256: Hardcore Maleness

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Rowan Kaiser:
[T]here's a difference between "male" and "masculine," likewise "female" and "feminine." The former is a physical attribute. The latter is are the qualities which are associated with those attributes, ie, the stereotypes.

Hardcore gaming certainly has masculine attributes (competitiveness etc.) whether you are talking about the types of games or how they are played, but the reverse is not true of casual gaming. Casual means 'occasional' or 'haphazard' or perhaps 'non essential' to daily life. None of those things are feminine attributes. The only way to come to that is to put it opposite hardcore in the sense of being 'weaker'. That comparison is both sloppy and boring.

I just can't wait for the day when it is OK for me to be proud to be a male and proud of my masculinity without being labelled as a misogynist...

The article and later people in this thread talking about the prevalence of the term rape equaling victory (and boys being boys) isn't about being proud of your masculinity, it's about rape culture. It's assuming sexual violence as a fact of life, something that is funny. It's a product both of the demographic (young males, but others too) and the society that created them, and I find it both horrifying and disgusting.

Listening to people throwing around those sort of terms on game forums or over TeamSpeak makes me feel physically ill.

I like to think of myself as a "Pre-Hardcore Gamer", a sort of balance between Hardcore and Casual gamer who was around during the "old school" period. I'm 24, I was born in 1986 yet I feel more in tune with kids growing up in the 80's then those who were born during the time. My first system was the original Nintendo, I played games about the most craziest of subjects like uber-cool amphibians that fight alien pigs, rats and robots that are lead by a femme-fetal hottie named The Dark Queen, I helped twin Martial Art masters fight off hordes of gang members to save a damsel in distress and made sure a plucky little Italian plumber save a kingdom inhabited by mushroom people from a giant demonic looking turtle king in a colorful world filled with bushes and clouds that looked exactly the same. When I was pre-teen, I had both a Sega Genesis and a Super Nintendo and was able to see the value of both systems instead of playground debates on wither Sonic could beat the ass of Mario or not.

You see, from my point of view, I'm having a hard time seeing all of this as the problem of the older generation of gamers or because a majority of them were male. I think it has more to do with the mentality gamers of this generation. If any of you are a watcher of MovieBob's Game Over-Thinker podcasts then you might get where I'm coming from this. Back in the early 90's, gaming was pretty much made exclusively towards the tastes of a younger audience and also the slightly older, more geekier aspects of school kids. Gaming was not only a hobby, it was a comfort-zone, a safe haven from school yard bullies and "cool kids" who viewed gamers to be ridiculed like any other nerd. This changed, however, when the Sony Playstation came out, directly targeting less of the typical gamers of the niche market they were in to teenagers and the "youth market demographic". This was when gaming took a turn from the whimsical, inventive mindset to trying to target "Realism".

Gamers who are teenagers now or got into gaming roughly after 1995 are who I call "Hardcore" gamers because of their tastes for "mature" titles and a frankly greedy mentality for the most realistic graphics. The problem is, most of the games considered to be in the Hardcore are kinda killing the industry, making it impossible for newer gamers to get into the hobby (and quite honestly detested by Hardcore gamers in the first place) and also making the creation of new games so high in development costs that major companies like Activision and Electronic Arts can't make money off their product, even with the millions of sales from one of their Must-Buy items. Though one could call me a bit of an old school gamer, I gladly welcome Casual gaming because it takes games back to its roots more then any 8-bit style game could try to do, a game that's easy to play, difficult to master, easily addictive, artistically varied and cheap to make.

And besides, if the writer is correct on his male and female equivalent of names, then anything that get's a "casual" to wanna come over and play some games at my place is an A+ to me.

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 agree. It sucks that our sociaty has these pre concieved notions of how boys and girls are supposed to behave. It seems so socialy backwards to me.

Hardcore-ness in my opinion has nothing to do with gender or game genres, as I have met hardcore people from both genders and all gaming styles.

I'll give a few examples of those people, A female friend of mine is PvP server nut, she wouldn't miss a raid if her life depended on it, and considers her DPS to be epic above all proportions, she usually has nothing else to talk about except the way she wooped someones ass in a raid, and how all the other people in the party are 'noobs'.

Another surprising one is a guy at work who plays Plants vs zombies extensively, he would rather spend his entire weekend after a hard weeks work playing Plants vs zombies, than take a load off on the balcony and soaking in some sun.

I've specifically used those two real life examples of a girl playing a 'man game', and a man playing a 'girl game', which I consider them both to be Hardcore.

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.

here here. I'm not a girl who teabags (I find the act childish) and I don't smacktalk. This being said, I'm more than happy to pick up a gun in call of duty and shoot at other people. I admit i'm not the best at the game, but i'm competent enough to realize which end the bullets come out of.

I don't believe that games and gamer lingo need to be genderized. there is enough of 'these games are for girls, these games are for boys' going on. Girls things are pink with pony's and boys are red with giant gattling guns and lasers and stuff, and honestly? This isnt' really inviting us girls into the club.

Ah, I better stop before I enter rant mode :P

Wow, people really are reacting negatively to the idea that games are genderised. But it's true. Obviously, it's true! There is no way you would describe God of War as anything other than a man's game, much like you know Die Hard and Scarface are manly movies. That doesn't mean girls can't enjoy them, but that doesn't change the fact that these examples appeal to a specific gender. Likewise "hardcore" games all have strongly masculine themes about masculine indeavors. Most of the slang used is about dominance (specifically, implications of prison rape), not that any of this hardcore culture is a problem.

This is all elementary stuff. It isn't psuedo-intellectualism to point this out; you don't have to be an intellectual to notice it in the first place. This article was a good summary of gender in gaming, though I feel it wasn't saying anything particularly insightful or original.


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 agree. It sucks that our sociaty has these pre concieved notions of how boys and girls are supposed to behave. It seems so socialy backwards to me.

Ironic that you use the word "suck" whilst complaining about gender stereotypes; That word equates sexual submissiveness with inferiority (as in, "this thing is like a person who has to suck dicks...like a woman, or a prison bitch!"). Gender types are so deeply ingrained, people don't even notice when they use a term that stems from gender stereotypes.

(Don't worry, I'm only being tongue in cheek).

Thought provoking thankyou. :)

Loved the Conan reference!

This was dumb. I think that the author assumes that these things are used without a hint of irony. In my experience, it's all very tongue in cheek.

- Rape is the term used because it denotes a complete violation and domination of the opponent. There is no sexual context to the term when it is used. Much like real rape, it is about power.
- I have never seen the term epeen used in any other way than to make fun of idiots who take games too seriously.
- Teabagging is another one that is used because it is immature. When you taunt a player by teabagging, you are trying to get a reaction from that player. Again, the sexual connotation lies only in the act of being dominated.

This article is, as another poster commented, a load of bollocks.

I don't think I've ever seen so much bullshit crammed into one article before! A video game is a video game, get over it. I can enjoy myself just as well playing a puzzle game compared to shooting people in Bad Company 2.

It's less this, though maybe someone, and more along the lines of hyper competitive people are unrepentant selfish assholes

I wholly and entirely disagree with the very premise of the article. To me Call of Duty is a very casual game, but it's seen as entirely masculine.

Nethack is, for example, a hardcore game; but it brings little connotations of gender to it.

and heres the rest of the world taking them for what they mean

- casual - not really bothered, will do X activity now and again, Irregular

- hardcore - regular, takes it seriously, looks to be ahead of the curve. Immersed

And if you think gender is involved your an idiot.

Alternately, "hardcore" games are marketed at people who have played many other games, and "casual" games are marketed at people who have not played many other games. Because of demographic trends in gaming, the former tends to be heavily male, the latter tends to have an even gender balance. Games are packaged and marketed accordingly. But I guess that makes for a less controversial article.

To be perfectly honest, I found this article a bit confusing. I wasn't clear on the overall point that was supposed to be made: that "hardcore" has become a male-centered term? That the personality qualities associated with the term "hardcore" are generally negative ones but are being treated like good qualities for a man to have? Really this article felt a bit unfocused and rambling.

That said, I will say that some of the points raised here are legitimate ones. Why have we allowed success or defeat in a game to become so indicative of personal value? Now we've all done a victory dance or gone "YES! BOO-YAH!" or something to that effect in, say, Team Fortress 2 after getting revenge on someone who got a domination on you, or managed to score a kill on an opponent in any multiplayer game who was topping the scoreboard. Everybody likes to celebrate a victory, I don't think that's necessarily an indication of being aggressive and belligerent in a way typically associated with overly-aggressive men.

That said, some people take it too far. Teabagging, snide comments over the game's chat system, these sorts of expressions are often seen and just accepted as being part of the generally accepted behavior in a game. But should they be accepted? In football, nobody begrudges a player who made a touchdown from doing a victory dance (okay, they did come up with the 'excessive celebration' penalty but I think we can all agree it's stupid) but they'd definitely have a problem if the same player ran up to the opposing team's bench and started dry-humping their water boy or mooned their fans. He'd have several cleated shoes up his butt before the ref could throw the yellow flag.

Then there are the players who are ill-tempered to their team mates. I'm sure any of us who have played a multiplayer game have been saddled with this kind of player at least once; the take-charge type who starts giving people instructions and, if they're not followed to the letter, bites people's heads off. They act like the entire game's success hinges on everybody accepting him or her as their lord and master and failure to submit to his or her will is going to bring about the end of life as we know it.

Sorry, guess this is a sore spot for me. But that should just go to show how annoying this kind of player is. It's another form of expressing over-aggression and domination that's typically associated with masculinity; a desire to be in control of other people and feel important by having others submit to you. I don't think I know a single person who doesn't resent this kind of behavior, yet at most people just ignore them rather than actively try to oppose this kind of behavior by, say, voting to kick the player from a game session. Granted people playing on a team should help each other out and work together, and sometimes a team does need a leader to come up with a strategy and coordinate things. But a good leader doesn't crack a whip and doesn't lose sight of the fact that if things don't work out, it -is- just a game.

So why should we be willing to tolerate such behavior in video games? Beats the hell out of me. I admit I'm no stranger to the frustration and thrill of success that comes with a competitive multiplayer game, but I try not to get petty and disrespectful over it. I may not have always been successful, but I think I can say honestly that I don't make a point of lording my successes over my opponents. It could be the gaming community needs to start expecting better of its members, showing more good sportsmanship and less macho posturing.

I'm not sure it's a matter of gender-related-status, the 'Hardcore' vs. 'Casual' issue is just a matter of elitism.

Most people, regardless of what circle or background they come from want to be recognized for their achievements, to be seen as king of the castle. It's sad that nowerdays a lot of people obsesses over their own arrogant position as a 'hardcore' gamer and use it as an excuse to act like a dipshit to others who perhaps don't have as much experience playing games.

I'm not saying the term 'hardcore' is essentially bad, it's just a label which descibes the dedicated amount of time which a player plays games - an experienced 'hardcore' gamer can still be a decent guy towards casual players. Sadly though nowerdays 'hardcore' is growing to be a desciption of ATTITUDE rather than gaming experience.

Because of this, I think using the term 'Gamer' without the specifity of Hardcore or casual would just make it more inclusive and universal...besides, opening up to and accepting a wider audience, however keen they are about games, can only a good thing surely?

Wow, well I guess this implies a sheer amount of ignorance on my part, but I always thought that the difference between hardcore and casual gaming were the mechanics of the games themselves.

I was under the impression that "casual games" were games that could be played by anyone, of all ages (i.e. - farmville, sims, etc.) that the physical mechanics of the games were simple, the story was simple (if it could be called a "story" and not so much a goal). "Hardcore games" were games with complex mechanics, that had complex story lines and involved some kind of motor skills beyond clicking a mouse. I guess I've been wrong all this time.

Calling yourself "casual" or "hardcore" is just like calling yourself casual or hardcore for anything else, it probably has a basis in how seriously you take that activity and how knowledgable you are about it. I have no idea where the feminine/masculine idea came from, I suppose the author has never met a woman who was devoted to something and considered herself "hardcore".

The concept of "rape" in games, as far as I've always experienced, has more to do with getting the hell kicked out of you by an enemy or another player. I don't recall this ever being sexual within the context of video games, ever.

Frankly, I'd like to know when we started making these new associations with words, apparently I missed that meeting. It seems like many people with their own ideas are trying to tell us that the words we've been using for quite some time now have new, derogatory meanings, as opposed to the meanings we've placed on them. I thought the whole concept of having a "language" was to imply something with our words. Why all the misinterpretation people?

I disagree, I think for a game to be called casual it must have very little gameplay elements that might raise the learning curve.
Sims is called casual because you can't really "fail" at it.

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