Happy Birthday to ME!

It is my birthday! I’m 31. Weeeeeeeeee!!!

Haven’t been playing many games lately. Been busy with the school starting again. Watched Video Game Revolution on PBS last night. Nothing that other documentaries haven’t gone over a million times before, but entertaining at least. Of course, we saw all the usual suspects interviewed: Steven Kent, Nolan Bushnell, Henry Jenkins and the like. So I guess since this is at least the 3rd Videogame history that has appeared in the past 5 years, we can see the canonization of videogame history being built. Atari, but they stole it from Baer, then they sold it to Warner brothers, then Nintendo came along, then there was Doom and some kids killed people and Grand Theft Auto is a great game but morally questionable (note: that is the ideology of these programs, not me. I have a hard time taking seriously claims from people who haven’t played the game, because every time i try to go on a killing spree in GTA3 the cops are on me in a heartbeat). While they did talk about violence a bit, at least our good friends Dave Grossman and Jack Thompson weren’t mentioned (and thankfully, neither was Robert Thompson) nor was there any talk of rape in Grand Theft Auto. However, there was a lot of minor errors, or deceits. Showing Vice City while talking about GTA3 and showing Super Nintendo games while still talking about the NES.

The most interesting thing about these docs though, is that they make it seem like the US is the main contributor to gaming. Even when they mention Japan, they don’t really mention the impact of Japanease games. And Europe and other parts of the world? Unless you are talking about Tetris, forget about it. I’m interested in getting some more of an international perspective. Besides the interesting Game Over is there anything about the history of videogames that isn’t explicitly about America?

3 Comments Showing 50 most recent
  1. James Francis

    Well, I can’t blame them for getting some of it wrong, but that doesn’t mean we shoudl tolerate it. Japan is anotehr story,t hough, because even though it is a major contributor to the industry, you need to be a gamer or game expert to really know this, since the effect is a bit more subtle. I frequently surprise people with my answer when they ask about the Japanese market (and my knowledge is rudimentary).

    I didn’t see the show (non-US), but it’s probably safe to assume they didn’t spend much time on European and Russian development either.

  2. meredith

    Happy Birthday, Bry! Maybe on your half-birthday or some other un-birthday we’ll have to party BG-style for you.
    I’m sure you saw it, but Terra Nova has an article up today (9/12) that seems up your alley, kinda. I saw it on Boing Boing and thought of you đŸ™‚

  3. Cyberzel

    Hey Bryan!
    My happy birthday cheer for you!

    Can’t receive PBS over here. Thought the website was very promising, too bad the doc itself doesn’t live up to that. Maybe we have to make our own documentary…