December 20th, 2014
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s also the sort of following that makes it easy to see why people would make so much fun of him. As I argued in my piece about the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game which is also popular with young girls, society loves to tell teen girls that their interests are stupid, vapid, and not worthy of respect. It’s not just teen girls, really. The internet has made a sport of mocking teens growing up on the internet. It’s easy to forget that we might have once been like that too, only our embarrassing origin stories aren’t archived on the likes of Tumblr. 4
When you take into account what Pewdiepie is doing with this audience of teens—making people spectators in the games he plays—it’s also not surprising that some of the ‘gaming elite’ dislikes the guy. Our culture is built on playing the games, weathering the hardship and challenges yourself. A gamer is not born, this mentality posits. Gamers are made after running the gauntlet. What do you mean these people just want to watch? Meanwhile, sites such as Twitch that let people broadcast their games are exploding because there’s a growing audience of people who want to watch other people play games. It’s like how someone might want to watch a sport, but not actually play it. Anyone who cracks jokes that are along the lines of, ‘back in my day, kids actually played video games,’—and those are some of the jokes I heard on that South Park episode and have heard from Pewdiepie’s many critics in and outside of the press—is getting left behind.
Sometimes Pewdiepie actually gets people into games though. A friend told me that her twelve-year-old sister, who never showed an interest in games before, suddenly wanted to try out all the horror games she could find because of Pewdiepie. This little girl is not someone that a website like Kotaku could normally reach, I don’t think. They’re a part of a new generation of gamers who don’t necessarily read or trust gaming sites, but they’re still interested in a reliable source when it comes to game recommendations. This source doesn’t have to say anything smart. They just have to play the game, let people see the thing in action. The fact that you only see raw reactions in Pewdiepie’s videos works in the game’s benefit. You get to see an honest take on a game. Traditional game reviews, meanwhile, are inundated with meaningless marketing buzzwords like “visceral” and jargon like “framerate.” These are things that may inform purchases for people like me, but they aren’t useful to anyone who isn’t already immersed in hardcore gaming culture.