“Does anyone want to play with me on Twitch to get the vote?” New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress, unexpectedly asked on Twitter. She added the parenthesis “I’ve never played but it sounds like a lot of fun.” Within seconds, Twitch’s top streamers filled the MP’s mentions. “It would be an honor,” tweeted Pokimane, who has 5.9 million followers. Illhan Omar, a representative from Minnesota closely associated with Ocasio-Cortez, also joined us. Several popular streamers and personalities have come together to play the hugely popular Among Us, a multiplayer mystery game that has taken Twitch by storm in recent months, in an effort to encourage voting efforts just weeks away from the November U.S. election. The stream aired last night to over half a million viewers combined, and, if you were just watching and enjoying the antics, you might not have noticed the ground moving under your feet. For a long time, video games have been the target of politicians trying to make a name for themselves in opposition to the medium as a whole. The 1993 Congressional video game hearings that spawned the ESRB rankings set the tone for how Washington DC and the government viewed video games: In equal parts, frivolous waste of time for children. and calls for destructiveness that alter the mind. Not even three years ago, the White House assembled and released a series of violence in video games, citing congressional hearings 25 years ago. With the same tone and tenor of contempt clearly still prevalent in DC’s political class, he felt that little had changed for video games in the eyes of the government in those decades. It’s not even been three years since the White House assembled and released a gang of video game violence. Representatives Ocasio-Cortez and Omar, whatever their political affiliation, have slightly broken that wall. Efforts to ‘get out the vote’ – aimed at increasing voter turnout – have traditionally been funneled through events and rallies, but of course, this is generally considered dangerous in 2020 due to COVID concerns. . Reaching eligible young voters through Twitch on one of its most popular multiplayer games alongside its most popular streamers is not only a smart way to bypass quarantine practices, but recognizes video games as a logical way to do so. reach. Unlike other attempts to contextualize video games within American political boundaries like the 1993 audiences or the recent video, this felt like genuine enthusiasm for a fun activity. The ever-changing industry has overtaken a number of modern lawmakers over the years – games didn’t become a mainstream form of home entertainment until the 1980s – but that gap is starting to narrow. Ocasio-Cortez, 31, approached video games like most people do, with curiosity, enthusiasm and seriousness, highlighting a generational divide with older politicians by his side. This gap will only continue to narrow as young politicians rise through the ranks. Ultimately, we are getting closer and closer to an electorate that has never lived without video games and a representative government made up of those same people. The ever-changing industry has overtaken a number of modern lawmakers over the years … but that gap is starting to narrow. “That’s not to say Congress will take breaks for friendlies in Super Smash Bros. or rush to get their daily logins in any mobile gacha game hit big that month. It would be crazy, however. to ignore how important it is to meet new generations of people on their own grounds and to reach them with authenticity on grounds that normally do not exist. There are bigger issues than video games, but there are no harm in using video games to bring these important issues to the fore. 11 Calming Games to Help You Relax It’s hard to say where things are going from here on out. Although this flow represents a change in direction at which folks can expect, this is only one flow. It seems unlikely that our leaders will meet us in Apex Legends or build towns in Animal Crossing with any that regularity outside of the campaign seasons, but in the end, they might not have anything to do with it. Understanding that video games are more than unique experiences and full-fledged social events speaks volumes in itself, especially after so many years of gamers being told that video games are bad from those in charge. It’s easy to see all of this as cynical, as politicians traditionally are. Depending on your opinion of the politicians in question, all of this could rub you the wrong way and have the opposite effect you want. But looking at that in this Twitch stream, with the multiple streamers and personalities involved, it was hard to hold onto that pessimism. It was a group of people having fun with a medium who largely felt out of touch with our civil process, except for the wrong reasons. It was also hundreds and thousands of people who watched and enjoyed it. It seemed new, vital and impossible to pass for politics as usual. Imran Khan is a San Francisco-based writer and occasional co-host at Kinda Funny. You can find his other thoughts on Twitter.