Gaming culture is closely linked to the turmoil of male adolescence. The social queasiness toward video games mirrors a long-standing social anxiety surrounding adolescent boys. Many hardcore gamers thrive on the fringes of mainstream culture. Their status as computer geeks, outcasts, and loners positions them as sympathetic underdogs. Conversely, their association with violent games often casts them as aggressive borderline sociopaths. They might be considered contemporary archetypes of male adolescence.
These photographs were made at LAN parties in suburban Minneapolis. LANs are dedicated video game events in which hardcore players set up their computers in a hotel ballroom or an empty storefront for two days of continuous gaming. The room smells like overheating electronics and hyper-caffeinated gamers. They play head-to-head over a temporary computer network dedicated to first person video combat. Players adopt aliases and enter the game from the point of view of their assumed on-screen identities. It is an overwhelmingly male world fueled by tech savvy brashness, twitching thumbs, and electric blue bottles of Bawls.
E.H . Mathis Gallery is located in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities in the Theater lobby, CART 159. UW-Parkside, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha WI