There has been talk of what a real gamer is in the community of late, a discussion point that has been around for a long time now but that in recent times has seen an increased focus. The gaming industry has been becoming broader in terms of the audience it seeks as well as the platforms of play and methods of distribution. It’s a huge medium in a way but way, that many would argue has diluted what it is to be a gamer.
It’s a weird label in a way as it’s revered so much more than that of any other hobby. It’s a meaningless term in many ways that a lot just use to abuse or make themselves feel more superior than others. I have touched the sky had a few criteria that basically summed up to spending any amount of time gaming whether it be thinking, playing, reading or writing then your eligibili towards being a gamer. That makes sense in a way.
Often times we spill certain experiences and or games from long past to add some kind of credibility to our claims. I played so and so on so and so box.. what’s those things amiga? commodore. I have know idea. Or I played through Dark souls, or played the bio shock series, system shock.. whatever. That’s all bullshit. Hmm not that, it’s mostly just people sharing in a hobby they love and yeh there is a little epeen to it all but at the end of the day each party is acknowledged.
The experiences matter not, neither does where or when someone started, or how much or how challenging. Really, the only required criteria that matters is your gender, that of being male going completely unquestioned and female treated as suspect.
Being male and saying you’re a gamer is an unquestioned fact. You could be just playing games on your iphone, the annual copy of Call of duty or Madden or you could be the kind that devotes all your attention towards the apparent master race of devices. It’s all immaterial when your male. There’s no exam placed down upon you once it’s claimed, no petty questionnaire to judge your legitimacy… I mean those things are nice but even with conflicting information the original “gamer” tag will still apply.
I feel all this when I’m gaming sometimes. The pressure to try and prove myself amongst other gamers. To somehow strive to the top or at least most of the Herd. I try and be better than others in the PvP battlegrounds and by extension study my class and the mechanics, to practice a lot. If I can’t do that then I tend not to bother. Even writing I sometimes feel that every present gaze like I should be proving my gaming credentials in order to be taken seriously, to have my opinions matter and sadly I have seen comments about my work with the appendage, opinion of a girl.
Even in my guild, a guild I love being that’s friendly in the way it piss takes each other. A guild I like to game with and enjoy their company you still hear that “plays well for a girl” comment and that hurts far more than any sort of troll yelling over chat. I know those are just dickheads with far more blood running to their cocks than their brains but from a friend, or someone else close ” you play well for a girl” still enforces that aspect of trying to prove yourself and your gaming credentials.
In the grand scheme of things though criteria is irrelevant. The whole gamer label is mainly used more as an exclusionary tool, to bar people from certain space, forums or discussions. To invalidate anothers opinion and mostly that being the opinion of a female. It isn’t necessarily about the credentials of being a gamer at all and the mere use of it as an exclusionary tool makes a complete mockery of this hobby, a hobby I love. Gaming has the ability to bring people together and open new worlds and new ideas to people and as such, being inclusionary should be a major goal.
Now labels are important as it is the way our brains organise data, schemas of knowledge that we collect and the store within their categorisation that allow us to easily identify like factors. To make sense of our own experiences but we must understand that this is always merely a generalisation and one in which is bound by our cultural understanding. Due to schemas being so prevalent to our understanding it’s often harder to see and validate conflicting information but that is no excuse to the amount of misinformation going on within the industry as a whole.
Seeking a sense of belonging within a label is something we all aspire to and sometimes in spite of the negative connotations of the term I do aspire to that label of “gamer”, whether that is rational or not I don’t know. So what is a gamer? The more I think about it the more I believe it’s not necessarily a label, it doesn’t have criteria or a questionnaire that needs to be filled out prior to admission and I’m not aware of any sort of membership subscription cost as of yet. It’s a statement, something personal only to you and that you believe in… nothing more.