And so too has gaming changed, inevitably and naturally. Looking on the primordial bleeps and bloops of the earliest videogames, it would be difficult to imagine a gaming environment that could give us Portal, BioShock and Braid - treasures in their own right, but also deconstructions of the form and function of the medium itself, from how they tell stories to how they involve us as players. (If anything, this puts gaming's "age" firmly within the bounds of "know-it-all university student.") There might be a hesitance, looking at this explosion of content, to sit back and reserve judgment on how and when the medium will "mature."
But though there's a temptation to sit on our hands and wait, this type of thinking is a fallacy: specifically, an "Argument To The Future." On the one hand, this is clearly the coolest-named argument out there, specifically if you say it like the title of an old Flash Gordon episode: "Argument ... to the FUTURE!" But on the other hand, it serves to defer discussion, moving the point of contention beyond the scope of the known. Because who's to say that the people of the future will even care? They might be too busy riding their hoverboards to pay attention to great-grandpa and his dingy old PlayStation Nine. There may be new debates: Are the psychodramas broadcast directly into our mind by the Overhive a new artform, or just a tool to enslave us as mindless drones? And what of Psychoball: dangerous bloodbath, or new national sport?
But, of course, we don't have DeLoreans, or Hot Tub Time Machines. We only have right now. And from where I'm sitting, right now looks pretty okay. We have cutting-edge systems that offer full scale boffo spectacle. We have a thriving independent scene. We have the precision and formalism of retro gaming, and we have more and better venues to port and emulate the games of decades past. What more do we want? What more are we waiting for?
I don't buy the goo-goo arguments that the medium is still in diapers. I'm unconvinced by the depiction of gaming as lurking in a basement apartment, swilling Cheetos and Mountain Dew. Don't get me wrong; I love Cheetos, and Mountain Dew is a vast improvement from regular dew. But we know that the medium is more than that - we've seen it for ourselves. We know that it means different things to different people, and we know that it is capable of change.
Perhaps there is a hesitance to bandy around the word "adult" or "mature," which so often refers to the tacky trappings of blood and guts, or T & A. Taking a mature game at face value is, of course, not always the best indicator. If Bayonetta is to be believed, "mature" means fighting angel-demons with shoes that are also guns, hair that is also clothes, and oodles of "leg-core" pornography. See the things you miss when you skip out on one Health class?