Before I go into detail about the questions asked of the assignment, I feel the need to defend my using video gamers as a community. Various forums allow those who create and market video games can communicate with their consumers, as seen in the NeoGAF website. Thanks to the internet, gamers are able to communicate with each other more easily than any point in history, and are becoming a closer, and larger, each year.
Many of the concepts covered in the assigned web-reading applies to the communication of gamers through the internet. The different 'leaders' of video games range from iconic developers with strong personalities that innovate in the industry with everything they touch. Some examples include Tim Schafer, Peter Molyneux, Will Wright, and Hideo Kojima. Each of them is well known in the video gamer community, and their work held in the highest regard.
Something that I'm not sure occurs in other communities, is those who report and monitor on the doings of developers are also leaders in the community themselves. I wouldn't go so far as to say 'famous', but well known games journalists are not hard to find. Gamespy's Ryan Scott, 1up's Jeremy Perish and IGN's Ryan Clements are all well known names in each website's respective circles for one reason or another. If someone had little to no games experience, going to their 'newsroom' is an option, asking questions like "Who heads LionHead Studios?" "Who's publishing this?" "When did Valve start?". They could even turn to their readership, and ask them for assistance, they're almost always willing to help.
As for my understanding of the community, I have been a part of it, and have been writing for it, for some time. I understand what new releases people are going to enjoy, which are going to be ignored, which are going to be hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Although with any community, there is deviation from the majority, but as a whole understanding isn't difficult.
Using the list of seven knowledge keys, I understand:
- Gamers are often stereotyped as basement dwelling, overweight, stinky nerds. Although with any stereotype, someone is bought to fit, this is the minority. As for my own bias towards this, I'd like to think I have none, but I tend to classify someone who fits the profile as a nerd/gamer occasionally.
- There are numerous sources that are trusted by gamers. From the still in print GameInformer that tends to have sometimes news spun a certain direction and skewed reviews, to the constantly updating Kotaku, which is sometimes less accurate, but always fixing mistakes.
- The sense of place is nowadays placed online, with gamers' various forums and inter-friends. The history of gamers and gaming goes way back to the 1980's, when the NES ruled Those of you who were around may have traded Metroid passwords at the lunch table, or people (like myself) who have grown up with the Nintendo 64, Goldeneye and Orcarina of Time being their favorites. As for development, more and more people are being attracted to gaming, and the trend seems to be geared towards newcomers and easier accessibility.
- Because of the limitless ability for anybody to play, the different kind of people who play is all over the board. There are some people who only play the popular World of Warcraft or Halo, while others only play WiiPlay. As for the language, it again comes down to the medium and game being used. A quick instance of World of Warcraft may find you meeting people who are quite courteous to you, and nothing but helpful. While others, like the well-known Halo 3 will have you pelted with racial slurs and insults. As I mentioned before, communication is primarily through forums, but many use the in-game chat functions that many implement today.
- Many of those who have been gaming for decades have concerns about the new direction I mentioned above. That games are no longer going to be their small niche, but are going to have a broader appeal that they don't like. The 'buzz phrase' that is usually used for these newer gamers is 'Casual Gamers'. People who play exclusively games that are easy to pick up and play, but also lack the knowledge to choose high-quality titles.
- The 'civic places' gamers commune is, again, internet forums. Although I am sure that there are many (myself included) who communicate with people face to face, a majority of it is through some electronic means. People tend to, obviously, discuss games, their favorite games, or even the occasional philosophical look at games' impact on culture as a whole.
- The aspirations of gamers is usually to just enjoy themselves, to play good games.