Nothing can really prepare you for the small humiliations and the nagging sense of being an outsider that comes with having dark skin in North America. But I wanted to fit in; how hard could it be? I went about figuring the best way to get ahead in life, while Black. As I began to pay attention to how I was treated in comparison to others, I became mindful of myself, of my actions. It became a social dance. Or more accurately, for a kid who grew up playing Nintendo and never stopped, it became a game. And if you want to win any game, you'd best acquaint yourself with the rules. So I started to keep track of how I was doing.
The online firestorm known as #GamerGate has made headlines across all forms of media. It has made me embarrassed to call myself a gamer. Just this past week, game developer Brianna Wu and critic Anita Sarkeesian were forced to leave their home and cancel a major university appearance, respectively, because of the avalanche of death threats they received. I'm not too old for cartoons, or gaming. But I'm probably too old for wishing death upon someone because we have different opinions on a video game.
It's hard to find a display of passion and fandom that's more misunderstood (deliberately or unintentionally) than Fan Expo Canada, and that's why I went there on behalf of the Huffington Post Canada. I went ahead and asked some cosplayers about those aspects of their lives myself, amongst other things.
I haven't seen any surveys that say definitively how many five to twelve year old girls are frequenting comic book stores and watching Star Trek. I'm sure that the number, whatever it is, is higher than the numbers were in the 1970s but I'm willing to bet that it still disproportionately less than the number of boys.
I say this to clarify that I'm not trying to position myself as better than the average gamer. But I am getting older, and for one reason or another, every time a blockbuster game could take a turn for the interesting, it instead settles to what the industry views as the default gameplay experience: telling the story of a white man with a gun.
The idea of comic book movies as a genre unto themselves, worthy of the attention of adults and children alike, is recent. And that idea has expanded into unprecedented financial and critical success for all comic book movies. But there has been an almost complete inability from the comic book industry to turn eager filmgoers into fresh new comic book fan.
After walking the floor at Montreal Comic-Con for a few hours on Saturday, one thing became abundantly clear: the majority of the commercial activity that was taking place at this physical event cannot be duplicated or replicated in a digital format. By cultivating true fans and giving them unique opportunities to connect and share, they're not only keeping alive a traditional media channel (or two), but they're inventing new and fascinating ways to extend their characters and build interest.
In short, everything that you thought the Internet wasn't about in a world of 140 character tweets, Facebook status updates and YouTube viral video sensations. These deep and rich treasure troves of content are also gaining mainstream attention, and it all seems to be drawing more and more energy towards podcasting: a medium that many have already written off.