This Old Neon: A New Journal of Video Game Culture and Criticism
I am pleased to have the benefit of being able to write an introductory editorial at the end of the year, providing a perfect opportunity for reflection and plenty of material upon which to reflect. But in addition to looking back, I also want to discuss our Mission & Mandate for This Old Neon, and what our readers and community members can expect from the new year ahead.
It has been an exciting year for the video game industry. We’ve seen the success of a full year of current-generation home consoles. Big corporations have committed to providing new gaming and gaming-related experiences, including Valve’s continued expansion of Steam services and Sony’s launch of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Vue. Promising new technology such as the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus is on the consumer horizon. And the marketing arm is keeping pace, with the launch of new annual events in The Game Awards and PlayStation Experience.
It has also been an interesting and somewhat troubling year for the various complementary industries and points of subcultural engagement that have sprung up around gaming, including the journalists, critics, academics, reviewers, cultural commentators, hobby writers, bloggers, public relations professionals, community managers, consumer advocates, social media pundits, YouTubers, curators, middlemen, and parasites of all stripes. I hope you’ll excuse me for being intentionally oblique, here. It seemed like 2014 was the first year that many people invested in gaming and game culture realized that these myriad groups are actually distinct from one another, operate according to different principles, have divergent interests and areas of focus, and are not simply subsumed together under the monolithic juggernaut signified by “the industry”.
That said, it wasn’t the increasingly evident divide between various politically active and engaged factions of gaming subcultures that prompted us to start this publication. I first decided to begin working on This Old Neon in early 2013. I had been frustrated for a long time before that by the tendency of mainstream media to bury interesting, analytical content in an avalanche of sound bites, live tweets, event coverage, product breakdowns, unboxings, and relentlessly-reblogged press hype. Don’t get me wrong—I think that kind of up-to-the-minute news has its place, and I remain an avid and fond reader of most of the big outlets that participate in that side of the business.
But I firmly believe that there is demand for in-depth analysis and socially-engaged cultural criticism. There are excellent publications operating in this niche, but there is still room for our voice, and I feel that it remains necessary to contribute to and collaborate in this space, now more than ever. I envisioned This Old Neon as the bastard child of an academic journal and an old-school scenester’s web-zine. We will feature a mix of scholarly analysis, contextual criticism, and special interest pieces on all aspects of gaming culture, with a focus on the multitude of intersections between video games, gamers, and the world around us.
I would also like to acknowledge the problematic fact right out of the gate that Our Team is currently made up predominantly of white men. This is an unfortunate circumstance of my present social context, but it illustrates the point that equal representation does not always happen naturally. We must often make a conscious and active effort to ensure that all voices can be heard. With this in mind, This Old Neon gladly welcomes pitches and submissions from women and people of colour. Please see our Submissions page for guidelines, and feel free to Contact Us with any questions or suggestions. We look forward to engaging with you!
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