My friend Greg Miller performed a speech last night that I think any gamer or video game player should take the time to watch:
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This is probably the most relevant and responsible speech anyone who calls themselves a trending gamer could deliver. It’s important to disclose that Greg and I are friends, I did vote for him for this award, and I’m very glad that he won it.
What Greg said is something all of us have to carry with us anytime we try and discuss and represent games. Something all of us take for granted, whether we know it or not, whether we mean ill or not, whether we are trying to hurt someone or not, we do it. We have to remember the people that come together and form these experiences that we enjoy. The artists that create the games we love. We need to remember to thank them and appreciate what they’ve created for us, and for themselves. And we rarely do just that.
A valid comparison is Christopher Nolan, a director who gets a great deal of (well-earned) respect for his vision in his projects, for the art that he creates and disseminates into the world. That’s started to transgress into games, with examples like Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, or the one and only Hideo Kojima. These are names, directors and producers, for video games that we all know and recognize. Names we carry with us and remember as creators of experiences that we will always cherish and remember. But as Greg pointed out in his speech, what about the names we don’t hear or remember? What about Nicole Tan? What about the multiplayer coders, the AI designers, the concept artists? There needs to be more room for them.
It’s a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be. Years ago, when video games were getting big, there were people that would jump onto writing about them, making sure people knew what to look for, especially when the industry was so based on foreign content for us Americans. That may have come across as a thankless job, being the guy that has to tear to shreds the games someone loves, but they jumped onto it because they love the medium and what they could do, and now it’s something that people revere. Game writers have more clout and adoration than game developers, and that just isn’t fair. Making games should be just as exciting, if not more so, than talking/writing about them, because you know you’re making an experience that may change someone’s life.
More than that, the words become more relevant as the game industry expands and turns into a wholly new world full of all walks of life. The people making games are becoming more and more diverse, from film directors, to five year olds. That’s amazing, and what you can do with the medium is expanding too. This needs to feel like an inclusive environment where anyone and everyone can be a creator, and contribute something to this global conversation. That’s certainly why I love video games so much.
Much like Greg said, I would not be here without video games, without what they have given me and the things they’ve shown and taught me. I wouldn’t be here, writing about how important this is without video games, but also without the significant disruption in balance between game developers and games writers. Remember who made the titles, remember who put the long, thankless hours in, and remember that someone has given those very people far more more grief than they probably deserve. Thank you game developers, for all that you do and everything you’ve given us.