Media has changed a lot over the years. Television shows used to be much more wholesome. The most popular shows in the 60’s and 70’s were family friendly shows like the Brady Bunch, and the Andy Griffith show. Today we are inundated with media that is much more intense, more challenging, and less wholesome. Video games have become a huge part of entertainment, and at this point in time people collectively play around 3 or 4 billion hours of video games collectively across the globe. But author Steven Johnson is totally okay with this. In fact, he says that consuming media like this can make you smarter and most of it appeals to smart people. Shows like Game Of Thrones highlight the fact that media has gotten much more complex. There is an incredibly large amount of main characters in Game Of Thrones. Sometimes people find themselves debating endlessly about who the main protagonist of that show is, and the books as well. It is definitely not a show that is there for the passive viewer. Sure, there is a lot of nudity in that show, but it is very complex, morally, politically, and more.


Steven Johnson talks about playing The Sims one day in front of his nephew, and showing his nephew around the game. He eventually explains a problem he had in the game that he was not making enough money in one of the areas in his game. After explaining some of the dynamics of tax rates and how money is generated in his town, his 8 year old nephew eventually suggested to him that he should lower his industrial taxes in order to generate more money in his town. This took the author back for a moment, the fact that a young child was able to suggest something like that was an interesting occurrence to him. This situation shows that a subject as boring to children as taxes can become interesting because of a video game.


Steven Johnson goes deeply into how media has changed for the better over the years. Plots in TV shows have become much more complex, and have more dense plots. Characters have become more morally challenging, and engage the viewer to have more complicated opinions about the characters portrayed in games, TV, and film. Although there is a lot of trash out there, like reality tv, etc. there is an overwhelming majority of media that allows the viewer to engage intellectually with the material, a lot more than in previous generations.

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