COM 208: Video games

Some early history

Photo: Brookhaven History

  • 1947 – earliest known interactive electronic game
  • 1958 – Tennis for Two
  • 1971 – Galaxy Game, Stanford U.
  • 1971 – Computer Space, first coin-operated game to be commercially sold
  • 1972 – Pong, coin-operated game first released by Atari

Image from Mirror's Edge video game. Photo:

Video games today

  • A true mass medium
  • Multibillion-dollar industry
  • More than half of American adults play video games
  • Four out of five young adults play

Some of the top games

  • Guitar Hero
  • Halo 3
  • Madden NFL (no specific version)
  • Solitaire
  • Dance Dance Revolution
  • Madden NFL 08
  • Tetris
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Halo (no specific version)
  • The Sims (no specific version)

Steven Berlin Johnson
Author of bestseller, “Everything bad is good for you”
He’s against the anti-pop culture forces.
He says pop culture makes your mind sharper.

Importance of reading

  • Studies show that students ages 8 to 18 get poor grades if they don’t read.
  • The more students read, the better their grades.
  • Students with high grades read 46 minutes a day
  • Students with low grades, 29 minutes a day.

One study showed that students with high grades watched about the same amount of TV as students with low grades.
Conclusion: TV watching wasn’t hurting grades.
Not reading is what was hurting grades.

As some see it, reading is slow, boring, obsolete, even irritating.
Average spending on books is down.
Spending on video games, hand-held electronic devices and laptops is up.
An Apple ad for laptops in Arlington, Virginia, said:
“The only books you’ll ever need.”


  • There was the Sex Revolution
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Reagan Era. “Greed is good.”
  • The Clinton Era. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
  • George W. Bush. Bragged about not reading books.
  • Now this: The Digital Revolution.

97 percent of teens play video games, according to the Pew Internet &
American Life Project.
81 percent of people 18-29 years old video games
23 percent of 65-and-over crowd play

  • 55 percent of men
  • 50 percent of women
  • 76 percent of full-time students
  • 49 percent of non-students
  • 51 percent of white non-Hispanics and blacks
  • 63 percent of Hispanics

Gaming is often a social experience

  • Most teens play games with others at least some of the time
  • 62 percent of parents say games have no effect on their child
  • 19 percent cite positive influence
  • 13 percent cite negative influence
  • 5 percent say influence depends on the game

1 thought on “COM 208: Video games

  1. Pingback: COM 208: Midterm review | Writing • Photography • Blogs • Journalism

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