Over at Overland, Christopher Madden has a piece responding to Ben Eltham’s ‘Culture is bigger than the arts’, and anyone interested in both games in culture & government support should read it because it perfectly articulates two questions at the heart of these issues:
Eltham advocates government support for game design because it is ‘capable of breathtaking beauty and stunning leaps of imagination’, creating ‘entirely new worlds for gamers to explore’, and presenting ‘compelling moral challenges’. Without elaboration, this is a description of the joys of gaming rather than a solid argument to convince government it should support game design. There are many things that are beautiful and new that governments leave well alone.
More persuasive arguments for policy reform would allude to the benefits to society (the ‘public benefits’) or market failures associated with new media culture. Arguments would also need to overcome public cost perceptions of games as an addictive activity that encourages violence and time-wasting.
So, how best to answer both of these arguments without evoking the economic? And without heading into ‘well, they get support so we should too’?