I don’t need to tell you that one or two people have been playing and talking about Pokémon Go recently. Today, as it’s released here in Ireland, I came across a discussion online about whether people were going to play it (apparently my poor old phone isn’t sufficiently advanced enough to handle it, so I won’t be playing any time soon). What didn’t surprise me was that so many people were saying that they couldn’t believe that adults would play it, and that they themselves were far too mature for such childish pursuits.
I can understand they might feel like that based on the cartoonish trappings of the Pokémon games. But I also think it’s because they are just that: games. Or it’s because they’re called games. Modern videogames are much more technically sophisticated compared to the ones I grew up in, and there are a huge variety of them: from simple games for children to repetitive annual blockbusters, to small, mature adult-oriented indie games.
To me, they’re just as legitimate as other forms of entertainment, and yet people will always see them as childish pursuits simply because of the game part of videogame.
It reminds me of comic books. Yes, many of them are aimed at younger readers, but there’s still quite a variety of them out there, catering for many different tastes. And yet, it’s hard for some to take them seriously, because of the word comic. Even though very few of them are funny anymore! At the same time, I’m not fond of the word graphic novel. It feels like it’s for embarrassed about reading comics and are too desperate for people to know how mature they are.
It’s a pity that certain words can make us prejudiced so much, but perhaps there’s hope. Over time, the literal meaning of certain words can be forgotten once they become closely associated with a particular concept. After novels aren’t so novel anymore, but we have no problem using the word. Maybe in the the far future people will compare new entertainments with the prestige of comic books and videogames.