Editor's Note: Everyday Gamer

Everyday Gamer

And then it occurred to us: Who better to explore those issues than the gamers themselves? Why not cut out the middleman and let you, our readers, speak for yourselves? Seemed like a good idea to us, and we hope you agree.

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This content was fucking awesome. Thank you.

Actually, with the exception of JanaLee's article, I found it depressing. I was thinking that things had come so far with gaming becoming more mainstream, the Queen herself a Wii player, after all.

Yet here we are, with four of the five "gamer" contributors outlining how their hobby sucks. How they treat it like a bad addiction either hiding it or actively hating it while being compelled to engage in it anyway. And yet people are such hypocrites. They'll come down on you for gaming for three hours and then spend that much time or more sitting slackjawed in front of reruns of old sit-coms they've already seen. Hell, at least when I game I'm using my brain for something other than sopping up advertising of the latest consumerized crap I don't need.

I'm a gamer, and I'm not ashamed of it.
I'm ashamed of these guys' situations though. They're the reason people still look down on gaming as some kind of deviant activity. Because we, ourselves, don't take the actions required to help people realize that it's fine.

I think you have to get out of the house from time to time to experience the self doubt these guys have shared ;)

I'll be honest, I've been a gamer for almost 30 years, and a successful socialite and career person to boot. I've never had any trouble finding like-minded folks with whom to share my passion, but those people have always represented a minority share of the total pool of my associates. Even some of my closest friends are not gamers, or fans of gaming.

I, for one, think the experiences of these contributors is a bit more universal than some of us might like to think. Blaming these folks and their feelings for society's negative impression of gamers is a bit like blaming the victim for the crime. I'd rather we not go there. I'd also rather we not piss on folks kind and courageous enough to dig this deep and express themselves for our edification. That's just poor form.

I should probably clarify, it's not the expression I have any problem with. It's good writing,and quite evocative at that -- probably part of the reason it pulled that kind of reaction out of me.

I just find it horribly disappointing that people still feel they have to hide this hobby of ours. There's honestly nothing wrong with it, yet it seems so many still have the attitude that it's for the kids, the techno dweebs, the socially maladjusted, or the compulsive. Who knows, perhaps part of the reason I get disgusted at seeing these tropes pulled out and put on display is because no matter how hard I try, somewhere deep in me, I probably still harbor those fears myself. Fortunately, I've managed to somehow surround myself with friends and family who accept that gaming is what I do for a hobby, like how some of them do quilting, or bridge, or baseball, or television.

So yeah, I probably went a little overboard there.

However I still think that it'd be great to see more encouragement for people to realize that gaming is okay and normal ala JanaLee's article, rather than affirmation that it's somehow an odd-ball activity.

Kwil:
However I still think that it'd be great to see more encouragement.

Change starts at home ;)

I read one of these, just to fill in a momentary blank of time before I got ready to head home from work. I'm still here, amusingly enough. These stories were moving, amusing, both sad and uplifting. More than that, they were tangible. I love reading the reviews and articles here even though I only recently signed up, but it was very interesting to see things from these none-standard points of views. I know most of the writers here 'are' gamers by proxy, but this held a unique edge and I hope it remains a part of the future issues even if it is a single article an issue.

The content was a touch depressing at times, but I can't even complain about that because as Kwil adequately described it is intensely evocative. I wanted to jump up and shout at Tomohiko Endo, find some way to play with JanaLee... it was just very close to home on either end of the spectrum.

And it's kept me almost an hour past my time to leave work, so I suppose I'll head home. Thanks again.

Rykka~

Keep it rockin Russ!

I have to agree with Kwil. The general impression that I get from this issue of the Escapist is that gamers are a bunch of losers. That may not be the impression that the Escapist is trying to give, but that's what I'm hearing.

I think we're definitely not a bunch of losers. Heh...then again I wrote about hanging out with my lovable losers... Anyway, I think there are a lot of parts to the equation. Some of it is forces outside of ourselves that really do see the hobby as odd and those in the hobby as odder, but I also believe that gamers themselves put up some high barriers to entry and there is a lot we can do to bring those down and help friends and family members understand and get involved. Maybe they'll never be as hard core as some of us, but that doesn't mean there isn't common ground to reach. We have to be as willing to reach out as we expect them to be.

Let me attempt to clarify. I don't think that gamers are losers.

In this issue, the underlying tone that I hear is that the gamers think of themselves as losers. In some of the articles, that feeling of oppression is out front. In other articles, the feeling is subtle. (JenaRey, I didn't manage to read yours so you can ignore this. I did read the other four.) While I appreciate that people like to vent, it bothers me because, as person that plays games and as a long time admirer of this magazine, I do not want to get represented in that way.

I have a link to the Escapist on my website because the Escapist often has intelligent articles that show how interesting games can be. However, if a non-gamer clicks that link this week, they will get the opposite message: gamers are more interested in games than people and gamers don't know how to relate to ordinary people. I don't think that either of these things are true. And, most people that I know, gamer or not, don't think that gamers are inherently anti-social. However, I feel like the Escapist is yelling that message this week.

Any of these articles by themselves in an issue are great because there is context. When they are all piled together, a negative message dominates.

Nordstrom, did you ever consider that perhaps it's because we have a negative image of ourselves? I can tell you that I have my girlfriend, who is perhaps the hottest woman in the universe, in the same room as I am right now. This is not normal, as we're usually 1300 miles apart, and yet, we're talking on AIM because she's playing WoW (Which I will not ever play) on her desktop. There are a million and one things I could and should be doing with her. Yet here we are, a pair of gamers.

It's a part of what we all are, I think. Part of the reason for gaming is the power of being able to say, "Heh. That Pope thinks he's any good. Let's see what a Danish garrison of over 3000 Spearmen does in the Papal States", your cleartime through Metroid, or the levels of your pokemon team (or whatever floats your boat gamewise). In part, because of the way we make ourselves so strong in the game that our weakness in the "real world" is typified. Movies like the Matrix inspire us, because if life's a video game, and we're good at video games, why in heck's name aren't we amazing at life? There is no inherent value of any kind in games (I use value as in a part of a "value system", not that games themselves are valueless - just a note so I don't get flamed). Anything that indicates otherwise is bunk. What we make of games is what we as gamers make of them. They started in arcades, and slowly the scale shrank as the market and industry grew. It's not that we or the games are inherently one thing or another. It's that we come from many walks of life and the most typified in the 18-30 range is the antisocial gamer, to whose image we all feel a need to conform.

Maybe therein lies the problem, the fact that this image, like so many before it, has been remarketed back to us in a very weird and slightly uncomfortable reflective process, where I know that the only reason I'm neglected in the marketing is because I avoid it. Anything with a big marketing campaign, anything that says it's "the best X", I avoid. Anything that gets popular, like WoW, I don't play. I don't do the "latest game". Hell, I still play Zork once in a while. But that makes me less of a "gamer" than someone with two 52" flatscreens on a quad-core water-cooled linux rig. Why? I play games for 5-6 hours a day. If anything, he's just tossing money out, to me.

We're not a bunch of losers, but we are a bunch of people who are unsure of ourselves. And that, I think, is what causes us to be so interesting, and yet at the very same time it's what makes us so hard on ourselves and each other. In short, it's a very central part of who we are. And I thank those of you who had the courage to put your names and your stories up, because these articles more than most, especially "Not a Gamer Anymore", resounded with me.

Goddramon:
Nordstrom, did you ever consider that perhaps it's because we have a negative image of ourselves?

We're not a bunch of losers, but we are a bunch of people who are unsure of ourselves...

1st point: Nordstrom point still stands. If Gamers DO have a negative image of themselves then the last thing they need is reinforcement that this is ok.

However i would argue against Nordstrom on a different point:

The Escapist doesn't 'represent' "US". As a magazine it represents the editor. They do not have to tailor their content to give a positive spin to every thing. Whether or not they should is up to debate.

----

Goddramon: How BIG is that "we"?

I'm certainly not a loser nor am i unsure of myself. I think al ot of people who play a lot of games can become reclusive but you can't typify any facet of society with a brush that broad.

Its the same thing as the fact that everyone who wears a hoodie is a criminal. Clearly thats not true...

Lightbulb:
The Escapist doesn't 'represent' "US". As a magazine it represents the editor. They do not have to tailor their content to give a positive spin to every thing. Whether or not they should is up to debate.

Actually, I agree with you. The Escapist does not have an obligation to present an ideal image of "us" as gamers or to tailor their magazine to me in particular. I don't think that every article has to be positive. I wouldn't want that. That said, the overall message of this issue bothered me and I wanted to state my opinion. I probably didn't say it well, but it's there. The editors can take it into account if they want (I probably wasn't the only one that felt this way) but I'm not their boss. They don't answer to me.

 

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