January 2, 2010
Recently, I’ve been painfully aware of it. There is a certain stigma to being a ‘gamer’. To some, it labels us as nerds, geeks, losers. Many perceive it as a childish pursuit, as if it were still the end of the 80’s and we were only now unwrapping our NES consoles from underneath the tree in our pyjamas, or should that be going mental over our N64s? The truth is, our favourite pastime is at a difficult age. Videogames haven’t been around long enough for them to be a ubiquitous medium – most would not bracket it in the same class as TV or film as an entertainment channel. But why not? Why is five hours of TV each night deemed a more acceptable exercise than the equivalent time spent with a controller in hand? Ultimately, how do we convince the non-believers that gaming is not only an increasingly commonplace activity, but one that aspires to be a more valuable cultural artifact than television?
So, it comes down to this. Your friend derides your games-playing. He thinks its unhealthy; he thinks because he watches films or listens to music in his spare time that he is culturally superior to you. How do you convince him? Which game, from the past or from the present, epitomises the promise of videogaming to you? Which one do you put in front of your friend to silence his derision, to open his eyes to a medium that not only stands toe-to-toe with other forms of entertainment, but one that, dare we say it, even aspires to become art?
You have one chance to convince. That’s all that will be afforded to you before the same outdated, tired clichés about the silliness and childishness of videogames come tumbling out of his mouth. Its time to stand up and be proud of being a videogamer. Like those who profess to being film buffs, or music connoisseurs, there should be no shame of being the videogame fanatic. So, which game will it be?