Video games, mirror of the times

When I was a kid, a famous Japanese console brand chanted it loud and clear in its commercials: ” It’s stronger than you. “ Three decades later, this slogan has not lost any of its relevance. It’s hard to resist the call of video games. Especially at 10 or 12 years old, in the midst of the Covid pandemic, in a world studded with screens, a world from which we have been ordered to escape. Especially when your friends only talk about it all day long.

I naively imagined that the attraction of Stevenson or Tolkien would be stronger than that of Battlelands or Fifa Football. That it was enough to be devoid of television to escape the pixelated sirens of planetary entertainment. Mistake ! Now, a simple touchscreen tablet gives you access to endless games. No need for a SCART socket or a joystick. Even less diskette.

Watching my kids over the past few months, I realized that the brave Rick Dangerous of my childhood, the clumsy adventurer who transcended the rainy Sundays of year 91, on my father’s Atari 520, had taken a serious hit. old.

Problem: thirty years later, haven’t video games lost this primitive innocence? The progress of graphics, the fluidity of movements and the sound realism of current games sometimes blur the border between virtual and reality. Even those who target the youth have something of anxiety in their frantic pace, their garish colors and their simplistic scenarios. More worrying, many of them allow you to play in a network, to compete with “gamers” around the world. Not really reassuring.

So, one evening, I ended up bringing out my “Nes” console, which I found recently on an advertising site. I was determined to impose the harmless Mario Bros on my descendants, convinced that this offering would turn them away from their idols. You have to see their faces in the living room. The square machine, gray and dusty, makes them laugh softly. Not to mention the controllers with dubious ergonomics, for XXI fingerse century. And then, of course, nothing works as expected. The beast is seized. The connection poorly suited to the family projector. Total fiasco.

“And you, don’t you want to play with us, instead?” “ my son calls out to me, brandishing, like Moses, a sparkling tablet. This is how I ended up immersing myself in Brawl Stars, a strategy and shooter game very popular in its generation. Without being completely seduced, stringing together the games (and, let’s say it, the defeats) allowed me to understand what could captivate him. Adrenaline, skill, a taste for a challenge… Finally, the salt of adventure has not changed much in all these years.

“You cannot enter the other’s house with your own keys”, confided to me one day a person full of wisdom. It is very fair. The art of education is sometimes played out in these reversals where our children themselves initiate us to what makes them vibrate. And these moments are precious. Unlike video game avatars, we only have one life.


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