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Screening and discussion of a work-in-progress cut of The Gamer Age, a new documentary film by Ian Santer and Jonathan Drake.
The Gamer Age presents an anthropological look into the rich culture of video games. Audiences will witness, for the first time on screen, the story of how video games have challenged conventional social dynamics, including relationships, crime, education, therapy, art, and commerce.
Video gaming is a relatively recent phenomenon, spanning only about 40 years of popular culture, yet its cultural significance is broad and evolving. The Gamer Age brings into focus the popular and esoteric influences gaming has had already, the passion and controversy surrounding games today, and a vision of what is yet to come.
Essentially, video games are a vehicle for promoting interactivity and creative expression. When a joystick or controller is manipulated, our hands perform a type of sign language that the game system understands, and Mario reaches the castle. When an 8 year old uses those signals to collaborate with her friends and build a fortress in Minecraft, she is creating something never seen before.
The Gamer Age chronicles how video games rose in popularity over the past 40 years, highlighting the interactions and creative expression they have facilitated. This creative expression has corresponded with, and contributed directly to, the exponential rise in scientific and technological discovery in that same period.
Games helped make personal computers more fun and accessible, but they also provided an ever-widening palette of tools for creative expression. A massive wave of artists, developers, and hobbyists sprang up all over the world, creating the games, music, films, and art that are redefining our culture. The Gamer Age documents this culture with footage from the opening of The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian Art Museum, contemporary art gallery shows, concerts by classical and electronic musicians, gaming conventions and competitions, and candid interviews with film directors, street artists, and pioneers of gaming.