December 19th, 2005

An article of mine went up today at The Escapist, “Video Game Merchandise: Fandom, Gender, and Gamers as Shoppers.” It talks about what we buy, why we buy, and what it all means… just in time for the holidays! It also includes some of your survey quotes, lovely Heroine Sheik readers.

Also, in case you haven’t been over there yet, remember that The Escapist also hosts a blog, The Lounge, where readers and writers can talk about articles and general game news. So for more thoughts and comments on this piece, do hop over here.

For an important note from me about The Escapist‘s Lounge, please see comment #17 in my post titled “Games of a Fairer Sex.” Thanks!

Tags: Blog

9 Responses to ““Video Game Merchandise: Fandom, Gender, and Gamers as Shoppers””

  1. Patrick Says:

    Nice, but you forgot to address how game merch brings out inner masochistic desires through projection of the id onto a fetishized object, typically in a way reflecting… naw I’m just kidding, thanks for quoting me though!

    How much did you pay that model who did the presents photo?

  2. Bonnie Says:

    As always, that’s stock art :-). Oops, almost forget. Major congrats on your piece up at The Escapist! A move in the right direction for looking at games through a serious lense, I’d say.

  3. Muljo Says:

    Heh, looking back at that questionaire you posted, I had the worst answer to the question that asked what kind of game stuff I owned. I didn’t have any of the obvious stuff like figurines or shirts, so I was trying to list off all sorts of random crap that was probably completely off topic. I wonder why I didn’t think to mention the couple of posters that I’ve got on my walls. It’s not stuff that I specifically went out and bought, just things that came with certain games or magazines, but that’s got to be more “swag” than a NDS carrying case.

    Oh, and I found the Mario book I mentioned in that post. “The Best of the Super Mario Bros.” It has a whole bunch of stories based on the 2nd and 3rd games. I have no idea where I got it but I’ve had it since I was a kid.

  4. Bonnie Says:

    Got to be careful what you say in those questionaires :-). Books like that always make me curious to meet the people who write them. What a strange (but probably fun) writing job…

  5. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    I’m actually not sure if that is stock art. The cover of this week’s Escapist is definitely not (it’s a joystick wrapped up as a present), so now I’m wondering if they do all their own photography…

  6. Bonnie Says:

    I can’t imagine… I would guess that certain things, like front covers, are shot in-house when necessary. As for the hot girl holding present: she feels stock to me. Patrick, thoughts?

  7. Patrick Dugan Says:

    What do you mean by stock art? That “Gaming Under The Radar” cover seemed like it was either shot or edited by the Escapist, since its content was so geared to the theme. The girl holding presents photo may’ve been some JCPenny shot that was past its copyright and scooped up over google.

    Speaking of seeing games in a serious light, wouldn’t gaming merch undercut the literary integrity of a (theoretical) literary game. You don’t see Hamlet action figures.

  8. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    The literary integrity of any work in any medium can not be affected by anything outside of itself. The literary integrity of Romeo and Juliet is unaffected by works like this, for instance.

    On the same note, games that are “serious” don’t have to be taken seriously. A game could theoretically be a masterpiece – great writing, brilliant storyline and wonderful use of interactivity – and I’d still want to buy the action figures if they were cool characters, or wear the logo on a t-shirt if given the option. In my mind, fandom doesn’t degrade the source; it just displays a recognition and appreciation of it. -sj

  9. Bonnie Says:

    By stock art, I mean art you can buy general access to. There are libraries of thousands and thousands of images you simple pay a fee to use. But you may be right about that Gaming under the Radar image. I had assumed they used photoshop there to get the juxtaposition right.

    As to merch undercutting the seriousness of games, I have to say I agree more with Scott. Games can be taken seriously, or not seriously; merch can help a serious image, or hurt it. It all depends on how people think, not the items themselves — though I understand that intellectuals might be less likely to take a game seriously if they see local toy stores floody with related “kiddy” merch. Other times though, silly merch can help accentuate the seriousness of works of art by contrast. You say there are no Hamlet action figures, but there are. There are Freud figurines and Van Gogh dolls with ears you can pull off with velcro. These things are enjoyable specifically because the originals are so serious.

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