Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Playstation Generation

The Independant has come, for me, to be a shining beacon of tolerance, rationalism and sanity in a generally fucked up mainstream UK press that has, including the Guardian, made me increasingly despondent of late.

The normally insightful and observant Johann Hari, who is a regular columnist for the virginal tabloid, said something today that caught my attention, not only because it stuck out like some sore thumb that had been stung a million times, but bcause of the context in which the dreaded word was placed.

To quote:

' . . . Wherever this British bourgeoisie gathers, there is a mood of quiet triumphalism. I earned my Mercedes; they (the poor) earned their Burberry hats and their scuzzy flats. And when - just occasionally - this belief is shaken, they reach for the soap. They scrub themselves down with the argument that nobody in Britain is really poor. They've all got fridges and jaunts to Ibiza and PlayStations, haven't they?

On the one hand, while reading this on the train home, I was shocked that a (sniff . . . previously) broadsheet carried the word PlayStation in the gargantuan accumulation of words that is the Inde nowadays, but more pertinently, what it's place in that paragraph says of our beloved hobby.

Are PlayStation lovers Chavs, as the writer suggests?

Are we all poor?

Is gaming, in the eyes of middle class Britain, still viewed as a low-art pursuit?

Of course it is. But it has clarified something for me. The Playstation marketing campaign of the mid-90s, for all its achievements, will ultimately be remembered for getting ravers to play games, not for dragging gaming into some mythically respected vacuum.

In the eyes of people like Johann, gamers may no longer be spotty nerds with no social skills. They have transformed into drug/booze fuelled louts who listen to The Streets.

We still have a long way to go, it seems. Credit though, must go to Ms Hari for putting capital letters where they should.

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