How are Games Social Problems?

Table of Contents

In the present day, the blending between social spaces and games is proceeding at full speed. Pokémon GO, which blends games with the space of reality by using augmented reality, is representative of this phenomenon. Moreover, games are expanding this blending to fields such as politics, labor, and education. However, from a historical point of view, the blending of these types of social spaces and games has existed since ancient times. For example, it was the norm for hunters and gatherers in ancient times to blend games into the everyday world. Following that, from medieval to modern and then to contemporary times, a separation was recognized between our everyday world and the time and space of games through the development of the concept of diligence. Due to this separation, games were polarized into either being societally unnecessary or alternatively affirmed as quite necessary. This polarization caused games to acquire an unstable position in society.
In this context, whenever contemporary intellectuals in the humanities speak of games as a positive for society, a typical pattern occurs. They divide the experience of games into the
adaptive aspects or the deviant aspects of the rules of the game. In other words, getting lost in the game or messing with the game. They argue for the importance of the deviant and free aspects of the game. This emphasis on deviation and freedom is connected to a criticism of diligent labor and education by rote learning, among other things. In the first place, this thought process cannot entirely account for the phenomenon of games. The experience of playing games is really a process that cycles alternatively between a deviant and free experience, and an adaptive attitude towards a situation. Deviance and adaptation are complementary, and one should not be discussed without the other.
In the contemporary moment where games and reality are blending, it is impossible to think about society while ignoring games. In this society, it is now meaningless to critique and evaluate game-like phenomena from a moral standpoint of “good or evil.” In order to grasp the core of the problem that games in contemporary society present, the viewpoint of game designers themselves is required as well as the opinions of the game players.