As you may know or have worked out by now, most of my friends play video games. It’s been part of what has held us together and has made for many good times, be it playing awful games with the Boyfriend-Wonder or co-oping Halo with Gina, video games have always been in my life and I’ve pretty much always considered myself to be a gamer.
However, when I was staying at Lawrence‘s over the weekend, he told me something which his brother, an amateur streamer/playthrough video maker told him; “Because you [Lawrence] only play things like The Sims and story games [Gone Home, etc] and not GTA or COD like me, you’re not a real gamer.”
As long as I’ve known Lawrence (which is 10 years now) he’s always gamed. We’ve played together, we’ve played apart, we’ve played different games and we’ve played the same games. He’s tried so many more games than I have, and flourishes in sandbox/story games. He has a sense of determination unlike anything I’ve ever seen in games like those. And just because he doesn’t play popular games is no right to question his relevance in the community.
And just what exactly makes someone a real gamer? It’s almost like the whole ‘fake geek girl’ nonsense again (for a great video and interesting argument, check out ALB) wherein people within an already active community start trying to act as gatekeepers to keep people out, for whatever reason they may have. It’s stupid and pointless. For a community that has bonded over a shared love of an interactive art form, we sure are fond of pulling each other part, when instead we should be celebrating our community and being excited to let new people in.
However, by no means am I ignoring the hardcore vs casual gamer argument; it absolutely does exist. There are hardcore gamers (check out any popular streamer for any game and you’ll see they play upwards of 15 hours a day) and there are casual gamers, who game every now and then. The thing is, they’re both gamers. They both play video games, albeit in different ways. But who’s gonna say that the other isn’t real because they both clearly exist, and they’re both well-known phenomenons.
Returning to Lawrence’s brother’s argument; ‘you don’t play games like I do so you’re not a real gamer.’ seems somewhat defeatist. If everyone has to play COD & GTA to be a ‘real’ gamer then heck, I’ll hand in my badge at the door. I don’t put hours into those games, but I do to others. It’s hard to argue my 350 + hour playtime on Diablo 3 somewhat cements my status as a ‘gamer’ and I’m cool (and proud) with that.
The status of ‘real gamer’ is a strange one. Anyone who plays games is automatically a gamer as far as I’m concerned. Why push people out of something they enjoy due to your own fake superiority complex?
For other thoughts on this topic, I highly recommend Asmongold’s video on gamer culture. It’s fascinating and offers a pro’s insights onto this and similar arguments.