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Video game
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Video game

of Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System]]A video game is a game played using an electronic device with a visual display.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Video game market
3 Top video games
4 Critics of video games
5 Genres
6 See also
7 External links


Often "video game" is taken in a narrow sense to mean those games played on consoles for television and similar handhelds. The term "video game" is often not considered to include computer games and coin-operated arcade games, not only because the games in these three categories are historically different, but also because the activity of playing these three types of games is different. See history of the video game for more information. The terms electronic game and interactive entertainment both include video games, computer games, and coin-operated arcade games.

In the present day, however, there is a thin line between computer games and video games in terms of genre. Arcade games are still based upon gameplay that can be quickly learned and most involve progression through levels. Many games intended for computers are now just as prevalent on consoles, both of which have many of the same selections of titles. This is due to the fact that video game consoles have drastically increased in computing power and capabilites over the last few years to the point that they can handle games that were formerly only playable with computers. With the release of Microsoft's Xbox console, which was based on PC architecture, and which was developed with online gameplay in mind, most major computer game releases began coming out on consoles. The Entertainment Software Association reported that console games outsold computer games in the US by about 380% in 2003.

Video games are made by developers, who can be individuals, but are almost always a team consisting of designers, graphic designers and other artists, programmerss, sound designers, musicians, and other technicians. Most video game console development teams number anywhere from 20 to 50 people, with some teams exceeding 100. The average team size as well as the average development time of a game have grown along with the size of the industry and the technology involved in creating games. This has led to regular occurrences of missed deadlines and unfinished products, such as Duke Nukem Forever. See video game industry practices for more information.

From time to time the term interactive is used to describe a video game. This term is often used by people in the movie and television industries who are not comfortable with the idea that they are involved in making video games, due to the video game industry's persistent stereotype of making products targeted solely towards children. A line heard from an executive in such an industry might sound something like, "We're a movie production company, and now we're getting into interactive."

Video game market

Video games are very popular today, and the market has grown almost continuously since the end of the video game crash of 1983. The market research company NPD estimated that video game hardware, software, and accessories sold about US$10.3 billion in 2002. This was a 10% increase over the 2001 figure.

The video game market changes over the years as new video game consoles are introduced. This has happened in cycles of about 5 years or so, in which multiple manufacturers release their consoles usually within about a year of each other. Then, the console producers and the video game publishers enjoy several years of game sales until technology has improved enough for a new generation of consoles. At that point, games for the old consoles generally enjoy some residual sales, but the video game public as a whole moves on to the new generation of machines. The current major consoles are:

Top video games

The ten best selling console video games, according to NPD, ranked by total US units (April 2004'') were:

  1. Fight Night 2004, Electronic Arts, PS2
  2. NBA Ballers, Midway, PS2
  3. Fight Night 2004, Electronic Arts, Xbox
  4. MVP Baseball 2004, Electronic Arts, PS2
  5. Pokémon Colosseum, Nintendo, GameCube
  6. , Capcom, PS2
  7. , Ubisoft, Xbox
  8. NBA Ballers, Midway, Xbox
  9. , MicrosoftBungie, Xbox
  10. , Eidos Interactive, PS2

The ten best selling console video games, according to NPD, ranked by total US units (annual 2003'') were:

  1. Madden NFL 2004, Electronic Arts, PS2
  2. Pokémon Ruby, Nintendo of America, Game Boy Advance
  3. Pokémon Sapphire, Nintendo of America, Game Boy Advance
  4. , Electronic Arts, PS2
  5. , Nintendo of America, GameCube
  6. , Rockstar Games, PS2
  7. , Nintendo of America, GameCube
  8. Tony Hawk's Underground, Activision, PS2
  9. Enter the Matrix, Atari, PS2
  10. , Electronic Arts, PS2

See also: 2003 in video gaming, 2004 in video gaming

Critics of video games

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 this violence. It is particularly disturbing to some adults that some video games allow children to act out crimes (for example, the Grand Theft Auto series), and reward them for doing so. Some studies have shown that children who watch violent television shows and play violent video games have a tendency to act more aggressively on the playground, and some people are concerned that this aggression may presage violent behavior when children grow to adulthood. These concerns have led to voluntary rating systems adopted by the industry, such as the ESRB rating system in the United States, that are aimed at educating parents about the types of games their children are playing (or are begging to play).

Critics of movies, television, and books as a group look down on video games as an inferior form of entertainment. This is probably because of the observation that most video games have very little plot and even less character development, which may or may not be true. A frequent counterargument is that this is like complaining that a game of football does not contain much plot or character development, and that although video games include a narrative, they are really about acting in and against a virtual world, which is not primarily based upon passively seeing and hearing. Another point of view compares video games to the movies, which during the silent era were also considered mere entertainment.

See also: video game controversy, video game proponent


Nearly all video games fall into one or more genress. A genre is a category that classifies what kind of content and game play a game is likely to contain. For example, a first-person shooter is likely to contain a great deal of action, will require quick reflexes, and may contain graphic violence, while an adventure game will require a great deal of problem-solving and exploration.

See Computer and video game genres for more information.

See also

External links