Why are they called video games? Okay, stupid question. We all know why they are called video games, but why do we still call them video games. The term is so literal. It is a game that you play on a video screen. Is that the best we can come up with? Why do we come up with something cool like….. Visual Attack Challenge Activities? Or VACAs for short. I realize it’s kind of wordy but it was just off the top of my head. Give me a break. —Shelby Coulter
Recently, I’ve started calling them videogames–no space–in spite of constant objections from my spellchecker, for many of the same reasons alluded to in that piece. A videogame is not simply a game on video, it’s a distinct form. Accordingly, I write videogame as a single word in an attempt to acknowledge gaming’s roots without undermining its claim of being a unique expressive medium in its own right.
Νow, this is not to say that there is no such thing as a video(_space_)game. When you play Chess or Monopoly online, you’re playing a video game; when you play Solitaire on your computer, you’re also playing a video game. Those are games, plain and simple. They’ve just been transported into a video monitor for your convenience.
So, if online chess is a “video_game,” then what do we call something like Noby Noby Boy? It obviously uses video and, clearly, it’s meant to be played with. But many gamers remain suspicious of it: “Sure,” they say, “Noby Noby Boy might have all those things, but is it really a game?“
Alas, that question, interesting as it is to debate, is (in this specific case) largely beside the point. For Noby Noby Boy is neither a game nor a video game, and it was never meant to be.
It is, however, a fantastic videogame, no space—and that’s something else entirely.