Getting to Grips with Video Gaming’s Past, Present and Future: Exploring “Platform Studies”

Thirty years ago, video games captured the imagination and the attention of a society. They served as a touchstone for both promise and anxiety about our identity, both individual and as a whole. They forced us to ask hard questions about youth culture, about attitudes regarding leisure and work. They challenged educators to rethink their means of engaging young people in learning. They provided new tools for the forward-thinking and they were an obvious target of those looking to score easy political points, too. Video games have been shape-shifters, and they will continue to be, changing in meaning and importance based on their beholder, their utility, their dollar value. But the essence of video games, with their reliance on novelty in both the cultural representations that make up their content and in the technological power they need to run, places them irrevocably at the fore of the new, and of the future.