This month’s Blog of the Round Table: The Ghost of Gaming Future What role will gaming play in your familial relationships in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Having already explored both the past and the present, this month’s round table asks us to turn our eyes to our future gaming expectations. If you can’t picture how gaming will impact your own family, feel free to explore what game designers could/should/shouldn’t do to make gaming a more family friendly experience, or even to create and explore a fictional world where gaming is (or isn’t) a major part of every family’s life.
When I first read this prompt I sat back and scratched my head. What is family? Do I even know on which continent I’ll be living in five, ten, or twenty years? After the initial confusion I started parsing out my thoughts on the matter and decided a few things: Corvus is not the type to make the question of family so limiting, I was looking at this from the stance of someone who has remained single for some time and did not account that a relationship can be family, and that given my past in gaming, the experience that exists with my family is unlikely to change. Instead, I decided to opt in for some navel gazing and ruminatin’ (and will admit this presupposes that I’ll enter into a future relationship, of which I remain curiously wary).
In the Gaymer community there seems to be a loose consensus that one comes out of the closet twice: once as gay, then as a gamer. As someone who came out at age fourteen and has been gaming unashamedly for many, many seasons, both of these seem far distant memories for me. In the past I have been on dates with a variety of men who’ve had reactions to my gaming habits mirroring my own when they admit their love for the heteronormatively insulting Katy Perry or racist and abashedly homoerotic Abercrombie & Fitch–it usually leaves us with pregnant, awkward pauses. At least, this is what results when I admit to playing something more than just Rock Band or Guitar Hero as a party game (or isn’t that Wii thing like the greatest fad ever?). What has resulted is an acknowledgment that I need more discerning taste in those with whom I go on dates.
While I often hear mixed reports from my heterosexual male friends concerning girlfriends’ and wives’ reaction to their gaming habits, the general consensus is that it is allowed as in the realm of those ‘guy’ things or joined in at some point. In the gay community, the reaction with which I’ve been met has been one of my habit being puerile to the extreme or hopelessly not cool, and, as these are fellow males, they see no excuse of guys will be guys being allowed as a small indulgence. Meeting gaymers seems to be a special occasion which often leaves me and the other party raising an eyebrow and throwing down gauntlets to make sure we’re talking to an actual gamer (imagine me sighing as I type that last sentence).
What does this mean for the future in the world of Denis?
Frankly, the odds of my happening to date and enter a relationship with someone who refuses to game or acknowledge it as a legitimate hobby may well face the fate of those who refuse to read (something I cannot fathom nor really begin to abide). What I see as an ideal proposal involves someone with whom I would actually game and hold discussions. Someone with whom I can debate the merits of dissonance in games, propose theories of queer theory as seen through an interactive lens, contemplate what a Dennis Cooper written game would entail, and other such topics (note, I said ideal–there is wiggle room there). It has reached the point where I have become fairly staunch in my belief that videogames are a medium which has to be acknowledged more universally as we often do with music, film, art, and literature as cultural signifiers and relevant to what entails our pop culture and more ‘high brow’ entertainments.
So, in five, ten, or twenty years, I’ll still be playing with my family via servers in various games ranging from MMOs with my mother to FPSs with my brother, and hopefully be that kick ass uncle for my nephew when he discovers the joys of gaming (I’ll be a kick ass uncle either way, but gaming would make the transition easier). In the meantime, any future familial relationship of my own has come to hinge on the acceptance of gaming, and hence my curious wariness and raised eyebrow as to the future in that realm (after all, I did once briefly date someone who gamed, but refused to talk about it…).
Please visit the Round Table’s &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a title=”Round Table Main Hall” href=”http://blog.pjsattic.com/corvus/round-table/”&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Main Hall&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; for links to all entries.