Tagged With culture


It's September again, and that means the start of a brand new school year in China. For university first-year students, it means more than just moving out of house and partying; it means compulsory military training. But it seems there is some fun to be had despite the training's harsh nature.


China churns out more and more university graduates every year. This year alone, close to seven million Chinese students graduated from university. Many of these students will find decent, well-paying jobs, and many of them will not. Those who do not find "good" jobs and have no money end up in what is called the "ant tribe".


Photoshop is a great and powerful tool. It can take ordinary pictures and make them spectacular... or make them horrible. In China, there are many people with awesome Photoshop skills, and those who don't have any ability usually ask people for help online. Sometimes these requests go wrong. Horribly wrong.


So I finished Guacamelee! and I think I am supposed to feel offended. I remember being told I was a bad Mexican. To some of the white friends I hung out with, I was one of them. Once someone told me that because I played video games, read science fiction, and spoke with no accent, that I was whiter than they were. Now that was weird.


When it comes to the increasing scapegoating that says video games cause mass shootings, game-makers haven't had a whole lot to say in their chosen medium. Most video game companies and their representatives seem to be choosing to stay away from a debate in the court of public opinion, operating maybe on the principle that they may get outmaneuvered in the land of soundbites and pop punditry.


It's Black History Month in North America and the UK -- that time of year when people look at exceptional achievements and moments having to do with African Americans and black culture. What does that have to do with video games? Sadly, not a whole lot. There's such a paucity of black characters and creators in video games that it's difficult to discuss the same sort of exceptional achievements and moments. Because there aren't very many.


You thought it finally was over. That annoying debate about whether video games are art would finally slink off and die somewhere, right? After all, the Smithsonian American Art Museum mounted their Art of Video Games exhibit this year following the intense voting in 2011. And the highly esteemed Museum of Modern Art just announced plans to set up 14 classic games in their halls next year. So, debate over, no?


New York City's Museum of Modern Art ranks as one of the most prestigious museums in the world. You can go there to see iconic creations like Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans and Pablo Picasso's The Bullfight, as well as taking in exhibition on thrilling and important art movements throughout history. And now you can play Pac-Man there, too.


Yesterday I sat next to my spouse in a dark and surprisingly luxurious movie theatre, watching a childrens' movie. Aside from a group of four late-teenaged boys across the aisle, we were the only adults in the room not shepherding a flock of kids into their seats. And when, about 20 minutes into the movie, a piece of graffiti reading "Aerith Lives!!" flashed briefly on screen, we -- and that group of boys -- were the only ones in the theatre to laugh.


There are hundreds of millions of games played across the world every day, there are clubs, conventions, and publications dedicated solely to the practice. In economic terms, the video game industry is certainly a powerful one, growing to rival any other kind of entertainment or media form one cares to mention. This is video game culture, and it is important.

So the ‘culture’ of people-who-play-games has begun to evolve to a point where we ‘gamers’ tend to self-identify. We proclaim ourselves gamers and partake in video game culture. What does this mean?

What is video game culture? What are the boundaries and who are the gatekeepers of the culture?


Iran's mastery of the Unity engine may not have gotten the attention of the United Nations Security Council, but games like Gando (pictured above) sure have spooked 'Murica, according to Iranian government sources quoted in a report published by Iran.