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Games influencing young male culture more than music, claims author

"The violence and nihilism that everyone thinks is in hip-hop is pumped up about 18 times in videogames" - Nelson George

American author, critic and filmmaker Nelson George has stated that he believes videogames are now more influential to young male culture than music.

Speaking in a new book, Crime, by Alix Lambert and to be published by Fuel later this month, George compares videogames to hip-hop music and culture, which during the 80s and 90s had a massive influence on all aspects of mainstream and popular culture.

"Videogames are more important than hip-hop. There's no doubt about it," said George, in an extract of the book printed in The Guardian this weekend.

"The violence and nihilism that everyone thinks is in hip-hop is pumped up about 18 times in videogames. That's really what's driving young male culture, that's really the new rock n' roll."

While violent lyrics are just one of the bad influences that critics blame rap music for, George believes that not enough people are looking at videogames and the influence they have on a young male audiences.

"The funny thing about this debate is so many hip-hop critics are fixated on rap and not talking enough about videogames, which aren't a racially determinant form."

He also believes that Rockstar, and companies like EA with its music-influenced Def Jam franchise, have been smart to incorporate hip-hop culture into games.

"Obviously these Grand Theft Auto guys were very canny because they tied in to Scarface, they tied in to hip-hop. But the games are different – they're not folk statements. Hip-hop was a folk music up until the late 80s."

"With videogames the relationship to the culture is different, they're much more like movies. They're a really interesting hybrid. The Grand Theft Auto dudes were all about figuring out how to tap into urban culture. Vidoegames, like movies, take in so many disciplines. At the same time, it's not folk expressions – at least, the way I understand it – of an individual."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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