Thanks to everyone who replied so far!! This is definitely putting me on my way to getting an A on this project!
Replies, personal and general:
m0ds: "Aggregate" pretty much means overall, but with a reference point-- ie, over a period of time, or for a couple different values, etc. In this case, it's the views of different people who are adventure game aficionados. Individually, it would mean the overall effect that adventure gaming may have had on your life.
The most common themes I've found so far (the 3 in-person interviews I've had and in the forum replies I've just seen) is escapism and entertainment, namely for those who prefer the puzzles of adventure games over something like complex TV shows or reflex-based video games. Escapism ruling for those who use these games as an outlet to escape being mistreated by peers, co-workers, etc.
I relate to the escapism theme the best: My life now is nothing
like my childhood and adolescence. I was lucky to get out alive. My family didn't understand me and they could only help me so much with what other people put me through.
LimpingFish: Believe me, I relate to peer trouble and adventure games being your number one escape outlet. I sure do:
What the kids at school put me through bordered on hate crime. Namely because I'm a Jew. But so much more than that. Lots of things...one of the most hurtful was that they said I was really just a boy with boobs. (In the 3rd grade.) The things they said and did, I didn't even have self-esteem until I was 17.5, 18 when I moved back to NYC. So in adventure games...I was able to escape being the only New York Jew in a culturally sterile backwoods south New Jersey pit (Ask me about the pure living hell of the Stokes State Forest trip in the 6th grade, a special edition of Rachel's Tales From Hell), where I could dream of having magic powers and awesome weapons to smite the living crap out of the kids who made my life hell and treated me like a subhuman because I was this "f.cking weirdo" and "foreigner". I could put myself in other worlds where conventional life and order didn't even exist, let alone ones where it did and I could let my imagination run free. I loved those games more than anything and still do. Even today when I want to escape from the hassles of my everyday life and haven't been too social lately, getting deeply into one of these games appeals to me more than other forms of entertainment.
thomas- that's a remarkable achievement regardless of age, to pick up another language mostly by playing adventure games in such a short period of time. I didn't fluently pick up French until after I had it for about 3 years in high school (had 5 yrs total) then went off on my own in France and in French Canada (also helped by playing French games as well) but on a non-English speaking point of view, English is indeed the toughest language for most people to learn. And it's very sad but true that the gaming industry today markets more reflex-based games or games with 3D graphical explosions and whatnot, than puzzles and storyline. Not only will our future's children be conditioned to speaking multiple languages on numerous electronic devices, but who knows what other things they may be desensitized to.
ProgZmax: I wholeheartedly agree on both the player and designer viewpoints of what the industry has turned into. I had an epiphany a year ago that made me drop the Computer Science sector I was in at uni, when I realized there was no point in me learning the new languages just to made into a drone writing codes for mass-market games that are just pyrotechnics, not interactive stories with memorable dialogues and characters. I changed majors before it was too late to switch out. And you're precisely right: They care more about hardware revolutionizing than about writing ingenious software. It's all about having more memory to get a higher score and the toughest reflexes.
But I disagree just slightly on the note of adventure game puzzles being removed from reality here:
ManicMatt: That is one nifty device!! See, it may not be the actual puzzles and objects that are represented in adventure games that have relevance to real-life resourcefulness. But it's the problem-solving techniques and ingenuity
picked up over long years of playing these kinds of games that can lead people to build nifty devices like this to solve real-life problems.
And here's a fine example of it right now!! I didn't realize my battery had only 18% in it because the outlet behind me is dead! I'm going to tear off a piece of paper in my notebook and write a note telling the maintenance dept. to fix it. and since there's no tape around...the gum I've been chewing on the past hour will do just fine to stick it to the wall above the outlet. See what I mean! Most people would've just said, "No tape? Screw it."
But they don't call me the Famous Adventurer for nothin'! I'll be checking back here after my battery's had a chance to recharge!