The argument over whether video games are art or not is pretty much over: they are. Anyone who disagrees at this point is mostly trying to be contrarian. That said, we are still refining our skills and vocabulary for critiquing games, and more rapidly than ever. This very blog uses an intersectional feminist/social justice framing when we look at video games, and even that is evolving. However, there is a fairly strong canon of social justice literature and discussion that we can draw from to observe media. Video games are difficult in that they are still a young medium, and one thing we are still working on is genre.
In many nerd spheres, there is a lot of talk about “pandering”. In gaming specifically, the term has been used to refer to series that unnecessarily add or feature components just to “pander” to an audience for the sake of getting sales. This has been a recurring discussion point, but came to a head again with the recent changes to the Street Fighter V beta version’s changes. Essentially, some of the characters’ intros have been less sexualized, which has led some factions to claim that this means game developers are pandering to liberal, progressive critics. I know some people might not want to have this discussion and will get mad at me for this, but pandering is a serious problem! Looking at the current landscape of characters and features, it’s time we had a good, hard look at this industry and put a good effort into adding some damn diversity.