Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whence a Gamer?

Expecting everything to be custom tailored for you is the surest way to end up angry in the end. It is like walking into a store and complaining that a red shirt isn't blue enough for you. If you don't want to wear a red shirt, don't buy a red shirt and then expect it to change into the color you want it to be.
~Belghast, Change is Scary
Apparently, there was much discussion yesterday on Twitter about trying to define the term "Gamer" and specifically, who gets to claim the term. Belghast would like to include folks playing Bejeweled on their phone while they wait for the bus, while others are far more exclusionary. Roger Edwards questions the need for labels at all. I think there is some value in labels, but that labeling everyone who happens to play Minesweeper a gamer diffuses the term so as to make it meaningless. I am not a mini-golfer just because I go to Putt-Putt once in a blue moon.

Let's put it it this way:
  • If you consider the games you play to be a hobby, you might be a gamer.
  • If you set aside time to play a game on a  regular basis, you might be a gamer.
  • If you spend time thinking about a game while not actually playing, you might be a gamer.
  • If you've ever bored or annoyed someone because you're talking about a game you've played, you might be a gamer.
  • If you do research to improve your performance in the game you are playing, you might be a gamer.
  • If someone who is definitely not a gamer would comment on your gaming when describing you, you might be a gamer.
  • If you write about gaming, you might be a gamer.
  • If you argue on social media about who gets to be called a gamer, you're probably a gamer.
  • If you think you are somehow more a "Gamer" than someone else because you play on certain platforms or difficulty levels or are more "hardcore" or are more skilled or more committed—or whatever—shut the fuck up.
If you're interested in joining the circadian sun showers of Blaugust, breeze on over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast has prizes prepared for high achievers.
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  1. According to these terms, a gamer could be someone that plays Bejewelled, and might not apply to someone that plays an FPS or MMORPG. I think that if you self identify as someone that likes to play games, you are a gamer, regardless of what platform, genre, or difficulty level. To anyone that disagrees, I'd like to see you beat my Flappy Bird, or Timberman high score. :-)

    1. That's what I'm getting at. It's really a self identification.

  2. My wife, who plays the likes of Farm Heroes and Bejewelled, for probably about 6 hours a day does not consider herself a gamer. I play Lotro or Eve for 2-3 hours in a day and I definately consider myself a Gamer.

  3. I have played video games since the late 1970s. I meet all of the criteria above. I do not and have never considered myself to be "A Gamer".

    I would and do self-identify as a comics fan even though I haven't bought or read comics in any meaningful way since the early 1990s.

    I have no idea what this means.

  4. My wife spends a lot of time playing games on her phone, through Facebook, or in browser. If you called her a gamer, she would laugh at you. Is Gamer a term that must rely on self-definition?

    1. I would kind of say, yes it does depend on self-definition, see Bhagpuss' comment above. Hence, my riff on "you might be." More to the point, someone who does self-identify as a gamer shouldn't be excluded because their gaming habits differ from other self-identified gamers.

  5. I think anyone that's using the term to serve some kind of elitism is a jerk. That said, imho there are gamers and people that play games; personally I believe I can tell them apart when I meet them. It's not a question of who's better or not, but yeah - not everyone that plays games is necessarily a 'gamer' or embracing that concept themselves, let alone the culture or other gamers.

    1. Gamer use to be declaring yourself an outsider - taking the criticism we use to get for "Not growing up" and owning it.

      Not sure how or when it became a way to exclude people.

      I consider myself a gamer and part of a big gaming family full with brothers and sisters who love games.

    2. Amen brother! :D I consider myself a gamer to the bone and there ain't no shame! I've met the greatest people thanks to this shared interest and love our global community <3

    3. @melbrankin, I don't think I've seen you here before, thanks for commenting. :)

      I'm not sure when it became a way to exclude people either. But there are folks who have been told directly that they are not "real" gamers for a variety of reasons by self-styled arbiters of that label. Hell, I would venture a guess that some would say that I am not a gamer. I certainly don't play a lot of different games. But, I think it's wrong to tell someone else what they are or are not. And that's what the post is about.