A translated version of this post in German can be found here.
It is by no means a new fact, when people talk about the notion of video games being stuck in a cultural ghetto. Without dwelling on the semantics for too long it is the term itself which carries a large inventory of infantile connotations with it. While the playhouse and the actor are of course long respected as an artistic, affective, and emotional way of expression, I do not see the same respect from even those people who dare to state their so called passion for games.
It is not my goal to question the position regarding the term „gamer“, I simply aim to point out the lack of bigger portal within the mainstream press, the video game press, and within fan circles themselves for stimulating and encouraging reflective and emotional thinking.
Franchises such as Call of Duty have lead to a commercial legitimacy for them and the sheer explosion of projects funded via Kickstarter point to a shift in consciousness and paradigm.
Away from the exuberant marketing and the soulless product towards the humble and honest affect.
As fans of the medium we are responsible to be just as humble and respectable, as we hope to be to achieve an even further legitimacy. With said legitimacy we also experience a raise in quality. If we do not respect other mediums, how could we expect the same then? If we do not realize the fact that we are all part of the same wonderful entity, then why do we wonder how the stigma of the socially outcasted gamer can even exist?
The send out image is an exact reflection of the reaction it gets. If we continue to appear and elitist, and protective, and pretentious, and far fetched images, we can never expect the legitimacy for the medium.
The ego is our biggest enemy in this battle. We have to show ambition and we have to show our passion in an honest and humble way that asks for a lot of deeper self reflection and thinking. But we also must not give in to the fallacy of need and desire. Those are egotistically bound and only if we separate from desire and the likes we can act honestly.
Even the image of the critic is that of a elitist and self entitled, arrogant, immature, and pretentious gaming freak, who does not show any affection for that image. Without even talking about traps like nutrition and diet, it is this image that is so deeply destined to be stereotypical and superficial.
The only solution comes by way of critical, reflective and by all means humble thinking. What are the theories and practices and fundamental concepts and conventions, that evoke emotional and intellectual reactions in what manner? This is the magic of the medium. Video games are the only phenomenon that offer this direct interaction and self reflection. As fans – and this is a special concern to so called journalists – we are collectively and individually destined to do everything in our power to break out of that stigma and the signifying practice. It would be a travesty to keep games in the exact container they have been for so much time just as it would be to keep any other medium bound in its early stages of existence.
If it does not spring from the power behind those bodies, that carry the warrior’s soul and the artists passion, then from where else should it spring?