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Video Gaming Is Pop Culture

Genese Davis Posted:
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Last week’s San Diego Comic-Con soared through its five-day convention with massive celebrations for comic books, artists, movies, and video games. The international convention has grown substantially over the years into a rich environment that shares the creative ingenuity of every art medium.

This year I had the exciting opportunity to speak on a panel hosted by Patrick Scott Patterson titled Video Gaming IS Pop Culture. My co-panel rock stars included Warren Davis, David Eddings, Rachel Lara, and Paul Dean. We discussed various topics regarding video game history, where video games are now, and where the industry might be headed. Here are some highlights:

Warren Davis described the development environment during the conception of Q*bert and how different the restrictions were then and therefore so was the developer’s thought process. He mentioned how developers constantly had to think about how to fit everything into a small amount of memory and how their nemesis always seemed to be 64-bit computing. Today, the video game industry resembles the film industry more and more where elements like story, character development and visual effects are common focuses.

Patrick Scott Patterson then took the conversation toward today’s current players and asked what does the term gamer mean now. That particular question is very near and dear to my heart and one of the reasons I created TheGamerInYou.com. While more people play video games than ever before, there are still significant misconceptions about gaming. Yet, the average gamer is in their thirties and up to 70% of all Americans play video games in one form or another. Whether it’s an RPG or an FPS, an action adventure or a strategic puzzle, video games cater to almost every interest.

The panelists and I agreed that we’re all gamers no matter what type of game we enjoy. Whether we’re launching another shot in Angry birds, or quelling terrorism in Call of Duty, if we enjoy solving complex puzzles in Portal or large scale raids in MMOs, whether we want the rich story of Mass Effect or the action of Gears of War, just as it is in film, gaming has something to offer everyone and everyone is a potential player. Pixel Vision’s first episode (by Pixel Legends) called The Gamer In You goes on to discuss this topic in more detail. For anyone wanting to watch the discussion, the YouTube video is below:

Another panel topic extrapolated on last week’s column, Paying for the Game. When asked if whether the free to play model will extend to consoles, Patrick Scott Patterson had these thoughts:

“I'm not yet convinced the free-to-play model will come to console gaming in the exact same form as it exists elsewhere, but I do see more games trying to become perennial titles similar to Call of Duty’s method. Every version of CoD manages to become a year-long title via use of timed download packs and double XP weekends. I can very much see more games on consoles attempting that model.

I also think, though, if a game took that whole free-to-play microtransaction model to consoles that it would change things... but I'm not sure any console studio wants to be "that guy" just yet.  I could see sports titles going that way, though... A subscription model with roster updates rather than a brand-new version every year. I do think Destiny has a shot at pulling this off as well if they go that way with it.

I feel the DRM and online policies that the Xbox One was originally going to try was an attempt at bringing the eventual destiny of consoles to the modern day. The backlash proved that console players aren't yet ready for it, but I still feel it will come in time. Physical media is going away in all entertainment forms, and eventually what you see on PC and even phones and tablets will be the norm for gaming. Just not yet.

Worth a note here is that games like Angry Birds and Minecraft sold like crazy in console form for noteworthy prices, despite cheap-to-free versions existing on other non-console platforms. That tells me there's still a gap between those ‘all gamers anyway’ audiences, divided by consoles to ‘not’ consoles. For now anyway.”

The panel also mentioned the increasing number of gamers seeking out video game nostalgic experiences. For example, Nintendo nostalgia inspired film director Rob McCallum’s NES Club documentary to explore the NES past and present influence. And how the increasing number of barcades, video game lounges, and LAN party could have a connection.

I’d like to thank everyone on Patrick Scott Patterson’s panel for the opportunity to speak at Comic-Con. This convention truly is a magical place where comic books, movies, TV shows, video games, novels, and artwork receive an annual magnificent showcase. I’d also like to thank my crew for all their help in the small press area at my author booth. Chatting with Holder’s Dominion readers and meeting new fans was truly special. It is such an honor getting to see this gaming novel be a thrilling form of entertainment and a bridge connecting family and friends. To see more Comic-Con pics, click here.

Did you get a chance to visit Comic-Con? Tell us your convention stories!

P.S. Let’s connect! Find me at GeneseDavis.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Until then remember: Write at night, game hard, and lark your life. <3

Every week, Holder’s Dominion author Genese Davis opines about MMO gaming, the issues the genre faces, and the power of shaping online worlds.

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Genese Davis

Genese Davis / Bimonthly, The Holder’s Dominion author Genese Davis opines about video games, the issues the industry faces, and the power of shaping online worlds. Find her on Twitter @GeneseDavis and GeneseDavis.com