Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Exclusiveness - The Gaymer's Dilemma

I was listening to NPR during my drive home yesterday afternoon and I stumbled upon an interesting series called "Fractured Cultures". This series examines how the American culture is a dynamic of several subcultures and yesterday I was surprised to hear them give a segment about the Gamer community in NYU. You can read the short article yourself, but it was mainly a description about Final Fantasy and its fandom that has taken decades to build.

But my post has nothing to do with that. When asked about the response to the development of movement based games (Kinect, PS move, wii), one NYU gamer said, "I personally liked that my mom didn't understand what buttons to press, and how she couldn't play the games," he explains. "It was something that I enjoyed that other people couldn't."

While NPR immediately states that "67 percent of American households already play some kind of video game or another", I find it ridiculous that this attitude of exclusiveness still exists within the gaming community. We are no longer in the age of arcades (RIP), which means gamers no longer have to be in localized areas to congregate in order
to geek-out. But what about the exclusiveness of it all? The gamer expressed that gaming was something he could enjoy while others could not. This ideology isn't exclusive to gaming, but it is something that did emerge to counter act anti-gaming attitudes over the years. To be a gamer, was to be against the norm (or square) and that was something to be proud about. Playing "Grand Theft Auto" was like taking your parent's car for a joyride and every prostitute you beat with a bat was a moment of pure ecstasy - you know your parents weren't going to be happy with it and it didn't matter.

Regardless of what it was then, the attitudes now towards gaming and gamers have shifted drastically. Similar to Zach's article about the shift of what's popular from the gamer geek lifestyle, video games are emerging into every day life of millions of folks. And why shouldn't it be? News outlets are constantly discussing the positive effects of gaming on intelligence, self-esteem, and even surgical skill development. The benefits are great and everyone should have equal access to them.


  1. I think "Exclusivity" will always be a big motivator, especially as the world becomes more and more connected and exclusiveness becomes harder and harder to obtain. It is, after all, what made Facebook a success.

    Us geeks will simply find smaller and smaller sub-cultures to identify with.

    For instance, my Aerobiz Supersonic fan club is awesomely exclusive. No moms allowed!

  2. I disagree that exclusiveness will become "physically" harder to obtain since everyone has general equal access to consoles and other gaming systems. However, I will agree that exclusiveness will become generally more difficult to obtain with the invention of ACHIEVEMENTS in every single damn game.

    No longer are we in sub-cultures within gaming to identify with each other since everyone has pretty much played everything. It's now a spirit of "whose done more in it".