Lightness of Being (a Gamer)

Lightness of Being (a Gamer)

"In a 2002 New Yorker essay titled "Mr. Difficult," author Jonathan Franzen of The Corrections fame argued that in the face of increased competition from movies, videogames and (oddly) extreme sports, fiction should mainstream itself. Fictional literature was under siege by figurative barbarians, and by perpetuating literature's difficult and inaccessible, the literary establishment was alienating potential readers. An intrepid reader might, at the suggestion of the literary establishment, pick up a "lyrical" book, only to trudge through page after page of unnecessary adjectives. For fiction to survive, according to Franzen, it has to cater to readers, the consumers who actually purchase and consume the product.

"I'm here as a Visigoth, banging on the gates of a doddering imperial Rome. Videogames have the potential to tell narratives and deliver experiences that fully outstrip those told by film, poetry and, yes, fiction. Yet, in terms of cultural respect, videogames are marginalized."

Vincent Kang sets his sites on the de-marginalization videogames.

Lightness of Being (a Gamer)

"Turning this innocence on its head is an obvious source of artistic fascination, and the likes of Mario and other cutesy gaming characters have often been featured in an array of less than childlike misadventures. Paintings that incorporate real-life humanity into game art are mainstays of the medium's biggest annual exhibition, "I am 8 Bit," and it's easy to understand why. There is a perverse joy to be had in taking a character like Mario and adding a moral or human dimension; what is his sex life like, what if Koopas could bleed, what if Princess Peach ran off with Luigi?"

Fraser MacInnes paints a picture of art infusing the world of games and games infusing back.

Lightness of Being (a Gamer)

"Non-gamers will stand, mouths agape, demanding to know how we can sleep at night spending 'so much money on games.' Upon overhearing Lou P Lou's description of her gaming weekend, a coworker asked her how she could justify the cost of videogames. 'I asked her if she had any hobby that she spends money on, scrapbooking, reading, computers... anything. She admitted that she did. So, I explained to her that gaming is my hobby, an escape from the stress of working in ICU with critically ill patients all day. That I work for my money and if I decide to spend that money on gaming so be it. [But] no matter how I 'plead my case' they seem to think that I waste my money. Guess you have to be a gamer to understand.'"

Susan Arendt speaks with women who game.

Lightness of Being (a Gamer)

"I decided I needed to see what my fellow classmates were saying about this tragedy, so I went snooping around the usual internet haunts. Not finding much (the news was still fresh), I Googled Mark's name and stumbled upon an online profile of his. He was, apparently, a frequent MMOG player, partaking in World of Warcraft and several others, not to mention his high frag ratio for Counter-Strike and others like it. It was a whole side of him I hadn't known or seen."

Tom Rhodes explores the digital life as epitaph, and a window to an unlived life.

Lightness of Being (a Gamer)

"Suddenly inspired, I check out Nintendo's Wi-Fi page and enter my zip code, to find hot spots near me. My itinerary set, I prepare to strike out. With my DS as my beacon, I decide the best strategy is just to look approachable. I style myself nattily, in heels, lipstick and cute pants, put my DS case in my of-the-minute metallic purse, and head out on the town. This time, I leave the headphones behind - I'm about to play it loud and proud, fellas. If there's anyone out there who still thinks gamers are light-starved, style-less and maladapted, I'm about to blow their doors off."

Leigh Alexander spends a day in new York City looking for gamers in all the wrong places.