I teach philosophy and religious studies at a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts and my first book ever (yay!) was just released. It is an interdisciplinary argument about how philosophy, philosophy of religion, neuroscience, and social science illuminate the ways that video games impact social ethics and can actually make us all better people. Don't worry, I acknowledge all the garbage still going on in the industry in the last chapter, and digging into that dark side is a main part of my current research following up on this project that just finished.
I just thought people here would be interested to know that I cite the Giant Bomb and GameSpot crews for the ways both websites changed programming in response to all sorts of social turmoil, especially the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Aside from the amazing fundraising efforts of the video game industry and communities like this one (financial numbers that have blown away some of my colleagues who were previously convinced they researched the relevant money-making stuff), just pausing and doing something different on video streams in the wake of historically marginalized people being mistreated once again can be an important sign that those people are heard and matter (more interviews to confirm or challenge this philosophical point is also part of the next stage of my research). The GB crew members are not discussed in the main text, but a citation in a discursive note is an even bigger deal in some ways for us academics!
For those interested, the title of the book is Playing as Others: Theology and Ethical Responsibility in Video Games. The abstract philosophical portion is Paul Tillich's theory of culture and how ultimate questions (the point of existence in general or the point of our specific lives) can be answered by culture, which I update to include pop culture. This becomes a mix of philosophy and philosophy of religion because it touches upon the nature of ultimate reality, which the world's religious traditions have different stances on but which was basically just a philosophical question before the axial age (the major, in terms of membership, world religions arose during a specific period, but the concept of an axial age is not entirely adequate and misses many traditions). The applied philosophical portion is Emmanuel Levinas and his concept of ethical responsibility toward the other, others we often fail to respect, acknowledge, and help day-to-day. Encountering others is a big thing that video games let us do and right there you have Tillich and Levinas together (putting them together is controversial for scholars who devote their careers working exclusively on one figure, but video games make it so obvious that this combining should be done). Some video games can actually transform us as people and help us become more responsible toward those often ignored or neglected as "the other" in society.
I'll finish by noting the GB community was instrumental in this work way back in 2015 when a bunch of you showed up at a PAX East presentation from myself and a colleague on philosophy, science, and the importance of diversity in the wake of Gamergate. The forum support was encouraging when we were up to something quite different within the academic world. So, long story short, I just wanted to share that at least this academic thinks that video games are important for the future of society, and this place has been a big part of that.