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Old 05-09-2007, 10:48:54   #1
King_Ghidra
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Join Date: Nov 2001
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Mainstream media in games timewarp

edit: Url is fucked as usual with guardian blogs, i'll just post the whole article.

Quote:
"There is an invisible subculture in America. Those who belong to it love it with a lonely, alienated, unironic passion. Those who don't belong to it walk right by, uncaring, just as people walk right by that unmarked building in downtown Kirkland. It is the subculture of hard-core video games, and that oddly shaped building, which houses a company called Bungie, is one of its temples."


That's the second paragraph from Time Magazine's cover feature on Halo 3. From here, the reporters wonder at videogame culture and the boffins behind it, reeks of post-Pac-Man mainstream journalism laughingly getting a handle on the arcade craze. "This isn't Donkey Kong," he enthuses. "The Master Chief is not an Italian plumber whose girlfriend has been kidnapped by a gorilla. His story is rich and complicated in ways that we're not used to in video games."

Jesus, it's like Final Fantasy VII never happened. It's like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Deus Ex, System Shock and Grand Theft Auto just took place on some other planet. The ironic thing is, Halo is hardly the standard bearer for the modern literate videogame. Compared to Bioshock it's a Commando comic with pretentions to become a Paul Verhoeven movie.

"The cliche about gamers is that they're antisocial," the feature continues. No, hang on, that was the cliche ten years ago. Now, surely, World of Warcraft and Second Life have murdered that one?

But then, this is Time Magazine. Perhaps its readers really do believe that videogames are chronically marginalised. Perhaps they would be amazed that there are plots and characters now. This guy must know his readership.

The blog, Bits, Bytes, Pixels and Sprites makes the following point:

Though Time magazine's circulation numbers have dropped from 4 million down to 3.4 million in the past year, those numbers are still EASILY dwarfed by Halo 2's sales numbers alone, so far moving 8 million copies.

But then, when you think about it, eight million isn't such a big deal in terms of demographic penetration. The Super Bowl will pull in 40 million viewers in the US. An episode of American Idol will do 15-20m. And of course, those brands are backed up by endless mass media coverage. Halo slips in, sells eight million copies to a dedicated, specialist user base and slips out quietly.

Wow. We're still the weirdos sitting in our bedrooms hunched over flickering sprites. We're still alone.
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