Do Video Games Devalue the Concept of Money?

This is something else I made a fairly long time ago, but it is still timely I feel. Also, I appreciate the irony in that while I state what’s in the above title I am still applying it to a money-making capitalist industry. But irony is what makes for interesting stories throughout history and–in particular–our current time period. It is a really short article or, really, a meditation. I’m sure–and I know–that there are others that are far better researched, more detailed,  and passionate out there. But that said, like always I hope you will find it interesting. And it’s something that has to be said.

In most video games, money is meaningless except for what you can buy with it.

I mean think about it for a few moments. In Super Mario Brothers, you can hit a floating block and get as many gold coins as you’d like. In Legend of Zelda, you can cut bushes and enemies down for rupees. In various role-playing games, you can kill as many enemies as you’d like or open a random treasure chest and you will get a whole ton of gil or money to spend it on weapons, armor, other items and anything you’d like.

What is interesting to note about this video game logic is that currency can be found relatively anywhere–whether on the ground, earned through battle or trade, or even stranger places–and that is its only significance: that it is something you can find almost randomly or make easily to facilitate your journey through that reality. There is almost a very understated Communist or at least Socialist aspect to how the “economic” state inside quite a few video games work and if I got this idea from someone or something else–which is more than possible–then that person is more clever and perceptive than I am.

It is … immensely hard sometimes to see someone get an easy 99 coins, or 999 maxed out or over billions in gil and know that–in real life–you have to struggle just to get a twenty dollar bill. And you don’t get to fight and defeat bosses to get this money. You have to work for them and not in the good evil henchman way.

What it comes down to is that the object of the game of reality is to survive and, unlike a video game, you cannot easily replenish your bank account after a splurge … and you rarely get any game Restarts–or start overs– if you screw up.

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About matthewkirshenblatt

I am a writer and blogger living in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario in Canada. When I'm not writing for the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization and GeekPr0n, I tend to write science-fiction, epic fantasy, horror, literary and mythological revisionisms, and generally weird fiction stories though I have been known to make poetry, television and comic book scripts. Also, when left to my own devices I tend to write weird and strange hybrid creative opinion piece articles like those you will find on this Blog. I am also very interested in comics, video games, Star Wars, table-top role-playing games, Neil Gaiman's works, H.P. Lovecraft, vampires, zombies, and budgies.
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2 Responses to Do Video Games Devalue the Concept of Money?

  1. “In most video games, money is meaningless except for what you can buy with it.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this also true in real life? I think it’s both a good and bad thing that money is so devalued in video games. A good thing b/c money should not be elevated so much in our lives (even though it’s ‘necessary’) and a bad thing as it makes us complacent when it comes to looking for money in real life. One might end up believing (at least in part) that money grows on trees or can be found on the pavement after walking a certain number of steps or sth of the sort. This might end up in all sorts of pyshc problems…sth to be avoided 🙂

    • That is a very good point, Victor. Money is only valued in what it can get you: or at least that’s as far as I view it. I also love the fact that the concepts of it are “devalued” or at least subverted in the reality of some video games, but the work that goes into getting more in our reality is another matter entirely. It does amuse me though to think–without an economic or financial expertise background whatsoever–that some video games are criticized for their violence and sexual content while their subversion against the concept of money is almost completely overlooked. While contradictory, I think it’s pretty awesome.

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