The Nirvana Of Video Games?

The Nirvana Of Video Games?

Video games need a grunge movement, or at least that’s what Kotaku contributor and ’90s aficionado Leigh Alexander argues in this excellent piece over at Gamasutra. It’s a version of a talk she recently gave at a UK games convention, and it involves Paula Abdul.


  • An interesting article even if she does paint every single culture she isn’t a part of with ridiculously offensive broad strokes.

  • Why do videogames ‘need’ manufactured angst and apathy at all? If gaming will go through a grunge phase, then it should be organic and authentically reflect the cultural zeitgeist. NOT because music had one, so gaming should too, in order to be taken seriously. If videogames are the new storytelling medium, then let it stand on its own feet, instead of aping older cultural touchstones.

    This is like when the gaming community shat its collective pants over Ebert’s comments about games and art. Who honestly cares? If you’re comfortable in your own skin, you shouldn’t need him validating your hobby. On one hand, Leigh wants to wear her “GEEK” shirt and proudly herald the gaming revolution, but on the other, she also secretly craves the approval of older taste makers. Anyone who follows Giant Bomb will know that Leigh Alexander is an idiot who can be safely ignored.

    • Funnily enough given her description of Nirvana (note she failed to mention how they almost killed rock and roll and left it near death in an old folks home where it still resides)

      She failed to mention the Nintendo Wii. By her criteria Wii is the grunge moment where games ignored new and flashy for something different.

      • They killed Hair Metal sure, but rock n roll?
        Without them there is no soundgarden, pearl jam etc…..
        They were and are a very important part of rock.

        • Ill grant you rock had a comeback in the late 90s and there are still a few bands doing great stuff. But in the charts and pop culture good music has been swept aside for the demon offspring of Stock Aitken & Waterman!

          Also yeah, to a great many people born in the 70s Hair Metal was rock!

      • I also don’t understand the rosy-hued fetishism with Nirvana. They had some great tracks, but the only reason why Dave Grohl escaped the 90s intact was Cobain’s death. We never lived through Nirvana’s fat Elvis phase, or the indignity of seeing Cobrain on The Voice. Instead, he’s immortalised on the dorm room posters of disaffected youth, and used as a cheap headline pull for bad writers of videogame commentary.

        • This sentiment exactly has always been my argument when it comes to Nirvana. The only reason that people seem to consider them gods is because they went out with a bang before they could fizzle out with same-old same-old records. Their ‘greatness’ comes from dying out before they could go stale and be resented for ‘selling out’.

          The same thing goes on in the Hip-Hop community with acts like Big L who is considered an incredibly talented rapper but because of a short career (shot nine times in the face and chest at age 25) it’s hard to consider him up with the greatest of all time. It’s one thing to have a short career packed with awesome tracks but the mark of greatness is the ability to keep making awesome tracks without just sounding like the same old thing.

    • Grunge was the fashion (ripped jeans, chuck taylors, flanel etc) the music was garage punk. Besides games already have a grunge movment it’s called indie games.

  • Has anyone else noticed that video games are the only entertainment medium that people (game journalists) keep making awkward comparisons to works outside the medium? So far is been film, Citizen Kane (so sick of hearing that) and now bands with Nirvana.

    You don’t hear people comparing bands to War and Peace, or Nirvana to comics books. Games have been around long enough that we can define them by contrasting them with themselves. Where was films ‘grunge period’? Articles like this one at Gamasutra reek of a desperation for relevance that we really should have grown up from by now.

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