Great article, Brenda.
I will say that my experiences with my non-gaming acquaintances has been almost entirely positive. Curiosity is the dominant response to the fact that I am a game reviewer. How does my graduate school training connect to my tastes in games? Can you explain World of Warcraft to me? Are they the new comic book/Saturday morning cartoon culture? At a faculty event last month, I sat by someone who had heard the GTA Causes Crime argument, and was happy to get a counterpoint from me.
I’m sure it helps that some of these people do related media studies. History of technology, film history…or are my age or younger. But even my senior citizen neighbors think games are at least valid subjects of inquiry.
But there is a demographic shift coming. When I taught high school a few years ago, gaming was so accepted by the students and young faculty that there wasn’t even the social nerd stigma that it might have had ten years ago. And in the mainstream news, the GTA4 coverage was more “fair” than coverage of earlier versions.
The only way to hasten this mind shift among our adult peers, of course, is to be out of the gaming closet. To not evangelize for the industry or the pastime, but for adult gamers to at least be open about who we are. There’s still a sense of shame about gaming that, let’s face it, the gaming media indulges in with constant jokes about gamers living in basements or being sexless trolls.
– Troy Goodfellow
Very nice read 🙂
Personally I think it’s the medias fault for perpetuating this, they may not be the underlying reason. However they are the people that get it to mainstream, and it’s their responsibility to make sure it’s not bias. And it’s scary how often the media misrepresent video games, and this does lead you to think, how often do they misrepresent other things to? It’s obvious to us, the gamers, wherever the media makes a mistake. For example blaming Grand theft auto when a man robbed a video game store of 30+ titles, it’s obvious to us that the media has it wrong, he simply wanted the games and didn’t want to pay for them like any other thief. However the media’s interpretation was to use GTA in every other sentence and put a spin on it that made it seem like the thief had said ‘Yeah it’s all GTA’s fault’.
Innacuracies and misrepresentation are easy to spot when the news is talking about a subject that you know a lot about, however what about something you don’t know much about? A situation in a foreign country perhaps? When the news affects so many people, and makes such an impact and can make people think video games are bad as a social norm, it does make you wonder what sort of spin they are putting on other stories. Though it does make sense, that they are victimizing video games for fear of losing viewers to a different medium that is growing in popularity.
Grim Fandango is the closest thing to Literature that has ever been produced in the videogame medium (Note: I have not yet played Bioshock, which by all accounts may also be in the same neighborhood).
For example, note that in the opening cinematic, Manny lays out the travel options to his prospective client: A sports car, a yacht, and the Number Nine express train, but the client ends up with just a walking stick. Note that by the end of the game, Manny himself will have walked, ridden in a sports car, a yacht, and finally the Number Nine. Note that Manny sells travel packages for the four-year “journey of the soul”, and that the game itself takes place over four years. The entire game is Manny’s own four-year journey of the soul, yet it never makes the mistake of coming out and saying so – you have to figure that out for yourself.
Plus, that final “One Year Later” transition is the most emotionally moving scene I’ve ever encountered in a game.
A few years ago, I somehow remembered about the previews I saw for this game and wondered what exactly had happened to it. After looking for a while on the internet all I found out was that it had been cancelled. Now I know… I didn’t realise that kind of thing happened in the games industry, although that was probably naive of me. It’s sad we’ll never get to play it because of those underhand methods. Complete respect to Taldren’s founders for preventing Majesco stealing the game from them; a very brave decision.
– Red Shadow