In less than a week– this coming Wednesday, in fact– I’ll be working at Pittsburgh’s biggest anime convention, Tekkoshocon, as the video game room producer. I’ve taken the title “Tyrant” in a somewhat lighthearted manner, but really “producer” is more fitting to describe my role with the convention and the game room. Last year I was approached to “run” the game room, and ultimately this expanded into developing the room as an entity within itself under Tekkoshocon, to expand the scope of our operations so that we could bring in more attention to our core show. This rapidly became almost another full time job.
The thing is, though, it’s a full time job I actually enjoy doing. I’m a collector, by nature. I enjoy finding, organizing, and managing a big library of video games, and up until about 2010 or so it was only for my enjoyment. Now, I’m able to focus my efforts to the goal of ensuring that everyone has a good time and gets to play some games that maybe they haven’t seen before. This means curating some games I personally don’t like, and dealing with people who know a lot more about those games than I do.
I mentioned this a few years ago, but Matt Boyd wrote that video games are becoming the shared culture of our generation. Last week or so when Mass Effect 3 was released, so many people were discussing the game in social circles and in other aspects that it was, for me, a little difficult to get away from it. Discussion also turned to how people had played the previous two games; people shared and compared their decisions, tactics, likes and dislikes. I was really surprised by this, even though I know I shouldn’t have been.
It’s undeniable now that pop culture, no matter how vapid or intellectually shallow it can be, is still culture. As much as it pains me to admit it, twenty years from now people are going to be talking about Jersey Shore the same way my generation looks back at Beverly Hills, 90210– hopefully with faint disdain and the benefit of hindsight, but you never know. Movies, television, music, and games– these are all part of our culture, our shared experiences that are wound across the frame of time. Even solitary experiences can foster connections.