For the last 40 years video games have been slowly climbing a ladder towards cultural acceptance. Gamers have been ridiculed for many of those years, stereotyped as one-dimensional, overweight social misfits, perpetually hunched over glowing screens as the world outside their bedroom windows slowly passed them by
For a small percentage of gamers, this old school Dungeons & Dragon-esque perception may still have some validity, but nowadays, gamers are everywhere. They are normal people who go to work, recreate on their weekends and socialize with their friends over food and drink. And, like elsewhere, there are thousands of them right here in Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor.
Anyone born from the late '60s onwards is part of a generation that has grown up with video games as a household fixture. The eldest of this generation (now in their 40s) grew up playing Atari, Intellivision and Colecovision, or their Commodore 64, transitioning to Nintendo and Sega in the late '80s and early '90s when Sony came into the picture and almost took over. Many of these gamers have kept up, buying new consoles or sophisticated gaming computers the way people used to upgrade their televisions, stereos and other home entertainment appliances.
They do not dismiss gaming as a child-centric waste of time, but consider video games a part of their everyday lives. You see them out in public, playing rounds of Angry Birds while waiting for the bus. Scrabble scores bounce across the world between Facebook friends and, behind closed doors, core gamers shoot, slash and obliterate their way through the alternate realities of Halo first-person shooters (FPSs) and World of Warcraft role-playing games (RPGs). These core gamers, those who spend most of their time playing through their immersive worlds, are the ones that still experience the occasional jock-like heckling or pitiful shakes of the head from their non-gaming peers.
Ironically, however, it is these non-gamers who are now the minority, and the number of gamers is growing with each passing moment. The global business of interactive entertainment will be to this century what television was to the last. Game revenues are bigger than movies, music and television combined. In some countries, notably South Korea, video game competitions are broadcast on television like sporting events. The players are household names.
Gamers are slowly but surely taking over the world. Literally and figuratively.
Victor Lucas is a prime example of the mainstream success one can achieve in the video game industry. He is the executive producer and host of Reviews on the Run and The Electric Playground, two daily TV shows produced in Vancouver (the latter having screened since 1997). His shows air in Canada, the U.S. and Australia and feature the latest movies, gadgets and, most of all, video games.