Thursday, May 30 2024

The word video game is often associated with entertainment, leisure and fun, but for many of those who
study the field, video games are more than just a hobby.

According to Giuseppe Romano, who presents his theory in a work entitled Mass Effect (Lupetti –e Editori di comunicazione, Italy, 2014,
14€), video games are real worlds with their own particular
characteristics, laws and unique capabilities.

There are countless categories of video games, and the author provides
examples to distinguish the subdivisions. But at the bottom, they are

playful and narrative environments, into which is woven a content,
exploration and the construction of a story.

For Romano, video games present a “poetic navigable space”, which coincides
with a representation of the gamer’s creative experience.

He explains how video games have all the effects of a game, and retain all
the characteristics of a game, but that they also have a particular
connection to the narrative world.

Video games inherit something from movies, TV, theatre and literature. They
result as innovative, with respect to each of these areas, in aspects that
are presented and examined in his text.

In a particular way the author develops the theme of video games as persuasive games, and he focuses on the involvement that
characterizes them. He also explains that, as an interactive means of
communication, video games can reach a certain level of empathy that is
never reached through other traditional means.

Due to the high level of participation, Romano emphasizes that the video
game world must take into account the distinction between good and evil.
The gamer, who is living firsthand this represented reality, experiences
this distinction in a certain sense. It is the gamer who is committed to
pursuing an objective, not the character on the screen, even if he does
this through a virtual dimension; he uses his intellectual skills to solve
puzzles, to escape, to hide, and to retrieve objects. This identification
that the player feels with the character is there, whether the end goal of
the game is good or bad.

In Mass effect Romano also speaks about the strong impact video
games have on a social level. He discusses the changes that are linked to
the rise of the digital age and the context of new media that has permitted
video games to emerge on the market and to become a significant cultural
and economic reality. The author also points out the marketing strategies
and advertising messages that are related to the unique product that is the
video game.

Romano’s work proves to be, as a whole, interesting, full of insight, and
accessible, both to those who are engaged in the field of social
communications, as well as to those who are passionate about the subject or
scholars who want to know a bit more about the compelling and controversial
world of video games.

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