I was reminded recently that in the early nineties Tony Parsons argued that games are the new rock’n’roll. That was nonsense then, and still is, but not because games aren’t creative or expressive, and certainly not because they aren’t big enough. It's because games can make that once in a generation claim of being a new medium, and one of the privileges of this is to resist being mapped onto old thinking.
Games have arrived with their own agenda, where sights and sounds are meshed with challenges, where the senses are piqued to demand and respond to your participation, where immersion is mandatory. Games might jostle with music and movies and books, but they are of a brand new genus. They won’t replace rock’n’roll anymore than architecture might replace sculpture.
But that still leaves a question. Music is inclined to show off. Performance is at its heart, image and culture flow from it. It has visible audiences that recognise and learn from one another. Its trite but true: music has a ‘scene’.
But the intense participation that makes gaming unique also makes it private. It's as dispersed as it is widespread - for all the magazines and review sites, it has no natural gathering place. We know that gaming has a culture, but what does it look like?
This weekend you can find out. The London Gaming Con is a celebration of gaming, its fans, its humour, its home-grown industry of music mash-ups and dance remixes, including a panel from my personal favourite timesink site, OC Remix.
I’m going because I want to see the state of play of gaming passions. My guess is that it will be vibrant and loud, and my hope is that it will harness the chaos and creativity of the constant innovation of the games and their fans. I love games, and I want to see what gaming looks like.
But perhaps its also because there’s something nagging at me. What if gaming is the new rock’n’roll? What if this is the seminal gig?
The London Gaming Con is on from the 3rd to the 4th December, at the Rocket Complex 166 Holloway Road, London. For a full line-up of guests and ticketing details, please see their website.