Video Game

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A video game is a game played on a computer, including PC, Mac, various consoles, handheld devices, smart phones, etc. Video game industry goes back at least to the early eighties, with certain mainstays like Tetris maintaining popularity over the decades. Stereotypically, video game fandom is comprised of straight white males, aged 17-35. This is indeed a demographic category to which many game studios choose to market their games. However, female fans, fans of color, and queer fans have always existed and are becoming more visible, leading to some game-makers explicitly courting them as audiences. [[ALSO KIDS!! This paragraph is ignoring how video game advertising, at least, mostly targeted <17 crowd since it became a thing in the 70s, and it was actually a notable change when games companies started *advertising to adults*.]][1]

Video games can be divided by mechanics, by genre, by platform and countless other ways. Some controversy exists among gamers about what qualifies as a "game" vs. a "puzzle" or a "toy", see this SE.gamedev thread.[2] It is worth noting that the discussion linked is unusually civil, open and well-argued by video game fandom standards.

Gamers have gained somewhat of a negative reputation due to phenomena like trash-talk on MMO servers, griefing, misogynistic attitudes (including but not limited to the Fake Geek Girl meme), and having drawn on the long-standing stereotype of nerds or geeks as being friendless losers living in their parents' basement. Yet video games are continually increasing in the complexity of their programming, writing and art, and have gained some recognition as works of art or political commentary. Indie games are a rising market and previously excluded fans (see also Race and Fandom, Homophobia in Fandom) are speaking up and becoming more visible. Numerous tools and software has come out that aim to make it easier to create video games for people with little to no programming experience, such as Twine for text-based games, Ren'Py for visual novels, and RPG Maker.

Popular game franchises that have endured over the years: Mario, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and many game adaptations of larger sci-fi or fantasy canons like Star Wars (see Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) and DC Comics.

Romance in video games

It's a fraught topic. Some gamers decry romance as being a less important aspect of games, pinning the proliferation of romantic subplots on pandering to female gamers. Game developers have also been known to express frustration with the high focus which some fandoms place on the love interests of an upcoming game. Shipping wars abound.

Additionally, fans demanding more inclusive content have lead to an increase in the number of characters of colour as well as queer pairings in ships. For example, the Dragon Age games have m/m and f/f pairings. This has also lead to pushback from those fans who believe that this is catering to SJW, like the discussion stemming from Dragon Age II.


Main Page: List of Video Game Fandoms


Some fanworks are unique to gaming fandom. A variety of game mods ranging from elaborately painted cosmetic skins to added gameplay content, up to and including mods large enough to spin off into their own game, such as Dear Esther. Some game devs got their start making more sophisticated mods of popular games, like Brandon Chung of Blendo Games for Half-Life[3] and Brendan Green of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for Day-Z[4]. These mods are often also a source of controversy -- for example, mods that turn gay characters straight for the player character.

Another video game specific form of fanwork is Machinima. These are animations made using game graphics, usually telling a story relating to the video game. These are incredibly popular in the Minecraft, World of Warcraft and Team Fortress 2 fandom. The most well-known Machinima is Red vs. Blue, a popular show by Rooster Teeth.

Other forms of fanwork also exists: cosplay, fanart, fanfic, kink memes and etc.



  1. ^ I can't find an article explicitly pointing this out right now but The Evolution of Video Game Advertising, Archived version takes for granted that kids are the target audience for ads in the 70s, 80s, 90s. "The target demographic was quickly growing into adulthood and the number of games they had to choose from made it hard to stand out. By the early 2000s,[...]" implying the target demographic was *not* adults before.
  2. ^ What makes a game a game vs something else like a puzzle or a toy?
  3. ^ Blendo Games, Older Projects
  4. ^ The Modder Behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, A Game that Just Sold A Million Copies by Nathan Grayson, published 4/10/2017