Overheard on the Streetcar

On the streetcar this afternoon, a large black dude sits in front of me. Knit cap, bling in his left ear, talking on the phone. Just a normal guy. I pay no mind. At least, I did until I overheard his conversation.

Yo! Yo, listen up. Listen up… tell Chris that if he makes it to level 70, I’ll buy him World of Warcraft and Burning Crusade… and… and I’ll pay him for three months. Yeah. … No. Seventy. Level seventy. For real, man.

After which followed some fifteen minutes of non-stop WoW jargon: druids, PVP, experience points, grinding, portals, warriors. The kind of stuff that would make a staunch nerd blush to say in public. I was taken aback. That, right there, is mainstream gaming.

“Mainstream gaming” is what happens when normal people who happen to like games enjoy them, publicly, without any shame or self-consciousness. There’s already enough gamers out there for it to be mainstream, it’s just the perception that needs to change.

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