The War Between The Classroom And The Game Room

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It is an accepted social assumption that there is a disconnect in students between educational activities and recreational activities. Even the most prudent of students can find the occasional video game more interesting the whole of their time at school. This idea hasn’t just come around with video games, in older days it was the idea of sports vs. school, sitcoms and other television shows capitalizing on the idea more than many times. The overused story of the popular jock that can play Football (or baseball, or basketball, or swim, or hockey, or soccer, ect.) and is the only hope to win the big game; but, can’t read and/or write.

In more recent years; however, television (and even more recently) video games have filled that position. Labeled often as a distraction academics, video games have become somewhat of the antithesis to the college paper. The idea, that either one road will lead you to prosperity and work and the other with slouch a person into a couch potato with no prospects of success, is often taken for fact and erroneously so.

The problem leans to one side; however, the accountability seems to strictly come from the academic side of the equation. Has college become such a pompous institution that it cannot look past itself to see other option for education, or alternative ways to teach new ideas? Or does the College institution fear that a new wave of information may render itself obsolete and doesn’t want to contribute to its own doom? Either way video games don’t need help keeping the players attention and often times college does.

The truth of the matter is that video games are the wave of the future and college is an institution teaching the ideas of the past. If both don’t come to some kind of medium, both may be in danger.

In late January of 1997 a video game named Final Fantasy VII was released. The seventh game in the series, that had been putting out the games for nearly ten years at the time, would redefine the idea of a video game and help propel video games to a mainstream audience and push it to the level of popularity that it could not be ignored.

Within three days of its release Over 2.3 million copies were sold, which forced retailers in other countries to break their release dates to meet the public demand of the game and as of December 2005 the game has sold over 9.8 million copies. The next installment of the series Final Fantasy VIII, released in Septemeber, 1999, sold 2.5 million in the first four days and grossed over fifty million dollars in the thirteen weeks, by the end of the year more than six million copies were sold. In conjunction to its amazing commercial success Final Fantasy VIII released a pop-single into the music realm and conquered that medium easily. “Eyes On Me”, the single released, sold over 400,000 copies becoming the highest selling video game disc ever at that time. Success has for the game has even crept into the Olympics with “Liberi Fatali”, an original piece for the game, being played during the synchronized swimming event in the 2004 Olympics.

With these facts well documented and known, why isn’t college embracing the video game industry and ushering in its alum into a business that is highly popular and successful? Shouldn’t it be the will of the Universities to try to offer students the path they wish to choose, rather than giving them a list of roads and telling them to choose?

This disconnect between college and video games should cease to exist, college writing needs to open up. The primary focus of the Final Fantasy Series are the elaborate plots and sophisticated characters. When the Super Nintendo was boasting Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy VI was dealing with idea of Love, loss, identity issues, duty vs. loyalty and suicide, something never before seen in a video game. A primary character grappling with issues so strong to them that they attempt to commit suicide. The writers of these games are clearly talented and have found a way to make themselves successful by creating something that has reached millions of people. College writing almost counter attacks these writings with the often forcing of English I and II courses which are prerequisites for creative writing courses; but why? Why shouldn’t creative writing be a prerequisite for those courses or at the very least, simply be accessible from the start?

Continuing with the idea, if the focus of the college writing courses is to teach students how to write, where are the courses to teach the students how to use their writing? While M.L.A. style writing will be more than helpful in some areas, that doesn’t mean colleges should ignore the other avenues writing can take one down.

With a faltering economy and an industry unaffected by it, it would seem that video games are going to be one of the iron clad businesses during the recession. The business is nearly monopolized by the Asian market and a fighting American cooperation would help stabilize the business and almost certainly give room for rapid growth and success and most of all video games have already gotten the majority of college students positive attention why not fuse the two for the better of the universities and students? Just like Sports and college have been infused in which you can practice both simultaneously, the same must be done for video games or everyone will lose in the end.


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