By this, I don’t mean material that draws on the games themselves and are meant for or the result of analysis. I know there are plenty of podcasts, gameplay videos, books, wikis, journalism, and events (the presence of which is one of the signs of a healthy fanbase).
However, having come into pinball as a fan of anime, western animation, video games, and speculative fiction in general, I am rather surprised at the sheer LACK of fanfiction, fanart, fan-animations, fancomics, fanmerch (such as badges, pins–as in the kinds you stick onto shirts, keychains, charms, felt plushes, etc.) and so forth. The only facet that seems to be reasonably common in pinball (relative to the size of its fanbase) are fangames. Why is that?
Is it because the pinball fanbase skews older? Is it because it comes from a time when major content producers strictly enforced copyright and sent the banhammer down on anyone who even so much as wrote fanfiction? Does pinball just happen to come from a subculture where derivative work just isn’t taken seriously? Do pinball fans, for the most part, rarely encounter it and so there’s little thought to it in general? Is it that the people who WOULD otherwise create fan material are working in professional fields related to their talents and would rather stick to professional work? Does the nature of pinball not lend itself easily to fanmade material? Or is there actually a lot out there and I just missed almost all of it?
I got to wondering about this when I visited Los Angeles Comic-Con last week, and I realized that though I visit many conventions over a year, pinball is the only type of convention I visit that doesn’t have an Artist’s Alley full of talented artists, of all ages, showing off their artwork for the franchises they love (and that the attendees love). On top of that, Game Legend is underway, a convention for retro video games that has about 200 booths, all of them there to sell their fan-created content (some of whom are professionals themselves). So I also decided to search “America’s Most Haunted” on DeviantArt and got no results whatsoever related to the pinball machine’s characters. (Amusingly, the sixth result is fanfiction–but for Axis Powers Hetalia, a webcomic about personifications of countries during World War II).
Where are all of the fanartists, fanfiction writers, and other assorted groups of such people?