Embracing Liminal Identity : Uncovering Hidden Diversity : Celebrating Cultural Mobility

Q&A With Current Digital Magazine’s Gabe Carey

Q&A With Current Digital Magazine’s Gabe Carey

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Gabe Carey is the Editor in Chief of Current Digital Magazine, a multicultural digital entertainment publication with a focus on gaming. While he may only be a Freshman studying creative media at Champlain College, his websites have covered stories from all over the world. If something happened in digital entertainment, he’ll surely be writing about it.

 

Question: What effect do you think gaming has had on a global scale?

Answer: Video games are among the largest businesses in the entertainment industry, generating more revenue annually than music and movies combined. Globally, game development is becoming more and more diverse because of the less location dependent ecosystem we now find ourselves in.

No longer are we forced to sit next to each other in an office setting. I could be working with someone in the U.K. and another person in Switzerland on the same game at the same time.

 

Q: Have you found that people from the U.K, Switzerland, or anywhere else have different gaming values than you do when it comes to working on or playing game?

A: I can’t say for certain as I typically participate in games that are single player story-driven experiences rather than competitive or cooperative multiplayer titles.

 

Q: Even in single player games, while you’re not necessarily competing with other players, you are playing a game developed by another culture. Do these cultures add or detract from games?

A: I actually prefer JRPGs [Japanese Role Playing Games, eg. Final Fantasy] to western RPGs [Role Playing Games, eg. Dragon Age]. I think it’s because I’m so accustomed to the American fantasy mythos as opposed to what Japanese developers perceive as fantasy. I think my lack of familiarity with their cultural norms actually enhances the experience.

 

Q: Are these cultural norms affecting any other genres that you can think of? And if so how?

A: Not really. Regardless of where the game is developed, the United States is — by far — the largest market for video games in the world. Even if it’s developed in another country, most games are created with American gamers in mind.

However, Japan is the second largest market for games, which gives Japanese developers a lot more freedom in creating titles that just might not click with the American market.

That ideology results in a number of seemingly bizarre, typically riskier titles hailing from Japanese devs.

 

Q: Do you think that these developers who are developing games for a western, or at least another market besides their own are sacrificing or gaining anything in aiming to please another culture?

A: I think they gain a sense of originality that western developers otherwise lack in their content. There’s more artistic freedom in creating what you want rather than simply attempting to appeal to the broadest demographic possible.

 

Q: A while back Capcom released a reboot of their Devil May Cry series [Capcom is a Japanese game developer and Devil May Cry was, traditionally, a game made in Japan for the Japanese], but with the most recent reboot game they’ve attempted to “westernize” the characters and settings.

Henceforth taking less risks and arguably creating parity between DmC and other games within the genre.

A: Are you a fan of that parity? Or is it better to try and preserve the “originality” that comes from developing for their own culture?

No, of course not. If anything, I’d like to see games take more risks outside of what’s simply popular in America. Unfortunately, however, video game sales would stagger because the more casual console gamers wouldn’t invest in such risky concepts.

 

Q: So, in other words it’s something you’d like to see, but something you doubt will happen?

A: Correct.

 

Q: Do you think that will change over time? Or do you think games developed in the home country will always have an edge in sales over games that aren’t?

A: I think there might be a larger niche for more experimental games in the future. Just as independent films have become popular with a considerably extensive niche over time, games that take more creative risks will likely also establish these cult followings. To an extent, this has already begun to take place.

 

Q: Like with what games?

A: My best example would probably be Ori and the Blind Forest which, as you may know, is releasing next month. Moon Studios is actually not based in any single location. Instead, it’s being created by game developers located all over the world, working remotely over internet communication services.

There’s actually quite a bit of hype surrounding that game from the Xbox community. Years ago, this emerging style of game development couldn’t have even existed. We take that for granted now, but without social media communications, Current Digital likely wouldn’t have materialized itself.

 

Q: And games are having the same “bringing the world together” effect that social media has had? That’s quite the claim you’re making.

A: Well, at least game development. The community is a lot more relentless haha.

 

Q: Is there a game or series that has brought you or someone you know personally closer to another culture? Pokémon for example has made quite a few more people interested in Japan, is there any game that has the same effect for you?

A: It might sound like a cop-out, but I would have to also use Japan as an example. The Persona series really stands out to me. There’s something about attending high school in a video game conceived by foreign developers that just intrigues me, particularly considering my experience in high school in America was so considerably recent.


Student, Editor in Chief, CEO, and gamer, Carey has lots of perspectives, but Gabe Carey sees a future for gaming beyond just the simple fun of playing them. Game development has come to a point where a single game can become an international project like with Ori and the Blind Forest according to Carey, and even simple get togethers can be done from across the world with the power of multiplayer games and internet connection these days. The east is making games for the west while the west is making games modeled after the east, and even if that means more games, it might also be a slippery slope leading to less diversity in games, something Carey doesn’t want to see anytime soon.