Video games have been around for more than 50 years, and reality television for 30 years, so it is only natural that one day there would be a reality show about gamers. (Why it took so long for video games to become mainstream when cellphones became mainstream almost overnight, I don’t know.)
The only reality television show out there about gamers is WCG Ultimate Gamer, so being the gamer that I am, of course I would watch it. How could I not, when there is nothing else to watch on the internet?
My boyfriend refuses to watch it, calling it “WCG the biggest loser”. Harr di harr harr. His sentiments are tame compared to chat rooms and message boards. There is much hate for this show on the internet, and I am baffled by its existence. You’d think the nerds, freaks, and geeks would enjoy mainstream culture catering to them with a reality show.
I get a kick out of the show though, because I enjoy watching real people (or in this case competitive gamers) face challenges, come to self-realizations in front of cameras, deal with confrontation and stress, be drunk most of the time … and “be put to the ultimate test”. Here is a show about a group of people who think they are the best at my favorite form of entertainment (aww snap!). Watching this reality show is a no-brainer for me (WCG, and The Colony, baby).
WCG Ultimate Gamer is now in its second season, and as I write this, the 3rd episode aired days ago. I didn’t want to write about the show at first, because I tried out for it (you can read about that here), and became disillusioned when I was asked to perform only on an Xbox. I think some producers heard my complaints as this year, Tekken 6 (arcade style) and Mario Kart & Sports Resort for the Wii, were played this season. While the inclusion of other consoles perked me up, it also soured me since I absolutely own at those two games.
But enough exposition -
I tried out for a reality TV show about two weeks ago. No, not Chicago’s version of Jersey Shore … but the World Cyber Games Ultimate Gamer Season 2.
Sadly, I did not make it. Combined with my nerves and limited play time on the console, my Xbox gameplay left much to be desired…and as I found out after the fact, Ultimate Gamer is really “Best Xbox Player” and not the “Best Gamer across all platforms”. The show shouldn’t call itself “Ultimate Gamer” if it doesn’t include games from all platforms.
I understand why the emphasis is on the Xbox because this show is created by World Cyber Games… and in all honesty, I don’t compete in tournaments (just a gaming columnist here) so maybe if I took a spot on the show it would have pissed off some “hardcore gamers”. I still think I’m a better gamer than some of the girls from last season, though (sans Ciji)!
Last Friday saw the unveiling of Nintendo’s newest game for the Wii console titled “Project Runway”. The game is a collaborative effort between Nintendo, Atari, The Weinstein Co (producers of the Project Runway TV show) and Tornado Studios. I don’t know whether to be insulted by this development, or pleased, as this game is clearly just for the girls. It doesn’t help when other media outlets say “This could be the future of gaming for women“. A fashion game based off of a reality show? Please! 40% of gamers are girls, and we were doing just fine before this game came along. If anything, this game ruins our cred as gamers.
First off, I am a little bit offended that this game is about fashion considering this will be “the future of gaming for women”. This game is clearly trying to get new girl gamers, and ignoring the already established gals that game. If any gaming company were to look at the games most popular with females, they would see that we like puzzle games. Just look at the casual gamers that like internet based games like Text Twist, Bejeweled and Mahjong Tiles, to DS games like Professor Layton. Did anyone in the industry stop to think about why the horror shooting games with puzzles (Tomb Raider series, Resident Evil series, Bioshock series) are more popular with girls than those that do not have puzzles?
Second, I am a little offended that this game is being marketed to 6 – 12 year old girls, and that this game is all about fashion and models on runways (Super model Heidi Klum is also in the game). Do we really need to make little girls that play video games feel bad about their weight? Do we need to start giving them body image problems when they are 6 years old (if we don’t already)? It is the 21st century…. why are we still boxing our genders? (Down with the system I say, quietly….)
Third, if I were to be one of those people that would use video games as a scapegoat, I could blame this game, and other games like it, for the vapid consumer society we live in and for the whole American way of living beyond our means. If I could say that shooting games are responsible for all those school shootings, why wouldn’t a game like this be responsible for Confessions of a Shopaholic and our recession?
Fourth: Think about it. The reality TV show “Project Runway” has drama and suspense. Contestants don’t like each other. The judges are cruel. Does this game have any of the qualities that make a reality series good? No.
As for playing this game, of course I will play it (will I buy it? No…). For the record, I love games that let you design costumes or have amazing character customization (and I will admit I spend hours on designing clothes/characters within those games), but for a game that is only about clothes and fashion? It will get boring and repetitive…. just like any ol’ shooting game.
A new video game reality TV show premiered yesterday, called “The Tester“. PlayStation is looking for a video game tester, and 11 contestants are competing for this very esteemed position. I was excited to watch “The Tester” for a couple of reasons: