Are Video Games more Entertaining than Board Games – Video

My decision to choose video games over board games was, at first, difficult. In the past, I have very much enjoyed playing both and I believe that there is a place in this world for both. Though, before I get into why I chose video games over board games, I’d like to mention what I believe to be the central argument for one or the other, and that is games as a social experience. For most of us, when we think of playing a game we think of it as an event to be shared with multiple people. After all, even chess is more fun to play with at least two people. It is a phenomenon that is built into our very core since Humans, from our very earliest days as a species, discovered that doing things in groups was just more beneficial both for survival and for social interaction. I challenge anyone to think of the word “game” and not either name or create a mental image of an activity involving multiple people. So, at the very core of the argument, it would seem board games have the easy victory. They are games which are designed specifically for the purpose of bringing together groups of people to engage in a social activity. The fact that they also happen to be fun is probably just a happy coincidence. For generations, board games have cornered the market  on group entertainment, and if this were anytime before, let’s say, 2005 I would be writing a completely different article. Let me explain.

My original motivation for writing this article, as well as my vote, was that video games provide a greater entertainment experience than board games. I say this not just because I am an avid gamer and a supporter of the industry, but because, as someone who has had the pleasure of playing both board and video games, I believe it to be true. From the very first time that little white ball bounced across the television screen by way of what could only be thought of as magic way, way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, people have been fascinated by video games. Suddenly, there was a new way to interact with media that was not only entertaining but revolutionary in its progression of technology. But, that argument alone would not be enough to sway the pendulum to the side of the virtual. At that time, even though video games were the newest and most exciting innovation in digital entertainment, they were still simple, objective based games. Eventually, though, game developers and game consumers would demand more. It wasn’t enough that the frog needed to get to the other side of the screen safely or that the little Italian plumber had to fight the Dragon turtle to save the princess. Suddenly, video game fans wanted more. Slowly, video games started to resemble other forms of media such as books and movies. Video games now had multiple characters with greater depth and development than ever before. The games were built around a central story line that resembled the rise and fall of a novel’s plot. It was now possible for gamers to become invested in the characters they were playing and truly feel as though they had an impact on the outcome of the story. Video games then, as now, became one of the strongest forms of entertainment for their ability to engage and captivate. 

Of course, my original point was that of social entertainment, and as entertaining as they might have been, the larger entertainment factor of being able to play with friends and family still belonged to the board games. Allow me, if you will, to fast forward now to the mid-to-late 90’s. At this point, video games in the last decade and a half had seen major improvements and innovations including full color displays, the introduction of three dimensional game play, portable gaming devices, and others. Now, video games were not just toys with simple game play mechanics and simple goals. They were slowly becoming a legitimate form of entertainment. With the improved hardware, graphics, and game play mechanics also came improvements in video games as tools for social interaction. Now, multiple people could experience a video game at the same time on the same system as multiple platforms began supporting multiplayer funtionality. At any one time, up to four people could play the same game together. This innovation led to developers creating games specifically for this group entertainment dynamic such as the Mario Party series and perhaps even more importantly, the first-person shooter genre. The creation of the Internet in 1995, and its subsequent improvements throughout the 90’s and into the first half of the 21st century, have done nothing but add to the already developing social entertainment network established by console game developers. It was now possible for hundreds, if not thousands of people to play engaging and interactive games simultaneously over the network. It was a trend carried over by one of its founders, Microsoft, to the console version of its popular PC which would later be known as Xbox Live. Xbox Live, along with other contributors such as the Playstation Network and Nintendo’s Wii online network now provide people all over the world the chance to participate in social interaction through the use of entertaining and engaging video games.

In short, video games entertain by way of interactive, experiencial media that provides millions of people the oppurtunity to interact socially without the added awkwardness of having to face the person they just crushed in scategories. They provide an unmatched level of social entertainment that board games have been unable to compete with. As someone who enjoys both the thrill of playing a video game that redefines the industry in every way and playing a classic board game with a group of friends, I have to say that for my money, it’s hard to beat the former.