Thursday, December 12, 2013

Year-end Bests and Worsts in the Video Game Landscape

Image from PopMatters
This week at PopMatters I do a little year-end ranting and raving.

I’ve come to enjoy the retrospective seasons. Game releases slow down and you get a chance to take a look back not only on the year’s most interesting games, but also on the broader trends in the medium. In fact, Jorge and I like it so much that we recorded a podcast on our favorite games of the year and will release a second one about the most thought-provoking games that, while they weren’t our favorites, took up lots of our brainspace throughout the year.

As far as the bulk of the negative stuff goes, the fact that the VGX show just happened very much helped to encapsulate most of the stuff that bothers me about “video game culture.” I use that term hesitantly as that phrase seems increasingly tied to a loosely affiliated group of ideas held together by stereotypes, exclusivity, and immaturity. In enjoy a good Cheeto joke as much as the next guy, but it has to feel like it's mocking the stereotype, not the group of people being stereotyped.

As for the positive stuff, it's all pretty straightforward. Broadcasting, the most exciting feature of the new consoles, seems to be a smashing success and the barrier of entry when it comes to content creation is historically low and still falling. Maybe a collection of small voices can drown out the idiotic isolated roar of the VGX vision of gaming?

I don't know, but here's to hoping 2014 will be a step in the right direction.

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