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The Community

15. September 2010

UPDATE: Now with more videos!

Much thought has been made over the “games are art” debate. Too much thought, I think. The trenches are drawn pretty deep at this point. One camp looks to the medium itself, seeing expertly crafted visuals, story, and music as the aesthetic valuables they are; the other looks at its history, finding a pastime born from hedonistic, quarter-fed machines whose purpose is to entertain for a moment and then no more. Truly, the argument is currently locked in stasis–only time will tell if video games evolve as an art form like movies have over the past century.

Spending time arguing this, however, takes gamers away from that which games do have though: an overarching sense of community. Take any two gamers and get them to talk about their favorite consoles, and you might get a fist-fight in return, but at the end of the day, they’ll sit down together for one reason: to game! We spend money on subscriptions for the privilege of playing with other gamers. We lug around heavy, expensive equipment to each other’s houses to have LAN parties. PAX, a community-operated convention, is beginning to surpass the industry convention both in terms of attendees and relevance. People aren’t just playing games; they’re discussing them, judging them, and moderating their own perceptions of quality.

I can’t say how things were in all parts of the world, but I do know that ten years ago, if you called yourself a gamer, you were mostly looked at funny. More people were buying into the Playstation, and StarCraft was king of PC games, but acceptance of gaming as a hobby was just then becoming widespread as the XBox and Halo were released. How different it is today, when the people you interact with every day play games, whether it be an MMO like World of Warcraft, a console they use to game and watch media, or even a simple Facebook application like FarmVille. Ten years ago, I would have called myself just a consumer, merely buying games and at best reading magazines about my hobby.  Now, there are hundreds of forums, enthusiast sites, and other venues for anybody to join the community and interact with their fellow nerds! Let us enjoy not only the art of gaming itself, but also the company of kindred spirits, people so different from you but so similar at the same time.

EDIT: In the above, I focus on the social aspect of the gaming community, but it would be a sin to not mention the creative side as well. In fact, I think a major factor in deciding if games even qualify as an art form is seeing the art that springs forth from it. Without delving too deep into my YouTube favorites, I can find examples in music…


…and simpler forms or parody or homage…

I’ll let you be the judge of the quality of these offerings, but they speak volumes toward the dedication and reverence gamers have toward their chosen hobby. I challenge all of you to think about the impact that gaming itself, and the community it brings, has had on your life, however major or minor.


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