Colleague: Hey! Have you seen the new trailer for this game? I saw it on T.V last night – it looks amazing!
Me: Oh that?! Of course I have! Its procedural generation features is simply just off the charts!.
Colleague: It certainly looks very promising – it *insert arbitrary positive comment of the game.*
Me: Oh yes! Haha, are you going to buy it or place a pre-order or something?
Colleague: Nah, I just thought it looked awesome and wanted to let you know – its not like I’m a gamer or anything. I figured you’d be really excited!
Me: Eh… figures… Haha, oh hey – you wanna lunch at *insert nearby, chic cafe name”?
I get called that a lot – gamer. Its sort of true though.
I love playing games, and I also love sharing, reading and understanding these games I play.
I would love to listen and talk to others about the games they’ve played; a kaleidoscopic selection of stories that spans tragic tales, to adventurous journeys, glorious defeat and even some whimsical love stories. Ever since I was E for Everyone, I have been enamored by video games, and it is no longer a hobby – but a lifestyle.
And this chosen lifestyle translates into identity.
Almost euphemistically, the “gamer” tag has been affixed to my self – people identify me primary as so. Some friends, and perhaps less sensitive acquaintances would tease me with the title of “Game addict”, with a cheeky smile on their end. But sooner or later, these terms would eventually come to invoke existentialism.
A person who enjoys and consumes video games stands to be tagged as such. With the label itself, varying degrees of fascination in the chosen media will earn you different prefixes. The casual gamer spends his or her time playing Facebook, Indie and mobile games; nothing of AAA release. While the “hardcore” gamer spends an obscenely large amount of time grinding his next max level uber-geared Paladin or screaming his head off and teabagging on CoD.
Questioning the gamer stereotype, however, is a cornerstone for this misguided labeling and representation. That is to say, rather than targeting the act of labeling people as gamers simply because they consume video games, perhaps we should be doing something about the term itself.
It seems that social awkwardness, inapt personal hygiene – and for what they lack in social interaction, they make up with achievements and acne. And while these stereotypes are consistently discredited both popularly and academically, the instances where these troupes are utilized and ironically popularized in film, media and social instances are common.
“But I’m not a gamer like you…”
This came from a colleague(not the same colleague in the foreword) who spends quite some time playing games. He justifies his own identification as as a non-gamer through his zero-sum-expenditure life style. He would never spend a single cent at micro-transaction goods and would definitely not be found browsing games at your local Gamestop equivalent. Although he only said this when I was trying to get him to buy a copy of Bioshock Infinite – which was pretty much a lost cause; my defeat was inevitable. But for some reason, I felt his answer displeasing; perturbed by his twisted marginalization.
I don’t hate him and for the record, I have nothing against F2P gaming; I think it’s just like how I refuse to pay for music. If you are working for the RIAA, you’re not allowed to read that. But something tugged at my soul after he said that, which contributed to the thought processes that drives this topic.
The consequences and impact of the “gamer” label aside, I wondered why I was given that label. I don’t detest it, but gaming is hardly my sole entertainment medium. I don’t have a chosen entertainment media. I love watching movies, and probably follow too many T.V series to the point where I simply cannot catch with them, and still half a dozen episodes away from finishing House. I’m well versed in the antics of pop culture music, and currently have a (shamefully) good memory of the lyrics to Wrecking Ball.
And if you’ve seen the number of books I’ve been dumping into my Amazon cart, it certainly towers the amount of money spent on the Steam/Amazon holiday sales this season.
But why am I called a gamer?
After all, I have proven to be a mass consumer of multiple forms of media. And yet the only label I get is that of a “gamer”.
Is it because it is special? Maybe.
Everyone listens to music of some sort, and have their favorite films, movies and books. Almost every social media site demands additional information on your interests, and would specifically pry into the fine points of these interest in entertainment media.
Not everyone enjoys gaming, or even tried gaming. It is seen as a childish and even strange choice for entertainment that has been reluctantly accepted into society. It wedges a difference between us and the “common folk”, no thanks to the inane stereotypes. They dare not enter our circle, for fear of falling into the stereotype.
But we can’t change them.
It sounds really cliche, but we can only change ourselves and if as I hope – you are not satisfied simply to complain and rant and then conform.
Only by constantly fighting back against the stereotypes will we see a day where video gaming becomes destigmatized.
It will, in fact, be impossible unless we gamers demand a lot more from ourselves and our peers. If we really want to talk about de-stigmatization, and to liberate ourselves from eccentricity, we must start thinking less about rabid defense and offense on unjust gutter journalism, and more about stepping out of the metaphorical basement floor.
My name is PP1MT.
This is an article written by me,
and it is free for sharing and commercial reuse
as long as due credit is given.