Yesterday over at Kotaku they had an article discussing the idea of a Video Game hall of fame. Where would this museum be? Ottumwa Iowa. Now before you go, ‘what the hell is Ottumwa?’ it does have some semblance of legitimacy for the honor. That city is known as the Video Game Capital of the World. The title of course is self induced, but the reason for it is back in the 1980s Ottumwa held an enormous gathering of the best arcade gamers in the world, including Billy Mitchel. They got on the cover of Time magazine and everything. It also was the former home of the Twin Galaxies arcade, now closed because of the Video Game Crash of ’83, but still in business as the organization responsible for issuing and keeping track of all video game world records, arcade and otherwise.You can read the article here: http://kotaku.com/5196471/a-claim-to-fame-in-the-dodge-city-of-video-games
The reason I bring this up is because it symbolizes a greater effort to combat the problems video games face as a growing medium. The idea of a Video Game Hall of Fame offers some idea of legitimacy to our culture as a whole. This along with viable criticism towards their cultural significance, the numbers now being posted by companies, and a new set of developers that have grown up with them are all factors towards the medium growing to its full potential.
Much of the major title releases right now are settling into stagnant formulas and it is getting difficult to tell the difference between them. There seems to be little variety not just in genre, but in the notes that developers are willing to hit. Deeper meaning in video games, both story-wise and with mechanics, are in their infancy and complexity seems within eyesight, but just out of reach.
A hall of fame isn’t the solution, but it is significant towards a larger movement to legitimize video games in the larger culture. Of course all of this is in the minority. The bestÂ we can do is push ahead and some day change the backward thinking that has seeped into our stagnant niche culture.