The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School

The Mustang Moon

The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School

The Mustang Moon

The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School

The Mustang Moon

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Gaming at Mount Vernon High School

A general summary of gaming in and out of MVHS.

Video games have come a long way since their very first iteration in the 50’s. Starting as a simple little tennis game created in a lab for fun, and eventually snowballing into the widespread hobby that we know so well today. The gaming industry is doing so well in fact, that it now grosses more money than the movie and music industries combined. According to, in 2020 the gaming industry was valued at 159.3 billion dollars. As games became better and more popular, branching out into hundreds of different genres and settings, gaming eventually developed its own culture and has stuck around ever since. Nowadays it doesn’t take much effort to find a gamer in some way, shape, or form, but have you ever wondered what’s most popular at any given time? What do people play the most, or maybe even what system do people seem to prefer? look no further, for this little number is jam-packed with statistics, opinions, and even a little bit of what’s going on at our very own high school.


Just like any art or microcosm of culture, video games have converged into different kinds of genres over the years. Whether it be a tactical RTS game or even a terrifying horror game if you’re up to the challenge. Currently, the shooter genre is by far the most popular kind of game out right now. To put it into perspective, of the 22 years from 2002 to the present, 18 of those years’ best-selling games were shooters, two of the years that weren’t, had shooters in the number two spot, and the other two had shooters in the top ten. People like shooters. Shooter franchises such as Call of Duty and Halo have cultivated a large cult following over the years and will no doubt continue to prosper for time to come. Unsurprisingly, Mount Vernon High School is not exempt from this trend. According to an email survey of 25 students conducted in March, collectively, shooters had the most picks for liked genres at 33 in total and for favorite genres, first-person shooters specifically won with a 20% plurality. “I think that FPS games being popular is to be expected, they tend to cover all topics and that’s why people like them,” said Parker Zieser, a senior and gamer at Mount Vernon High School.

(a graph of the genres choices made by surveyors, the dark blue line represents all shooter genres combined)

Although shooters are popular, many gamers want a more casual and relaxing experience such as Minecraft, a 2009 sandbox game where you explore, build, mine, and farm until your heart’s content. The game puts you in a procedurally generated world that’s practically infinite in size, giving you free rein to do really whatever you want to. Minecraft has become extremely popular over the years, known well as a simple game with an infinite amount of possibilities. Its relaxing soundtrack and atmosphere have garnered it its chill aesthetic. It was by far the most stated game on the questionnaire, with 28% of people saying it was their favorite. Minecraft’s genre, that specifically being Survival Games, also had the most individually liked genre votes at 17. Though, this is to be expected seeing that Minecraft is the number one most sold video game ever at 300 million copies sold and grossing over 3 billion dollars in revenue as of 2021, according to Wikipedia and respectively.


We’ve covered the what, let’s talk a little more on the how and why. Overall, according to Mobile gaming, while more common amongst children, makes up about two-thirds of overall platform usage, then comes PC’s at 35%, and Consoles at 24.2% (these numbers are from singular people selecting multiple platforms so they naturally don’t add up to a 100%). Most Americans have a smartphone so naturally there will be a lot more people who play games on a phone however, regarding actual gaming, PC’s and consoles, PC’s are far more than the rest popular. The same thing can be said for Mount Vernon seeing that 62.5% of students surveyed said they preferred PC’s over other gaming systems. “There’s so much more you can do with a PC, it’s like a console’s full unlocked potential, you can work on it, listen to music on it, play games, even make money on it, it’s just the better option, it requires some know-how, you gotta know what to buy and how to maintenance it, but in the end it’s clearly the better investment.” said Adam Zehms, a Junior. PC’s offer the most power and versatility but great PC’s are often locked behind a larger paywall than more affordable options. Consoles, while less efficient and powerful, offer a more casual gaming experience at a more affordable price making them perfect for the casual gamer.


Being a culture, gaming tends to run through families, oftentimes someone gets into gaming because someone else in their family or friends games.“I don’t even like playing it, but the memories that I had when playing with my dad is why I like it so much,.” senior Sam Dunn said about on MLB The Show, a baseball game. Like any practice one is more likely to commit to it if people in their family do as well. 50% of Mount Vernon students said that gaming was commonplace in their family. And socially most people didn’t have a preference for explicitly playing games solo or with friends, 56% said they did either depending on what they wanted at that time. But, it’s important to note that more people favored explicitly playing with friends at 28% than solo at 16%. Video games offer more than just physical entertainment. A fantastical world must have some fantastical music as well. Over 75% of students said that they listened to video game soundtracks in their own time.


Now for the big one, because gaming is so big now and so many AAA companies run it at the same time, you’ve gotta wonder what they’ve got planned. For those who may not know, a “AAA” company refers to a well-established studio, such as EA Games, Blizzard, Activision, etc, that makes “AAA” games which can typically be described as high-budget, high-profile games that are produced and distributed in mass quantities. Essentially they’re at the top of the corporate food chain. As of recently, AAA gaming is seemingly starting to degrade in quality. People are noticing that more and more frequently companies seem to be releasing essentially the same game every year with more monetization and consumerism sprinkled in. “AAA Gaming has been getting worse and worse each year,” said William Huebner a sophomore “not only is the monetization getting worse each year (Overpriced DLC’s & In Game Purchases), but new games are being rushed, leaving underdeveloped games, or sequels are being made that don’t innovate enough. However, Indie Game studios have been rapidly growing in quality. They are often higher quality & more fun than Triple A games, while costing a small fraction of what a Triple A game would.” Seeing that 52% of people shared this opinion or something similar, this seems to be the general consensus, that because AAA companies are too focused on making money, they tend to lack development in the areas that count. People are fed up with this kind of business model, they’re fed up with micro-transactions, they’re fed up with corporate deadlines, and they’re especially fed up that companies will do anything in their power to continue their practice in this way. 


There has been a rise in indie games as of late. Games made often by small groups that actually care about making a game good and listening to their respective fans. Sure they may not be able to make things as fast as a corporate conglomerate could but when the work being done matters, people actually care. A game designed by five people who poured their soul into it over several years will always be infinitely better than a hollow copy that gets released by a massive company every single year. Gaming is sort of in a renaissance period currently, where individual companies are experimenting and having fun now that they have the eyes of the people and have less fear.


“I think it’s relevant how quickly games have become normalized and how they adapt to modern trends,” said Adam Zehms, a junior. “Video games have become an actual pastime in recent years.” Gaming as a culture wasn’t always as prevalent as it is today; in fact, in its early days it was quite subject to stigma. 

I think there was an untrue stigma that video games cause violence and are thus unfit for children, of course there were exceptions that were true, but the vast majority of people don’t feel this way anymore,” recalled Zieser. “ There was also a stigma towards thinking that gamers are antisocial.” Nowadays, according to Statistica, about 70% of American adults and 90% of American children over the age of two game in some way or another. The average gamer spends about two hours a day on video games, clearly it’s quite a wide-spread hobby now regardless of the stigma it once faced.

In general, the overall state of gaming culture at Mount Vernon High School appears to be mixed. While sure, shooters in total dominated in the favorite genre selection, every single option out of the 21 others was picked by students surveyed at least once – not to mention that the favorite choices regarding games were quite diverse as well. Although some games appeared more than others, such as Minecraft and various shooter games, the vast majority of people had their own unique picks.  There were many well-read and thought-out explanations of people’s opinions regarding the more serious questions, showing that many of the people here are truly passionate about gaming as a whole and wish to continue its longevity. Although small in size, Mount Vernon has a devoted and lively gaming community that in the end simply wish the best for their cherished pastime.

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