I’d guess that you’ve probably played a videogame of some kind in the last year. But I’d also guess, based on my broadest assumptions about grown-ups, that you probably don’t have any vested interest in videogames. Or if you do, you probably don’t want to talk about it. (I sure don’t.)
For all the massive mainstream commercial success videogame publishers have had with their Wiis and their Rock Bands, they’ve really done a poor job of addressing the embarrassment associated with being into videogames.
Unlike indie-rock, food, movies, books, comic books or just about any form of entertainment around which a community of enthusiasts exists, videogames (in spite of frequent awesomeness) lack any kind of inherent cool factor.
Sure, there is a group of people who will happily, even proudly, discuss their appreciation for videogames—who even consider that appreciation to be an important facet of their personality. But that requires a commitment to unabashed outward nerdiness that (however admirable) I’m just not willing to make.
But I shouldn’t have to, because it’s time for the dismissive attitude toward videogames to go. It’s an anachronism, based largely on an old-person’s idea that games are a lonely or antisocial activity. Today’s videogames are social events, whether at home or online. We’re not so far from a day when, instead of doing business on the golf course, people will close deals while shooting spells at skeletons.
All that really stands between videogames and the sort of general acceptance (with a pinch of rots-your-brain mistrust) that TV enjoys is the few years until today’s twentysomethings are thirtysomethings.
And when that day arrives, I’ll be able to say, “I liked videogames before they were cool.”