Rock ‘n Roll and Video Games: The Evolution of Rebellion


When video games and rock ‘n roll hit the scene around the middle of the 20th century, the participants in each medium had many things in common.  Most important to my post is that their parents did NOT also participate.  Judging from the difference in taste between my mom and her parents today, this never changed.  When I think about this, my first thought is that both forms of media were used by the younger generations as a way to rebel, or at least distinguish themselves, from the older generations.  Following directly in the footsteps of your parents as though you were molded from them directly (ironically, you were) just isn’t cool.

Video games began at around 1950, three years before Elvis Presley, “The King of Rock ‘n Roll,” recorded his first demo.  Elvis clearly embodies the spirit of a rebel.  He was the first musician to use sexuality, namely hip movements, to his live performances.  This horrified members of the older community, created an uprising against Elvis that could only compare to the threat of communism.  Yet it made teenage girls everywhere squirm and faint and teenage guys everywhere wish they were him.  Video games had, and often still do today, a similar effect on parents.  If I dare to quote the generic NYC mother and father today (re: my parents), “Tim get outside, go to the park, stop playing video games, you’re killing brain cells and could be much more productive” or “when I was younger, we played pong, and we didn’t play it nearly as much as you kids do.”  To this I would pose them the question “did your parents approve of pong?”  My mom’s response: “no, but it sure was fun.”

I believe that the evolution of pop-culturalized-media (this may be an entirely made up term but means any media that becomes mainstream) depends on a difference between parents and kids.  I know that I personally would have never reached the same level of enjoyment from playing video games with my friends if I came home to my mom and dad squaring off at Diddy Kong Racing.  I would have been, to say the least, mortified, and may have never played that game again OR allowed any of my friends to come over.  Over the years, my fear of embarrassment by my parents has mostly gone away and I would welcome a challenge in NHL 07 from my dad if it ever came up, but it seems our early childhood years in many ways define what we like as we get older and sadly it usually doesn’t coincide with what our parents like.  Although I will say there is hope… since the beginning of high school I’ve realized that I don’t really like pop music, but instead the classic rock of my parent’s age.  And oddly enough, since then I’ve been going to a lot of expenses paid concerts… sweet.


One thought on “Rock ‘n Roll and Video Games: The Evolution of Rebellion”

  1. The real difference for me — as a Gen-X parent — is that I play PC Games and my kids prefer console games on the Wii and Xbox. At least the family is coming together (me and my boys) on Halo the 3rd….

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