National newspaper The Independent’s credibility as a ‘friend’ of the games industry has been further strengthened, with a new opinion piece questioning why interactive entertainment is ignored in mainstream media.
Just days after the newspaper offered its largely well-received ‘Top 50 Games’ list, columnist Thomas Sutcliffe has pointed the finger at Fleet Street for shunning one of the most relevant and important forms of modern entertainment media.
In his piece, entitled, ‘Why Don’t We Take Computer Games Seriously?’, Sutcliffe writes:
‘… given the almost universal enlistment in an activity that only 20 years ago was the preserve of home-programmers and hobbyists – [there’s a] mismatch between the scale of teenagers’ involvement in video games and the relative invisibility of this creative field in what you might call the traditional media.
‘From time to time a new game release, such as Will Wright’s recently released Spor [sic], will edge its way on to the news pages – and most newspapers carry some form of capsule reviews . But usually they’re tucked away in the back alleys of the publication, while film and music and television continue to dominate the big boulevards.
‘Mainstream television does virtually nothing. Arts programmes remain almost exclusively dedicated to cultural forms which are also-rans for many teenagers.
‘There are two reasons why this should be so. The first would be that video gamers get this stuff elsewhere – from magazines such as Edge or Wired, and from online gaming sites, where no one needs to explain what "respawning" or "first person shooter" actually means. And, since they get it there, they aren’t that fussed that it doesn’t exist elsewhere.
‘Unlike jazz enthusiasts – persistently besieging Radio 3 for a better deal for their favoured art form – gamers don’t need to nag. The other explanation would be that the traditional media still doesn’t get it. That, despite all the articles about the scale of the industry and its threat to older forms of diversion (and older forms of fiction) it isn’t something that needs taking seriously. Or, possibly, that it isn’t something that can be taken seriously, in the sense that a film or a pop record can.’