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'Under the Mask': Gaming Culture, an Essay

Illustration for article titled Under the Mask: Gaming Culture, an Essay

Well, it reads like an essay, but this piece by David Hayward is actually a transcript of a talk given at the "Under The Mask, Perspectives on the Gamer" event a few days ago (slides included!). It's a brilliant and somewhat lengthy piece on culture-with-a-small-c, as it relates to gaming (as, in Hayward's appraisal, just about everyone is a gamer these days by some definition or another). Games, despite coming off as a niche subculture at times, are worming their way into all aspects of society:

There are still people who fail to understand games and fear them, but with the publication of books like Grand Theft Childhood, dust is beginning to settle on the paranoid scare mongering so often stirred up by the anti-videogame lobby. Everyone is surrounded by increasing amounts of technology, and interacts with it more each passing month. People are primed to play games, and videogames are now going to keep spreading and adapting to new markets ....

I think our industry is progressing marvelously. I'm proud to be a gamer, I'm proud to work with games, and I can't wait to see where else they go this century.

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Definitely worth a read - it's long, but interesting and has some great points within.

Under The Mask: Games Culture [Functional Autonomy via GameSetWatch]

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DISCUSSION

TheSadClown
Nightshift Nurse

@Gitaroo_Dude: @happycodemonkey: @Channing:

Considering how enraged posters became a week or so back when I stated that games should be scrutinized in matters of taste and culture he same way films, television, and literature are...and that a "lowest common denominator" among gamers inevitably appears as a result.

Considering that, no, it doesn't surprise me that people either pay these sorts of articles no mind or express an outright distaste for them.

I don't think a lot of gamers really want to accept the fact that gaming is no longer a secret fraternity that caters to their needs and expectations (and let's face it, even the ultra-mainstream Wii and DS still fill that "wacky" criteria). It's a tough pill for many gamers to swallow that the same type of slack-jawed knuckle-draggers that kicked their ass in high school are now becoming the demographic that developers are trying to reach. Basically, their one refuge from total alienation is now alienating them as well.

On the flip side of that, I believe many gamers don't care to admit that when it comes down to matters of personal taste, they share a lot more in common with the "lowest common denominator" than they'd care to admit. And all of a sudden the superiority they felt in other mediums is now absent...and that they are in fact just another slobby consumer.

For many, gaming has lost its individuality...and articles like these do more than anything else to remind them of that fact.