11 June, 2009

The Pervasiveness of Gamer Culture

Last nigh, Leah and I went to see the absurdist, beatboxing, comedic showman Reggie Watts at the Sydney Opera House.

Awesome show.

Well worth the ticket price, I'd probably see him again (if it weren't the last show of his current season).

The only thing that bugged me is that there was no merchandise for sale after the show. I'd love to have bought a CD or something...

...actually a CD would be great because he threw a real curve ball during the show.

I expected to hear profanity, especially given one of his notorious songs. I expected to hear references to marijuana given his recent album title "Pot Cookies". I even expected to hear numerous character voices, strange accents, non-sequitur humour and wide variety of pop culture references.

I was not disappointed, all of those appeared.

In fact, with a wide assortment of character voices I'd wondered what he'd be like to roleplay with...or even if he was familiar with the concept (beyond the token "I've heard of D&D...isn't it about monsters and fighting and shit?").

But one of the songs he sang was a pseudo fantasy ballad in the vein of spinal tap, or the darkness. A bit more soul and funk, a bit less metal, but you get the idea. Halfway through one of his songs, comes a bunch of lines describing character classes such as fighter, magic user, cleric and ranger, and in case it wasn't obvious enough by then more roleplaying references show up...even a line about "rolling for initiative".

Too much detailed knowledge for someone to just be taking the piss out of gamers...he's obviously done it!!

And the audience were in hysterics as the realised what he was singing about.

More than just a small handful of chuckles here and there...it's like the 1000 odd people in the theater were all gamers (or at least a critical mass of them).

It just made me wonder how deeply rooted is gaming in the culture of "Generation X" (the dominant demographic of the audience, and given his chats about growing up in the 80's, it's obvious Reggie is a Gen-Xer as well).

A lot of indie gamers I've dialoguied with are always saying..."Roleplaying is a niche hobby, and indie gaming is a tiny corner within that niche...how can we ever hope to make an impact??" or other such rubbish.

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that maybe gaming is a lot more developed in our culture than people admit. Sure it's kept in the closet, and few people admit to it beyond their immediate circle of friends...even fewer go to conventions or show any fanaticism to it...such as writing a blog. But I contend that it's a deep rooted part of the Gen-X psyche, and will probably cascade through a few more generations before it either fades away, or finally comes into the open.

I can dream can't I??
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