I wanted to convey how excited I was to listen to this piece and how deeply engaged and interested I was in what Austin is saying.
We all get sold the story of hope, providing that one thing that is the spark that lights the fire of change, and I am glad that Austin is both realistic in his present expectations of what Waypoint is today, while also committed to continuing to provide a service that might just make the spark. It’s cool that you are so grounded, and though it seems a bit cynical, you are still here doing your thing.
I have promoted the Waypoint series on gaming in prisons wherever I can (Facebook, a number of private communities, my own passion project Podcast), because the stories represent something you would never encounter anywhere else from a large publisher.
Austin, I’m not sure how much it matters but I want to say thanks for being both authentic and realistic about current game culture, while still promoting change and offering this home of impossible and refreshingly intelligent game criticism.
Some great take away comments. Shouting into the void is always better than sitting quietly in it. A lot to process here.
Like that you hit on issues such as games as commodity vs. Art. Even if some games hit Masterpiece status, they are still treated/marketed/discussed/engaged with as things to be consumed, and eventually left behind (which is an industry staple). The fact that you are able to articulate the difference between a consumer and a
an admirer of great works is also so important, and strikes directly as the issue of why shifting the culture can prove to be so difficult. There are more consumers then they are critics, this means the culture follows and caters to the consumer (as it would in any capitalist model).
When people love and feel they need these products, they are less inclined to discuss how they are getting them so fast (which in our current culture is whenever we want them, barring developer delays, I can literally buy BotW right now and play it in a few minutes). To this day, the average person in a North American town isn’t going to ask where the water comes from, they will simply expect that their faucets work, and raise hell with the water company when they don’t or when the water is tainted.
You also brush on accessibility and gaming literacy which was so great to listen to. Extra Credits put out some great videos that do a good job of defining gaming literacy, and I try to push those videos on anyone who will watch. I would love to hear your opinion on things like the endurance of a digital divide and it’s impact on digital learning in classrooms, or how gaming literacy is being developed across our nation. Is it happening at home or in places of learning? I feel like game sales help better describe what vocabularies future generations of gamers are latching on to, can that knowledge, and that understood basis of game literacy be employed to spark greater criticism in youth?
I also feel like criticism as a whole doesn’t get introduced early enough (if at all) in school, but that is a whole other problem and I am starting to ramble now.
Thanks for what you do.