End-Of-A-Decade Top 10 Lists: Where Are The Videogames?
Scotland's games industry makes more cash for the UK than the film industry. My six-figure investments this year in the sector seem small-fry when held up against the seven-figure investments made by independent companies themselves in the hope theirs will be the next big hit. Dundee's Realtimeworlds has had to attract over $80m to produce its 2010 release, APB, above.
Yet, as Jack Arnott points out in his Guardian column, the daring and skill demonstrated in studios around the world is barely honoured in our annual plaudits. You rarely see end-of-year "best of" or "top ten" lists in your glossies that include video games:
For games, however, [these end-of-year lists] acquire some extra significance. The lists you may find dotted around national newspapers this Christmas reflect an increasing slice of cultural cache for a still emerging medium. For a lot of people, arts critics especially, video games are still very much a poor relation to their more well-established siblings.
Even in its own media-luvvy domain, games are still looked down upon by those who see the craft of film-writing or programme-shooting as more, well, 'noble'.
The same snootiness is still visible in education despite the work of dedicated, tax-payer funded units like the Consolarium and legions of empassioned expert teachers like Mark Wagner. Video games are on a joint-pegging with the television and the internet in children's media habits, yet tend to feature only on the last day of term for most youngsters. The potential to learn in the game, as well as learn from their production, is lost to all but the most culturally open and connected of educators who want to expand their students' understanding of gaming beyond simply picking up another coin.
As we hurl ourselves into the last days of learning this decade, we might not see top ten lists of computer games in our holiday special bumper magazines. It is with hope, though, that more educators will realise: videogames are not just for Christmas.