I long for the day when entire 4-block street lengths become dedicated avenues to appreciate, craft, play, and buy video games, much like like Philadelphia's Fabric Row
is for textiles.
I long for the day when I can turn on some shitty AM radio station and listen to jerks call in about scandals in game competitions
, or exclaim how Street Fighter
players nowadays are nothing compared to the likes of Daigo Umehara.
Fabric Row, Philadelphia
I long for the day when "gamer" is no longer a taboo term - whether it's being snootily stomped on within the culture because, like the Insert Credit
team has established, gamers are "players of video games" much like people who enjoys books are just people, not "bookers" - or whether it's used with derogatory connotations that evoke the stereotypes of the basement dweller and the CoD bro.
I long for the day when I can type something sappy and hopeful like this out and not feel a lick of shame or fear or potential debasement from my real life peers.
And I long for the day when video games are treated with the respect they deserve
- with the passion and dedication given to every other art form around from every community - from corporations, individual developers, the media, the players themselves and non-participants alike.
Judging from the growing pains the film industry went through, we might have a decade or more to go before some of these ideals could be realized. Part of the trick is to not talk outta ya butt all the time and give non-gamers concrete examples as to why
they should respect video games. It's a shitty thing to need to do this at all but the form is being tarnished day-in and day-out to the general public through the messages sent by braindead Facebook games, the cruel, mind-numbing bombardment of war simulation game advertisements they are witness to nearly everywhere and by poor associations the media creates in those who are ready to embrace the first opinion of games they hear.
Tell - or, better yet, show
- the non-gamer people you care about games that are beyond what they perceive of the form on the surface. If nothing else, no matter how little they care, this will plant a seed that will at the very least garner trust and complacency with the medium simply because they trust you
For example, I showed my 60-year-old Dad the jaw-dropping historical authenticity of Assassin's Creed III
because he loves and appreciates Colonial-era America. I didn't kill anybody - I just skulked around Boston and listened to him comment on the various minute details he picked up on as I went.
It's much harder to convince folks that games aren't all bad using only words though - like my coworkers in the middle of our shifts. This method is necessary when hoping to get into any sort of exchange about my primary passion but it requires much more extreme and broad examples in order to properly send the message. The most clear and obvious example to use is Flower
. It's easy to describe, easy to understand, and most importantly - it surprises them. No, you don't kill anything. Really! You control the goddamn wind and you make flowers bloom. Yeah, you heard me right bub.
I am the only "video game person" most of my coworkers know. They come to me when they see me after a couple of days off and relate to me stories of things that reminded them of me - video game and computer-related stuff. I'm that guy
- and as much as my identity being put into a box feels stifling, I'm just fine with that. I feel elated and lucky that I've become the example of a gamer for at least a handful of people. However subtly, I've shifted their impressions of the medium through associating it with someone they like and can trust - me!
I think you should do the same, bub. Help undo the damage done by lamebrain corporations and misinformed media outlets - not in the name of trying to impress some faceless "mainstream" but by bringing more of the people we care about into our beautiful circle. Video games are a sorely misappropriated medium, and I think we can do much to positively influence our local cultures to respect them. If we just show the uninitiated the best parts of what we've been concentrating so intently on this whole time, then maybe they will learn to join us on the couch someday soon.
It's a start.