assessment, competition, grinding, spatial narrative

Like photography and cinema, video games have matured. Games now earn more money than movies, game studies is a legit discipline, and games are increasingly if grudgingly acknowledged as an artistic medium.

Maybe one reason for the slow acknowledgement of the cultural power of video games may be the false assumption that they're something for teenage boys, even though the average video game player is 38 years old, and those over 50 who play them are more likely to be women. And despite the ubiquity video games overall, those who identify as "gamers" do tend to be overwhelmingly male, and much of gamer culture can be euphemistically described as "problematic."

But games have infected our lives in more ways than just our entertainment budgets. Video games have become more complex, detailed, and even mundane (grinding for gold in a virtual job, trying to earn enough for some nice clothes or a fun trip) even as "real life" becomes more game-like, with addictive challenge-reward systems, sometimes using the same digital interfaces as video games.

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