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Books vs Video Games

Video games are no different than books, in fact, they are actually better. I often have this conversation with my wife. She will be reading somewhere in the house, puts her book down, sees me playing some video games, and starts to give me shit. I always reply, "video games are the same as books". She disagrees, we go back and forth for a minute, and she walks away defeated. [side note: I typically win all the arguments in this house, it's just how I roll.] Well I got to thinking about it the other night and decided it is probably time I shared this fact with everyone so people will quit wasting time with books.

Both books and video games contain a story. When you read a book you are typically reading a story, when you play a video game you typically play a story. There's a plot, characters, climatic points, slow parts, and an ending. Both contain 'written words'. Obviously books contain words, but a little known fact is that ALL video games do too. Think about it, there is the title screen, the menu, the options, and the instruction manual (it's like 2 books in one then huh?). A lot of games go even further by adding captions and subtitles to the narration. Even if you disagree saying "you're not 'reading' a story", I say the imagery in video games achieves the same goal and does it in a far more effective fashion. How many times have you needed to re-read something to make sure you understand it? "Was Malfoy alone when he tried to kill Dumbledore or was Harry there?" Compare that to a video game, "did that dude's head just explode...yep" No confusion there, you just saw it happen. What about being immersed? "Oh I am just so immersed in this new book..." Try talking to me while I play Socom. You can't, cause I'm immersed. Plot lines have become increasingly deep in today's video games. There are just as many twists and turns in Uncharted 2 as there are in Twilight (not to mention less shiny lame vampires). Plus, in a book you do not get to control what happens to the main character. You read the book and it unfolds as planned. In a video game you have a choice, even if somewhat limited. Am I going to continue the mission and beat the end boss, or am I going to steal this car and run over pedestrians? Talk about immersed, does the fate of the character in your book hinge on any of your actions? I think not, and since I have seen any "Choose you own Adventure" books in a long time I am giving the nod to video games on that one. Finally, what about stimulation? What's the most stimulation you can get out of a book? Maybe a little emotion, perhaps you get a paper cut from turning pages, that's about it. What about video games? Emotional, tactile, auditory, visual... shit sometimes you can even taste the defeat when you have your ass handed to you. Not to mention that many games now have a seizure warning on the title screen (which you have to read). That's right, so much stimulation you just might have a seizure. Can your book do that?

Trust me, you are wasting your time with books. Go pick up a controller and truly immerse yourself in a story that both titillates and stimulates your mind and body.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to cuddle up in a Snuggie with a cup of hot coco and read a good video game.
 

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