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    The video game industry has grown up, and the culture needs to act like it

    It’s like a dream come true. After more than 35 years of enjoying everything about video gaming, I can sit back and say that the industry has finally grown up. Long gone are the days where video games are considered kids’ toys. Competitive gaming has gone from temporary set-ups in shopping malls to selling out major arenas. The hosts of our late night talk shows can talk about video gaming with respect rather than snickering. Mainstream media covers video game news as they do any other, and many now have full-time staff that know and love games as much as we do. People actually want to appreciate video game history and the people within it, rather than roll their eyes at the mere mention of anything older than an Xbox.

    I look around and I see it all happening and I can only smile. After all, it only took 35 years for the rest of the world to start looking at the video game industry and history with the same wide eyes I’ve gazed upon it with since 1981. Sadly, however, it’s just not enough. The industry has finally grown up and become a peer to older forms of media such as film, books and television. Now it’s time for the culture to act like it.

    That’s likely quite a polarizing statement, and quite frankly, it should be. This form of entertainment we all love is at a tipping point, one that could allow it to continue to grow into an even greater thing, or one that will see a huge shake-out that cause more long-term damage than the industry crashes of the 1980s did. It’s taken too long for gaming to be taken seriously for that to happen, so here are the things I feel need to happen to help all of us continue to grow.

    Start Treating Your Business Like a Business

    The number of Twitch streamers, eSports players and YouTube “celebrities” connected to the video game world today consist of numbers that were unimaginable less than a decade ago. The number of those people who have absolutely no business plan is staggering, as is the number of them who seemingly refuse to evolve themselves.

    If you are making money off of online content and merch from it, you rock. If you are involved with a well-sponsored eSports team or league, good for you. Do you know what’s next? Forget about what works right now and start figuring out how to ensure you stay in demand with what’s coming. Many YouTubers, for example, are failing to realize that their audience today is going to grow, evolve or become bored with their act eventually. Many eSports players have no Plan B for what happens when their game of choice falls out of favor, or what they’ll do when they get old enough to lose half a step to younger players who can take advantage.

    This landscape is constantly changing, and if you aren’t changing with it, you will eventually be left behind. This is a part of branding and business in every other industry, so there’s no need to let that slip by in the world of video gaming. If this is your business, treat it like one and run it like one.

    Dress for Success

    I’m a jeans a t-shirt kind of guy, so I get the lack of desire to wear anything that isn’t comfortable at any given time. But sometimes you have to, especially if you want to claim to be a professional in this space. Even the best players in the NFL and NBA are expected to dress well, and with good reason.

    The number of people I see get into E3 with professional badges, just to dress like its laundry day in the 7th Level of Hell is staggering. Even more shocking with that, really, is how many of them I later see complaining about having a hard time finding new opportunities. Now, I’m not saying you need to dress up in dorky suit and tie and stick your thumb up in the air like you like it, nor am I suggesting that you go corporate and cover up your ink and dye your hair into normal colors. Make it your own, by all means, just make it look like you take this seriously.

    This is a lesson I learned first-hand. Simply putting on a suit jacket over my t-shirt and blue jeans took me from someone ignored at an E3 or PAX event to someone who had no trouble getting in to see anyone or anything I wanted. Maybe the other Twitch streamers don’t care how you dress, but if you want to get the attention of anyone above that level you can’t continue to look like WKRP’s Dr. Johnny Fever.

    Take Better Care of Our Remaining History

    While I’m grateful that people have finally taken an interest in the storied history of our industry, I’m constantly horrified at how shortsighted many are in regards to the items from that history. Not a day goes by where I don’t read social media posts where someone who claims to be a big gaming fan trashed some old arcade cabinet, modified a vintage game console or tossed a stack of vintage video game publications in the trash.

    Most of that stuff already ended up in the trash ages ago, and more of it is tossed out daily by others who still see that old Nintendo or Atari as outdated junk. At this point, there is simply no logical reason for people within the video game culture to junk or gut any kind of vintage video game item, especially if that means transforming it into some modern hackjob emulator or art project that will have zero nostalgic value even five years from now.

    It doesn’t matter how many they made of anything. What truly matters is how many are left. Old arcade operators didn’t just shove their old arcade games into some Indiana Jones-style warehouse when they went out of business and companies like Funcoland didn’t just warehouse their then-unwanted Nintendo Entertainment System stock when they pulled it from stores during the PlayStation 1 era.  They junked this stuff, and they junked it all in massive quantities.

    What you have in your collection or see at your local retro gaming shop or barcade should be seen as survivors. They are what has managed to stay intact and out of the landfill until now, and there’s zero reason why that should change. To truly understand this is to look at the histories of other older forms of arts and entertainment. Most of the first 40 or 50 years of film history is lost because people treated it as disposable. There’s not a whole lot of early relics from pro baseball’s or football’s earliest days. It took decades before people wised up about television history as well, causing most of it to be lost to time.

    Why let that history repeat? If we truly care about the history of this industry, all of us need to do a better job of taking care of what’s left of it. We’re already on the brink of original 1980s arcade games becoming like old numbers-matching sportscars in terms of rarity. There’s no reason for this matured video game industry and culture to continue treating vintage items like they’ll be around forever. These sorts of items mark where we started and stand as examples of how far we’ve come. How can anyone expect gaming to continue growing if so many inside of it continue to mistreat what we already have?

    The world is ours. We are half a generation or less away from an era where everyone is or was a gamer at some point in time. With that position comes responsibility. Time to step up and act like it, and these three points of order are as good of a starting point at any. Let’s get this done and see how much further this can all go.

    What Taylor Swift can teach us about CD Projekt Red trademarking “Cyberpunk”


    Many fans were shocked this week to learn that CD Projekt Red, the creators of The Witcher and curators of had trademarked the term “cyberpunk”. The company released a statement on their official Twitter which cited the trademark decision as a “self-defense measure” and assured fans that the company doesn’t “plan on using the trademark offensively.”

    The trend of trademarking a word of catchphrase is nothing new in popular culture, but it is not something that we’ve seen an exceptional amount of in the gaming industry. Trademarking has been around since the mid-late 19th century, but the act of trademarking a word or phrase is a relatively new phenomenon that has gained traction namely in popular culture since the 1980s. This doesn’t stop people from using the word in their day-to-day life, posting it on social media or writing about it in an article, as CD Projekt Red indicated in their press release.

    What is does do however is prevents anyone else from using that word commercially. The company has went on to state that they will only pursue action against developers who are creating games in a cyberpunk universe and want to use the common dystopian word in their game titles “if it could confuse the customers.” Unfortunately, that specification is a legally a very grey area (known as trademark dilution) and historically has resulted in some fairly sticky trials even when new brands or IPs had nothing inherently to do with the original except for a shared name.

    If you’re still wondering why someone would ever go to the trouble of trademarking a common word, phrase, or in this case literary genre, there can be a tidy profit to be made. According to an ABC interview with legendary boxing announcer Michael Buffer, he has made over $400 million dollars from trademarking the catchphrase: “Let’s get ready to rumble” in 1992, including by selling the rights to video game developers.

    Michael Buffer - "Let's get ready to rumble!"
    “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

    CD Projekt Red has never really done anything to cultivate a negative image with the public, but that does not inherently mean that the move won’t potentially cause problems for other developers or content creators down the road. A perfect example of this is Taylor Swift. When T-Swift went about trademarking numerous song lyrics, catchphrases, nicknames and even words in early 2015, many people assumed it was part of her ongoing battle to protect her growing brand (remember her Spotify issues in 2014?).

    There are two integrally important reasons for this comparison:

    1. Taylor Swift set a precedent by making this move, becoming the first musician to launch a “pre-emptive strike” against anyone commercializing her brand. The result? A wealth of lawsuit threats against Etsy shops, almost all of whom closed down immediately following the cease-and-desist orders from Swift’s lawyers.
    2. Taylor Swift also had no “Bad Blood” (hehe) with her overwhelmingly supportive community, and often went to great lengths (much like CD Projekt Red) to show fans how much they were appreciated.
    Taylor Swift - 'Bad Blood' music video screenshot
    “Cause baby, now we’ve got bad blood.”

    This comparison is in by no means perfect: CD Projekt Red is not the same type of business mogul that Ms. Swift is and currently has no reason to go after anyone who has used the word “cyberpunk” commercially. Unless the company feels it may negatively impact their future IP or cause confusion among fans over the next two plus years as they await the long-hyped universe from CD Projekt Red. See the potential problem?

    I’m a huge fan of CD Projekt Red and I don’t personally believe that they are going to use this newfound trademark to systematically go after developers, a la Taylor Swift circa 2015, but the comparison serves to show just how easy it can be for a brand to get wrapped up in these types of legal battles.

    Let’s just hope that CD Projekt Red doesn’t become the antithesis their new Cyberpunk 2077 protagonists are rallying against.


    Nintendo’s (bait and) Switch tactics are nothing new


    With a surging demand for the recently-launched Nintendo Switch, it might be next to impossible to get your hands on one. If you’re a longtime fan, Nintendo just might hate you. Once again, the toy company is being impractical with their business model and either failing to predict how many copies of their system they need — which at this point in the game, is just bad planning — or they’re manipulating supply and demand with yet another console.

    At this point, they might as well hold a contest for the few units they choose to release. They could drop participants at random on an undisclosed, abandoned island, just off the coast of Japan. Drop a bunch of classic Nintendo gear: Master Sword, throwable turnips, star power. And the last surviving participant would obtain the title of the glorious survivor and the ultimate Nintendo fan.

    Nowadays, a Battle Royale-style lottery is more logical than how Nintendo treats its fans.

    Pictured here is a scene from the English sub of the Battle Royale film version, before things get messy. Several teenagers in school uniform are being told the premise of the Battle Royale game. The subtitle text, "And find out if you're worth it," appears at the bottom of the screen.

    A history of scarcity

    Nintendo has been facing problems with product scarcity for years. Last summer, they released the NES Classic Edition, which allowed people to play several classic Nintendo games. Or rather, it would have allowed people to, but it’s been sold out since it launched. The only way to acquire the NES Classic Edition is to pay at least three times its store price on eBay. Surely, duking it out on an island is cheaper at this point.

    Nintendo’s scarcity has even extended to their Amiibo products, those lovable, small figurines based on their video game characters. The toys hearken back to Nintendo’s history as a toy company, and they also allow Nintendo to sell pay-to-play objects that players can scan into their games for access to additional content. It’s easy for fans to acquire a popular character like Link, Mario or Donkey Kong. But if they want something more obscure, like good old Captain Falcon from F-Zero? Nintendo only creates enough of these figures so that fans to know they exist, but never enough to where you can easily acquire them. Nintendo is the big tease that never delivers.

    The rarity and popularity of some items seems to even be a reason Nintendo can use to jack up prices. Take the Charizard amiibo, for example. It can be scanned into Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and this adorable, rampaging fire lizard currently sells for $35.99 CAN, direct from Nintendo — about half the price of a brand-new game.

    Pick a more relevant and newsworthy character, like Breath of the Wild’s Link, and he’s selling for only $21.96 CAN.

    Here is a picture of a Charizard amiibo, listed with price, as found on

    Bowser’s Island

    Sadly, dangerous contests for out-of-stock Nintendo products have a history. This stretches back to the Wii launch in 2006, when a contest called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” was held on an American radio show, the result of which caused a 28-year-old woman to die from water intoxication. The system would remain difficult to acquire, even into 2007.  I’ve found that Nintendo sometimes acts like they’re Bowser, their favorite company heel. Only instead of repetitively kidnapping Princess Peach, it holds its own products captive from desperate fans. 

    Is it any surprise that Nintendo is stuck with old, outdated tropes? Just like they’ve had generations to do something with Mario other than a cliché damsel-in-distress story, they’ve had more than a decade to fix their launch supply problems since the Wii showed unprecedented craze and subsequent shortage. This problem with scarcity — with creating a confusing supply and demand market — is just one of many problems with the 127-year-old company. Nintendo is already an island unto itself, perpetually out of reach from many of the fans that wish to visit.

    One question remains: Why, Nintendo? 

    So why, Nintendo? Why do you do this? Why do you consistently release products without manufacturing enough to meet even your pre-order demand? Furthermore, why do you not even attempt to meet demand immediately after launch? It’s not like the supply-and-demand-based resale market(s) actually support the company — Nintendo receives nothing from the profits made by eBay resellers. After decades of being in the biz, you of all companies should understand how the market works.

    The only thing this does is hurt fans and turn people away from buying your products. So what if Breath of the Wild has a Metascore of 97 and waves of super-positive reviews across a plethora of reputable sites? Everywhere I look online in Canada, the Switch is sold out — unless I want to pay $100 to $200 more than the $400 CAN price for the system on eBay.

    As a kid, the first game I touched was Super Mario Bros., leaping on top of Goombas with those chunky, rectangular NES controllers. My love of shooters — and hate of “screen lookers”— grew through the pixelated halls of Goldeneye 007‘s Facility stage. On Gamecube, I realized I didn’t need friends and could spend my summers fighting bots and Master Hand in Super Smash Bros. Melee. My siblings and I even convinced my parents to hunt for a Wii several winter holidays in a row because it was a “healthy” system. We were almost defeated by the fact that we couldn’t find one in any physical store. We finally found one the following year, but even to this very day, the memories of our frustration in the pursuit of one far eclipses any recollections of having finally found one.

    All Nintendo really wants to achieve is to do their own thing, but sometimes, what they want to do has nothing to do with what their consumers want. That’s caused me to pretty much abandon the very desire to own a Switch. Even if I could somehow find a place online with one available, I just can’t ethically buy into a company that maintains a history of dangling unattainable products in front of its eager fans.

    Releasing Gundam Versus worldwide is a stellar business move for Bandai Namco

    I’ve played a lot of games over the years. I’m proud to say that I’ve held a controller in these hands for three decades straight, with no sign of ever putting them down. In that span of time, I’ve sampled genres, tasted franchises, and become a lifelong fan of a few key series that speak to me on a deep, meaningful level. I can say the exact same thing about my love of anime; I’ve watched a few series that resonate with my soul in ways that other shows could never hope to accomplish.

    Three years ago, I stumbled upon a magical combination of these two things: a video game based on a long-running series that I absolutely cherished, and one that had mechanics that were so deep and engaging that I found what was literally — yes, literally, and with zero hyperbole — the greatest amount of fun I have ever had with a controller in my hands. Thirty years of playing video games, and this was the mountaintop, the very apex of everything I’ve ever sought in a game. And to top it all off, it was a licensed game based on an anime series. I didn’t think that combination was possible.
    Char's Zaku II (DLC) in Mobile Suit Gundam ExVs Full Boost

    That game was Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost, and its place in my PlayStation 3’s disc drive has become somewhat permanent.

    I bought it on the recommendation of a friend who was heavy into the series — far heavier than I was at that point in time, as my total Gundam experience equated watching Gundam Wing, G Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory — and it looked very similar to Sega’s Virtual ON, one of my all-time favorite games. So, I took to Amazon and imported the game from Japan. I fired it up expecting to have a little bit of foreign thumb candy, and nothing more.

    What I didn’t expect was for it to open a doorway filled with my money and my time, and for me to be so blissfully unquestioning in its requisite price(s) paid to pass through its arches. Before a year and a half had passed, I had played the game to Platinum Trophy completion, I had bought and assembled my first Gunpla model kit (a Master Grade RX-78-2 Ver. Ka, if you’re curious), and by any and every means necessary, I had completed my journey through (almost) the complete entirety of the Gundam franchise’s animated works.

    That’s fifteen full animated series with episode counts ranging between the high thirties and low fifties. That’s three full-length films, and that doesn’t count compilation movies that speed through the narrative of the aforementioned television series. Then, that’s nine OVA series ranging from three episodes to thirteen. The only reason why all that happened was because this one silly little video game was that fucking fun to play.
    Wing Gundam Zero's Twin Beam Cannon in Gundam Versus (PS4)

    So fun, in fact, that I spent more money on DLC for this game than I did purchasing it in the first place. And I did so gladly, because each new suit was a new way to play, a new character making callbacks to their series and the events that happened to them. I spent $60 total to get the game from Japan, I spent over NINETY DOLLARS on DLC for the game, and this wasn’t cosmetic crap like alternate HUD graphics or waifu character cheerleaders, either. Every dollar I spent was on a new mobile suit to use, in a game that shipped with a character select screen NINETY-SIX blocks deep, all of them available from the moment you start the game.

    Every time I had to buy a suit, I needed to first find an online retailer that would accept payment for a Japanese PSN wallet card, then redeem those digital funds on the Japanese PSN in order to have money available to purchase the new suits. And I wasn’t the only one doing it, either.

    Fast forward to 2017. Right here, right now. Gundam Versus is headed to PlayStation 4. It’s high time to officially introduce this franchise to the global market. I’ll gladly explain why that makes sense.
    Gundam Barbatos in Gundam Versus (PS4)

    First, the Gundam franchise as a whole is starting to see a bit of a renaissance in the United States. Classic series have started to see more frequent DVD and Blu-Ray releases, and this includes series that have never seen American releases in the past. Gunpla models and hardcover manga volumes alike have become staple fixtures in stores like Barnes & Noble, and routinely sell well on Amazon, to boot. There are entire communities that have sprung up around Gunpla model building, with instructional videos, subreddits, Facebook groups and forums consistently buzzing with new techniques and completed kits to show off.

    There are also two modern and current Gundam series that have seen regularly-scheduled timeslots on Cartoon Network’s Toonami anime programming block; Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096. The franchise hasn’t seen this level of traction within the United States in over fifteen years.

    What better time to capitalize — or even build upon — that momentum than to officially release Gundam Versus here? According to VGChartz, Bandai Namco sold 380,000 copies of ExVs Full Boost in Japan since the game’s initial launch on January 30th, 2014. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was released in February of 2016, and has since gone on to sell 120,000 copies in Japan as of the current date…but this game sold 480,000 copies in the United States, 520,000 in Europe, and another 200,000 in the rest of the world. That’s 1.2 MILLION COPIES versus a paltry one-hundred-twenty thousand. If that’s what an anime-based licensed game from the same publisher could muster in a year, imagine the profit margins and sales numbers at similar ratios of sales in those global markets.

    If you had to break that down by the numbers, Full Boost brought in roughly $22.8 million dollars in revenue from a single-purchase Japanese release alone (380K x $60). If you take Naruto‘s adoption rates in the West (10x) as the metric by which you measure Gundam Versus‘ potential, that becomes a total of $250.8 million dollars, all together.

    Wing Zero vs. Nu Gundam in Gundam Versus (PS4)

    Additionally, this opens up the world to purchasing DLC locally. If you take Naruto‘s numbers, this has the potential to expand the game’s potential revenue stream nearly threefold. You’re looking at a theoretical maximum of almost $750 million (because you, too can gleefully spend $90 in DLC for a $60 game), which is far beyond the definition of “significant.” This is not only great for Bandai Namco as a publisher, but it’s great for Bandai as a company, since they own the Gundam franchise.

    In short, Bandai Namco would be foolish not to give a global release to Gundam Versus. It’s a strong game with a lot of depth under the hood, it’s relatively easy to play when compared to other popular games and it’s the absolute best calling card for a franchise that carries nearly four decades of pedigree. In terms of cost / benefit, it’s a no-brainer, as the rewards mitigate any potential risks to the point of being laughable, and just about every relatable metric you can find backs that up. Plus, it might make a ton of new, diehard metaseries fans out of people who simply wanted to dig into the world(s) their new favorite game showed them.

    That is certainly what happened to me. It’ll probably happen to you, too.

    Editor’s note: Updated 4/10/17, added some math.

    Resident Evil 7’s success and what it means for Capcom

    Resident Evil 7 is officially a success for Capcom. The game has already recouped its development costs, with 2.8 million units sold worldwide thus far. Interestingly, this pales in comparison to the amount of units sold for the two previous numbered entries, Resident Evil 5 (8.08 million), and Resident Evil 6 (7.83 million), though it’s still very early in the game’s lifespan.

    However, there’s one thing that needs to be taken into consideration when comparing Resident Evil 7 with RE5/RE6. Not only is Resident Evil 7 a financial success, but it’s also a huge critical success, garnering very high praise and even some perfect scores from major review outlets.

    After Resident Evil 5 — despite being what I consider an underrated game — deviated even further from the paths set by the early games than even Resident Evil 4 did, fans started begging for the Resident Evil franchise to return to its horror roots. What we instead got with Resident Evil 6 was a game that was too big for its own britches.


    It was 25 hours longer than it had any right to be, was overly convoluted, and added gameplay mechanics that fans never expected to see in their beloved franchise, like swimming sections, car chases, Michael Bay levels of explosions, a cover-shooting system (expanded from the one introduced in RE5), a stamina meter, and way too many cutscenes. Resident Evil was having an identity crisis. It couldn’t tell if it was Resident Evil, Call of Duty, Gears of War, or Metal Gear Solid, so it tried to be all of them and succeeded at being none of them.

    I’ll go on record and say that I think the Revelations spin-off games are excellent and should be played by any fan that may have skipped them. But it seemed Resident Evil was content with fading into obscurity after the abysmal Operation Raccoon City and Umbrella Corps receiving many “Worst Game of the Year” awards in 2016.


    Then Resident Evil 7 breathed new life into Capcom’s dying IP. As someone who has been a fan of the series since its outset, I can say that the game deserves the high praise and perfect scores that it’s receiving. So many things were done right. To me, the two things that make a truly good survival horror game are making the player feel vulnerable at all times and making you not want to progress further through the game.

    That second one seems counter-intuitive to general videogame design, but survival horror fans don’t come to the genre to feel good about themselves, they enjoy the tension and the rush of not knowing what’s ahead. Several times during my playthroughs, I would hear a tapping on the windows or footsteps on the floor above me, making me dread my inevitable trek up the stairs.


    I could sit here and heap lavish praise upon RE7 all day, but what I really want to discuss is what this means for the future of Capcom.

    I’m 31 years old, and the first time I picked up a videogame controller was at the age of 3 with the NES, and two major game companies that I grew up with were Capcom and Konami. Contra, Castlevania, and Metal Gear are three of my favorite series of all-time, but because of the changing climate in game development, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever see anything outside of spiritual sequels to these franchises (don’t you dare try to tell me that Metal Gear Survive is a true sequel, I’ll have none of it).


    So with Konami lying in the grave and waiting to have the dirt piled on, my attention turns to Capcom, who are also responsible for delivering some of my favorite games ever. Despite positive reviews, Street Fighter V left a sour taste in the mouths of fans due to all that it was lacking in terms of the overall user experience. Devil May Cry was unnecessarily rebooted with a redesigned Dante that no one liked. Conversely, Dead Rising 4 relied too heavily on the appeal of its main character and delivered a sub par open-world experience. And finally, we have Mega Man, who has been MIA since 2010.

    Mighty No. 9 turned out to be a colossal flop, but the one thing it did have was a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Keiji Inafune was very forthcoming with what Mighty No. 9 was: a spiritual sequel to the Mega Man franchise. The game may have burned a lot of fans by the time it was released, but if anything, that Kickstarter should have sent a message to Capcom that we do, in fact, want to play these games and are willing to give you money to do so.


    Resident Evil 7 received praise for returning to its roots and giving us the type of experience that made us fall in love with the series to begin with. However, critical praise doesn’t pay the bills, so it’s understandable why Capcom would continue to deviate from the traditional Resident Evil formula until it eventually became a (terrible) competitive shooter. One can only hope that Resident Evil 7 winds up selling close to the same numbers as RE5/RE6, so as to prove to Capcom that what’s old is new again.

    There’s no game that I can think of that Capcom could make that I would want more right now than a new Mega Man game in the style of Mega Man X. To me, that’s when the series was at its peak, and unfortunately I’ve had to resort to games other than Mega Man, like the Azure Striker Gunvolt series, to scratch that itch.


    From the bottom of my heart, I hope that Capcom takes the ball and runs with it. I’m truly rooting for them to make a gigantic comeback, and hope that Resident Evil 7‘s momentum propels them to future greatness.

    Class is in Session!

    Welcome to Scholarly Gamers!

    I’d like start by taking this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for visiting our site and embarking on this grand adventure with us. Through horrors untold and dungeons numerous, we’ve fought our way here so that we could undertake an even more epic odyssey with all of you.

    Scholarly Gamers was initially an idea that came to me four years ago when I was just starting to blog about video games. I found that many of the people I was writing alongside had a penchant for looking at video games in an academic way, with an analytical lens that was not often seen on the front pages of gaming publications. After being exposed to so many new ways of looking at the games that I loved, it became my immediate goal to find an avenue through which to showcase those views.

    It was years later before I was able to team up with a small group of like-minded individuals, each of whom shared my passion for creating an academic community where gamers could come to explore new ideas, to learn, and to thrive together. A “Gaming University” where all schools of thought converged into a nexus of higher learning, brought together through a deep respect for game studies as a multidisciplinary field of study.

    We will explore video games through academic disciplines including political science, history, and cultural studies, with a focus on analytical arguments that will attempt to advance overarching discussions in gaming communities. Articles will range from structured papers to more casual discussions, but they will always be tied together with a thread of analysis.

    Scholarly Gamers has diversified from a small group of analytical writers, into a team of streamers, YouTubers, journalists, academics, and people who want to give something back to gaming communities. Scholarly Gamers is a lot of things, and it will continue to grow and evolve as a gathering place for people to spend time and hold engaging discussions with other gamers and enthusiasts.

    Through all of this, Scholarly Gamers will always be, at its core, a community-centered project with the primary goal of creating an environment which encourages open and constructive discourse among people. We plan to achieve this through engaging with the community on themes which are important to gamers, through a multimedia approach including journal articles, live streams, and recorded videos. Each of us has been lucky enough to be part of amazing and supportive gaming communities in the past, and this is our opportunity to give that same experience to others.

    So from all of us here at, thank you for stopping by and welcome to the discussion!

    Matt Ferguson
    Scholar at Large

    Mass Effect: Andromeda Official Trailer


    With less than two weeks until EA and Bioware release the next iteration in the Mass Effect franchise, the official launch trailer has been revealed. Captured from in-game footage and expected to be “reflective of in-game experience”, the trailer focuses on establishing the narrative drive for the Pathfinders’ mission; bringing humanity to a new home in the Andromeda galaxy.




    The official trailer above, featuring both of the Ryder twin protagonists available for gameplay, is but the latest in an ongoing trickle of media being made available to the public. Most recently, three gameplay videos focusing on core elements of the game design have been released on a weekly basis. They cover Combat Weapons & SkillsCombat Profiles & Squads, and Exploration & Discovery, respectively.

    In addition to the gameplay-oriented videos that showcase in-game experiences, Bioware has published a site for the Andromeda Initiative, a portal for fans to learn more about what this adventure means to humanity in the Mass Effect universe. On a weekly basis, six ‘mission briefings’ were added to the portal that relayed a more cinematic experience and brought viewers up to speed with the fleet ships, weaponry, abilities, and plans for settlement. They are all told from a pre-departure perspective; 600 years before the AI team arrives in the Andromeda galaxy, and offer an intriguing look into the meta surrounding the game. Finally, upon viewing all six briefings, players are rewarded with an ‘Pathfinder grade helmet’ for use by their single-player character.


    Mass Effect: Andromeda launches on March 21st in North America and worldwide on March 23rd. Subscribers to EA Access (on Xbox) or Origin Access (PC) will be able to download a ten-hour demo of the game’s single player and multiplayer components on March 16th.


    UPDATE: March 16, 2017

    The ten-hour trial was made available on March 15 at 5:30PM EDT, some seven hours earlier than announced. Check back in the coming weeks for feature articles covering Mass Effect: Andromeda, including reviews of both the single-player campaign and multiplayer experience.