Conventions and the Video Game Geek of 2017

And the (video game) geek shall inherit the earth.

For such a long time the video game culture has been greatly shunned upon by the members of the mainstream norm and was constantly at odds with the public consensus  with gamers of all shapes and sizes are normally looked down upon or are isolated into their own circles. Such statement has been repeated over and over and over for the past decade or so, and even until now, individuals and major groups are constantly trying to tear the culture apart citing issues and problems such as addiction and influence.

In the Philippines for example, a lot of major movement has been made towards hindering gamers from playing video games with certain regulations and even ridiculous petitions being passed on by people in power, and sometimes even backed by citizens of a certain demographic (hint: “Dota ban”). It is safe to say that for those of my fellows who grew up with a home console like the Famicom or a Gameboy or maybe the handhled Brick Game, have felt the air of discrimination at some point in their life and received a lengthy scolding just because they spent 5 minutes jumping over Koopas in Super Mario, but then again, that was during the time when not a lot of people understand why we play video games.

Kaka-kompyuyer mo yan eh

Change has evidently come however, as we look back a couple of years in the latter parts of the current era, as more and more people have accepted and appreciated that the Video Game culture is in fact a thing that exists, a living and breathing community and this claim is backed by the fact that more and more conventions seem to recognize the “need” of having Video Game or Game related segments, whether it’s for Anime Otakus, Comic Book fans, and even Toy and Hobby enthusiasts.

The PlayStation booth during ESGS 2017

While the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit is still considered to be at the top of the Philippine video game convention food chain, more movement that pushes and screams video games and promoting its culture has been witnessed by Pinoy con-goers during 2017 especially in the provinces with notable examples being the Mindanao Cyber Expo in Davao, Cebu’s ARCH Con, and of course Iloilo’s CONQuest which was organised by a team of High School video game fans!

Video game fans, anime otakus, cosplay enthusiasts and even Card Game masters gathered under one roof during Iloilo’s CONQuest 2017

Speaking of activities, Metro Manila also witnessed a good amount of video game influence as various major events offered a spot for gaming fans with new conventions such as GameCon PH taking place (and is returning for another year), the Global Mobile Game Conference which landed in Manila during early 2017, and of course who cannot forget one of Asia Pop ComicCon’s highlight guest, voice actor Gaku Space who is largely known in the gaming community as the voice of Genji Shimada from the highly popular hero shooter Overwatch.

But it’s not just con-going video game fans that benefit from this boom in publicity that the Gaming culture is experiencing over the past 4 or 5 years or so as more major gaming brands have also evidently shown interest in the Philippines’ online population of 50 million people with the likes of PlayStation constantly offering us a taste of their upcoming titles, publishers and developers like Bandai Namco Entertainment becoming a regular in major gaming events, and Ubisoft who went as far as establishing a development studio here in the country and is currently teaming up with educational institutions to create the new generation of video game creators.

Our homegrown developers are also arguably reaping the rewards of the booming culture, as we are witnessing promising titles being unveiled like Garrison Archangel and Project Xandata, both of which, to our personal claim, can really rival the already existing titles of their chosen genres and at the same time offering new gaming experiences, not only for the Filipino audience but potentially to a global scale.

Concept snapshot from Indigo Entertainment’s Garrison Archangel, a mecha fighting game that challenges the likes of Gundam Versus.

But then of course, despite the supposed boom, not everyone who attempted to highlight video games in events that cater to the other facets of Pop Culture have been successful in doing so and there are some notable and confusing mishaps that resulted in the supposed highlights becoming largely out of place. Forcefully incorporating video games in an attempt to invite a larger crowd while at the same time not doing anything much to signify the supposed “highlight” is the common culprit, although more can still be done should more events try and incorporate the video game culture into their respective highlights.

Still, as we look take a look at the overall view, the Gaming culture continues to be on the rise, appreciated and its good side being accepted as part of the “norm” with the social divides already fading away.

With 2017’s great track record, we can all expect that this year will have more events be centered around the video game culture, and more other events to feature video games and invite the video game crowd.

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