Generation Why?

Generation Why?
Creating the Normal Gamer

Roger Travis | 21 Aug 2007 12:24
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Maturing Markets was founded with the tag-line "Where the adults come to hide from the kids." Members of SG universally acknowledge, however, that the "kids" in question are not best defined in terms of their age.

An SGer called Potluck puts it this way: "I come to SG to hide from not just kids as in those under age 17, but also adults that act like disrespectful kids. When I played Halo 2 before I came to SG, I was constantly heckled by people online young and old. ... SG gave me a friends list full of adults (or mature teens) that I could go into matchmaking with and didn't have to worry about the heckling."

Immature gamers retain the same abnormal status gamers have always endured. They grief and gank because there has never been a culture in which gamers don't grief and gank. It's normal for gamers to act like that, but only because gamers have always been so abnormal.

But the irony the new normal gamers use is only a symptom of what's going on in their communities. "Hiding from the kids" is one side of the equation; the other is getting together with other grown-ups. Since the gamer moniker has been defined as a childish phase at best, older gamers not only have to distinguish themselves from the immature but also have to build something apart from the rest of their mature lives.

Luckily, they're not alone, and by joining together, they've created a place for people too normal for gamers but too weird for everybody else. And by putting a more normal face on games, they can only draw in more of their peers from the outside world. Normal gamers are the foundation on which mainstream acceptance can build - assuming the mainstream gets their jokes.

Roger Travis is an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Connecticut.

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