May 22, 2006

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,

I have been sick on and off since E3 to the point where I had to take Friday off from work to shake whatever it was that had me tossing my cookies once again. So I plopped down on the couch for a few days of what I hoped to be healing and relaxing fits of boredom. Thursday night was filled with awesome History Channel documentaries entitled anything about anything DaVinci Code, which I am naturally an expert on after watching the 6-hour block of programming. I was feeling a bit better Friday night so the lady made arrangements for us to see this The DaVinci Code film… halfway through I started shivering and my eye was twitching from a terrible migraine. Long story short, the movie was entertaining and I yakked once after exiting the theater and once again when I got home.

Wow, are you still reading? Ok here is the real reason for this post. Why in the hell are video games on a media blackout when it comes to talk shows fueled by entertainment industries? I was flipping through the channels catching talk show here and there and it dawned on me that I have never once seen a single person from the world of video games on one of these shows. One might ask who the hell cares, just a bunch of old people watch the likes of Jay Leno and David Letterman. Ok smart guy so what about Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, and Carson Daily they have younger audiences. What it really comes down to is that appearing on these shows signifies some sort of relevance in pop culture whether it is an actor/actress, singer/musician, or the fruitcake lady, they all are doing something people want to know about right now thus they appear on these shows to advertise why they are important. Are we not doing something that people want to know about, oh wait they only want to know about us during the commercial breaks in 30 second bursts.

The finger can be pointed in many directions as to why the game industry has no presence within these media outlets. For starters publishers make games not creative human beings with vocal cords. I could go on being sarcastic about this but it really pisses me off to know not a single marketing person from a large publisher can land Will Wright, David Jaffe, Sam Houser, or anyone else pushing the medium onto one of these couches. Here is the reason it really pisses me off, Steven Spielberg! I love this guy’s movies for the most part but now he is linked with games through some EA deal and he is going to be the one on the late night talk show couches singing the praises of this amazing new storytelling medium called video games. Even when this happens I will be cheering because well it happened but inside I will be a little sad it was not one of our own.

I feel better now so it’s back to work on Monday…

p.s. 1Up Show keep making me proud!


Rich said...

Bummed to hear you're sick. I usually come down with some kind of malady after the bacteria cesspool of E3. Next year I'm wearing gloves.

jchensor said...

It's a good question, Eric, and one that, unfortunately, has a simpler answer than we probably would hope for.

Nothing against Mr. Jaffe, but I'm sure most audiences would rather see Audrey Tautou or Tom Hanks or Angelina Jolie or Russell Crowe or J.Lo or whomever on the show rather than your run of the mill game designers. The world is obsessed with Hollywood and with how beautiful the stars look. So even if Spielberg isn't a looker, he'll get on the show because he's promoting movies with the movie stars in them. It's a visual world.

Yeah, there are the potato chip ladies. But they bring that "quirk" that the shows so desire. Unfortunately, games are still stuck in this horrible reputation of violence and decadence and aren't quirky enough. Let's imagine if you got invited onto Conan to talk about God of War II. And then they asked for footage to be shown during the show. What would you show? You probably couldn't show much gameplay footage because of the level of violence, despite the fact that the game, I am almost positive, will be awesome. But the creators of the Late Night shows will just see it as adding to negative light that's already associated with games and be afraid of turning way their audience.

So then we talk about someone like Will Wright and Spore. That is something that would more likely end up on the show. If it starts anywhere, that is where it'll have to start. In fact, I think Conan O'Brien is a perfect place to start, since his demographic is probably teaming with gamers. It would definitely be a way to help promote games as a true media art form and not just some low life form of entertainment. I would love to start seeing this trend.

But the producers aren't looking for it, because they are probably all stuck in "Video Games = BAD" mode. It probably won't be until some hardcore gamer ends up producing the show that we might see a change. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric,

Jason Rubin from Naughty Dog gave a speech about 2 years ago about how game developers don't get the public attention they deserve. He was basically pissed off because he couldn't get into E3 Sony party or something when his product made millions of dollars for Sony, while Tara Reid had no problem getting in. After he gave that speech, the game developer community gave some thoughts to it. Two years later, what has changed???

Game developers appearing on Conan to talk about games. I could just imagine Conan doing his nerd/star-trek-fan impersonation throughout the whole interview. It would be funny in the beginning, but I would eventually hate it... well probably because it's half true and we can't deny it.

I would like to see game developers on the small screen, but I don't see it coming any time soon... I wouldn't blame it all on the media or the TV execs. The developers make games to... make games. That's what we love to do. Most of the developers wouldn't care if we appear on TV or not. We want to market ourselves through our product and creation, not ourselves. If we really want to promote ourselves and be in more public eyes, we probably could, but the developers are not pushing it.

Back to the Jason Rubin story... few months after he gave his speech, I was at a crosswalk walking out of E3 and waiting for the light. I saw Jason Rubin and his friends talk. I recognzied his face, and I said, "Hey Jason, I read your speech from few months ago about how the development community need to be more exposed." He then gave me a "Who the fuck are you?" look, gave me a hiss, and continued talking t his friends. I probably interrupted his Tara Reid story.

- Hyun

eric williams said...

Here is a really sad story that I saw at the G-phoria awards last year. Ralph Baer, the father of video games and simon gets this lifetime award for his work in the field. He gets on stage to accept his award and says "thank you for the applause, there was no clapping 20 years ago" then walks off stage.

I know people do not want to know the nerds behind the work but what harm is there in trying maybe they do want to know. Stan Lee has made several appearance on such shows.

Since we do have this issue with being the new violence causer in america stigma maybe Jon Stewart and his show would be a better fit. I am sure they could all kinds of hilarious commentary on things of this nature...