Yes, They're Gamers, Too

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I'd encourage you guys read Jun-Kai's article before bashing him. I still disagree with him, but what he says was taken a bit out of context. I don't think it was intended as a straight criteria as for what makes a person a gamer so much as sort of a suggestion as towards the kind of skill/dedication he'd expect a gamer to have.

Also, he didn't say anything about beating Megaman without dying. He said, "A gamer is a person that can leap from one end of Rockman/Megaman until the other end without losing a single drop of life." I have no idea what that means because I've never touched Megaman, but if leaping from one end of "Rockman/Megaman" to the other is the entire game, then never mind.

Anyway, this debate is inherent in all hobbies and practices. If a person can only play the first two notes of Stairway to Heaven, does that make him a guitarist? That's the sort of logic behind the "you're not a real gamer" thing.

In truth, it's all entirely subjective. I don't consider someone who can play the first two notes of Stairway to Heaven a guitarist, but I do consider someone who occasionally plays Farmville a gamer. There is no real answer and no real criteria, so I'd say it's pretty much opinion all the way.

Too high requirements for "real gamers". Although I probably qualify, I think he's an idiot for continuing the real gamer argument and making it worse at that.

Citrus Insanity:

Also, he didn't say anything about beating Megaman without dying. He said, "A gamer is a person that can leap from one end of Rockman/Megaman until the other end without losing a single drop of life." I have no idea what that means because I've never touched Megaman, but if leaping from one end of "Rockman/Megaman" to the other is the entire game, then never mind.

As I see it, there are two ways to interpret his Megaman comment: either get through a level, or get through the entire game. Either way...it's a bit of a tall order. One is certainly more doable than the other, but both are quite hard. (Me, I just don't have that kind of patience. Soooo not my bag.)

Ah, I love the "Syndrome situation" bit, if only because The Incredibles is my favourite Pixar movie. :D

Generally speaking I agree to some extent with the person being refuted here. I think the big problem is that it's hard to put a label on the trait that he was trying to quantify which is why it fell apart.

Right now gaming has gone mainstream, and you see a lot of mainstream people who are enjoying gamers wanting to be considered serious gamers by the people who are really involved in it. Rational, right, wrong, or whatever it's true. Due to this division the industry has been trying to pretty much lump everyone into one catagory and saying "your all gamers".

The term "gamer" is of course simply someone who plays games. By a strict definition everyone IS a gamer, but what we see here is getting into subcultural lingo where the word has a changed meaning, when it comes to video gamers it means something very specific. Argueing about the ascribed meaning being pointless because like it or not it exists, and like most other subcultures, disagreeing with it doesn't mean anything.

In general the games industry wants to try and pretend there isn't much division in the audience, but there is one. It's also social within gaming communities as well as simply an abstract label. You have "noobs" (labeled by others), and "elites" and such. The type of game can make things very pronounced, for example hardcore raiders in WoW are considered elitist jerks, and a site called "Elitist Jerks" was launched to cater to that community, pretty much admitting the truth of it and wearing it as a badge of honor.

Overall the conflict arises because increasingly you have people who want to be challenged by, or simply deeply involved in a game. Then you have people who don't really want to embrace gaming as a major part of their lives and pretty much want games to be shallow, easy to understand, and immediatly gratifying. In certain things like MMORPGs where a lot of work can be involved, there are those who believe that those who do that work are entitled to special content and events as a payoff for doing these things, on the other hand you have more casual players who feel that they should be handed all of the same content and rewards just for being there because they pay the membership fees too.

I don't feel any specific feat defines a real gamer as opposed to a gaming member of the mainstream. But types of feats DO, such as defeating some of the hidden uber bosses in RPGs, mastering complicated systems of combos in fighting games, or virtuoso achieements in platforming games. The people who work at those kinds of things are far differant from the mainstream.

I think the problem is also that a lot of hard core gamers are those who seek escapism (or are otherwise doing something very solitary). People who might fail at life (for one reason or another), but are very good at games. I think part of the problem is that you have a lot of people who want to feel like they are good at games, yet don't want to put in the work.

Despite how this all might sound, I actually fall between the extremes. I spent a lot of time gaming, but I'm a bit of wreck and I'm not all that good at a lot of them. I was also in a position where when I was working, I couldn't invest the time in "Serious" gaming (which I recognized) and still keep everything else flowing. I for example didn't do MMORPG raiding at that time period. I admit having been "outside" I can understand the envy factor involved and wishing you could do some of the things other people were doing. Now that I'm on the other side again, and put in that kind of effort I very much understand what people were saying when they expressed their disdain of casuals. I feel it ruins half the point and cheapens the effort if you just let everyone do some things. What's more when world building in an RPG a truely epic monster should be well... epic, and part of that is to make it so that people can't just casually wipe the floor with it. In a lot of respects what casuals seem to want (dealing with RPGs in general) is the equivilent of that old "Dragon Magazine" cartoon of a crate with a slit in it and a sign saying "Contains One Minotaur, insert sword for 675 exps".

That said, I haven't played Farmville to judge that game specifically, it sounded a lot like "Harvest Moon" me, and really I have never been excited by the idea. I game to get away from reality, I can't imagine why anyuone would want to simulate doing chores on a farm.

Graustein:

BlueInkAlchemist:
I'm reminded of the following.

Ugh, don't remind me of that. One of the worst things I've ever read.

To Susan: THANK YOU. I have always found the notion of hardcore versus casual to be unbelievably petty and immature. The way people act, you'd think that anybody who doesn't play something on The Official Good Game List is worse than Hitler. It's absolutely appalling, the way people can't seem to get to grips with the concept that people like stuff that they don't.

Well for the comic you missed the point entirely. It isn't about being "hardcore" it is about having video games as a hobby and being a huge part of your life. Could you imagine that a hobby that made people social outcasts to the public was now brought into the mainstream essentially making all the social abuse making you an outcast to your local community now being accepted as just "something to do"?

That's the point of the comic.

It is important to have standards and much like Russ Pitts' article on Web 2.0 there has to be some level of understanding and commitment of the hobby before a person goes around promoting themself as a gamer and making themselves an authority figure when they really had no past involvement in video games as a child or in the industry. Now granted on the spot most people won't be able to explain this verbally but there is something that is important about being a gamer that we want to share but not to be exploited like from Playboy or by trendsetters or profiteers.

Well that's bullshit.

A true gamer is someone who looks at this man and feels nothing but hate, glorious delicious hate but I'm full, I couldn't have another bite.

I only managed to beat ROMs of Megaman X1-3 and the Zero games by cheating )=

Hrm. I have to be able to get through Megaman without losing a single bit of life? Huh. Let's see. I played the original Pac-Man in the arcades when it was NEW. I remember when polygons in games were a revolution. I landed the jet on the carrier in Top Gun, beat Dragon's Lair 2 on a single life, defeated Kefka, brought down the Mana Fortress, saw Lara safely home on her first adventure, defeated the Trickster, Karras AND Gamall, restored the Zone to normal*, and sent Dr. Bertruger packing back to Hell. I learned sixteen different combos on Orchid in Killer Instinct- hell, I can COUNT combos in most fighting games.

But no way can I possibly get through a Mega Man level in one life, let alone untouched, so I guess I'm not a gamer. Guess I'd better pack it up and call it a day, huh?

Jun-Kei Teoh:
To say that achieving the above without some form of logical planning is to say that all you need is six strings, a block of wood and you can be the next Carlos Santana.

True. But there's the reverse- saying that you can't be considered a guitar player until you've reached the Top 10 four decades in a row. Jun-Kei is setting the bar much too high here, possibly to defend his own sense of elitism. "They're not as good as me because they don't do the things I do, so they can't claim to be what I am!".

A good amount of this "gamer/non-gamer" issue arises on the "gamer" side from a clique of elitists who want this multi-billion dollar industry to cater to them alone. I love crossword puzzles; I can do the New York Times crossword in pen. But I don't go running up to some guy doing the Dell Easy Crossword Book and scream at him that he's ruining my hobby.

* I've actually beaten STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl four times, once with the vanilla game and once with three separate Mods. So either I'm a pretty damn good gamer or I'm a glutton for punishment. Or possibly both. They're not mutually exclusive.

Being a "real gamer" is like being a "Man", it quickly disappears once someone says you're not: "I'm a real gamer" "No you're not, you're totally casual" "Am not" "Are too".

Falseprophet:
You video gaming bastards stole the word "gamer" from us pen-and-paper RPGers in the first place. (I'm sure any second now, some wargamer will claim the same thing about RPers, and will probably be right.) So don't be whining now. If history's taught us anything, the term will go where the money does, so as far as the public consciousness will be concerned, all those WiiFit users are "gamers" regardless of our feelings in the matter.

(Beat MegaMan without dying? Good Lord, is Teoh a gamer or a member of some cult that plays MM 16 hours a day?)

All right, I was hoping someone hit on this. I remember my shock the first time someone said they were a gamer and then gave me a blank look when I started talking about D&D.

I admit to being somewhat of an elitist, but I still consider people who play any type of game to be a "gamer"
AND AS SUCH,
There are two branches of gamers, harcore and casual, where did this pidgeon holeing category come from? Who knows but I accept it.

dreadedcandiru99:
The whole "real gamer" thing has always bugged me. A gamer is a person who plays games. Period. That's all the word means. It's not a religion, there's no such thing as a gaming heretic, and playing more or "better" games than someone else does not make you special.

Exactly. Golfers don't have to know every brand name of club or every course out there. As long as you go out somewhere and hit golf balls with a golf club into a small whole, you are a golfer. As long as you play games in ANY form on an occasional basis or more to entertain yourself, you are a gamer. And no one gamer is any better than any other just because they play "more hardcore" games or do better than someone in a particular game.

Tenmar:
Snip

If you say so. It really comes across to me more as him being a whiny, elitist jerk who wants to retain his outsider status because it separates him from the non-gaming plebs, inferior specimens of humanity that they are. If he wants to stay in the basement and hiss at the light, that's his perogative. Meanwhile, I'll be over here appreciating the widening of gaming, and so will the millions of plebs who love a game of Bejewelled.

silly people with their pointless labels

The Rogue Wolf:

A good amount of this "gamer/non-gamer" issue arises on the "gamer" side from a clique of elitists who want this multi-billion dollar industry to cater to them alone. I love crossword puzzles; I can do the New York Times crossword in pen. But I don't go running up to some guy doing the Dell Easy Crossword Book and scream at him that he's ruining my hobby.

Wow, that's a fantastic illustration of the debate in question.

Zac_Dai:
I don't even like Megaman...

Its like making out people who read Harry Potter books aren't "real readers".

That may be the best analogy on this subject yet.

After all, a reader is any person who is currently reading. I wouldn't say I'm a reader when I'm not reading. I'm only a reader as I read.

We should switch "gamer" to that mental space. You are a gamer during gaming. When you stop, you're something else. A person, maybe.

Ive never played megaman, but i have got to the guy on IWBTG twice (on medium but still :D) and the second time only took me a few hours :P

Falseprophet:
You video gaming bastards stole the word "gamer" from us pen-and-paper RPGers in the first place. (I'm sure any second now, some wargamer will claim the same thing about RPers, and will probably be right.) So don't be whining now. If history's taught us anything, the term will go where the money does, so as far as the public consciousness will be concerned, all those WiiFit users are "gamers" regardless of our feelings in the matter.

(Beat MegaMan without dying? Good Lord, is Teoh a gamer or a member of some cult that plays MM 16 hours a day?)

Now these guys really do have something to defend. I used to play pen and paper games and still get mocked for what I used to do.

As for video games our fight (if it ever really existed, and I can attest from personal experience dating to the 2600) Its over gentlemen. do we really need to be like those nutcases living on a south pacific island convinced that WWII never ended. Video games are now much more mainstream than they used to be, and they will be watered down for the unclean masses

My crazy definition of gamer would probably be "anyone who is willing to try a challenge for fun", however, as farmville players meet this criteria, I definitly need to update this definition as I have little appreciation for such "gamers". On the other hand, whatever floats your boat is fine by me.

Life is complicated.

Ramen n' MaltLiquor:
Now these guys really do have something to defend. I used to play pen and paper games and still get mocked for what I used to do.

What's wrong with pen and paper games ?? o.O

Personally, I feel that there is certainly a difference between a "gamer" and someone who just plays games, though it's really nothing worth getting into any sort of argument over. As others have said, it's more about someone's commitment to gaming, often displayed in both playing the games and following the industry, than it is about someone's game playing skill.

There is also a very clear divide between "hardcore games" and "casual games," and this really does effect everyone who plays games as the money to be made in one "category" can have a very noticeable impact on the types and elements of games that do get made.

One could certainly argue that better terms could be used, and it's quite true that there's really no point in bashing anyone over the head with your supposed gaming rep, but if you take an even cursory look at the industry you can clearly see that there are divisions and there is a push/pull going on.

I agree with this to an extent. The fight is over. We lost.
As far as I can see, anyway.
You may have been fighting to defend your hobby, I was fighting to keep my status as social outcast and all around weirdo. I used to call myself a gamer because it made me weird. When most everyone labels themself as a gamer now, what's the point?

I think there should be grades of gaming
"Flash"
"Casual"
"Console"
"PC"

Flash covers Farmville and any Newgrounds style game.
Casual covers handheld, Wii, etc.
Console covers just plain solid gaming
PC covers modding and anything like that.

I been gaming for the better part of the last twentynine years and I don't think I've ever beat a Megaman level without dying at least once. To say that playing Farmville doesn't offer any achievment has to be wrong why else would so many people be playing something so bleeding boring? Does he say the same thing about Wow?

When someone tells me that I'm not a gamer because I don't like COD, Halo, Gears, Left 4 Dead, or Guitar Hero/Rock Band (by people who have never played anything BUT those games), I cannot find words that can accurately convey how much I hate them.

Middle and High school were particularly bad. Dozens and dozens of kids from the "In" Crowds calling themselves gamers, despite never having touched anything other than a 360 for no better reason than "those other games are ugly, and cannot even compare to [Popular Game of the Month]!" Mocking me and my friends for liking Blood, Starfy, STALKER, and Mega Man more than we did the newest brown-gray FPS.

I feel that to be a true gamer, you can't just play games - anyone can do that. You should want to go out and play the old games; you should want to avoid limiting yourself to only playing the newest, most popular games - go and find the hidden treasures of the video/computer gaming world.

But then again, I'm just a bitter nerd who fears that his favorite pass-time is being warped to make it more accessible to the people that used to mock him for playing games. I already know what my opinion is worth.

Never played any Megaman game, or even Braid. I might be able to do a memorized combo on a playstation controller. But yeah, what stupid criteria for being a "gamer".

I'm really not at all protective about who gets to use the label. On the contrary in fact. Back in the day I was considered to be a weirdo at school for being a gamer. But then came along Max Payne and people started finally realizing they're also gamers if they enjoyed the game and were looking forward to playing it some more. It didn't really help with the weirdo status, but hey. Even my parents cut me some slack when I asked that if I've seen them play Spider Solitaire or Freecell after 1 AM more than once, how can they not see why I enjoy games.

That all seems like ages ago. These days it's hard to find someone who doesn't enjoy playing games. Sure, some people do it more than others and some like a different or wider variety than the others.

Sion_Barzahd:
I still defend the status as a gamer, though i feel a bit silly admitting it after reading that.Its always been something thats made me an outcast growing up, and as i grew i met many great games.

Nowadays casual gamers are most of the population, which is good. I am no longer an outcast for my hobby and people respect it as a decent past time.
On the other side, i've seen that the rise in popularity has followed a decrease in game difficulty and a lack of imagination.I mean i bless games like mirror's edge which have recently tried to put a new spin on playing games.

There's nothing wrong with pen and paper games if you read my entire post I said I used to play them. The only reason I dont still play them is I now have NWN2 and similar games to fill that void (read as; video games have killed my ability to use my imagination to that extent).

This reply is now trash as it was an answer to someone who asked me "whats wrong with pen and paper games" and I failed to use the preview button. Disregard this

Noelveiga:

Zac_Dai:
I don't even like Megaman...

Its like making out people who read Harry Potter books aren't "real readers".

That may be the best analogy on this subject yet.

After all, a reader is any person who is currently reading. I wouldn't say I'm a reader when I'm not reading. I'm only a reader as I read.

We should switch "gamer" to that mental space. You are a gamer during gaming. When you stop, you're something else. A person, maybe.

Yeah exactly, peoples identities are a lot more complex than one type of leisure activity.

Christ, whatever, man. If you want the label so bad, take it, geez. You can call yourself a Gamer or an Elite or a Cheese Sandwich or the Earl of Goosetown. They'll all just mean "guy who plays a fucking ton of Megaman."

Those requirements to become a gamer are ridiculous to say the least. Everyone knows that you must battle the minions of the pop culture god Oprah, be a drug dealing child raping cereal killing psychopath (who obsesses over the cake being a lie), and finally beat guitar hero on expert. After all of this you are finally knighted a gamer by the Elven Queen Tycho Brahe.

( The criminal ones are making fun of the way the media represents gamers please don't call the mods)

How to tell if someone is a gamer:

Q: Are they playing, or have they recently played a game?
Yes: Gamer
No: Not.

Simples.

Also, what's all this about "real" gamers? If one exists, one is real. A twitchy 14-year-old who lives off Red Bull and plays Halo all day is no more of a gamer than your mum playing puzzle games on a DS or something. The gameplay is different, but a game it remains.

I mean i knida do i do hate people who call themselves "casual gamers" because being a gamer is more than just occasionaly playing a game, its about gaming pretty frequently but also about being a part of a community such as this one, but on the other hand i dont call myself one, though i am often reffered to as one, but yeah i dont like people using it as though playing video games somehow makes you cool like hipsters seem to, i mean come on i went to 2 private boyschool's and was bullied relentlesly for being into games as much as i was and acting as though its now cool does irk me a fair bit >:{.

A gamer for me is someone who not only plays games but has a vested interest in the industry and does what they can to always know what's new and happening. Even if a person doesnt keep up with the news and know how the fact that they sit down and play a game for hours upon hours is one. Then you got the people who play an online game on facebook once for about 5 mins and then they consider themselves one and now act like they know everything *shudders* that annoys my ass

The accomplishments listed in that article are, I hope, just for context. The point is, gaming can be, and often is, a lifestyle choice. I think I said this already in one of the incessant "Hardcore vs. Casual" arguments. It's not the games you play, or how well you play them. Its about what you do when you're not playing.

A gamer might come to the escapist and argue about the artistic merits of zombie blood splatter in L4D2. A non-gamer doesn't care what the company who makes their favourite game will do next, or the subtext, or anything like that. A non-gamer is unlikely to care about Gamer Points and completionists streaks or speed runs. If the game ends when you turn of the Xbox, then you're not a gamer. But if that's just half the fun, then you are.

I would like to point out however, that being a gamer is a lifestyle choice, not a badge of honor. You might take pride in it, you might have worked for it, but it doesn't make you better than anyone. Its like being an artist, or a student or a business professional. It's a choice and a persona, but its not really an accomplishment.

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