Gamers Get Game

Gamers Get Game
The New Mainstream

Max Steele | 18 Oct 2005 12:04
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Because of the long and glorious history of geek and gamer unity, it's a safe bet that anyone who is an online pet food delivery platform developer plays video games. Many of them probably consider video games their favorite form of entertainment (perhaps a close second to Kevin Smith movies).

So what that means is that some of the wealthiest people in our society like to spend lavishly on games and tech. And that, in turn, means that games and tech have become aspirational goods on the Street.

Which leads to the current bizarre case: Games are now cool because middle class teenagers are emulating hip hop moguls who are adopting the trappings of wealth which are defined by Silicon Valley millionaires who like games and tech.

Watch any episode of MTV Cribs, and I guarantee that the mansion of every hip hop star and pro athlete has a big-screen TV and a top-of-the-line gaming system with loads of DVDs and games. Tune into any episode of Pimp My Ride and check out how many of the cars get "pimped" with gaming rigs in the trunk or the backseat. Buy the new Atari game by Mark Ecko and enjoy the soundtrack by Diddy. Ask yourself whether Marc Ecko and Diddy are getting involved in games purely for financial reasons, or because they think it's cool.

What does it all mean? It means game over for the traditional Mainstream cool of rock, sports and beers. There's a New Mainstream for America and it fuses hip hop and geek culture. Its music and fashion combined with games and tech. It's aspirational and it's extravagant and it's techno-elite.

The New Mainstream is why technology is now a luxury good and style suddenly matters. It's why Microsoft's Xbox 360 looks like it was designed by Apple, and Nintendo's Gameboy Micro looks like it was designed by Nokia. It's why, today, it's cool to own an Alienware computer with a stylized case and building your own PC from parts just means you're broke. It's why the Motorola Razr was such a huge success. It's why you can expect Rockstar to release its own line of hip hop lifestyle clothing one of these days.

In the meantime, go buy a flatscreen HDTV and watch anime - subtitled, not dubbed. Download mash-ups on Kazaa and use them as the soundtrack on your Halo 2 machinima. Use your Xbox Music Mixer to DJ house parties. Look at porn on your PSP. Invite your buddies over to drink Baccardi and play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Be cool.

Max Steele is an enigma wrapped inside a riddle. When not actively being mysterious, he passes his time manipulating time and space to fit his plans for world domination.

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