The term ‘Gamer’ in my opinion is a person who not only likes games and is an avid player, but are much like an organ to the player. Similar to how we’re addicted to our phones. However, when I arrived at Ryerson, almost everyone is considered a ‘gamer’ as everyone plays some sort of game. In my humble opinion, I do not think everyone is a gamer because we play games. For the general public, games are essentially played on the side, when one has time and this is highly different to those players whose lives run around games. It almost is unfair to them. Therefore, I do not call myself a gamer, although I am interested in game culture and like playing games.
There has been evident drastic evolution in the gaming industry. It is now a 6 Billion Dollar (yearly) industry. From the initial Cathode ray tube amusement device to games such as Bioshock Infinite. But what’s more fascinating is that the indie game culture has risen immensely due to the rapid technological advances. Essentially, the indie community is coming out with more content than the big labels, and this is even happening in film. Every day thousands of individuals are making games or uploading short films, the 21st century has led to some crazy and beautiful innovations! Look at the whole Fez drama!
However, gaming does indeed have its fair share of issues, one of the most predominant ones are racism and sexism. Our prof mentioned how most of the protagonists of games are white males and a very few percentage or of other ethnicities. In addition, women are portrayed as subordinates of men and have a rather sexual appeal, rarely they are a symbol of empowerment. Of course you have exceptions such as the Tomb Raider franchise and Bioshock Infinite, however these are the selected few.
We continued to discuss Constance Steinkuehler’s Games as third places, a remedy for stress, loneliness and alienation. It’s quite fascinating really, how prominent the role of escapism plays in our society today. Some radicals say that we as the public are being brainwashed by all this content as it acts as a distraction from the real issues. Just a theory, but rather cool…check it out sometime. Others say that games are the cause of alienation, such as the aforementionedConstance Steinkuehler, however there are others such as Jane McGonigal who believe that people need to play more games, in order to ‘save the world’ as it’s some sort of simulation.
I guess at the end of the day games are really important to us today as I firmly believe that it helps unite people, helps them learn and educate, and furthermore it has a very long future ahead. It undoubtedly will affect every media platform we know till date and possibly change the way we view media and by extension the world forever.