Gimme Five! Awesome Video Game Things That Are Not Actually Video Games

Hey gamers! I know you love games, but listen up: there are things related to video games that don’t actually involve playing a game at all! You know those boxes of text that pop up sometimes during battles? Well there are physical objects made of that text bound to bleached paper! There’s even a whole industry that is devoted to taking cutscenes and showing them in giant rooms that require overpriced scraps of paper to enter! Now that every one of your Pokemon-addled minds have been blown, lets get to five things that prove that wasting time with video games can lead to wasting time in other, more respected ways!

5. Masters of Doom

And we start out with the video game’s mortal enemy, the book. It turns out that combining the two can actually lead to something great! This work chronicles the rise of John Carmack and John Romero, two very different personalities who went on to found the early gaming powerhouse id software. It’s great nonfiction, with solid reporting and tightly-paced editing. It’s a really interesting tale full of neat people, especially Romero and his fall from grace from Doom to Daikatana. If you’re looking to get back into the magic word paper, this is a great start. A warning: it’s got a lot of adult conversation and topics inside. No pictures, though.

4. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Again, interesting people! Who knew a story about a high score in an old arcade game would be full of drama and intrigue? This is the classic David and Goliath story, with long-time score champion and hot sauce empire magnate Billy Mitchell dueling against humble science teacher Steve Wiebe. What begins as a basic competition becomes a story about a man aiming to be great and how people will conspire against the change that brings. Think Rocky with joysticks.

3. Pac-Manhattan

What began as a college project exploded into a full-on social experiment to put a video game in real life. Using cell phones, wi-fi and their own special software, students from NYU recreated Pac-Man using the city of Manhattan as the maze. Each person representing Pac-Man and the ghosts is controlled by a person back at the base as they use Manhattan park for their maze. Sadly, the last information on it was posted in 2004, but for a moment the world got more gamey in an amazing way.

2. Child’s Play

I am not against Toys for Tots at all (don’t hurt me, Marines), but as a kid I would’ve preferred to get a Pokemon game in the hospital as opposed to a Pokemon toy. This charity is so famous among gamers that I don’t even need to mention it, but it’s worth pointing out how awesome of an idea this is and how much good work they’ve done. After all, laughter as you frag your enemies is the best medicine.

1. Steam

PC gaming pretty much lost the war to consoles. It’s true, and as a PC gamer I’m cool with it. I’ve got a unified platform for buying cheap games and downloading them without having to keep a million discs around. Not only that, it comes with a thriving and easy-to-use community built right in. So consoles, enjoy your victory. I’ll just buy a full-priced game for 15 bucks during the holidays to console myself.

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