Ok, so I just noticed something today talking to John. Video Games can be chalked up to one massive political system, with its parties and alignments and so on. I'm taking this all from my Gov class, meaning this is - in some sick way - helping me to study, and - in another, more entertaining way - allowing me to subtly make fun of the Xbox
You can't live in the United States without some basic grasp of the political system. In essence, its dominated by two groups: the Democrats, and the Republicans. Now anyone who's familiar with the video gaming community will also notice that it is dominated by two major companies: Sony and Nintendo. Now, I've noticed some interesting parallels between these two bodies.
Part I - The Gamer
For one, I am a "conservative gamer," meaning that I play primarily on Nintendo. I'll explain this logic in my next section. There are two types of Nintendo Gamers, the young inexperienced gamer, whom I find are stereotypically grafted to Nintendo's image; and the veteran gamer, those like myself, who have played on Nintendo - more or less - for its entire existence, those who have grown accustomed to its ways and nuances, and find comfort in its ancient franchises. These are the true conservative gamers who play by choice, unlike the younger gamers who play because this is the system most associated with the young, and therefore safer to parents.
Others can be considered "liberal gamers." These gamers came in late on the scene and chose to go with the more trendy Sony Playstation, and its far more realistic graphics, situations, and games. This is the basis of the "live in your world, play in ours," slogan. Typically, these gamers are thought of as older gamers. This I find ironic, because older gamer actually applies to teenagers and young adults. These gamers, though not as detestable in my opinion as the ignorant iPod fools, are still, for the most part, casual gamers who do not appreciate the level to which Sony's games can climb. This is a personal opinion and is in no way an attack upon true liberal gamers.
Most gamers fall somewhere in-between these two extremes, truncating the younger generation of course, leaving us with the "undecided gamer:" These gamers have no real preference between the two systems, and find themselves agreeing with certain issues (games, peripherals, etc.) from one side, and certain issues from the other. Most will lean more toward one side however, resulting in moderate-liberal and moderate-conservative gamers. Financially, most cannot afford to be undecided, and will therefore be forced to make a decision in some direction. This is the basis for my casual gamer criticism.
Now, using these concepts I can attribute further significance to these two companies. Nintendo is now, Republican, and Sony is Democratic. Using these parties as metaphors, I can more accurately divide the gaming community.
Loyalists, Regulars, and Nominals are real political labels used by US Political Parties. Nominals can only be counted on for a vote. In other words, they're not particularly motivated to support their sides. A source of income for either company, but not especially useful outside of this. Regulars donate money, so this makes up a greater percentage of gamers than it does voters.
Rather than money, I will use support. These gamers will not actively support their own "parties" but they will support them in that they will remain loyal and are less likely to switch to the other side. These are a slightly more dependable source of funds. Loyalists like myself will take their choices to another level, actively supporting their chosen parties. They will take it upon themselves to educate the undecided and swing them to their own side. I personally take offense when people admit to being of the opposite "party," for little or no reason, and will vehemently attempt to bring them to Nintendo. I do, however, respect those who chose it carefully, weighing the available information before making a financial commitment. I especially take offense for spreading false information, and have held grudges and continue to hold grudges against people, even friends, who have done this.
Part II - The Industry
Aside from the individual gamers, the industry itself can be split along the lines that I have drawn, though not nearly as cleanly. I have attributed Nintendo as being Republican, being the gaming choice of the veteran. Its games, though not as visually appealing, are renowned for their varying positive aspects, such as story line, character, and revolutionary gameplay. Also, being the older company, there is an air of tradition, as many gamers wish to return to or relive the old ways of gaming. At the same time, Nintendo is removing barriers. This is a major political aspect of the Republican: fewer laws. And that is exactly what Nintendo does. Its new systems, the Nintendo DS, or dual screen, and the appropriately code-named Nintendo Revolution, are examples of Nintendo removing restrictions on gaming with touch screens, voice recognition, motion sensors and a slew of other innovations.
Now, moving on to the Democrats and the Playstation. This will be a bit of a stretch, as I am only recently becoming a more moderate gamer. Democrats are more liberal in thinking. More restraints to make things equal, and there is more diversity and openness. Essentially, Playstation attempts to cover all walks of life with their games to attract all types of gamers. In effect, this means more good games, and more bad games... I'll finish this later...
Part III - Third Parties
And finally, the infamous third party groups. These I haven't even bothered mentioning before. Third Party groups encompass everything beyond Nintendo and Sony. Sega, for instance, once a major party, lost out to Sony and would have fallen into obscurity were it not for its surviving franchises. This is similar to the Whig party of early America, a Party that almost no one in modern America will recognize. Unlike the Whigs, Sega's influence is still felt, though it has not yet been a century since the company's partial downfall.
Another third party is computer giant Microsoft's Xbox, soon to be Xbox360. The company has yet to break even on this endeavor, yet by pure force alone it has managed to stay afloat. The function of Third Parties is essentially to force the major parties to discuss major issues. Though clearly not a goal in the video game industry, it is still a consequence of Microsoft's entry into the video game market. This second form of competition is forcing Nintendo and Sony to work harder to divert the money of potential gamers to themselves. Ridiculed by those who have played games for a longer period of time, Xbox has still managed to glean a few million gamers away from Nintendo and Sony. Some experts were even presumptuous enough to assume that it would replace the aging Nintendo. But with a number of loyalists surpassing that of Microsoft's new gathering, and indirect parental support, Nintendo will not likely disappear.