How did video games embrace the street culture and what was the impact on our society?
The streetwear style began in the ’90s but over time technologies change and so do people. A big part of the gaming culture began to rise in the mid-2000s, consoles and PC’s started to gain popularity not only in the USA but in households all around the world. Everyone wanted to be a part of an online community, ways to connect to your peers were becoming more and more attainable. Creating that kind of connection with someone begs for common interests and for many people those were online gaming and games in general.
There are not many games to personify the streetwear culture but there are a few that managed to embody those characteristics along with other closely knitted subjects like graffiti, music and hip hop.
25 to Life
"A game made to portray the harsh life of the streets, life after jail and gang wars."
Far from actual streetwear on first sight but after some gameplay, you learn that a lot of side ideas are to display hip hop music, street clothes (not that distinguishable but made to fit the overall image of the game) and most of all the hope to get out of a situation and just be yourself. Now if that isn’t what streetwear is all about, then what is.
The game did not gain much popularity but It left a big impression on everyone playing it. The main bonus was multiplayer, allowing people to join in teams, express ideas and listen to hip hop classics in the process. This way the unadulterated game changed many mindsets and gave a glimpse into the world of ghettos as well as cultural differences. Just like streetwear breaking down walls from one culture into another.
Marc Ecko’s Getting up
Marked as great action game portraying graffiti culture and probably the best to ever do it.
Speaking about being marked, the conscious of every person immersed in the game was marked and changed in ways only people having a love for streetwear culture could understand. The clothes, music and personalization of characters can give you chills up your spine. Giving you freedom to express yourself through the main character of the game, Trane. Being able to change the music on your iPod gave you control no other game has given its player until now. Even you being able to do something simple like putting on your hood and taking it down is enough to excite you to continue playing this game.
While the main focus of the game is graffiti the underline thought is to be able to prove yourself with only your style, artistic nature and talent. As always personalization is key and that is the same key that makes the connection with streetwear. “Getting up” embodies the streetwear clothing, making it a much-needed choice of clothes for you to be able to express your artistry in the game.
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
GTA took the gaming world by storm and by that it created a whole new point of view for streetwear lovers.
Controversial and raw presentation of events kept its players on the edge of their seats. But that wasn’t the only part where this infamous game made its mark. The customization offered by San Andreas was like no other, especially in the variety of clothing, haircuts and overall appearance of the character.
Players were free to explore various styles most of them representing streetwear fashion. Some mission even required for you to be dressed a certain way which gave players a sense of the style even more. Given its actual objective, it also managed to establish the link between “rebelliousness” and “streetwear”. Surpassing many of its predecessors and leaving the most notable impression of streetwear better than any game from that era.
Overall, all of the games mentioned above and their creators had implemented a great deal of thought into the presentation of each of their characters. But what is more important is that because of the artistic and expressive nature of the games, the creator thought streetwear would best suit their characters. Not only from the fact that the culture presented in the games required that, but also because players would enjoy the ability to customize clothing.
What best way to do it if not from the freedom of streetwear fashion.