#Blaugust · Gaming

#Blaugust Day Seventeen: On ‘real gamers’

bLAUGUST

This post is part of the #Blaugust blog challenge put together by Bel at Aggronaut. You can read the rules here, and you can see what the community has been posting in our Nook forum.

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.”

My reply?

Bull. Shit.

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.

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19 thoughts on “#Blaugust Day Seventeen: On ‘real gamers’

  1. Agreed 100%. As someone who’s both a casual gamer and a girl gamer, it’s always been a hobby that I’ve never felt totally comfortable talking about in certain circles because of attitudes exactly like that. I play the odd game or series that I get really emotionally invested in, but I’m not a ‘serious’ enough gamer who’s played ‘enough’ games to many people, which is pretty off-putting. It’s sad, because if fellow gamers want gaming to be taken more seriously as a media and art form (as it deserves), we need to be supporting and encouraging the whole community, not just a select few that fit our own criteria.

    1. I totally hear you! Especially online when people are so quick to rip people to pieces over the tiniest dumbest things, it becomes so much easier and preferable to hide it away rather than celebrate our love for for nerdy things. I WISH the community was more supportive but alas; it depends on your micro-community rather than the macro one. Ridiculous! xo

  2. Isn’t it strange how some people really don’t want others in their “club”, how they don’t want their “achievements” undermined by giving someone the same label who hasn’t been seen to achieve the same milestones as others.

    I haven’t completed Dark Souls (and may never do so), but do I need the “I played Dark Souls” badge to be a “real” gamer? Or did I just played some other games that were more enjoyable and rewarding for me, yes, yes I did.

    I find that I can’t have a realistic conversation with a person acting as if somehow they are superior to other gamers. Frankly it’s rather sad and often childishly driven by peer pressure.

    Gamers have the most common element that bind us together, in that we all enjoy playing games, no matter what that boils down to.
    As Steph says if we want to be taken more seriously it will be hard unless we are united.

    1. Exactly! Due to scandals like GamerGate and whatnot it’s increasingly hard to actually take the gaming community seriously, and I think in cases like this, it’s not always a bad thing. If other gamers want to act like selfish, boastful babies they can go ahead, but I think the community on the whole should ignore them. Like I said in my comment to Steph, it depends on the micro and macro communities. Bigger communities put up with more shit but they can keep it covered with other things.

  3. That is funny. I have trouble extending the gamer card to people who play COD and GTA. Similarly, if you only play the latest Madden, I have reservations about you being a gamer too. To me, being a gamer involves being passionate about the medium on the whole, so putting all your eggs in the MOST popular baskets seems like a big cop-out.

  4. Yes yes yes! Anyone who plays games is a gamer, no matter how much or little they play! If you enjoy games, congratulations, you’re a gamer! I also agree there is a huge difference between hardcore and casual gamers, but that has NOTHING to do with whether or not they ARE a gamer. That more comes down to knowledge of a particular game. Great post!!

  5. Yeah, Rick used to make similar comments about people we knew, but as he started to observe my evolution as a gamer and recognize how toxic such thinking was (god forbid he be mistaken for a GG) he’s totally come around. I think that sort of labeling is ultimately pretty immature and comes from a place of insecurity. Games are games. Go ahead and call yourself whatever you like.

  6. Yes, this! The gatekeeping bothers me hugely, plus creates a cycle. Someone is told they aren’t a real gamer, so they don’t call themselves a gamer, so people say those types of gamers don’t exist! If you play games, you are a gamer. I don’t care if it’s Angry Birds, you can call yourself a gamer.

    If course there’s differences in type and degree of interest, you can say that about any hobby. I once compared it to teenage-me saying people who read romance novels aren’t really readers. Of course they are, they just happen to like a different type of book than I do.

    1. I totally agree. There’s pockets of gamers who game in different ways and play different games to the norm, so who’s to say they’re not gamers? No one, that’s who.
      I used to be the same, and then I grew up. It tends to be an age thing- the over confidence of youth and all that.

  7. A gamer is a gamer, plain and simple, no matter what games he/she plays. I’ve never even played a single COD or GTA game but have been gaming since the NES days until now. Does that not make me a gamer? :)

  8. I always get sad when I hear stories like this. It’s elitist and unnecessary. Just because you don’t play certain types of games doesn’t mean that you’re any less of a gamer. In life, everyone has a particular set of skills they’re better at than other people. I’m all for the RPG and open-world genre, but FPS is my weakness, whereas my boyfriend can do FPS and MMORPG, but doesn’t have the patience for most other RPGs. That doesn’t make either of us less skilled as gamers, just means that we have our genres we’re good at and love to play. This guys needs to check himself before he wrecks himself.

  9. “Anyone who plays games is automatically a gamer as far as I’m concerned.” — I agree! I hate when people say that people aren’t real gamers just because they don’t play the same games as them. People have different taste in games and there’s nothing wrong with that!

    Jessica | Pyreflies.org

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