How Marketing and Fandom Shaped Gaming Culture

Gaming has a vibrant and diverse fandom, but it lives in the shadow of gaming’s toxic origins and misogynistic marketing.
February 19, 2021, 4:15pm
Image: VICE TV

What does it mean to be a gamer? Is it an identity or just a marketing term? In 1983, the market for video games collapsed. As the new hobby struggled to find an audience, game makers decided to define their market and aggressively advertise to them. It was the birth of the gamer dud

Welcome to RESET: The Unauthorized Guide to Video Games, a new television show from VICE and Waypoint that tackles the complicated and fascinating world of the world’s new favorite pastime. This week on RESET, Dexter Thomas dives into the weird world of video game marketing, representation, and how fandom shapes the world of video games.

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s we really start to aimed at gamer bros or gamer dudes,” Jess Morrisseette, Professor of Political Science at Marshall University told Thomas. “We start to see a combination of the sexualization and objectification of women and sometimes treating women as moms and girlfriends who stop you from playing your games. At the same time this focus often times on hyper competition. Not just defeating your enemy but humiliating your enemy is what makes you a good gamer, what makes you a true gamer.”

New episodes of RESET premiere Fridays at 10pm EST on VICE TV.