I became involved with the Game of Thrones TV series and books against all odds. After all, I don’t think of myself as a “geek” or a “nerd”, even if I am a video game journalist.
My interest is in unnatural universes and the potential in interactive fictional worlds, but the traditional wheelhouses of SF and high fantasy—and as terrified as I am of the people who won’t like to hear this, I’ll come out and say it—feel like something I grew out of. When I was adolescent, I ate up entire novel series about thrones and dragons and mages. In my work—where I look at the cultural context of the things we play, and the reasons we’re attracted to playing them—I click, tap and button-mash through countless products that owe everything to Tolkien.
Wandering though these exalted realms, I’m way tired of serving wenches and noble knights; weary of sack-clothed peasants and their thatched-roof cottages; sick to death of bikini armor, sigils, scale helms and sacks of holding. Enough, already.
So I thought it’d be more than safe to overlook Game of Thrones, a niche-bound, overcomplicated slice of knights-and-dragons that, for whatever reason, was becoming an ornately-armored TV show.
People will eat up all kinds of garbage; ‘media criticism’ often means gritting your teeth, convinced of your rightness, through the latest pop culture feeding frenzy until the blood has dissipated into the sea. This is what I was going to do about Game of Thrones, even though all of my friends—all of my people!—were stoked about it. Read the rest