Video games have become a major part of modern culture, and it’s common knowledge that in the last five or 10 years they’ve grown steadily more sophisticated. But as video games and the systems and devices we play them on have advanced, have the games also become more intellectual? There’s no way to definitively measure this claim, but certain examples and trends indicate that game developers are catering more to gamers who want to exercise their minds while entertaining themselves.
One of the most fascinating developments has been the way console games are getting more sophisticated, and how they’ve been able to supply more content and detail. And because of this, games that focus on history, geography, or other elements of the real world can now almost be educational. The Assassin’s Creed series from Ubisoft is a prime example, because games like Assassin’s Creed III (which took place during the American Revolution) and Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (Victorian London) have put forth very realistic interpretations of fascinating chapters of human history. That’s not to say that these games should be taking the place of history textbooks just yet (or ever!), but the fact that you can play the biggest, best, and newest console games on the market and actually learn about past settings and political conflicts (or in the case of some shooter games, wars) is extraordinary.
The virtual reality phenomenon has also brought about some intellectual twists on gaming, partially through puzzle solving but most interestingly through artistic expression. Tilt Brush is getting a lot of attention as one of the more popular early VR games, despite the fact that it’s essentially a 3D painting application in which you (as the artists) can interact with your own designs. It may sound somewhat hard to believe, but there have already been artistic exhibitions for people’s Tilt Brush designs. This is basically becoming a new medium for artistic expression.
Casino gaming sites, too, have gotten in on the trend of gaming with an intellectual twist, because you can now find a category of chat games at Gala’s bingo site. “Chat game” isn’t a familiar genre, but you’ll understand what type of experience this is once you get a look at the games therein. There are trivia games and math quizzes, and even a take on the popular verbal game “I Spy,” just to name a few. They’re still part of a real-money casino gaming site, but these interactive games ask players to concentrate and solve different kinds of puzzles, rather than simply watch a roulette wheel or spin a digital slot machine.
And finally, in the world of mobile gaming, there have been countless examples of puzzle and quiz games that aren’t just released, but actually generate a great deal of attention. From simple verbal games like Words With Friends to intricate puzzle experiences like The Guides, these games cover a range of activities and certainly add an intellectual component to mobile gaming. Most recently, a new app called Wordalot highlighted these types of games, combining pictures and crossword puzzles to create a unique new experience.
Through these and other examples, it’s pretty clear that video game industries have become more dynamic. There are still plenty of mindless experiences or “time wasters” out there, to be sure, but a lot of the newer trends highlight the intellectual side of entertainment.