256: Hardcore Maleness

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Hardcore Maleness

It's time to sift through the coded labels; hardcore means masculine and casual means feminine. Rowan Kaiser thinks that we should recognize the implied sexuality of the labels and switch to a gender neutral term.

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While you argue your points well my own feeling is that this is a load of bollocks. The transference of the silly game labels to genders just reinforce stereotypes. While there may be trends within genders to support this, there are enough females (and, come to that, males) who do not fall under the pretense shown in this article.

Then again that opinion may be influenced by the people I hang around with, so there.^^

It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.

I'm not too sure if I agree, females play "hardcore" games (I hate that term, by the way) and I'm pretty sure that doesn't suddenly give them "Johnson"(s).

The overly sexual terms in gaming bother me, sure, but they seem to have evolved off into their own little meanings, as far devoid from the original meaning as "fag" is now from it's 1970's meaning.

I had always associated "hardcore" with those who take the hobby of gaming very seriously, not with males.
But that may just be me.

Good article, but I don't agree with everything you say, I suppose the TLDR sentence should be.

Interesting point, but is there really a need to remove the terms in favor of something neutral? It wouldn't change anything, there would still be that definite line between the two. Even if new terms don't come up most people will still consider the difference to be there because they want to. Because they want to feel powerful and stronger, just as you said. It's their problem that they are too narrow minded to accept others. Everybody wants to be unique and as with games they do it under the cover of hardcore and casual differentiability.

I also agree that games should be judged by content, not cover. The reason why I won't play a Barbie game is not because it's all pink and filled with ponies but because it's a terribly bad game. Same goes for the most bloody and weapon loaded shooter, if it sucks beyond repair I won't touch the damn thing.

Oh goody, a feminist examination of games camouflaged as pseudo-intellectualism that "surprise" takes exception to male means of interacting with one another.

I sincerely hope that SOMETIME feminist analysis will move past surface examination and condemnation. Perhaps gamers need this outlet. Certainly society has removed almost all outlets for males to exhaust their more destructive urges and need to compete.

I find the analysis is good, but your summation of your thoughts is shallow. Bravo, on once again just taking the easy way out and blaming people's gender and further propagating empty-intellectualism.

Wow, that was a little over-the-top don't you think? When someone says hardcore gamer I tend to find it is more based on the competitive level. Sims isn't a competitive game and as such is casual (same with Plants vs Zombies). Multiplayer games (FPS, RTS & RPG) you get competition with other players, single player against the computer (although this toes the line with this particular definition).

It is a difficult concept to really convey properly and I am not sure I am saying it correctly; but when I play PvsZ I am just enjoying playing through without the end goal in mind, hence a casual game.

There really is enough sexualisation already and I think in gaming communities the whole girls don't game thing is massively exaggerated myth. I bet if you did a poll on this site you would find plenty of girls who play any 'hard-core' game that you deign to give the 'title' to.

A well-written article that harps on points already made elsewhere. I enjoyed reading it for the most part, but there's this nagging feeling I have that a dead horse is getting beaten.

Le_Lisra:
It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.

Exactly how I feel. And yeah, the article goes to great lengths to separate the two with nothing but gender. But it is correct that there are the groups and that people too often refer to them.

As others have said, this article mostly falls down because it isn't true. Isn't there enough sexism in this hobby without making up imaginary divides to be indignant about?

Also, the practice of saying "guns and cars are for MEN" is just as sexist as anything the article complains about. Most gamer girls are down with most of the things you label "male".

Le_Lisra:

It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.

Try doing Film studies for a year, it'd drive you mad.
The attaching of gender to every other concept also drives me up to wall, when looking in depth at something, it seems to trivialise it to think it can be summed up as another clash of the genders. There are macho games for boys, but there are popular games like Mario, Zelda and Portal which are commonly described as hardcore too by most gamers. To say that all gamers mean hardcore to be a another term for macho is just focusing on the 14 year old idiots who play, who just happen to be the most vocal whilst playing. Frankly, I don't think you can make any meaningful analysis of gaming culture on X box live.

Wrong! Wrong on so many levels that it's painful.

I'll agree that obsession over hobbies does seem to be a male tendency, but gaming snobbery has absolutely nothing to do with gender segregation or sexism. I would happily define myself as a casual gamer despite playing them for a lot of hours and being male, I don't channel the same energy as others do into caring about games. I play a lot of games but I'll happily drop a game that bores me. A lot of people assume that I don't 'get' gaming on the same level as others but the truth is that I did and lost it, I grew up and discovered that my time and passion was better spent elsewhere.

The label of 'hardcore' gamer is self applied to people who want to feel pride in playing games a lot, 'casual' is applied to people who don't. It's an attempt to self-justify the amount of time and money poured into gaming by the insecure.

Games are normally declared hardcore or casual based on competitive features, a casual game isn't competitive but a hardcore one is. Hardcore gamers like to feel that they're accomplishing something and winning works nicely.

While I do understand where you are coming from, I dont really agree with you at all. For example:

Wall of text below, I've put it in a spoiler incase your not interested ^^

On a side note I remeber reading somewhere, it may have been one of John Funks articles or on another forum, Im not sure, about what classes and specs people tend to play. It turned out in a poll that most female players play as healers, and I think the highest concentration were female Night-Elf Priests, while they guys tend to be mainly male tanks and damage dealers, like Warriors, Rouges and DeathKnights. So, considering this, maybe I just have a crazy partner who is the exception that proves the rule.

Strange...a backlash on the Escapist? I think Mr. Kaiser has hit a raw nerve.

Alright, 'hardcore' and 'casual' can broadly be defined as masculine and famine. Just like anything could be broadly defined as any other thing. We forget that everyone loves labelling themselves as something good and others they don't like as something negative. This is just an example and it also happens to fall into another category at the same time.

Whenever I think of the term Hardcore I normally think of actions that would be considered against the norm. Play yu gi oh at an age past 15? Thats pretty HC (Or as what I normally say, intense). Skip spring fling for the upcoming raid? Pretty intense (although slightly antisocial perhaps.)

Also, the worst are the players that are similar to religious extremists when it comes to games. If the current balance towards a game is geared to them, then all of those that have issue are "carebears", or "wow players" or "gamestoppers" (If someone realizes where I am coming from, have a cookie!) However, if the next patch goes against them, then all of the sudden, the game is broken, the developers hate them/ their product/ life, the list goes on.

Bah, now I need to go strangle a puppy, be back in an hour.

Anecdotal, but:
I know at least 12 females, inlcuding my best friend, who fall right out of any stereotype in there.. which makes me immensely happy.

Its good to read that many here agree with me that this is wrong.

Excellent article! I think that another facet of this issue is the way we use games as a means of proving social dominance. I just finished my first year of college, during which I hung out with a number of gamers. We played Super Smash Bros in the common room pretty much everyday, and the arguments that sprung up around it were really fascinating to watch. There were accusations that the winner would fail at a "real" game (Call of Duty in this case), of course. But there was also the sense that playing the game against someone who took it very seriously--who was every more "hardcore" than everyone else--drained it of it's fun. I think part of this is the fact that losing to such a person felt emasculating. Of course, trying to reach Alpha Male position through a video game is patently ridiculous. But I think that video games are very much a way to prove one's social status in certain circles. And it is also sort of expected that even if you're not very good (which is my position), you should still have the ability to pick up a controller and drop into a game.

While I think the article is a little abrasive (and hence fun to read), I do agree on one point - it's preposterous that male gamers are still measuring another's worth by how primitive he behaves. To me, "hardcore" always meant "taking something with a little more devotion than average."

carpathic:
Oh goody, a feminist examination of games camouflaged as pseudo-intellectualism that "surprise" takes exception to male means of interacting with one another.

I sincerely hope that SOMETIME feminist analysis will move past surface examination and condemnation. Perhaps gamers need this outlet. Certainly society has removed almost all outlets for males to exhaust their more destructive urges and need to compete.

I find the analysis is good, but your summation of your thoughts is shallow. Bravo, on once again just taking the easy way out and blaming people's gender and further propagating empty-intellectualism.

The notion that destructive urges and a need to compete are must-have masculine traits sounds like something from the fifties, to be honest. The "boys will be boys"-excuse has no place in a modern society since these needs are expected to mean precisely zero to any civilized 21st century male. And an ordered society comes before a man's urge to wave his dick around the place.

In an ideal world, of course. In truth, we're all SOOOO worried that someone might think we aren't buffed ape-like testosterone bombs that we take unconscious precautions to protect the male mojo - as I'm writing this, I have an image stuck in my head of a true manly MAN coming to the board and smacking me for being such a pussy and writing this post, thus sending my penis-points into the negative. I know it's a staple of guy-culture, but fuck it, I see it as a weakness.

I absolutely despise the word hardcore and would never use it to describe myself or anyone I like, but this article seems a bit over the top to me. Make of that what you will.

I just want to say that this all depends on the game and genre you are playing. I have heard the word hardcore used a lot, just as I've heard the word raped thrown around a lot in various games. But in the last half a dozen games I've played online or so, neither has been very prevalent.

Rape is occasionally thrown about in League of Legends, but expressions like steam rolled, crushed, stomped or curb stomped (does that mean anyone using it is a budding Neo-Nazi by the way, seeing as how it originates with American History X) are equally prevalent if not more so. The skilled players are not hardcore, they are either "High ELO" (refering to their in game ranking in the matchmaking) or "Tryhards" (refering to their wish to win at any cost).
In Company of Heroes, you were "pro" and your micro was "godly" or "insane". Never once during my time in CoH did I see anyone use the word "Hardcore".
In Red Orchestra, I've seen neither word used. In general a player is good, a team gets crushed.

What is my point with all these anecdotes? That these words in this article are horrible generalizations and don't have inherently genderized or sexualized meanings. That casual means "feminine" is just silly, as it was also slung around in Company of Heroes and is slung around in League of Legends to denote any player who isn't playing just to win but is playing to have a good time.

I am sorry, but this is the kind of hyperbole that makes me ashamed to be a feminist. What we need isn't more stereotyping and gender-assignment in society, we need less of it.

Oh good, more prescribed neutering of language in order to make everything vague to the point of complete inoffensiveness. Not saying that it's okay to hang out on the internet calling people fags, but to be honest these kind of antagonistic people would simply find a way to inscribe negative connotations onto any replacement word you come up with. I'm reminded of Political Correctness, and how the 'acceptable' word for those with special needs changes every five years because it gets loaded up with negative meaning as kids employ it as an insult.

Not sure terminology is the real problem here.

Also, not everybody wants their hobbies hung around their neck as an identity signifier. Video games seem to be the only medium where afficionados have to become missionaries.

Wow, that was, well, biased.

The article was well written and immersive, which takes the reader by the hand on a tour of the psyche of the author and his opinions. Things are not definitive as written on the article, things do not neatly fit into arbitrarily prescribed buckets of judgements (gender, violence, cause and effect), especially when no sources are quoted to substantiate and give some objectivity to the author's opinions.

So in the end, they are just opinions and, as such, I have my own which respectfully (or not) disagree with his.

Crying "wolf" again?

Great article.

While I agree with your statements regarding a casual vs. hardcore game I don't think you really addressed the casual vs. hardcore gamer. I am a 29 year old guy and I consider myself a casual gamer, I use that term not based on the games I play but the role that gaming takes in my life. When I was younger I had more time to play and thus I would have considered myself a hardcore raider (WoW), but now with other obligations my play time is cut and I find myself looking for games that i can play for an hour at a time and still find that escapism and enjoyment.

I don't know what a hardcore game is or what a casual game is, but I think you make some interesting points. Perhaps we should label based on the gamer and not necessarily the game. And yes I acknowledge that labels have inherent flaws, but we all use them so they may as well be as accurate as possible.

I don't think e-penis (does anyone really use peen unless they want to pass profanity filters?) has ever been used non-ironically.

Le_Lisra:
While you argue your points well my own feeling is that this is a load of bollocks. The transference of the silly game labels to genders just reinforce stereotypes. While there may be trends within genders to support this, there are enough females (and, come to that, males) who do not fall under the pretense shown in this article.

Then again that opinion may be influenced by the people I hang around with, so there.^^

It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.

I was hoping that could just quote someone to get my own opinion out.

Turns out it was possible.

Thnx.

I understand the point though. Come on, the Sims is a technological "House" game that little girls used to play with their unwilling brothers when the girls couldn't convince the boy to play Tea Party. It's pretty feminine.

Rowan Kaiser:
Hardcore Maleness

It's time to sift through the coded labels; hardcore means masculine and casual means feminine. Rowan Kaiser thinks that we should recognize the implied sexuality of the labels and switch to a gender neutral term.

Read Full Article

I'd just like to say that I support this article and the ideas presented inside. It was insightful and cuts to the 'core' of why our games industry is likely in the state it's in. Society genders everything whether we want it to or not and gaming is far from an exception to that rule. One can only hope that some day the idea of 'gamer' will take over from the idea of hardcore or casual.

so whats the problem with hardcore gamer as a term does it really matter if its distinctly masculine or is masuclinity a bad thing nowadays gamer and hardocre gamer as terms can and do already co-exist besideds Puzzle quest is a casual game and clearly has no specific gender valve unless as a puzzle game appealing to logic it is already has male traits

I take issue with this oversimplification, and not just because all the games used as examples of "hardcore" ones that appeal to male audiences are games I bloody hate (or entire genres I bloody hate in the case of sports titles). For me, the distinction between hardcore and casual games is quite easy to make: Does your game have a narrative structure that gradually unfolds as the player makes progress in the game? If yes, it's not a casual game. If no, it is. Unless it revolves around competitive multiplayer, in which case I will still think of it as merely an 'advanced' casual game since there is ultimately no purpose to your actions in game beyond "shoot some dudes for points" or what have you, but I recognize that others don't see those that way.

I actually consider sims one of those hardcore games i mean have you seen the people that play those games. They are gone, completely intune with the game mechanics and their family's progression. I've played before and that is a hardcore game... anyways

I think labeling someone a hardcore gamer or a casual gamer would be easier for me to define or point out because idt any game should really get put down. (Browser games not included because those should just be time wasters or add a little bit of joy while your rage over a broken console)-hypocrite

I can see the gender biased and i can draw parallels to the right for gender equality but i doubt that there will be a march on Washington demanding that cooking mama be put on the hardcore list.

I don't see the labels as bad I can't seem them as necessarily abusive. I don't even know where you would say your a casual gamer to actually insult except on a hardcore vs. casual thread.

Its a stupid debate that people try and put meaning behind, if you throw a rock in the woods your bound to hit a tree. However even if i hate the debate i liked the article.

Plurralbles:

Le_Lisra:
While you argue your points well my own feeling is that this is a load of bollocks. The transference of the silly game labels to genders just reinforce stereotypes. While there may be trends within genders to support this, there are enough females (and, come to that, males) who do not fall under the pretense shown in this article.

Then again that opinion may be influenced by the people I hang around with, so there.^^

It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.

I was hoping that could just quote someone to get my own opinion out.

Turns out it was possible.

Thnx.

I understand the point though. Come on, the Sims is a technological "House" game that little girls used to play with their unwilling brothers when the girls couldn't convince the boy to play Tea Party. It's pretty feminine.

You're welcome.
There's no denying that the Sims does exactly that - however a lot of people never actually use the full gameplay, but cheat and build houses, then get bored, or just abuse their Sims. The "core" potential of the game, if one can call it that, thus goes largely untouched, so.. I dunno. A grain of truth doesn't make a universal truth, so anyway.

I just want to throw in that I agree with you. It isn't that hardcore or casual literally imply male or female but that they both associate with qualities that are linked to masculinity and femininity. Hardcore is for the "tough" "strong" etc. while casual is for "soft" "caring" "wusses". Once again, this is not "male or female" but qualities of being manly or girly.

Of course, you will get a huge amount of hate for this. People are very resistant to the gender analysis for some reason.

Chrono212:

Alright, 'hardcore' and 'casual' can broadly be defined as masculine and famine. Just like anything could be broadly defined as any other thing.

Yup.

Article is an opinion piece, backed with nothing but anecdotal evidence, some of it quite powerful (rape to describe winning is, in my opinion, a travesty) but anecdotal nonetheless.

What works against this article is the tone. Instead of; hey, we should think about this, it seems to be presented in a 'this is the way it is' tone and that only works if you have proof. Which this doesn't.

Interesting thing to think about but not something I'm going to dwell on; too busy trying to have a good time and being civil.

I just wanted to say that I am all in favor of a "Capture the Phallus" game type in Halo.

I never distinguished "hardcore" and "casual" as having to do with the types of games you play or gender. Maybe it's because I live in a fantasy world all of my own, but I've always used it for meaning how often you play.

For instance, recently I've been playing WoW, The Sims 3, Red Dead Redemption, and Battlefield Bad Company 2 multiplayer, and I play them once I'm done with work. To me, that makes me a hardcore gamer. It doesn't matter if I spent four hours in WoW, Sims, or RDR, I'd still be a hardcore gamer no matter what game I chose to play.

Empowerment RIP.

This article's not feminist, it's reinforcing and expanding gender stereotypes. Games about guns, blood, engines, sports... the article says these things are for BOYS ONLY in case anyone missed the memo. There's no option that a man might enjoy Plants vs Zombies over Call of Duty. There's no option that a woman would enjoy playing these games, or could be capable of doing so with the same skill and intensity as a man. All of the sexualization of beating an opponent can only have legitimacy if you're clearly dominating, gestures like teabagging and claims of "rape" are a dickless backfire if you're making them against a player who's clearly an even match. I've seen my share of women who positively glory in laying out a male opponent in an online fight specifically because of the emasculation it implies.

My wife has played a lot of hardcore games very seriously - Monster Hunter, Demon's Souls, MMO's, etc. If anything she invented competition in Monster Hunter where none existed, since the game is essentially co-operative. She's diplomatic to her teammates in-game but you should hear her rants about members who don't have the equipment or talent to be useful in her hunting party. In Demon's Souls she dreaded player invasions to her game and detested the kind of players who enjoyed attacking others, but saw quitting the game or playing offline to avoid these fights as cheating... with fighting to win being the only option, she played it to the hilt and enjoyed her victories. This is the kind of self-realized woman that could never exist in some gender-neutralized environment safe from anything hurtful or unfair.

Gaming *at all* is a step towards gender-neutrality. The men aren't out there doing "real man" things... racing muscle cars, fighting, working-out, making money, or engaging in sexual conquests. In comparison there's no level of testosterone you can bring to a videogame that isn't entirely impotent. The women aren't cooking, cleaning, knitting, or raising children. Regardless of how they choose to play, they are stepping outside of their traditional domestic servitude and materialism to pursue their own pleasure. If anything, women have a chance to engage in these "hardcore" activities on even terms with their male counterparts. A 105 pound girl tackles as hard as everyone else in a game of Madden.

DtWolfood patpats the 'hardcore' women players out there

i prefer owning some1 than raping them.

Also i smiled when i play RDR the other day and actually got one of those 14 yo homophobs in game. Love it when i see an actual stereotype XD

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