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Games more important than hip-hop

When it comes to influencing men, says man.

American author, critic and filmmaker Nelson George has stated that he believes videogames have a greater influence on young male culture than music.

His comments came in an interview with Alix Lambert for her book Crime, which will be published by Fuel later this month.

In extracts appearing in The Guardian George compared videogames to hip-hop music - which during the 80s and 90s had a massive influence on all aspects of mainstream and popular culture.

"Videogames are more important than hip-hop. There's no doubt about it," he said.

"The violence and nihilism that everyone thinks is in hip-hop is pumped up about 18 times in videogames. That's really what's driving young male culture, that's really the new rock 'n' roll."

While violent lyrics are just one of the bad influences that critics blame rap music for, George believes that not enough people are looking at videogames and the influence they have on a young male audience.

"The funny thing about this debate is so many hip-hop critics are fixated on rap and not talking enough about videogames, which aren't a racially determinant form," he said.

George went on to observe that Rockstar, and companies like EA with its music-influenced Def Jam franchise, have been smart to incorporate hip-hop culture into games.

"Obviously these Grand Theft Auto guys were very canny because they tied in to Scarface, they tied in to hip-hop. But the games are different - they're not folk statements. Hip-hop was a folk music up until the late '80s.

"With videogames the relationship to the culture is different, they're much more like movies. They're a really interesting hybrid," George continued.

"The Grand Theft Auto dudes were all about figuring out how to tap into urban culture. Vidoegames, like movies, take in so many disciplines. At the same time, it's not folk expressions - at least, the way I understand it - of an individual."

What do you think, Eurogamer reader? Is GTA IV really more important in your life than Vanilla Ice or DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince?