Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about games played on consoles. Computer and video games is about this form of gaming in general.
A console game (better known as a "video game") is a form of interactive multimedia used for entertainment, which consists of a moveable image displayed on a screen that is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to a game console called a controller. The controller usually contains a number of buttons and analogs which has each been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling movable images traditionally displayed on a television or LCD screen. Sound is also outputted via the same television. Game multimedia usually comes in the form of a disk or cartridge which can be inserted into a game console which can then be connected to a television. Alternatively, the screen, multimedia player, and controls could also be incorporated into one small object known as a handheld.
For information on computer-based games in general, see computer and video games.
Video games generally each contain different gameplay, objectives, goals, control-schemes, characters, and other features. Each video game is usually contained on a specifically designed multimedia disk or cartridge, which are generally sold separately. In order to play the specific game, you need the specific console it was designed for. For example, in order to play the video game Pikmin 2, you need to use a Nintendo GameCube. The most popular consoles in the market today are the Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and the Microsoft Xbox.
Console and display
Main article: Game controller
The different consoles each use different controllers. Controllers are input devices used to interact with the game. So, for example, if you had a game in which you must control a character in order to obtain a red apple, you would be able to use an analog stick or directional pad ("D Pad") to move your character towards the apple to collect it. Video games, of course, are usually much more complicated than this. In the game Pikmin for the Nintendo GameCube, the player uses the analog stick to control his character, the C analog stick to tell his Pikmin what to do or where to go, and the A button to throw the Pikmin.
Most video games require a screen of some sort. In the case of normal consoles, a television is the most common form of screen used. The screen is used as a source of visual output. As the player pushes buttons and moves analogs on the controller, the screen responds to the actions and changes take place on the screen, simulating actual movement.
Consoles use a large sized (albeit low-resolution) television as their visual output device: optimal for viewing at a greater distance by a larger audience. As a result, many video games are designed for local multiplayer play, with all players viewing the same TV set, with the screen divided into several sections and each player using a different controller.
Video games have generally had access to less computing power, less flexible computing power, and lower resolution displays. Dedicated consoles were advanced graphically, especially in animation. This is because video game consoles had dedicated graphics hardware, were able to load things instantly from ROM, and a low resolution output would look better on a television because it naturally blurs the pixels.
Ratings & Censorship
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board or ESRB gives videogames maturity ratings based on their content. For example, a game might be rated T for Teen if the game contained obscene words or violence. If a game contains explicit violence or sexual themes, it is likely to receive a M for Mature rating, which means that no one under 17 should play it. There are no laws that prohibit children from purchasing "M" rated games in the United States, but many stores will enforce rules prohibiting children from getting them anyway. In other countries, there are laws for this.
Video game manufacturers usually exercise tight control over the games that are made available on their systems, so unusual or special-interest games are more likely to appear as PC games. Free, casual, and browser-based games are usually played on available computers, mobile phones, or PDAs.
PEGI (Pan European Game Information) is a system that was developed to standardize the game ratings in all of Europe (NOT just EU, although the majority are EU members), the current members are: all EU members, except Germany and the 10 accession states; Norway; Switzerland. Iceland is expected to join soon, as are the 10 EU accession states. For all PEGI members, they use it as their sole system, with the exception of the UK, where if a game contains certain material, it must be rated by BBFC. The PEGI ratings are, in most parts (but not all) legally binding, and it is a criminal offence to sell a game to someone if it is rated above their age.
Japanese gaming was overrun in the mid 1980s with the release of the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom, or Nintendo Entertainment System elsewhere) and Super Mario Bros.. Since then, many of the popular games released in the NES era have since developed continuing sequels, including games like Mario, Zelda, and Final Fantasy.
Top video games
- Related article: 2004 in video gaming
The ten best selling console video games, according to The NPD Group , ranked by total US units sold were:
|1||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas||PS2||Take Two Interactive|
|3||Madden NFL 2005||PS2||Electronic Arts|
|4||ESPN NFL 2K5||PS2||Take Two Interactive|
|5||Need For Speed: Underground 2||PS2||Electronic Arts|
|6||Pokemon Fire Red W/ Adapter||GBA||Nintendo|
|7||NBA Live 2005||PS2||Electronic Arts|
|8||Spider-Man: The Movie 2||PS2||Activision|
|9||Halo: Combat Evolved||Xbox||Microsoft|
|10||ESPN NFL 2K5||Xbox||Take Two Interactive|
- Related article: 2003 in video gaming
|1||Madden NFL 2004||PS2||Electronic Arts|
|4||Need for Speed: Underground||PS2||Electronic Arts|
|5||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker||GameCube||Nintendo|
|6||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||PS2||Rockstar Games|
|7||Mario Kart: Double Dash||GameCube||Nintendo|
|8||Tony Hawk's Underground||PS2||Activision|
|9||Enter the Matrix||PS2||Atari|
|10||Medal of Honor: Rising Sun||PS2||Electronic Arts|
Critics of video games
From time to time, video games have been criticized by parents' groups, psychologists, politicians, and some religious organizations for allegedly glorifying violence, cruelty, and crime and exposing children to this violence. It is particularly disturbing to some adults that some video games allow children to act out crimes (for example, the Grand Theft Auto series), and reward them for doing so. Some studies have shown that children who watch violent television shows and play violent video games have a tendency to act more aggressively on the playground, and some people are concerned that this aggression may presage violent behavior when children grow to adulthood. These concerns have led to voluntary rating systems adopted by the industry, such as the ESRB rating system in the United States and the PEGI rating system in Europe, that are aimed at educating parents about the types of games their children should or should not be playing (or are begging to play).
Most studies, however, reach the conclusion that violence in video games is not causally linked with aggressive tendencies. This was the conclusion of a 1999 study by the U.S. government, prompting Surgeon General David Satcher to say, “...we clearly associate media violence to aggressive behavior, but the impact was very small compared to other things. Some may not be happy with that, but that’s where the science is.” This was also the conclusion of a meta-analysis by psychologist Johnathan Freedman, who reviewed over 200 published studies and found that the majority did not find a causal link.
Critics of movies, television, and books as a group look down on video games as an inferior form of entertainment. This is probably because of the observation that most video games have very little plot and even less character development, which may or may not be true. A frequent counterargument is that this is like complaining that a game of football does not contain much plot or character development, and that although video games include a narrative, they are really about acting in and against a virtual world, which is not primarily based upon passively seeing and hearing. Another point of view compares video games to the movies, which during the silent era were also considered mere entertainment.
See also: video game controversy
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