By Computerplayer1 14 Comments
As I sit here listening to my favourite gaming podcast, dreading the coming days before final exams tackle and pound me into submission, I think about something that perhaps many gamers haven't before. Maybe I shouldn't say that, I can't just assume I'm the only one thinking about the oddities of the gaming community. Perhaps many of you who read this will have already thought about it at length. For conversation sake, I hope you have. If you haven't, then hopefully this will make you take a step back and look at things a little differently. Am I getting too deep already? Humor me a little more than usual if you can, it's getting late.
I've been thinking about the celebrity that game reviewers have built up around themselves, as well as blog writers and those who defy classification. Specifically, I've been thinking about how many of them are now getting older, and how the cycle of the next generation of celebrities will come to be.
It probably won't surprise many of you if I bring up Jeff Gerstmann. I've followed him since nearly the dawn of his career on Gamespot. He has perhaps unintentionally become one of the most famous game reviewers on the internet (yes, even before Gerstmann-gate). His popularity allowed him so much that upon starting up his own website it exploded and has quickly become a hub for a huge community that grows continuously. Of course Ryan Davis, and Brad Shoemaker carry their own celebrity as well, albeit perhaps not on the grandiose scale of Mr. Gerstmann. What gets me thinking is that these guys (and others, don't think I'm forgetting about anyone) are getting older. They've grown up (as much as a gamer can). They aren't grandparents or anything, but they're not youngsters anymore either. I wonder how long they will continue their careers as reviewers. Can we expect to see a Siskel and Ebert-esque band of hyper-popular reviewers 15 years from now? 25 years from now? How will the generation who grew up and followed these guys closely for their whole careers react to a new generation of reviewers coming up? Will those reviewers even be able to reach the celebrity that we see in many today? I've pondered these questions for a long time, and to be honest I'm not sure if there is a real answer to any of them as of yet.
But we're seeing other things crop up in the community now. People who have been part of the out-group are creating their own celebrity. The name that instantly comes to mind is Michael Pachter. If you don't know who he is, he's an analyst for Wedbush Morgan that has been a regular guest on Gametrailer's Bonus Round for a long time now. He's slowly become popular, and now has his own show on Gametrailer's that's become wildly popular. It almost pulls in as many views as Bonus Round itself, which he still appears on regularly. It's great to see things like this happening within the community. We're not exactly known for accepting great change, which is part of why I'm so interested in this topic to begin with.
As much of a jumbled mess this all might seem, it has interested me a great deal for some time. Watching people rise in popularity to almost legend status (Greg Kasavin, anyone?) has been fun to watch. It makes me think about what the hardcore gaming community will sit 10 or 20 years from now. Will the older generation of gamers tell their kids stories about favourite videos, reviewers and podcasts? Will we compare future reviewers and gaming celebrities to the new groups that will inevitably rise in the ranks as the older group moves on or out? It excites me and scares me at the same time. It's hard to imagine not having the mainstays around down the road. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not a fan of change myself. I'll suck it up, but I'll be damned if someone ever replaces Jeff as my most respected reviewer.
What do you think about all of this? Has this stuff ever crossed your mind on a boring, rainy day?
Have a good one,