When something "arrives", in a popular culture sense, it's never to the tune of trumpets and a standing ovation. Nothing can ever be that spontaneous. Instead, you just wake up one day and realise that something which used to exist around the fringes, which people may have been aware of but were never that into, is suddenly there. In your face.
I had that moment with video games over the weekend, when I finally sat down with a copy of Ice-T's rap documentary Something From Nothing. Towards the end, there's a sequence where Ice-T is seen wearing a Gears of War t-shirt. Now, six years ago, when I first started in this job, as stupid as it sounds in 2012, that would probably have ended up on this website as "news".
On the weekend, though, the thought didn't even cross my mind. Which I think, as isolated and insignificant as the incident had been, says a lot about how far video games have come in that time.
When I started working here in late 2006, the first Modern Warfare had yet to be released. People didn't play games on Facebook. The Wii had yet to be released. There was no such thing as a smartphone, you couldn't really play games for free, indie developers weren't getting exposure or money and online multiplayer was still finding its feet.
As I write this in 2012, all those things have come to pass, and have helped transform video games from a hobby indulged by kids and nerds into a global juggernaut, a multi-billion dollar industry that can deliver entertainment experiences to just about anyone on the planet with a half-capable piece of technology in their house (or even their hands).
Almost everyone plays games. You see commercials on TV, in front of movies. Demographics which previously would have been uninterested, or even hostile to the medium, are now being catered for by savvy companies like Nintendo, Activision, Zynga and EA. You see games appear on talk shows like Jimmy Fallon and Conan as though they were the latest Hollywood blockbuster. We've even, somehow, got a good video game movie.