions and debate on games in general. As he states, “Every day there’s a new gamer, and sometimes they seek a friendly community for reviews, help, or simply just to chat on anything new related to their gaming interest.”
As a main interest, Jay Paul likes to go into the psychology behind game development and understand what really goes on behind the curtains. As a parent, he encourages
children to play with parental supervision because many games stimulate the sense of logic and skills (such as math, cooperation and teamwork). “If get involved and teach their children how to play in a wise manner, games can be a very useful educational tool. In fact it has been proven that gaming kids tend to be more intelligent than non-gaming ones.”
So the next time you laugh when you see a parent jumping with the remote control in hand as the Mario cartoon jumps in screen, remember that it is important that parents also get involved in their children’s gaming choices to aid in their future development.