Thursday, April 8, 2010

Games, the New Lively Art - Friday 11am Section

The Henry Jenkins piece that we read this week may very well be my favorite reading thus far. This is because I felt a personal connection to the ideas that he presented. As someone who identifies as a serious gamer, I thoroughly enjoyed his analysis of the reasons why critics dismiss video games as an art form. I was surprised to find that Gilbert Seldes arguments were not so different from the ones I’ve made in the past. One problem that I’ve often experienced when talking with critics/skeptics is that they often have not played the games they’re arguing against. According to Seldes, video games are art because there is an affective force to them and they create strong emotional impressions. It’s difficult to convince someone that a game has that attribute if he hasn’t experienced it himself.

According to Jenkins, “The ability to characterize certain media forms as “cultural pollution” also impacts how the general public perceives those people who consume such material.” For me, this is one of the most compelling statements in the reading because it captures the cultural environment that gamers live under. Because of their origins, video games are often thought of as being for children. The general public fails to understand that the largest gamer demographic is 20-40 year old males or that the video game industry is larger than the movie industry. I used to have a hard time simply convincing others that gaming was a legitimate hobby. However, I think the culture around video games has started to change in recent years because of how popular/accessible the Wii has been and the rise of casual games like Farmville. I would love to see the day when the general public put video games on the same level as movies or when the best gamers are afforded celebrity status for their accomplishments.

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