A media arts teacher discusses National Video Games Day

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Happy National Video Games Day to all gamers!

According to Statista, a data website focused on marketing and consumer behavior, the video game industry raked in more than $95 billion in the United States in 2022 alone.

Gaming options continue to grow for consumers, with arcade bars like Transmission on Main Street and Bang Back Pinball Lounge at Five Points providing places to socialize for gaming enthusiasts.

Chaz Evans, professor of media arts at the University of South Carolina, teaches courses on video game production and development. Evans encourages his students to come up with new video game concepts.

“(Video games) don’t seem to be going away. Rather the opposite. They seem to be finding more and more ways to occupy our time in different corners of our lives that we didn’t think they fit into in the past. All the more reason to make sure we teach people how to make games more thoughtfully, conscientiously and comprehensively,” says Evans.

Evans says discussing the cultural impact a new game will have is just as important as learning how to make it.

“To teach them in a technical vacuum, we miss so much about how we communicate with each other through them and what they mean to us. And so the way I build a course, they have to be taught within a larger cultural context,” says Evans.

So what’s next for the gaming world? Evans says interactive art exhibits with custom ways to play have become an option for the future of gaming.

He also thinks the VR world of the Metaverse is still going strong.

“There are still very few people who use VR as part of their regular media feed. And it’s been around for a very long time. What I’d love to see happen in these types of ideas is to see people create weird, impossible, experimental, absurd ideas that don’t exist anywhere else. Because it would be such an accomplishment of this alternate dimension that we could create with technology,” says Evans.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, more than 214 million Americans play video games and 64% of American adults play video games in one form or another.

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Donnie J. Milburn