Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now the AP is Playing with Power!

I saw this at Kotaku last night: The new Associated Press Stylebook is out and for the first time it acknowledges videogames. The AP Stylebook is the go-to document if you work in media, especially newspapers, and want to know how to properly capitalize something like the Democratic and Republican parties, or how to write 6 p.m.

The 2006 Stylebook includes "Game Boy" and "video game," both rather quaint formulations, in my opinion, that illustrate just how behind the times newspapers are when it comes to videogames. (Don’t they know it is all about the DS? And Comstock, for one, prefers "videogames.")

I’m happy, I suppose, that editors have realized that they need to clarify terms surrounding videogames. This development certainly reflects a greater change in society in which videogames are becoming less marginalized and moving into more technology or even—gasp!—arts sections of newspapers.

Yet these terms also display a sort of fuddy-duddyness (a word not in the Stylebook for any year, as far as I can tell). It’s like a parent telling a child that hip-hop is "fly." So you can get an idea of the timeliness of the AP Stylebook: I have the 2002 edition. I seem to recall that videogames were pretty popular then, and the Game Boy was already in its third generation, a full 13 years since I first bought one. Yet the video technology I find in my Stylebook includes "videotape" and "videocassette recorder." If the AP is going to be so lame, maybe they shouldn’t even bother trying.

And what about PlayStation and Xbox? Here you see my preferred formulations, but shouldn’t the AP bring some clarity to all the dorks writing "Play Station" or "X-Box" out there?

I’ll allow that there is room for argument on "video game" vs. "videogame." I just think the later is smoother than the former, and reflects the fact that videogames have come into their own. They are more than a game that happens to be in video form. They are a special genre of games that deserve recognition. Just like "foot ball" became “football” and "base ball" became "baseball" over the years, I believe "video games" are now "videogames."

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