And we’re back! (Game Culture Everywhere).
After a cross country move, bouncing around Ontario taking care of various errands, shows, catching up with old friends, and preparing myself for Graduate School, I’m back. I’ve been contemplating what to post as a return to what I hope will be regular blogging about game culture, game art, DIY hacks and the like, and I’ve decided to share various bits of ephemera that I have come across over the past few months that I think illustrate the ubiquity of gaming culture. It really is everywhere these days and it’s influences can be felt and seen just about everywhere you look, if you’re looking closely enough. So here friends, is collection of photographs that I’ve taken; spotting gaming culture’s influence on the everyday, in a variety of locales (mostly between Winnipeg and Toronto).
In June while wandering in the Exchange District in Winnipeg, I came across this great poster advertising a live show at Aqua Books, a local used book store/ eatery / venue.
Homemade “Koopa Squares” at the Pangea Cafe on the University of Winnipeg campus in July. If you look at the ingredients for the squares you can see that these are essentially “turtle” squares, but in our post-NES-era culture, they’ve been renamed (at least by the staff at the Pangea). I’m left wondering where they got the cut out for the sign though, as it appeared to be clipped from a newspaper, and is also in french.
In a small antique store in Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba amongst various bits of antique furniture, vintage toys and the like were a couple of old (glass) marquee signs from vintage arcade cabinets. Also (and perhaps more notable for me on this trip), there was a farmer’s market. At this market, someone has decided to set up an ad-hoc garage sale out of an old camping trailer, with various bits of junk and such set out on a few folding tables, BUT then I found AMOS!
AMOS is a BASIC programming dialect used in Commodore Amigas, for the purposes of making games, demoscene videos, animation and more. I picked up the complete boxed edition of the software you see above for a mere looney. I still find it so odd and so fascinating that in the middle of a small lake resort town in rural Manitoba that someone was selling Amiga Warez out of the back of a camper. Thankfully a friend of mine here in Toronto has an Amiga, so soon I will be teaching myself how to use AMOS for various (to be determined) creative projects.
One of the first items on my to do list when I got to Toronto a few weeks ago was to attend an academic advising appointment, wherein myself, a faculty member from my program and the department admin sat down, talked about the areas of study I was interested in, what courses would be appropriate, etc. This resulted in a great talk with the faculty member about the possibility of examining video games and game culture from an angle that I had not thought of (but am thinking about a great deal right now — but I’ll be posting about that soon), and it really got the old gears a turning!
After my appointment I had to stop by the office of the program secretary, and while talking to her I turned around and saw this fantastic Zelda triptych done in pastels depicting Link in the Temple of Time from Ocarina. I asked her if I could photograph it and had a great chat about the piece and other game related art would she had done during her fine art degree.
The artist’s name is Stephanie Margetts, and I’ve been talking to her about seeing her other work and including it in an upcoming show.
And finally (related to art and gaming) is this:
Once I had moved into my apartment, I still had to wait several days to get my internet connection set up and running, so I was spending time at this really great little cafe around the corner from my place called the Locomotive (named so, because my new neighbourhood, called the “Junction, is right by the train yards). On the bulletin board were the usual ads for local businesses, business cards, community events notices and these. A small triptych of a certain Italian plumber, his brother and they’re dinosaur friend! (Is Yoshi a dinosaur, I don’t even know.)
These were on pieces of paper the size of postcards stuck onto the bulletin board at kid’s eye view. I’m assuming that the tiny person who drew these masterpieces was also the one who hung them on the board later, with supervision I’m sure.
So there you have it folks, proof that you can look just about anywhere and find gaming’s influence on the rest of culture. In the upcoming days and weeks I’ll be posting a lot more about artifacts from the fringes of gaming culture and lots of ephemera, from bootlegs and knockoffs (games and more) to marketing tie ins, ROM hacks, street art and much more!!!
See you soon!