Console game

Console game
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A console game is a form of interactive multimedia used for entertainment. The game consists of manipulable images (and usually sounds) generated by a video game console, and displayed on a television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to the console called a controller. The controller generally contains a number of buttons and directional controls (such as analog joysticks) each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling the images on the screen. The display, speakers, console, and controls of a console can also be incorporated into one small object known as a handheld game console.

Game multimedia usually comes in the form of a disc, which can be inserted into the game console. Recent advances have allowed games and game demos to be downloaded directly to the console via the Internet. Simpler consoles, however, may only have a fixed selection of built-in games. Cartridges were previously common storage devices for console game data, but due to technological advances, most video games are now stored on CDs, or higher capacity DVDs, or the Blu-ray Disc used by the PlayStation 3. The only games stored on cartridges now are the ones on the Nintendo DS, and they are called "cards".

Contents

Introduction

Video games generally each contain different gameplay, objectives, goals, control-schemes, characters, and other features. Each video game is usually contained on a specifically designed multimedia disc or cartridge, which are generally sold separately from the console and each other. In order to play the specific game, you need the specific console for which it was designed. For example, in order to play the video game Halo: Reach, you need to use a Xbox 360 and to play video games such as Uncharted 2 you need to use a PlayStation 3.

Console and display

Controllers

The different consoles each use different controllers. Controllers are input devices used to interact with the game. So, for example, if you had a game in which you must control a character in order to obtain a red apple, you would be able to unnnnse an analog stick or directional pad ("D Pad") to move your character towards the apple to collect it. Actions buttons, such as "x" on the PS3, will be used to pick up the red apple. Video games, of course, are usually much more complicated than this. In the game Pikmin for the Nintendo GameCube, the player uses the analog stick to control his character, the "C" analog stick to tell his Pikmin what to do or where to go, and the "A" button to throw the Pikmin.

Screen

Games require a screen of some sort. In the case of normal consoles, a television is the most common form of screen used. The screen is used as a source of visual output. As the player pushes buttons and moves analogs on the controller, the screen responds to the actions and changes take place on the screen, simulating actual movement.

Consoles use a large sized (albeit low-resolution) television as their visual output device: optimal for viewing at a greater distance by a larger audience. As a result, many video games are designed for local multiplayer play, with all players viewing the same TV set, with the screen divided into several sections and each player using a different controller.

Video games have generally had access to less computing power, less flexible computing power, and lower resolution displays. Dedicated consoles were advanced graphically, especially in animation. This is because video game consoles had dedicated graphics hardware, were able to load data instantly from ROM, and a low resolution output would look better on a television because it naturally blurs the pixels.

Ratings and censorship

ESRB

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gives videogames maturity ratings based on their content. For example, a game might be rated T for Teen if the game contained obscene words or violence. If a game contains explicit violence or sexual themes, it is likely to receive an M for Mature rating, which means that no one under 17 should play it. There is a rated "A/O" games for "Adults Only" these games have massive violence or nudity. There are no laws that prohibit children from purchasing "M" rated games in the United States. Laws attempting to prohibit minors from purchasing "M" rated games were established in California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Louisiana, but all were overturned on the grounds that the establishment of such laws were in violation of a child's First Amendment rights[citation needed]. However, many stores have opted to not sell such games to children anyway. Of course, video game laws vary from country to country. One of the most controversial games of all time, Manhunt 2 by Rockstar Studios, was denied a rating by the ESRB until Rockstar could make the content more suitable for a mature audience.

Video game manufacturers usually exercise tight control over the games that are made available on their systems, so unusual or special-interest games are more likely to appear as PC games. Free, casual, and browser-based games are usually played on available computers, mobile phones, or PDAs.

PEGI

Pan European Game Information (PEGI) is a system that was developed to standardize the game ratings in all of Europe (not just European Union, although the majority are EU members), the current members are: all EU members, except Germany and the 10 accession states; Norway; Switzerland. Iceland is expected to join soon, as are the 10 EU accession states. For all PEGI members, they use it as their sole system, with the exception of the UK, where if a game contains certain material, it must be rated by BBFC. The PEGI ratings are, in most parts (but not all) legally binding, and it is a criminal offence to sell a game to someone if it is rated above their age.

Germany: BPjM and USK

Stricter game rating laws mean that Germany does not operate within the PEGI. Instead, they adopt their own system of certification which is required by law. The Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK or Voluntary Certification of Entertainment Software) checks every game before release and assigns an age rating to it - either none (white), 6 years of age (yellow), 12 years of age (green), 16 years of age (blue) or 18 years of age (red). It is forbidden for anyone, retailers, friends or parents alike, to allow a child access to a game for which he or she is underage. If a game is particularly violent, it may be referred to the BPjM (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien - Federal Verification Office for Child-Endangering Media) who may opt to place it on the Index upon which the game may not be sold openly or advertised in the open media. Unofficially, the titles are not "banned" - adult gamers are still technically free to obtain the titles by other means, although it is still considered a felony to supply these titles to a child.

Criticism

From time to time, video games have been criticized by parents' groups, psychologists, politicians, and some religious organizations for allegedly glorifying violence, cruelty, and crime and exposing children to these elements. It is particularly disturbing to some that some video games allow children to act out crimes (for example, the Grand Theft Auto series), and reward them for doing so. Concerns that children who play violent video games may have a tendency to act more aggressively on the playground have led to voluntary rating systems adopted by the industry, such as the ESRB rating system in the United States and the PEGI rating system in Europe (see above), that are aimed at educating parents about the types of games their children should or should not be playing.

Most studies, however, reach the conclusion that violence in video games is not causally linked with aggressive tendencies. This was the conclusion of a 1999 study by the U.S. government, prompting Surgeon General David Satcher to say, “...we clearly associate media violence to aggressive behavior, but the impact was very small compared to other things. Some may not be happy with that, but that’s where the science is.” This was also the conclusion of a meta-analysis by psychologist Johnathan Freedman, who reviewed over 200 published studies and found that the majority did not find a causal link.

See also


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