Video games are back to being for everyone, and that's great news

Video games are back to being for everyone, and that's great news

Video games are back to being for everyone

Yet I remember the arcades of the past and they were by no means the exclusive prerogative of males and so-called nerds. I remember the girls, still unattainable in my very young age, struggling with Tetris, Bubble Bobble, New Zeland Story and Pang. As I will always remember, in front of the outermost amusement arcade of the city amusement park, these young marauders with teardrop glasses and Top Gun leather jackets, never too far from their Honda NSRs, feeding on the air with pheromones and colognes. ferocious pre-industrialization.

Cocktail videogames

Videogames for everyone: worldly and fashionable, the videogames of the 1980s were aimed at all audiences. Photo from If the medium was sparked by the brains, video games took a few years to get out of the MIT labs. In the eighties they were already in everyone's hands: women and men, winners and losers, from all social classes. The Italian arcades, due to their name synonymous with smoky and infamous gambling dens, initially suffered a negative reputation; they soon gained a dignity of their own, some even a glamorous aura with entrances brighter than a cinema.

Soon video games also arrived in bars: unlike the callused suffocating videopokers one can encounter today, a cabinet perhaps flanked by a pinball machine brought life and youth where there would only be Neapolitan cards and flies . They were also the place where they would come looking for you, and where they would probably also find you, if you skipped school: a significant plus. Those were the years when video games even ended up embedded in elegant cocktail tables, advertised as transversal and potentially chic fun.

Him and Her

Videogames for everyone: Japanese arcades have lived a totally different story from our own In a hotel arcade in Taormina, in 1988 or thereabouts, I also took my first crush. Which I would give to remind me of the name of the game I had literally slipped into: it was one of those ultra-luxury total black plywood cabinets in which you had to defeat the aliens on board a space fighter. When I come to what I remember was some sort of boss, I notice her: a foreigner, leaning with one hand on one of the upper tubes of the coin-op, half head inside the cockpit, which in her alien language seemed to be partly cheering and partly offend me with bad words. It is useless to describe it to you: over the years I idealized it in a Frankenstein built with the pieces of all those actresses who made me lose my head like a beardless one. I remember with certainty the round and wide and fine earrings, the short black hair, the freedom that illuminated her eyes. Maybe, but just maybe, she didn't smell good. Details ...

In all homes

videogames for all: the Atari 2600 first and then the Commodore home computers ended up in the homes of many unsuspected and future geeks Over the years prehistoric, the video game was anything but ghettoized. I struggle to remember houses without a Commodore 64 or an Atari 2600, Master System to follow, ready to use under the TV or in the special cabinet. I'm talking about Rome, of course, I have no doubt that things have gone differently in more isolated places, but I have found delightful arcades in the most unthinkable places, in the squares of the smaller villages. I don't know about you, but when for some reason we went somewhere else, looking out the windows with my eyes I was looking for nothing but possible amusement arcades where I could get in as soon as possible, and they were!

There were amusement arcades in little Vivaro, three even in Viggiù which today has just over five thousand inhabitants. Then if you went to the seaside places, where the last historic cabin cruisers still resist, discolored and scattered on the long avenues that line the beaches, you would have to lose your head. After all we weren't that different from the junkies with "the monkey on the back" told by Williams Borroughs, who can recognize the dealing areas (of tokens) thanks to a sort of sixth and a half sense.

Video games as a scapegoat?

Video games for everyone: Hillary Clinton plays with her GameBoy on a business trip, but the Nintendo console ended up in the hands of anyone other than hardcore gamer ... Despite its name, a school the GameBoy was often found in the hands of the pupils. The Miriam I lost my head for at the Pallanza school camp was a damn ace in Super Mario Land, but definitely too big for me who was still cutting my teeth in seventh grade.

I had already switched to Game Gear. and in those days spent thinking about Miriam, G.G. Shinobi and Castle of Illusion. But other than ghettoized, video games were everywhere, they were colorful, cheerful, happy and carefree, of all kinds and shades: for everyone. Then there were those who felt too cool to play with it (in some cases only in public), who would never have attended groups of cheeky gamers, but let's face it: would we have attended them? No, we were different, as were metalheads from hip hop fanatics. This alleged ghettoization of the gamer, however, may not be a legend, rather a phenomenon linked to the single person rather than to her and many other passions. Probably the same people who today feel video games are theirs, a temple to be respected whose access should be reserved only for those who have suffered in the same way. Revisionist madness?

Video games for (almost) everyone

Video games for everyone: Thanks for everything, Samanthona Fox If there has been real ghettoization, the video game industry is self-imposed . In the mid-nineties things began to really change and video games decided to aim exclusively at a predominantly male audience, reaching in the two thousand to sell themselves through advertising bordering on good taste, built on clear if not brazen sexual and sexist references.

At the time it was a strong style, it was bold, it was the breaking point of that blanket of respectability that hovered around this new medium; above all they were messages built ad-hoc for my generation who, after the carefree years with Ikari Warriors and Double Dragon, Quackshot and Pilotwings, Ultima VII and Theme Park, was preparing to discover the itchy but elusive world of sex. We had grown up, and video games chose us as the only interlocutors. Paradox! Although Samatha Fox Strip Poker and Gals Panic had been around for a while, erotic games were soon declassified as old frontier projects: the more sex was used to sell a product, the less space it found in the product itself.

Right games at the right time

Video games for everyone: what a Samba de Amigo party! Image changes that helped to break the interest of a large slice of the public, of which, however, video games learned to do without, continuing to grow, faster and faster. However, nothing can get me out of my head that this expansion would have taken place anyway, and it is just a coincidence that it coincided with the sector's turn towards a more heterogeneous and easy-to-satisfy audience. Did the marketing departments bet everything on young shoots for a clear statistical majority, or did they just talk to themselves believing they were at the center of the video game industry?

Today I think that the second hypothesis is the most credible because there have always been games for my friends, they simply weren't addressed to them. Fabiana loved Tekken, also because of the charm of Howorang; Francesca enjoyed herself with Supaplex, Riven and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo; Erika played Bust in Grove, Shenmue and Mass Effect. With Samba de Amigo then I managed to conquer several and different unsuspected ones, who with any other video game would have looked at me with absolute distrust.

Women of video games

Video games for everyone: Roberta Williams together with her husband she was one of the brightest stars in the videogame industry The girls, certainly not all, like some boys, didn't play regularly like us fools, at least those around me, but in front of the right title they never knew how to say no . I also remember those who complained about it, I am referring to the alleged disinterest of friends for video games, but they were mainly people who invited home by being found among beers, joints, friends and Winning Eleven, and decidedly unwilling to pleasantries and chat, let alone to change the game to entertain everyone.

Provided they had a game for everyone to enjoy. It was therefore not our beloved medium who turned away the guests, but always and only the host and his limited selection of tastes. At that point, the times of gaming for everyone were now far away and this also affected the number of professionals. The new generations grew up playing, but without knowing the graphic adventures of Roberta Williams, without knowing that the hugely popular 1982 River Raid was created by a certain Carol Saw, that modern RPGs were also invented by Rebecca Heinaman working on Bard's Tale, such as by Sheri Graner Ray who worked on several Ultima in Origin and left her signature on the stratospheric Star Wars Galaxies.

Nintendo and Smartphones

Video games for everyone: the debut of the iPhone changed the sector of telephony and consequently also that of videogame entertainment. It is no coincidence that the Apple phone today is one of the most profitable and popular gaming platforms The spell that for some was a curse also broke Nintendo, right back to the starting point, to the concept of "family computer" that she herself used to sell over sixty million NES. From the Nintendo DS onwards, Nintendo returns to speak to the public everything, multifaceted, without age, gender or recognizable connotations, a strategy brought to the apotheosis with the Wii, misinterpreted with the WiiU and finally masterfully perfected with the most recent Switch. Even Nintendo yes, because it was not the only one: to awaken millions of gamers first of all the much mistreated smartphones, where anyone could finally play video games, if necessary even with a certain amount of confidentiality, with titles made especially for him, for her. , again for ALL. And that ALL completely capitalized today includes more and more nuances of humanity, it is therefore even more precious and fundamental. It is no coincidence that in the same years the development of independent video games takes place, small software houses that often achieve success by offering games for the very audience that the official industry has pretended not to see for more than a decade.

Toxic revisionism

Un bimbominkia There is this toxicity in the air linked to the presumption that the video game must necessarily respond to certain styles and genres, and that it must speak only to a certain user of hyper passionate respect who knows what canon of purity, which is becoming more aggressive as the video game rediscovers itself as a mass product, an open and inclusive artistic expression. Perhaps out of ignorance, perhaps out of convenience, but someone wants to pass off the illusion of a decade as an immutable status quo. And nothing, it's already funny so ...

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