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We're all familiar with phrases like
gaming culture and the gaming world.
These phrases suggest that the game world
its own subculture, and of course it does.
In fact, it has dozens of subcultures that
range from professional gamers to Silicon
Valley entrepreneurs, to kids in their
parents' basement, to workers employed
in the gaming industry, to grown adults
form the majority of the population in
To casual gamers who play Angry Birds on
their mobile phone.
Or solitaire on their laptop.
But it's not as common to talk about
games in our larger literary and artistic
And it's still less
common to think about our literary and
artistic culture's
presence in the games we play.
But games are deeply enmeshed in our
And not just our popular culture, they are
complex cultural objects
with brutes that reach back to literary
and artistic traditions dating from Homer.
And like virtually all of todays culture,
they mix
high and low traditions, they draw on
romance conventions shared
by Dante and Spencer and Mallory.
And they fuse these motifs with references
to reality TV and Michael Jackson, The
Simpsons, and animated cartoons.
Some very smart game people have written
about games as art.
I'm thinking of Ian Bogost, Tom Bissel,
among others.
But my point is that it's important to
come to terms with games as culture.
Games is a critical part of twenty-first
century culture,
alongside films, and novels, music and
performance and art.
The fact is, games contain elements from
all those
modes, and they combine them in
challenging new ways.
The usual way that claiming that games
is to talk about how popular they are.
The, the, the statistics are surprising to
69% of all heads of households play games.
97% of young people.

I guess, I guess that's not entirely
surprising to me.
But 40% of gamers are women, and the
average gamer
is 35 years old.
So this, these statistics go against many
stereotypes people have of the typical
Another way of emphasizing that games
matter is
to talk abut the enormous economic impact
20 billion a year juggernaut surpassing
movie, music and
DVD sales combined is how one critic puts
You hear all kinds of numbers about the
Economic impact of gaming.
I've heard numbers as high as 64 billion.
That figure must be including all
kinds of sales, and salaries connected to
gaming on
every different kind of platform.
A third reason that games matter, is that
society pours enormous intellectual and
creative energies into producing games.
It's a fantastically inter-disciplinary
Computer scientists, programmers and
join hands with writers, artists,
musicians, actors,directors, producers,
and countless more people
to bring today's biggest games to the
These are important reasons to pay
attention to the
gaming industry, but they're not the only
reasons that matter.
We need to be thinking about how these
new creative channels revise and extend
older cultural forms.
And how ancient literary tradition live on
in today's imagination.
Games increasingly attract the attention
of museums and the serious medium.
The New York Times now regularly reviews
video games.
There have been a number of
high profile museum, gallery and
theatrical performances
dedicated to gaming in recent years.
EMP museum in Seattle
mounted a show on the history of video
gaming in the summer of 2013.
The Brick Theater
put on a month-long series of plays

devoted to video games.
In the same year, the metropolitan museum
of art, MOMA, in New York City,
added seven more games to it's existing
design collection of 14 games.
These are just a few of the reasons that
it seem important to me to begin studying
video games in
today's culture.
I suspect you can think of many other
reasons on your own.