In response to “Hardcore Maleness” from The Escapist Forum: 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.
Hum. An interesting interpretation. Games can be seen as a struggle to show masculinity and dominance. I see this only as one part though. There is an oblivious struggle to identity oneself as the most male among certain games (especially those feature over-masculine protagonists and played by teens who call each other ‘gay’) but there is also the deep rooted fear within the individuals whop play games. For many years, gaming has been had stigmas and negative connotations and it has had to be hidden. Its ranks are populated by social outcasts and misfits. I think that gamers actually isolate themselves in order to protect themselves from others, from those that disapprove. Just look at the resistance of gamers to ‘casuals’ and ‘non-gamers’. “hardcore” players regularly try to crucify these people for no other reason then because ‘they’re not one of us’. It seems irrational since a larger player base encourages mainstream use and acceptance of games as a legitimate medium, but gamers still resist others. I see it as a mechanism to try and exclude others as a reflection that the other will potential destroy the uniqueness of there hobby, or intrude on there exclusive group. Thus casual vs. hardcore is more a competition of ‘self’ vs. ‘other’ and gamers trying to maintain their identity in a world where in the future the term ‘gamer’ will be meaningless. The quest for masculine is present of course, as you detailed but it is only one interpretation and one factor making up the culture of gaming.
In response to “The Magic of Spike and Timmy” from The Escapist Forum: Like another user said, these same “psychographs” can be applied to various fighting games as well, although the definitions aren’t quite as clear-cut.
“Spikes” in the fighting game community would be what are best known as “tier-whores”, the people who do research and use no other characters but the best ones. They study, apply, then study again, then reapply what makes these characters the best in the game so the wins can pour in and increase their standing on the leaderboards. 😛
“Johnnys” are most akin to the antithesis of the “tier-whore” mentioned previously (who currently doesn’t have a handle, at least not to my knowledge) who’ll only play the worst characters in a fighting game. This usually happens for one of two reasons: 1.) the player wants to prove that the character actually isn’t as bad as everyone says he/she is (often with nil results), or 2.) the player wants to show that with proper practice and analysis of the combat engine, the so-called “worst character” can actually give the “best character” a good challenge. They’ll have a much harder time winning the match, and the player knows this, if they can win or at least get kinda close, all the better.
“Timmys” are a bit of the happy medium of the fighting game community; they like to pick characters that appeal to them, either through gameplay (i.e. how the character “feels” when played) or something as minute as simple aesthetics. if he/she happens to be one of if not the best character in the game, great. If they aren’t, that just means extra research. The key fact is that the player enjoys playing the character he/she wants to play, how he/she want to play the character.
By the way, mostly Timmy myself. I may not be the greatest, and I may not win, but if I can use that Blue spell to blow your strategy straight to hell, or at least make you struggle for a turn or 2, I’m happy.
I think they missed a rather important profile. “The collector”. He buys cards but possibly never plays with them, as he simply enjoys their possession because he appreciates the art or the rarity. I’m definitively of the type. I tried collecting all black rares for two years or so, even though I barely played the game. And I still own my collection of about 100 of them.
In response to “A New Audience” from The Escapist Forum: The problem with this analysis is that it’s omitted the Flash game portals (e.g. Newgrounds, Kongregate etc.) and we are seeing an increase of micropayments being used to unlock stuff in these flash games, with systems such as Kongregate’s and Mochi Games’. I suppose I could go on about how these systems are like Steamworks and Impulse Reactor but I won’t, but it’s interesting to see how the Flash market parallels the PC game market.
Another interesting case study is VVVVVV. It has a demo on Kongregate, with the option to access the whole game on Kong for $15. However, this has prompted plenty of complaints due to this system, despite the fact that it’s available on Gamersgate and Get Games. Perhaps it’s due to the tagline “XXXXX people playing XXXXX free games!” Perhaps it’s due to the long held belief that Flash games should be free. (Certainly, I won’t pay money in a flash game unless I get a download to burn onto disc, at least)
Although, to be honest, I can’t quite equate in my mind someone who is a hardcore Mafia Wars player to someone who is a hardcore Starcraft player (to pick two games at random). However, I can equate hardcore Rock Band and Starcraft players. Maybe it’s the amount of skill, rather than dedication, that’s required.
Excuse the rambling post.
A very well written article that has obviously given us food for thought.
I would like to highlight another point of view. What is different with the past is that video games have now managed to draw a much wider target audience. Between Farmville and the such and the Wii Sports and the such the audience seems to have expanded a lot over the last few years.
I think there is another dynamic in play, not mentioned in the article.
The video game industry is now quite older. Video games have been around for more than 3 decades, in one form or the other. Over the span of all these years, a lot of people have been exposed to them and even if the primary entry point still each our teenage years, a lot of video game players has maintained this hobby in later years.
As a result, we have grown up, industry and consumers alike. This means that we also need more “grown – up” games, whatever that means, than what we needed before. To try and find an equivilent from a different industry, I’ll say this. All of us have watched Cartoons at some point. We all loved them. Some of us still do. Likewise, we may have loved Rambo and Rocky movies when in our teens. Some of us still do. But, having grown up, we also now have the need for movies for grown ups and might also enjoy the new Eastwood movie.
This is the need that Mafia Wars or Brain Training cover, to some extent.
In response to “Able-Bodied Gamer” from The Escapist Forum: Impaired players are the ones that are truly hardcore. Anyone who are dedicated to overcoming their limitations, be it in social life, work life, daily life, gaming, etc, are hardcore. It’s admirable to say the least. Being a somewhat veteran member of Bungie.net, I’ve seen my fair share of impaired players, particularly colorblind, that wants Bungie to incorperate more flixibility in their games. The problem with this, aside from memory space, money, and all that bs, is the fact that many of those that are not impaired would exploit the flexibility to better themselves, and potentially ruining the game for everyone else. If you leave a lot of deep flexibility in your gamecode, chances are that that code is also easier to hack, and there are thousands of those out there willing to do so. It’s truly a sad world we live in.
The story of Nomad is pretty epic, he actually managed to get Infinity Ward to create a special configuration for Cod MW and MW2 which allowed him to set ADS as a toggle. It was incredible to see just how far some companies are willing to go to help their customers.
To the Editor, regarding “Hardcore Maleness”:
The guy is an ass. He just alienated himself from damn near everyone that read his piece of journalistic (yeah, right) crap about ‘casual’ vs. ‘hardcore’ gamers. Can you actually defend having this sort of garbage representing your site?
In the course of the five years I’ve edited The Escapist Magazine, I’ve worked with over 300 writers of all shapes, sizes and sociological or political leanings. Our original decision to allow freelance writers to publish their work in The Escapist was to allow for a myriad of voices – other than our own – and expose our readers and ourselves to opinions and perspectives they wouldn’t have the opportunity to read otherwise.
It was an unusual (and expensive) decision for a young magazine, but I believe it was the right decision for us, and the result is that we have been able to publish amazing and wonderful works of games journalism that would have otherwise gone unread. So, from that point of view, I can very easily defend our decision to hire freelance writers whose politics or philosophies we may not necessarily agree with. After all, that’s simply a fact of life. How would one know what one believes without a dissenting voice against which to compare oneself?
Regarding Mr. Kaiser’s excellent article, I’ve found that the best journalism elicits an emotional reaction of some sort, and judging from your response, Mr. Kaiser achieved that. Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s fair to say he presented it well, and in such a way as to provoke a response. Whether or not any of us necessarily agree with his viewpoint, as an editor, I couldn’t ask for anything more.
– Russ Pitts
To the Editor:
After reading your response I have taken a moment to calm down and look at your point of view. I can see that my emotions made me jump the gun a bit (a lot) more harsh than I should have. He definitely has the right to his own opinion. I also realize that it is a good thing that he was able to get his view published. He obviously was looking for the emotional response. He definitely got it from me. Obviously, I need to check my head before spewing hatred at anyone when what I perceive as such an extreme conflict arises and accept it as a persons right to their opinion.
Thank you for writing me back. It has opened my eyes quite a bit. You won’t be hearing this sort of nonsense from me again. Keep up the open and free speech. That is the big point that I missed.