Poll: Books vs Video Games

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I was wondering which one was a better way to pass time, on one hand some books are interesting and you can imagine what happened but Video games are interactable, have multiplayer, and in some games like the gta series you can do whatever you want

Apples and oranges. Books and videogames are two very different media, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and can't really be compared. Whichever is 'better' is entirely up to preference.

What the monkey said.

I love both books and games...equally but differently.
They can't BE compared to each other.

You can compare books to TV or to films or theatre but it doesn't really work well comparing them to games.

Games have player interaction that changes the entire basis of the media, giving you the front row seat to the story as you are the protagonist. Books are telling you the story from the perspective of someone else, its not you in the driving seat and that gives you a different experience from your own.

Eh, others have pointed to games being interactive, but I'd point out games that are very railroady to the extent you are just watching or reading someone else's story, the latter being very much like reading a book sometimes.

That games are so varied in scope means they can't (as a whole) be compared to books. Now, a totally railroady text adventure, perhaps. Or, a CYOA style gamebook on the other side.

I dunno, which is better, the number 4 or the letter J? My shirt has 4 buttons, but you can't spell Janice without a J.

As people have said they can't really be compared but if I had to give up playing games or reading books I'd...probably give up books. I love reading and have always got a book on the go but games are more engaging. In a book you're just reading how someone else deals with a situation (the same can be said about watching a film) but, with a game, when something happens, you're the one that has to figure out how to deal with it. You can think the main guy in a book is doing the wring thing and be telling him what he SHOULD be doing but, in a game, you can put your money where your mouth is and see whether or not your bright idea is the way to go.

Basically what Chimpzy said. You're comparing 2 vastly different forms of media and which you think is better comes down to personal preference.

Ok thanks

My two loves! If someone held a gun to my head and said choose one, I would have to go with books. They were part of my life before video games came along.

Chimpzy:
Apples and oranges. Books and videogames are two very different media, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and can't really be compared. Whichever is 'better' is entirely up to preference.

So true. Although I think comparing games with books is more accurate than comparing games to movies.

Books win because you can still use them in a power outage. :P

Seriously though, I like both, both have a place in my life, and they really don't compare well with each other.

I have finished 5 books in the time it took me to get to the Outlaw's Rush in NFS Payback, and I have been basically ignoring Forza 7 (the obviously superior game) because I can just play a race or two and get off while my wife is busy, after the kids are in bed, whereas I like to take my time and play the longer races in Forza.

What! Books is winning. On a gaming site! You people disappoint me!

OT: Books are alright. I don't actually read much, but I listen to audiobooks when I'm doing chores. I'd rather play games though. Or watch other people play games. Or read about people's experiences with games.

Meh, books tell stories. Games tell stories, but are interactive. They arent that different. Games are better, cause they can tell stories much the same way as books can, but also different.

What can a book do that a video game cant? All I can think of is the lack of need for electricity, but beyond that?

Saelune:

What can a book do that a video game cant? All I can think of is the lack of need for electricity, but beyond that?

-Better control of pacing (even in the most linear games, intended pacing can be interrupted by the player)

-Better use of introspection (in that it's far easier to get inside a character's head in a book than almost any other medium)

-Generally better written (this includes thematic weight, cultural relevance, etc.)

-Far more accessible (no technological hurdle for instance, nor are mechanical skills required)

Hawki:

Saelune:

What can a book do that a video game cant? All I can think of is the lack of need for electricity, but beyond that?

-Better control of pacing (even in the most linear games, intended pacing can be interrupted by the player)

-Better use of introspection (in that it's far easier to get inside a character's head in a book than almost any other medium)

-Generally better written (this includes thematic weight, cultural relevance, etc.)

-Far more accessible (no technological hurdle for instance, nor are mechanical skills required)

Technically a book's pacing can be interrupted by the player too if you just stop reading.

Nothing is stopping games from letting you inside a character's head. Hearing a character's inner thoughts is the same as reading them.

Now we're getting blatantly subjective. Plenty of shitty books out there that are poorly written.

Give you a point there, though an inability to read doesnt limit a person from enjoying a game. I was playing games before I could read, or even use a toilet.

I hate to disagree with other people here, but you can compare any entertainment medium you wish if you are just comparing how you prefer to entertain yourself. It's apples and oranges in one sense I suppose, but in another sense, it's totally fair to compare two kinds of things people use to pass the time.

I feel like people who say this don't to want to admit that they spend a lot more time with video games than books because it seems less intellectual, so they say they are completely different and can't compare. lol. Since this is primarily a video game forum, I would imagine a lot of people here spend a lot of time playing video games.

So, while I'd love to say books to make myself look good (as I write for a living and I do read quite a bit), I'll have to be honest and say I enjoy video games more. Otherwise I'd be lying to myself.

Saelune:

Nothing is stopping games from letting you inside a character's head. Hearing a character's inner thoughts is the same as reading them.

Because that worked so well in Dune. :P

Character monologues in visual mediums are generally regarded as poor storytelling. They're rarely, if ever executed well.

The opposite holds true as well - monologues in books are generally irritating because there's rarely, if ever a reason for a character to speak their thoughts out loud.

Saelune:

Now we're getting blatantly subjective. Plenty of shitty books out there that are poorly written.

Hence why I said "generally." If we take the aggregate of every book ever written and compare it to the aggregate of every game ever written, games are going to come up short.

Saelune:

Technically a book's pacing can be interrupted by the player too if you just stop reading.

Not in the same manner. If I'm writing a book (and I've written plenty of material and posted it online), I have full control over the flow of the narrative. The reader may jump around in that narrative, or stop reading, but there's a set sequence of events. Games

Saelune:

though an inability to read doesnt limit a person from enjoying a game. I was playing games before I could read, or even use a toilet.

And who doesn't have the ability to read in the developed world?

Also helps that books are far cheaper than games (in general).

Hawki:

Saelune:

Nothing is stopping games from letting you inside a character's head. Hearing a character's inner thoughts is the same as reading them.

Because that worked so well in Dune. :P

Character monologues in visual mediums are generally regarded as poor storytelling. They're rarely, if ever executed well.

The opposite holds true as well - monologues in books are generally irritating because there's rarely, if ever a reason for a character to speak their thoughts out loud.

Saelune:

Now we're getting blatantly subjective. Plenty of shitty books out there that are poorly written.

Hence why I said "generally." If we take the aggregate of every book ever written and compare it to the aggregate of every game ever written, games are going to come up short.

Saelune:

Technically a book's pacing can be interrupted by the player too if you just stop reading.

Not in the same manner. If I'm writing a book (and I've written plenty of material and posted it online), I have full control over the flow of the narrative. The reader may jump around in that narrative, or stop reading, but there's a set sequence of events. Games

Saelune:

though an inability to read doesnt limit a person from enjoying a game. I was playing games before I could read, or even use a toilet.

And who doesn't have the ability to read in the developed world?

Also helps that books are far cheaper than games (in general).

Havent seen Dune. Whether or not it is commonly done well doesnt change that the can be done at all, and perhaps alot of the issue is that people still cling to books out of intellectual dishonesty cause people just think 'books = smart'.

Are we? There are plenty of terrible written stories out there. Why, Id imagine the age of written word might be a disadvantage here.

...Games what? You seem to have accidentally left out part of your post.

Young children. As I mentioned, I have been gaming before I could read, ie when I was a young child.

Price of books vs games is where we start to touch the irrelevant part of the comparisons.

Saelune:
Havent seen Dune. Whether or not it is commonly done well doesnt change that the can be done at all,

Anything can be "done." Whether something is done well is the more pertinent issue.

Saelune:
and perhaps alot of the issue is that people still cling to books out of intellectual dishonesty cause people just think 'books = smart'.

That's right. People cling to books out of "intellectual dishonesty." It's not as if writing hasn't existed for millennia, and the concept of books in their present form have existed for centuries. It's not as if there's no other reason why books are the subject of academic discussion and school curicula and games aren't.

There's some bias against games, and I'll be the first to defend them, but so far games haven't produced anything on the level of the greatest books (or films for that matter) in terms of what we might call literary fiction or "high art."

Saelune:

Are we? There are plenty of terrible written stories out there. Why, Id imagine the age of written word might be a disadvantage here.

Fine, let me put it this way:

According to Sturgeon's Law, 90% of everything is crap. There's more books in existence than games. Ergo, if 10% of games and books aren't crap, then there's still going to be more books.

It also helps that books have been around longer and have had more time to hone their craft. Also helps that writing a book takes far less technological know-how than coding a game. Plus, a game can exist without a story, to the extent that some decry the existence of story in games at all. Books can't exist without story unless they're non-fiction, and even then non-fiction has a clear goal of informing the reader and hopefully contributing to the shared cultural and intellectual zeitgeist. In contrast, let's take Tetris. I like Tetris. But it's purely mechanical. There's no narrative, and no non-fictional benefit. And generally speaking, gameplay comes before story.

I like books. I like games. But while I seek out story in games, books as a whole have a massive advantage in terms of narrative and artistic merit. Or, to put it another way, no game has ever achieved the amount of cultural relevance as the likes of, say, Citizen Kane, or the Great Gatsby, or any number of "greats" that exist in other mediums. Books, as a whole, have always had an edge over games in terms of narrative, because not only have they been around longer, but it's much easier to craft a story in a book whereas in a game, story has to accomodate gameplay.

Saelune:

Young children. As I mentioned, I have been gaming before I could read, ie when I was a young child.

And I was reading before playing games, so, um, yay?

Saelune:

Price of books vs games is where we start to touch the irrelevant part of the comparisons.

This began with asking what can books do that games can't. I'd say the question of accessibility is pretty pertinent.

dscross:

I feel like people who say this don't to want to admit that they spend a lot more time with video games than books because it seems less intellectual, so they say they are completely different and can't compare. lol. Since this is primarily a video game forum, I would imagine a lot of people here spend a lot of time playing video games.

So, while I'd love to say books to make myself look good (as I write for a living and I do read quite a bit), I'll have to be honest and say I enjoy video games more. Otherwise I'd be lying to myself.

That may be true to an extent, but it's not hard to see why more people as a whole would spend more time with books, in that:

*Books are cheaper.

*Books are far more accessible (in terms of technological know-how and time investment)

*Books have been around longer, so therefore have more multi-generational appeal, and a far wider range of material to choose from.

Admittedly I write for a hobby and work in libraries so maybe I'm biased as well, but while games have improved in areas ranging from graphics to story over the years, I don't see them superseeding books where books have their advantages set in stone.

dscross:
I hate to disagree with other people here, but you can compare any entertainment medium you wish if you are just comparing how you prefer to entertain yourself. It's apples and oranges in one sense I suppose, but in another sense, it's totally fair to compare two kinds of things people use to pass the time.

Dang it, you ninja'd me.

For me personally, I rather spend my time with a video game than a book. As I'm a slow reader, reading books just takes up too much time for me, I can stand to listen to audio books, but it's not something I do often; the last one I listened to was The Martian a couple of months before its theatrical release.

Hawki:

Saelune:
Havent seen Dune. Whether or not it is commonly done well doesnt change that the can be done at all,

Anything can be "done." Whether something is done well is the more pertinent issue.

Saelune:
and perhaps alot of the issue is that people still cling to books out of intellectual dishonesty cause people just think 'books = smart'.

That's right. People cling to books out of "intellectual dishonesty." It's not as if writing hasn't existed for millennia, and the concept of books in their present form have existed for centuries. It's not as if there's no other reason why books are the subject of academic discussion and school curicula and games aren't.

There's some bias against games, and I'll be the first to defend them, but so far games haven't produced anything on the level of the greatest books (or films for that matter) in terms of what we might call literary fiction or "high art."

Saelune:

Are we? There are plenty of terrible written stories out there. Why, Id imagine the age of written word might be a disadvantage here.

Fine, let me put it this way:

According to Sturgeon's Law, 90% of everything is crap. There's more books in existence than games. Ergo, if 10% of games and books aren't crap, then there's still going to be more books.

It also helps that books have been around longer and have had more time to hone their craft. Also helps that writing a book takes far less technological know-how than coding a game. Plus, a game can exist without a story, to the extent that some decry the existence of story in games at all. Books can't exist without story unless they're non-fiction, and even then non-fiction has a clear goal of informing the reader and hopefully contributing to the shared cultural and intellectual zeitgeist. In contrast, let's take Tetris. I like Tetris. But it's purely mechanical. There's no narrative, and no non-fictional benefit. And generally speaking, gameplay comes before story.

I like books. I like games. But while I seek out story in games, books as a whole have a massive advantage in terms of narrative and artistic merit. Or, to put it another way, no game has ever achieved the amount of cultural relevance as the likes of, say, Citizen Kane, or the Great Gatsby, or any number of "greats" that exist in other mediums. Books, as a whole, have always had an edge over games in terms of narrative, because not only have they been around longer, but it's much easier to craft a story in a book whereas in a game, story has to accomodate gameplay.

Saelune:

Young children. As I mentioned, I have been gaming before I could read, ie when I was a young child.

And I was reading before playing games, so, um, yay?

Saelune:

Price of books vs games is where we start to touch the irrelevant part of the comparisons.

This began with asking what can books do that games can't. I'd say the question of accessibility is pretty pertinent.

dscross:

I feel like people who say this don't to want to admit that they spend a lot more time with video games than books because it seems less intellectual, so they say they are completely different and can't compare. lol. Since this is primarily a video game forum, I would imagine a lot of people here spend a lot of time playing video games.

So, while I'd love to say books to make myself look good (as I write for a living and I do read quite a bit), I'll have to be honest and say I enjoy video games more. Otherwise I'd be lying to myself.

That may be true to an extent, but it's not hard to see why more people as a whole would spend more time with books, in that:

*Books are cheaper.

*Books are far more accessible (in terms of technological know-how and time investment)

*Books have been around longer, so therefore have more multi-generational appeal, and a far wider range of material to choose from.

Admittedly I write for a hobby and work in libraries so maybe I'm biased as well, but while games have improved in areas ranging from graphics to story over the years, I don't see them superseeding books where books have their advantages set in stone.

Yeah, give gaming more time. I have no doubt gaming will surpass books if they havent already, outside of perhaps mere record keeping.

There are tons of reasons why books are subject of academic discussion and school curicula and games arent. Schools are stagant and outdated and regularly dont update, even when it comes to books. There is a major bias against gaming. Schools and learning that embrace gaming though, tend to be very effective.

Cause of Dynasty Warriors I can remember tons of info about one of China's greatest novels. Thats not even going into how it gave me an interest in learning the actual history that both the game and the novel are about (and while Im sure many would criticize me using DW as an example of learning, but the novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" rewrote history before the games did)

Yes, a game can exist without a story. Sounds like a pro, not a con.

At best, books can do one thing really well, while games can do many things really well and will only improve over time. Books cant 'improve' at this point without well, no longer being books.

My point being children can experience more complex games before they can experience more complex, and even less complex books. You're just intentionally ignoring my point here.

And accessability is also being addressed with my children point.

Books are stagnant, and you are only hammering that in for me.

Saelune:
Yeah, give gaming more time. I have no doubt gaming will surpass books if they havent already, outside of perhaps mere record keeping.

I can't see that ever happening, though it depends on what sense we mean "surpass."

Saelune:
There are tons of reasons why books are subject of academic discussion and school curicula and games arent.

I know, namely:

-Books tend to have deeper, more thought provoking narratives and themes.

-Books are easier to provide to students in terms of raw cost.

-Books are more accessible - everyone is capable of reading a book. If you wanted to study a game, a significant of the class wouldn't be able to do so due to mecahnics, not to mention the colossal time investment.

Saelune:

Schools are stagant and outdated and regularly dont update, even when it comes to books.

That's a major generalization. Also, if we want to discuss books in English literature, they don't really need "updating." 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is as relevant now as it was when it was written. 'The Great Gatsby' still exists as a critique of 1930s culture. 'The Odyssey' still exists as a cornerstone in early Western literature, and Shakespeare's plays, regardless of what you think of them, can't be ignored in terms of historical content. In literature, older books are going to be more prevalant than newer books because they've had more time to be dissected and judged.

If you want to talk about the issue of non-fiction being updated, then that's one books have a harder time overcoming when compared to the Internet, but it's a moot point in this kind of context. "Edutainment" can be useful, but there's still no game that's going to give you the same level of knowledge as an actual encyclopedia.

Saelune:
There is a major bias against gaming.

I agree that there's bias, but even if there wasn't, there aren't many, if any games that can be held up in the same literary context as the above works I've mentioned. Not to say that there aren't games with stories/themes that can provoke interesting discussion, but I can't name any game with these aspects that could equal the literary works I mentioned.

Saelune:

Cause of Dynasty Warriors I can remember tons of info about one of China's greatest novels. Thats not even going into how it gave me an interest in learning the actual history that both the game and the novel are about (and while Im sure many would criticize me using DW as an example of learning, but the novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" rewrote history before the games did)

So in essence, the game is supplementing the novel rather than it being the other way round.

It's an example I almost brought up, but I'll bring it up here - games can be inspired by books, but it's rare for books to be inspired by games. Three Kingdoms inspires Dynasty Warriors, Dune inspires Warhammer 40,000, Heart of Darkness (eventually) inspires Spec Ops: The Line. Games are rarely trailblazers in narrative context - look at any game with a fictional world, and you can usually spot its influences.

Saelune:

Yes, a game can exist without a story. Sounds like a pro, not a con.

It's arguably a pro, but in the context of literary discussion, it's a con, because the story is subservient to the gameplay, whereas in a book, one can focus entirely on story without any drawbacks (that's an advantage of books in general - you don't need to worry about the 'budget' for your scenes.

Saelune:

At best, books can do one thing really well, while games can do many things really well and will only improve over time. Books cant 'improve' at this point without well, no longer being books.

As I've mentioned, the downside of this is that games can become dated mechanically. Books don't have that problem.

Saelune:

My point being children can experience more complex games before they can experience more complex, and even less complex books. You're just intentionally ignoring my point here.

I'm not ignoring it, I'm contesting it as a point, because you're simply using personal experience. Children can play games before reading...and? The opposite holds true as well.

Saelune:

And accessability is also being addressed with my children point.

Even then you still need to get the software running, not to mention the larger price point.

Saelune:

Books are stagnant, and you are only hammering that in for me.

I'd say books are far more refined. I can read a book from decades/centuries ago, and it'll still hold up. Games have a harder time standing the test of time.

Hawki:

That may be true to an extent, but it's not hard to see why more people as a whole would spend more time with books, in that:

*Books are cheaper.

*Books are far more accessible (in terms of technological know-how and time investment)

*Books have been around longer, so therefore have more multi-generational appeal, and a far wider range of material to choose from.

Admittedly I write for a hobby and work in libraries so maybe I'm biased as well, but while games have improved in areas ranging from graphics to story over the years, I don't see them superseeding books where books have their advantages set in stone.

In general society, I think there is certainly an argument for this based on your points. However, as i said, I wouldn't imagine people would prefer books on a video game forum (in the main). People who regularly post on a website which is mainly dedicated to video games are usually, and maybe I'm being presumptuous, more passionate about video games than many of their other hobbies.

Personally, purely for time reasons, I listen to more audiobooks than read written books at the moment. That way I can do it when I'm out and about. I used to read a lot more. I think I go through phases depending on where I am in my life, mentally.

Seeing the recent discussion, I would like to clarify my initial answer.

I read more books than I play games. I read on the bus/train on the way to work and waiting for them to arrive at the station/their destination. I read them while eating lunch and dinner (unless I'm at home and watching a movie/show instead). I read them at the loo. I read while lying in bed, tiring out my eyes, to be able to sleep..etc.
Mostly Sci-Fi, with some Fantasy and Comedic Fantasy as well.

I play games (on PC, stationary), not for their stories (I avoid and dislike Visual Novels) really, but for the actions I can do in them and the gameplay mechanics that brings those actions about.
I hate that action being interrupted, subjugated, displaced or otherwise diluted by such things as quicktime events, scripted actions, jarring cutscenes, interfering narrator, wonky/skewed/constricting camera..you name it, put front and center.
Visuals, as in graphics and cutscenes, as well as audio and story, should only ever act as a supplement or enhancement to the underlying gameplay which are brought forth through mechanics and actions.

Therefor, I can not choose between Books or Games.
They fill entirely separate niches for me and the continued blended dilution of games have me sorely disappointed.

Vendor-Lazarus:
Seeing the recent discussion, I would like to clarify my initial answer.

I read more books than I play games. I read on the bus/train on the way to work and waiting for them to arrive at the station/their destination. I read them while eating lunch and dinner (unless I'm at home and watching a movie/show instead). I read them at the loo. I read while lying in bed, tiring out my eyes, to be able to sleep..etc.
Mostly Sci-Fi, with some Fantasy and Comedic Fantasy as well.

I play games (on PC, stationary), not for their stories (I avoid and dislike Visual Novels) really, but for the actions I can do in them and the gameplay mechanics that brings those actions about.
I hate that action being interrupted, subjugated, displaced or otherwise diluted by such things as quicktime events, scripted actions, jarring cutscenes, interfering narrator, wonky/skewed/constricting camera..you name it, put front and center.
Visuals, as in graphics and cutscenes, as well as audio and story, should only ever act as a supplement or enhancement to the underlying gameplay which are brought forth through mechanics and actions.

Therefor, I can not choose between Books or Games.
They fill entirely separate niches for me and the continued blended dilution of games have me sorely disappointed.

Which you do enjoy more when you are doing them though? Like, to kick back and relax.

dscross:

Vendor-Lazarus:
Seeing the recent discussion, I would like to clarify my initial answer.

I read more books than I play games. I read on the bus/train on the way to work and waiting for them to arrive at the station/their destination. I read them while eating lunch and dinner (unless I'm at home and watching a movie/show instead). I read them at the loo. I read while lying in bed, tiring out my eyes, to be able to sleep..etc.
Mostly Sci-Fi, with some Fantasy and Comedic Fantasy as well.

I play games (on PC, stationary), not for their stories (I avoid and dislike Visual Novels) really, but for the actions I can do in them and the gameplay mechanics that brings those actions about.
I hate that action being interrupted, subjugated, displaced or otherwise diluted by such things as quicktime events, scripted actions, jarring cutscenes, interfering narrator, wonky/skewed/constricting camera..you name it, put front and center.
Visuals, as in graphics and cutscenes, as well as audio and story, should only ever act as a supplement or enhancement to the underlying gameplay which are brought forth through mechanics and actions.

Therefor, I can not choose between Books or Games.
They fill entirely separate niches for me and the continued blended dilution of games have me sorely disappointed.

Which you do enjoy more when you are doing them though? Like, to kick back and relax.

Neither. To kickback and relax, as you put it, I watch movies and shows. Many of them even require you to disable your higher faculties to enjoy. Plotholes and cognitive dissonance are drowned out by explosions, humor and drama.
I read to escape into another world and enjoy it's story. On an intellectual plane. I can't really think of a no-brainer book..?
I play games to escape into another world and enjoy the actions I can perform in it. Things I can't do in real life. There are both intellectual and no-brainer versions of games.

Saelune:
Meh, books tell stories. Games tell stories, but are interactive. They arent that different. Games are better, cause they can tell stories much the same way as books can, but also different.

What can a book do that a video game cant? All I can think of is the lack of need for electricity, but beyond that?

When I think of my favourite books, 1984, Homage to Catalonia, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Max Havelaar, there are various things they do which I wouldn't expect in games. Even though the things I am about to mention are in principle possible in games, they tend not to happen or at least not to happen well. Long theoretical exposition for example. War and Peace contains elaborate thoughts on how to write history, how not to obfuscate the accidental way things happen and the limited effect of human decisionmaking. 1984 contains similar pieces of text talking about the functioning of a totalitarian society. Parts of these books straddle the line between storytelling and writing an essay in ways that I haven't seen a videogame do. The density of concepts and reflection can be far higher when there isn't gameplay in between and just uninterrupted text.

Sometimes storytelling can also be actively harmed by players working out the exact boundaries of certain possibilities. When reading some story involving magic I don't want to know some precise number that governs the functioning of magic. That robs it of the magic. In a game I'd likely have a meter telling me to wait 7 more seconds before I can recast fireball for 400 firedamage. A lot of magic in Lord of the Rings involves a struggle of the will against temptation and overpowering inclination. In a videogame that would get reduced to a cutscene or a buttonmashing quicktime event. Another example is the gameplay just contradicting the story. Why can a single bullet harm my character? It has shields and armour that shield it from at least five bullets in gameplay.

A difference concerning the production is that books tend to be one-man effords, maybe a couple of people in some cases. There is no management structure, no need to return on investments or anything like that, just an author who can be much less compromising than a large studio funded by an even larger publisher. This can lead to more focussed and experimental work.

All of these things can probably be worked around in a video game if you wanted to (and videogames doing such things well tend to be very interesting and good), but they can also be worked around rather naturally by just writing a book. If my interaction doesn't add anything to your story or point anyway, best to leave it out.

Vendor-Lazarus:

Neither. To kickback and relax, as you put it, I watch movies and shows. Many of them even require you to disable your higher faculties to enjoy. Plotholes and cognitive dissonance are drowned out by explosions, humor and drama.
I read to escape into another world and enjoy it's story. On an intellectual plane. I can't really think of a no-brainer book..?
I play games to escape into another world and enjoy the actions I can perform in it. Things I can't do in real life. There are both intellectual and no-brainer versions of games.

Lol - I was just asking you to choose the one you enjoyed more if you had to pick. Forget the relax bit. OK, if you could only do one or the other for the rest of your life, which would you pick.

Pseudonym:

Saelune:
Meh, books tell stories. Games tell stories, but are interactive. They arent that different. Games are better, cause they can tell stories much the same way as books can, but also different.

What can a book do that a video game cant? All I can think of is the lack of need for electricity, but beyond that?

When I think of my favourite books, 1984, Homage to Catalonia, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Max Havelaar, there are various things they do which I wouldn't expect in games.

You've read War and Peace all the way through?!?

Hawki:

Saelune:
Yeah, give gaming more time. I have no doubt gaming will surpass books if they havent already, outside of perhaps mere record keeping.

I can't see that ever happening, though it depends on what sense we mean "surpass."

Saelune:
There are tons of reasons why books are subject of academic discussion and school curicula and games arent.

I know, namely:

-Books tend to have deeper, more thought provoking narratives and themes.

-Books are easier to provide to students in terms of raw cost.

-Books are more accessible - everyone is capable of reading a book. If you wanted to study a game, a significant of the class wouldn't be able to do so due to mecahnics, not to mention the colossal time investment.

Saelune:

Schools are stagant and outdated and regularly dont update, even when it comes to books.

That's a major generalization. Also, if we want to discuss books in English literature, they don't really need "updating." 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is as relevant now as it was when it was written. 'The Great Gatsby' still exists as a critique of 1930s culture. 'The Odyssey' still exists as a cornerstone in early Western literature, and Shakespeare's plays, regardless of what you think of them, can't be ignored in terms of historical content. In literature, older books are going to be more prevalant than newer books because they've had more time to be dissected and judged.

If you want to talk about the issue of non-fiction being updated, then that's one books have a harder time overcoming when compared to the Internet, but it's a moot point in this kind of context. "Edutainment" can be useful, but there's still no game that's going to give you the same level of knowledge as an actual encyclopedia.

Saelune:
There is a major bias against gaming.

I agree that there's bias, but even if there wasn't, there aren't many, if any games that can be held up in the same literary context as the above works I've mentioned. Not to say that there aren't games with stories/themes that can provoke interesting discussion, but I can't name any game with these aspects that could equal the literary works I mentioned.

Saelune:

Cause of Dynasty Warriors I can remember tons of info about one of China's greatest novels. Thats not even going into how it gave me an interest in learning the actual history that both the game and the novel are about (and while Im sure many would criticize me using DW as an example of learning, but the novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" rewrote history before the games did)

So in essence, the game is supplementing the novel rather than it being the other way round.

It's an example I almost brought up, but I'll bring it up here - games can be inspired by books, but it's rare for books to be inspired by games. Three Kingdoms inspires Dynasty Warriors, Dune inspires Warhammer 40,000, Heart of Darkness (eventually) inspires Spec Ops: The Line. Games are rarely trailblazers in narrative context - look at any game with a fictional world, and you can usually spot its influences.

Saelune:

Yes, a game can exist without a story. Sounds like a pro, not a con.

It's arguably a pro, but in the context of literary discussion, it's a con, because the story is subservient to the gameplay, whereas in a book, one can focus entirely on story without any drawbacks (that's an advantage of books in general - you don't need to worry about the 'budget' for your scenes.

Saelune:

At best, books can do one thing really well, while games can do many things really well and will only improve over time. Books cant 'improve' at this point without well, no longer being books.

As I've mentioned, the downside of this is that games can become dated mechanically. Books don't have that problem.

Saelune:

My point being children can experience more complex games before they can experience more complex, and even less complex books. You're just intentionally ignoring my point here.

I'm not ignoring it, I'm contesting it as a point, because you're simply using personal experience. Children can play games before reading...and? The opposite holds true as well.

Saelune:

And accessability is also being addressed with my children point.

Even then you still need to get the software running, not to mention the larger price point.

Saelune:

Books are stagnant, and you are only hammering that in for me.

I'd say books are far more refined. I can read a book from decades/centuries ago, and it'll still hold up. Games have a harder time standing the test of time.

Ofcourse you dont see it. I honestly think you're far too biased at this point.

Deeper themes? Thats subjective. Also doesnt help all the people who so easily look down on games. I still get amazed when I think about Bioshock's story. And yeah yeah, inspired by books, but it takes it further by involving the player's seeming lack of freedom to change the story and you -can not- do that in a passive medium like books (or film). Spec Ops does something similar.

When more people treat games as a legit artform, then its greatness will shine through.

A true generalization. Many still rely on archaic and outdated methods and views of teaching and generations of students suffer for it. But now this is going very off-topic than we already are.

As for old books versus new, I think it just shows that new books are too irrelevant. There is little new ground to break. Gaming however, has quite alot just waiting for someone who wants to make art with games to bust open. And I look forward to embracing it.

Now you're getting pretentious. You keep arguing so dismissively as if "because it hasnt yet, it cant possibily happen".

Books arent inspired by games cause thats a step backward. Why would I want to take an interactive medium then gut the interactivity? Games can turn the stories in books into interactive stories. Why read about someone;s adventures when you can go on the adventure yourself? So yeah, games dont inspire books, and I think that supports my argument, not hinders.

Also like to throw DnD in at this point too, since, though it predates video games, it does what I enjoy about video games, and takes passive media and lets you live in it. DnD improves Lord of the Rings by putting you into it.

Games can interweve story and gameplay. As mentioned earlier, Bioshock takes the idea of a linear game and does that, and it still blows my mind when I think about it. Just because more games dont, doesnt mean more games cant. You're too dismissive about gaming potential.

I suppose I am arguing that books are already dated mechanically compared to games.

And if you want to use accessability in your arguments, then you cannot ignore that children can enjoy games without reading (as could illiterate adults). Either accept the point or drop some of your own.

More games stand the test of time than people give credit for. Id say alot of people who look at old games and go "blech, no" are equivilent to people who disparage books for being long, boring or old. Plenty of people who negatively look at Shakespeare the way some might look at the original Zelda.

Games are a better way to pass the time. You can play them in the dark, and many games offer more to do than a book. (Since really the topic is about passing time)

Ive never spent 100 hours on a book.

Is it so hard to use individual quotes rather than block quotes? I have to keep looking back at your post to know what you're referring to:

Saelune:
Ofcourse you dont see it. I honestly think you're far too biased at this point.

I can just as easily accuse you of bias - that isn't an argument.

Saelune:

Deeper themes? Thats subjective. Also doesnt help all the people who so easily look down on games. I still get amazed when I think about Bioshock's story.

BioShock is an example of a game with thematic weight, but even then its ideas/themes/motifs stem largely from Atlas Shrugged (generally acting as a counterpoint to it). Now, I really like BioShock in both gameplay and story, but it's easy to understand why a work like Atlas Shrugged would be dissected and BioShock hasn't.

Saelune:

And yeah yeah, inspired by books, but it takes it further by involving the player's seeming lack of freedom to change the story and you -can not- do that in a passive medium like books (or film). Spec Ops does something similar.

Technically you can, they're called choose your own adventure books.

You're also treating player choice as an inherent positive. Now, if this is about listing the strengths of games, then interactivity is a plus. The downside of interactivity is that it can dilute author intent, and can make it harder to tell a cohesive story. Not impossible (see Mass Effect) but harder.

Saelune:

As for old books versus new, I think it just shows that new books are too irrelevant. There is little new ground to break. Gaming however, has quite alot just waiting for someone who wants to make art with games to bust open. And I look forward to embracing it.

There's little new ground to break for books in terms of 'mechanics' because books don't need to break ground mechanically. Yes, games are developing...and? It's interesting, but potential for excellence doesn't equate with genuine excellence.

Saelune:

Now you're getting pretentious. You keep arguing so dismissively as if "because it hasnt yet, it cant possibily happen".

I need to know what you're responding to here, so I'll scatter fire:

-Are games art? Yes.

-Can games tell interesting stories with pertinent themes? Yes.

-Can games get better at these things? Yes.

-Will games exceed books in these areas? Doubt it. Books have got centuries, if not millennia worth of a headstart, and if you want an explanation as to why books will generally be above games in these areas, look at Psudonym's post.

Saelune:

Books arent inspired by games cause thats a step backward. Why would I want to take an interactive medium then gut the interactivity? Games can turn the stories in books into interactive stories. Why read about someone;s adventures when you can go on the adventure yourself? So yeah, games dont inspire books, and I think that supports my argument, not hinders.

Your argument here is entirely mechanically based. If we're talking about narrative, name a game based on a book that has a better narrative than the book.

Saelune:

Also like to throw DnD in at this point too, since, though it predates video games, it does what I enjoy about video games, and takes passive media and lets you live in it. DnD improves Lord of the Rings by putting you into it.

I've never played DnD, but as someone who's vaguely familiar with it...no. Just no. DnD can be said to 'improve' Lord of the Rings purely in the mechanical sense, but DnD is basically a watered down version of Lord of the Rings thematically and narratively (I'd say culturally, but the cultural areas they're relvant to can easily co-exist). For instance, I really like Warcraft, but I can accept Warcraft for what it is - pop fantasy. Lord of the Rings provides a template for numerous fantasy settings (arguably too many), but none of those settings have surpassed LotR in terms of themes, cultural relevance, or genre relevance.

Saelune:

I suppose I am arguing that books are already dated mechanically compared to games.

And if you want to use accessability in your arguments, then you cannot ignore that children can enjoy games without reading (as could illiterate adults). Either accept the point or drop some of your own.

I'm not ignoring it, but anecdotal evidence doesn't compare to universal truths:

*Fact: Games, as a whole, are far more expensive than books.

*Fact: Illiteracy in the West is so miniscule that this 'pro' is so minor it's hardly worth mentioning.

Since you've brought up BioShock, let's say that back in English, I got a copy of BioShock to play with. Already BioShock presents a number of hurdles, in that it's going to take longer to go through any other piece of assigned work - films might go up to two-three hours, a book, I'd say five hours at the very most, and that's being generous. BioShock took me 10 hours to get through. If people in the class didn't play games (and that's likely a fair few), that would take even longer. And since BioShock is player driven, there's a strong chance that people are going to miss out on elements of its themes if they miss audio logs. And unlike a book or film, it's far harder to go back to a specific moment - "quick glass, reset your game to save point 5, to find audio log 3, because little Jimmy didn't do his homework, because he's such a noob he keeps getting killed by splicers. Meanwhile, I have to talk with Billy's parents because they're too stingy to buy a PS3."

Again, I like BioShock a lot, but surely at this point you can see why games are much harder to get into than books. And at this point the teacher might just say "screw it" and assign the students Atlas Shrugged instead. I think you could dissect the themes of a game academically, but the barrier to entry is much, MUCH higher than almost any other genre. Even while I had to buy my own copies of Blade Runner and Apocalypse Now for Enlglish, they still only cost around $20.

Saelune:

More games stand the test of time than people give credit for. Id say alot of people who look at old games and go "blech, no" are equivilent to people who disparage books for being long, boring or old. Plenty of people who negatively look at Shakespeare the way some might look at the original Zelda.

Okay, but what are these different works offering:

-Julius Ceaser: A warning about the dangers of ambition and how democracy can turn into tyranny.

-Macbeth: Also a warning about the dangers of ambition.

-Othello: A commentary on racism and the psychological and physical harm it can bring.

-Henry V: A retelling of a pivotal moment in English history.

-Richard III: Ditto.

-Romeo & Juliet: A story that shows the foolishness of blind hatred, and how the innocent can suffer from it.

(Not including The Tempest because I hate the Tempest)

Anyway, those are a collection of Shakespeare works I'm familiar with. There's a clear divide between the historical and fictional plays there, but either these plays are dealing with universal themes, or with key points in history (Richard III is particuarly pertinent considering how Shakespeare's play arguably shaped English perception on the king, whereas the actual history of Richard III is far more complicated, not to mention the Wars of the Roses as a whole). Shakespeare's plays tend to stand the test of time because they deal with universal themes, even if the settings they were in are centuries removed from us.

In contrast, the Legend of Zelda original. Admittedly I've never played it, but it seems to be universally agreed to be dated mechanically, and there's little reason to play it as opposed to, say, Link to the Past (not fond of that either, but that's another matter). And even if it's still fun, what does the original LoZ say about, anything? That, um, bad guys are bad, and good guys have to stop them? Later LoZ games do have pertinent themes (from OoT onwards), but as much as I love LoZ, I'd be very hesitent to put it on the same level as Shakespeare in terms of thematic weight, or relevance to Western culture (arguably global culture as well, but getting really off topic there).

Or, to put it another way, Shakespeare's plays are still performed around the world (I'd know, I saw Richard III a few years ago). LoZ is very relavant as a series, but the first LoZ is widely regarded as being overshadowed by its predecessors. Its relevance, in both series and genre, is far more limited.

Saelune:
Games are a better way to pass the time.

Subjective.

Saelune:

You can play them in the dark,

You can read in the dark, either with a torch or an in-built illuminator if using a Kindle/IPad/whatever.

Saelune:

and many games offer more to do than a book.

Debatable - depends on what you're looking for.

Saelune:

Ive never spent 100 hours on a book.

I haven't either, but I can't call that an inherent pro. Games tend to be far more time intensive than books. Not that that's an inherent con, but it's part of why I read far more than I play, because games take much longer to get through.

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