Criterion of a Gamer

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.


22 thoughts on “Criterion of a Gamer

  1. I hate that ‘plays well for a girl’.. or ‘plays like a man’.. people who assume that you’re a man because of your gaming skill. Or that feeling of when people first know you’re a girl (through a guild application or something) that you need to prove that you’re a competent gamer.

    I was lucky at least in Lotro. The groups I was part of always had a decent number of women who were good gamers. Often half the raids would be female. So there really wasn’t any underlying sexism going on. The whole group was made out of people who liked to game and were good at it.. it just was.. was normal. It was really refreshing.

    • That reminds me of the time I totally disillusioned a guy in my first MUD who thought he had a guaranteed victory in a ‘last person standing’ PvP competition. There were three of us left, all the same guild, he was our ‘elder,’ he had the gear capable of the most DPS – if we fought each other equally, he was bound to be the victor.

      So the natural thing occurred, the other two of us talked to each other, formed an alliance and went for him first to knock him out, before turning on each other. I’d conserved the greater part of my healing potions on purpose, letting the other guy get the first hit in and ‘tank’ the damage, presumably using up more of his healing potions – in preparation for the final attrition duel. Which I indeed won.

      The guy who would have been first, but now was third kept saying “…but…but…you’re a girl” for the better part of a week. He was having some major difficulty with the idea that female gamers could be just as ruthless (if not more), calculative and capable of basic mathematics as male ones. I don’t think he ever looked at me in the same way again.

      As for the whole ‘gamer’ debate, meh, You play games? Even casual phone apps? You’re a gamer, in my book.

      I’ve been waiting for games and gamers to enter mainstream and take over the world for a long, long time now.

      • Wait a minute… you’re a girl? Not that it has any bearing on anything, but for some reason I thought you were a guy… the name alone sounds male. I apologize for any offense that might come from that, but with the anonymity of the internet sometimes it is hard to pick this out. I like to know just so I don’t say He when She should be used.

      • I’ve often left people to draw their own conclusions. 🙂

        No offense is taken, I’ve never bothered to correct anyone because I find gender a very loaded issue.

        I want them to relate to me as a name and a person first, gender immaterial. And I wanted my blog out for a good number of years before alluding to it, so that it might or might not change some minds regarding all the sexism issues.

        I’m a wolf – call me he, she or it, it’s all the same to me, you don’t keep looking underneath a wolf to see what gender it is, do you? 😛

      • Well it changes nothing, I still respect your writing and opinions. Whenever I start reading a new blog I wonder, but it doesn’t matter really, I just don’t like looking dumb when I call a she a he or vice versa.

      • you mean we could have been totes besties this entire time.. sleepovers, braid each others hair and all that other stuff girls apparently do. so much lost time =p

      • Ha, mind blown as well! Of course it doesn’t change anything, your writing is still your writing. 🙂 But yeah.. the name, it’s what had me assuming you were male. 😛

        Big ugh to the story, at someone being perplexed they could be beaten by a girl. More than likely it’s happened more times than they know. There are plenty of bad ass women in pvp. 🙂

    • they don’t say that anymore, time has passed and we’ve even taken on more females now which is great.. was the only one for a bit there which is a bit weird so I don’t take it too much to heart. Just them trying to figure out how to talk and it turns out… you talk exactly the same. And yeh it’s not sexism just unfamiliarity.. for the most part

    • yeh I saw that new data but it’s something we’ve known, statistically for a while now but is always treated with disbelief. Still is in a way as it’s attributed tot he mobile scene by a lot of rather childish gamers.
      Where i want to see change now is with the the developers. It’s a marketplace that’s not representative of the population at all.

      • Agreed. That we still have things going on like no female player models in the upcoming AC, it’s disappointing and frustrating. There are reasons I enjoyed Mass Effect, Dragon Age or Skyrim: you could play a female character and it didn’t change the story, nor did it feel odd to be playing a female hero.

        I just started playing The Witcher 1. I’ve no problem playing a male hero, but the one irritating thing is how I keep getting pushed to sleep with random women… and collect trading cards of them. -_-

      • I have no problem with playing male characters as well but it seems more like your a little extra removed from the story. it’s still enjoyable but the engagement seems a little more .. hmm… can’t think of the word but that whole seeing it from above rather than through the eyes phenomenon. You still get the story and the themes and can even connect with the other characters but the relationship between them is a little more strained… i guess.

        It’s like you have to try a little extra hard at that suspension of disbelief…. hmm, i think I’m talking out my butt now though haha. Always best just to have the choice.

        Oh yeh, those awkward scenes are the worst. Wrote about one a while back in the secret world where an NPC is acting all seductive to you like your male.

  2. I think that I like knowing whether someone is a guy or a girl, but it doesn’t bother me if a girl plays better than I do. In most things, you’re naturally going to be better than someone else, regardless of sex, and they better than you at other things. If I cared that much I would have cut my wrists when I played Hearthstone against Eri, cause she wins more often than not (I’m better than her at LoL though!).

    As far as the gamer label goes, I’m more apt to label someone a gamer who has an interest in playing games, no matter the platform. However, someone like my Mom who might play solitare occasionally isn’t really a gamer in my eyes. Still, it really doesn’t matter. I’m not going to argue about it or worry about someone “improperly” labelling other people. Who cares? Let’s just get back to gaming.

    • Agreed. I think ‘someone who plays games’ is a great qualifier, though I tend to add in ‘someone who cares about games’ too, which is admittedly (and purposefully vague). It’s hard to pin down exactly, but there seems to be a difference between someone playing a game like Solitaire largely to pass the time versus someone actively seeking out new games or games like the one or two they enjoy, talking about those games, trying to master games they like, or sharing thoughts about games.

      Your mom could be a gamer by my definition even if she only plays Solitaire assuming she is trying to say be a master of solitaire or talks solitaire strategy in some backwater online forum somewhere or started playing Free Cell because ‘free card games preinstalled on every computer ever’ is her favorite genre.

  3. sexist view of gaming is only about guys. Maybe the girls you know are shitty gamers but not all girls are like that.

    • not what I was saying at all merely that the on e criterion that goes unquestioned within the general community seems to be that of male regardless of skill, games played, frequency or challenge With women having to work for that credibility. Equal skill or even greater from a female gamer seems irrelevant. I know from personal experience

      <— girl gamer.

      I think you might have misread my post

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