Are Gaming Personalities A Big Benefit Or A Crutch?
Last week, I found a solid article at TheMarriedGamers that required a follow-up piece, if only to get our community involved in the question.
And ever since then, I've been thinking... I referenced my earlier editorial to illustrate my thoughts on the "entertainer/journalist" subject but now, I'm wondering if there's another element lurking beneath the surface. We don't wish to acknowledge it because it reeks of big business manipulation but at the same time, we can't keep our heads in the sand for much longer. What if this industry is at a position where we need entertainers more than journalists? What if we require the over-the-top "reporting" of the Hip Hop Gamer, and the kill-me-dead hotness of Olivia Munn? Wouldn't it be cool if we could sorta use them until gaming finally gains acceptance from the mainstream crowd?
Sadly, the mainstream only gauges success and popularity via personality involvement. If gaming has a few extremely popular personalities, might that be a good thing...? The answer is a little more complicated than one might believe. Some will say we simply don't need any of that Hollywood flash and panache, and that gaming has managed to grow at a ridiculous rate without such personalities. But has it really...? Morgan Webb might have pioneered the "personality" direction, although few denied that she actually played video games. But does it matter if she played games or not? Isn't shifting the industry into the limelight beneficial to all? Or is that only leading to the movie problem, where decent (but still not elite) summer blockbusters dominate, and the keen-eyed begin to notice a definite deficiency in intelligence?
Lastly, there's something else: isn't gaming mainstream enough to cater to vastly different demographics? Munn didn't really grow up in a time when only the socially awkward loners played video games, so why does the majority still bow to old stereotypes? Had this been 1985, I think we all know someone like Munn would've been immediately dismissed as a poser, but these days, maybe we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss. The gaming landscape has changed. And in the end, the presence of such personalities might be a boon to the industry. We just have to worry about a time when game reporting is done exclusively by personalities; such a shift shouldn't be embraced.
P.S. And don't think we don't know that half of you clicked the headline for the pic. ...ah, but doesn't that make a point I was trying to make?
12/21/2010 9:18:11 PM Ben Dutka