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Fri04182014

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The video game revolution: Ready to come aboard?

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by Cornelius A. Fortune
Real Times News Service

And you thought it was just a phase.

"Pong" seems almost prehistoric now, given the advances in video games. Each decade has spawned its own hits and has moved the characters within the gaming world closer to AI (Artificial Intelligence) status.

It's difficult to pin down exactly why gamers are so passionate. But like sports fans, cinephiles, and comic geeks, gamers have their own network. You don't have to be a hardcore gamer to enter this world. A game console (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii) is usually a start, though these days you can play games right on your mobile phone ("Angry Birds: Space" rules).

Here are some reasons to join the video game revolution:

Active vs. passive storytelling

You can have a great time at the movies, but what if you can become the movie?

That's the type of experience video games offer. It's an interactive experience far richer than sitting in a movie theater (or at home) and watching events happen.

It's hand and eye coordination, and often times, it requires some analytical thinking (depending on the game).

An art form deserving of respect

Take a look at some of the recent video game trailers on your TV. You've seen them. Chances are, you might have thought at the beginning of the teaser that it was a movie.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery are presenting "The Art of Video Games," an exhibit that runs until Sept. 30 in New York at the American Art Museum. I would venture that aside from graphic novels, video games are becoming the best breeding ground for sequential storytelling; a blending of writing and illustration that's purer than cinema, and more expansive than comics could ever be.

Fun for the whole family

Thanks to the Xbox 360's Kinect, and of course, the Wii, the simple idea of sitting on a couch and playing the latest "Grand Theft Auto" has morphed into games that promote exercise and physical participation.

Lucas Art's "Star Wars: Kinect" is a fun way to fulfill your dreams of becoming a Jedi. Aspiring singers and dancers can have a Kinect party while they wait for the next seasons of "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars."

Easily accessible

Like most entertainment, you'll find everything from first person shooters, sci-fi (haven't seen much romance, but it might be out there), crime, horror, even fans of puzzle games and "Jeopardy" will find a game of interest.

If you own either an iPhone or any Android phone, you'll find plenty of games to get into, most are free or under a dollar (the all-time $.99 crowd pleaser). You can also play titles on your computer, which doesn't get the same love as it did in days of yore.

(The New Tri-State Defender is beefing up its emphasis on technology coverage in conjunction with its parent company, Real Times Media. Anchoring the coverage will be periodic reports by Cornelius A. Fortune, managing editor of the Michigan Chronicle.)

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