|By Eric Weiss, Comics & Gaming Monthly|
Back in August, Brady and I conducted an impromptu interview with Jeff Cannata (Reviews on the Run, amongst other things), and certain parts of that conversation have been kicking around in my head for a while now. For reference, Brady said:
Games in general…are already accepted as culture and recognized as having social meaning and value. They’ve been around as long or longer than visual representation, if we see that as the root of art, and are tied to an inherently natural system of play. Games are the formalization of play, and play exists beyond human behaviour since it’s found in animals.
As a game journalist, I get paid to dissect and comment on all manner of games and game-related news. It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job, and I spend most of my day doing things other than playing games in order to justify a career that involves playing games.
I bring this up because while the impulse to play may be natural, our actual process has become increasingly artificial, especially when measured against other living creatures. For instance, one of my current roommates happens to have a puppy, and her uncomplicated daily routine makes video gaming seem arbitrary.
Jeff Cannata might be the hardest working man in popular culture. Besides being an actor and improv performer, Cannata is a movie reviewer, alongside Miri Jedeikin, for Greedy Productions’ Reviews on the Run. On internet network Revision3, he is one of the co-hosts of The Totally Rad Show (TRS), a creative exploration of all things good and bad offered by the popular media environment. If that wasn’t enough, he is part of the regular cast of Shacknews’ Weekend Confirmed gaming podcast.
Such a description might seem to put Cannata into a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ situation, but there is no doubt that he knows video games – which he started reviewing professionally as a teenager – and there is no doubt he has insights to offer about the cultural significance of games and their players.
Jeff Cannata sat down with Play Till Doomsday to talk about gaming culture at Fan Expo 2010 in Toronto. With help from Comics and Gaming Monthly’s Eric Weiss, we discussed the cultural significance of shows like Fan Expo, what Scott Pilgrim suggests about the current influence of geek culture and the challenges faced by producers trying to monetize online media content, among other topics.