Grandma To 20th Century Fox: "Say What Now?"
I read about this first over at Datathoughts and then watched the trailer, just to be sure.
The movie is about a games-tester who ends up rooming one way or another with three old women. It's not about elderly gaming specifically, but if the Sandler Movie Methodology is used, you bet your sweet ass there is going to be some white haired gals hitting the consoles hard and long.
First, let me be clear that Grandma and I both dig Adam Sandler; one of Grandma's favorite movies is Happy Gilmore. The fact that he's directing this one doesn't make it any less "his movie," so don't get too mad at us. Second, Grandma in no way alone in the world of elderly gaming; and as any flea market shopper can attest, she doesn't hold a monopoly over geriatric vulgarity.
Here's my problem: after reading some of your e-mails about this, reading through the film's website, watching the trailer, etc.,... I realized that when I began the site to share her stories with a few friends, I was using exactly the same sort of mindset that Sandler and his producers use- that old women playing video games is unique, funny, and entertaining to watch. Then everything changed. As I kept writing, I realized it wasn't her age that made her interesting, it was her veteran status as a true gamer. She could be just as cool if she were in her 40's or 50's for she has played since the dawn of the arcades, as have many; and the war stories and evolution of that generation, those who have kept gaming and watched it grow not with skepticism and disdain for new systems but rather an excitement over fresh games and new challenges, are fascinating.
I had what is known as a "Blogger Existential Moment," and I had to question if what I was writing and the audience for whom I was writing held the same perception of Barbara St. Hilaire, and those she has come to represent.
When MTV and G4 show interest in Grandma and her obsession, it is not the Adam Sandler exploitation of the contrast and irony of an older gamer within a sea of those who pass the electronic section of retail stores with anxiety and fear, it is a tip of the hat towards all those who force the population that follow the ridged behavioral projections of their demographic to reexamine that which is "unacceptable," and give it a try.
I hope that I too have presented Grandma in this way, rather than to try for a quick laugh on some daily updates. Grandma can be funny because, shit- we all can relate to her frustrations within games; we can all empathize with her buying decisions, her first impressions, her addictions, her loyalties- and I hope we provide something worth reading for you guys.
I'm not changing anything about the site, we should just keep trucking along the way we've been; I just want to acknowledge you guys for the way you have helped to shape the site. Thousands of e-mails, hundreds of comments, linkbacks, blogrolls, chainletters (don't do that one again, okay? I need to sleep at night) mentions in podcasts, conversations, college classrooms, forums of just about every size and topic, site submissions, pay-pal donations, etc.,. have all helped us make OGHC in to something more than a joke. It's just a series of stories about Grandma and what she does.
So we offer 20th Century Fox something human; the ability to say with sincerity that there are people like this; it isn't abnormal or strange for someone to game for 30 years, and it isn't inappropriate for the elderly to get their kicks like everyone else. If this movie is entertaining it is because of the characters, and not because different types of folks act beyond what is expected; something to be laughed at. Tell us if it's anything different!