Frederic Mitterrand gives his annual wishes and support to the videogame industry

This was shot on the 17th of january at the Ministry of Culture & Communication for the annual best wishes press conference. Starting at 00:30, Frederic Mitterrand, the current Minister, gives the following speech:

“I personnally saw that the videogame industry got more government support, as we are giving more wages structure toward the different lines of work of this crucial industry for our country. The recent success of the Game Story showing at le Grand Palais will soon be followed by the “City of videogames” brought by Univers Science at La Cité des Sciences. The videogame industry has now completely entered the field of our action”.

Afterwards, I came up to him and asked to comment on the success of Game Story and the forthcoming “City of videogames”, which he answered with his usual blend of attitude and seduction toward journalists:

“I think I was clear enough on the matter. There’s such creativity and aesthetic potential there that I think  it’s important not to let this industry controlled by marketing and business only”.

I'm going in people!

The last time french government substantially went at it was in 2003 under the rule of prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. They wanted to provide more financial comfort… given the developers would make “educationnal and serious games”.  As if the likes of Mario and Rayman were not culturally playing hard enough.

The NightShift has been witnessing some crucial changes anyway. If the Game Story showing proved anything, it’s that the videogames industry as a culture publicly reached its first truly transgenerational status (see the picture below). Swarms of families, lovers, women and digital students have been willingly queuing for hours to enjoy the showing. Moreover, there was a recent increasing interest from public libraries to offer the rightful selection of videogames and digital content, in order to stay in touch with the revolution at hand.

Father and son playing Factor 5's blast from the past Turrican on Amiga.

And as game journalism from the 90’s was agonizing, as the reflect of a certain market and the demographics of the time, an editorial renaissance took place around 2005. While the “buy-this-product-them-graphics-are-rad-as-I’m-paid-to play-videogames-for-free” approach was gently dying, the net saw the rising of dedicated websites giving more and more historical and precise content, accompanying the increasing demand for solid content whereas a demographic shift was happening.

Against all odds, this web boom helped people to publish the same level of information, with more and more lavishly edited books. In 2004, word scientist Kieron Gillen prophetized the coming of the New Game Journalism. And in the midst of this demographic shift – gamers turning into mothers and dads – there was a first wave of scholars whose research was begging to be published. The same thing happened with the CD and DVD industries. As legal or illegal downloads were rising, labels were forced to produce more and more quality oriented artists and/or objects, with a double dose of content and bonuses.

Alexis Blanchet introducing his thesis, adpated into a book by PixNLove, key publisher of the current editorial renaissance.

All the while, gaming schools and courses started to make a stand and being a “videogames teacher” is now a tangible position within our very public colleges, as Alexis Blanchet above was recently recruited as such by the prestigious Sorbonne.  In december, I have met several 18 years old students willing to join these schools… and who are desperate for knowledge and proper information. The reason is simple: videogames have been there for 40 years. If we do the maths, the kids are lacking 20 years of gaming, reading, experiencing and witnessing all of its beautiful evolution.

As Miss Penny Lane said, “It’s all happening”.

17.01.2012
The NightShift

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