Well, I could cut this article short and simply say that a gamer is anyone who noms Doritos all weekend while tanking Mountain Dew and playing Halo.
But we all know that simply isn’t true, it’s what people think is true but people are fucking idiots.
That said, the terms “nerd” or “geek” no longer seem to automatically apply when referring to gamers…which is bloody brilliant as far as I’m concerned.
In this article I want to discuss what it is to be a gamer and where lines should be drawn on defining someone as a “gamer”. It’s a tricky subject and it simply isn’t possible to please everyone but hey, life would be boring if we all agreed right?
Let’s get on with it, here are the categories of gamers I’ve found and how I perceive them.
I love the term “casual” because it’s soaked in hatred and spite, there’s a reason for it as well. People simply don’t want to associate their hobby to games that are merely there as distractions and simple time-wasters…things to do during a day when on lunch breaks etc. When casual gaming boomed with Farmville, Plants vs Zombies and Angry Birds (among other titles) we saw a HUGE influx of people claiming to be “gamers”…this sent a lot of the gaming elitists (myself included, because I’m an asshole too) into a berserker rage as they actively resented being associated with Facebook gamers.
Here’s what I think: If you play Facebook games or maybe Tetris on your phone while on a bus home from work, I consider you to not be a gamer.
To me a “gamer” is someone who has taken active interest in their chosen hobby, I realise this may offend a few of you but look at it this way: If I collect children’s die cast model cars, could I call myself a sports car collector? What if I got a single copy of a Playboy magazine, could I then claim I’m a Playboy magazine enthusiast and collector?
If you think the answer to either or both of the two questions above is “yes” then I strongly suggest you stop reading because I don’t think any of my points will soak in from here onwards.
Casual gaming is great, by all means. Indie devs are breaking into the market with some fantastic titles and it’s giving a massive boost to the smaller parts of the greater industry…however I don’t consider a Peggler or Candy Crusher to be a gamer. They merely dipped their toes gingerly into a massive market and were satisfied, they enjoy their games and we enjoy them not enjoying our games…because God knows more people playing casual games means less 13 year olds calling us “fucking faggots” on chat.
The non-competitive gamer (aka: the gamer)
The non-competitive gamer is the bread-and-butter type of gamer. This person has a collection of titles in genres they enjoy but typically stick to a few favourites after completing the others.
This type of gamer encompasses a wide range of people but the most important thing is that they actively take interest in the media, this completely separates them from a casual gamer in my mind. This person will occasionally visit game websites/forums for ideas or just browse their local video game shop, they will happily chat away about their favourite game to their friends and they will spend much of their spare time smashing away at a keyboard or controller to entertain themselves.
This is a hard line to draw but basically I see the average “gamer” as someone who has probably got a console/PC/hand-held (or any mix of the 3) and spends time thinking about games and finding new titles. The casual gamer doesn’t really do these things, they just play to fill in time, it’s basic chronocide (time-killing (it’ll catch on one day)) rather than something that brings entertainment and thought.
The competitive gamer
This is a whole different class of gamer compared to the non-competitive type, this is someone who has found a game or series of game they enjoyed so much that they sink more time than is healthy into it. They don’t play for money, they play for glory and pride. This is that person that consistently destroys you in a game you enjoy and thought you were good at.
Needless to say, I think we can all agree that someone with the dedication to sink all waking hours into a single game is definitely a gamer. Even if 90% of the people in this category are complete assholes…
This almost sounds hypocritical after I mentioned earlier that a casual gamer only plays 1-2 games, however when you consider the levels of input and devotion it is easy to appreciate the disparity.
The professional gamer
These guys started out as competitive gamers but soon realised their skills and dedication put them head and shoulders over their peers. They no longer see their game as something to simply win or enjoy, it is now their life, their job, their career and their income.
It is a ridiculously hard job due to its insane mental requirements, not only do you have to be good at a game but you need to critically analyse everything you do and you also need to spend time studying your opponent as well as scrutinise the game of your choice.
These guys almost fall outside of my terminology of “gamer” as they have become “professionals” instead, this isn’t a hobby to them any more…however they are indulging and keeping up to date with the medium of their choice so I can’t discount them.
These sad shrivelled husks that once resembled people now spend all of their free time critiquing any and all games. They will waste their lives away typing frivolously to gain imaginary points via “web traffic” and have not enjoyed a single game release for years. Occasionally they will venture outside for short periods of time to gather pot noodles and various sugary liquids, only to shrivel away once more into their dark and depressing basements.
Don’t listen to anything these guys say, all they do all day is spout their opinion and most of it should be deemed unintelligible.
Avoid human contact at all costs!
It is so difficult to say definitively what a “gamer” actually is, in my mind it is covered by a range of categories I mentioned above. There will of course always be a few outlier or unique groups of people like simulator gamers who border the line between casual and non-competitive, or video game collectors who’d rather have games than play them, however to keep things on track I decided to aim for the majority.
A gamer to me is someone who takes an interest in their hobby, I think of them to be akin to a collector of some sort. They spend time enjoying their hobby and seek to expand their view, if someone does not do this then I consider them to not be a gamer and they are simply someone that dabbles in video games to fill time.
That all said, what sort of gamer are you?