March 12, 2009

If you've spent any time in competitive gaming you know that one of the biggest (if not the biggest) issues is breaking into mainstream culture. And at this point, "breaking into" sounds about right. We've run into all kinds of problems, and some underhanded entrance might be the only solution left. "Mainstream" is our Holy Grail. Everybody has different theories on how to get there, of course. Some people argue about the games we use, some people argue about the audience we target, and some people argue just because if they're not arguing with somebody they feel like their life is incomplete in a fundamental way, like they've forgotten how to breathe.

I've written about the subject more than once, that's for sure, and today I ran across and interesting article that mirrors a lot of the problems we've seen over the years. The article is written by John Scalzi. He's a Sci-Fi author (and I highly recommend his books -- if you have any love of Sci-Fi you're virtually guaranteed to like them) that also maintains a well-trafficked blog. Recently he did a guest blog on another site about why movies based on video games are genuinely terrible, and might even drive one to drinking.

I can't vouch for that since I avoid movies based on video-games like they were radioactive. The whole article is still worth reading even if you avoid those movies too, but for the larger point I want to make this is how he sums the whole thing up:

"None of this suggests there can't be a good movie based on a video game. All you have to do is get a good filmmaker who puts the story first and aims for an audience with a brain. Which is to say, rather than making a video game flick, they make a good flick that happens to be based on a video game."

Just replace the word "flick" with "league" and you have a great summary of why the CGS failed, and I'm sure the same switch works for just about anything else -- tournament, organization, etc, etc. Basically, imagine if people "in the industry" stopped focusing on the "video games" part of the equation and instead focused on making a good product that just happens to contain video gaming ... well, things would be a lot different, wouldn't they? And I think that's part of our problem.