The problem with 'gamers' - blackheartwolf Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The problem with 'gamers'

Please note before reading this that this will have some generalizations.  I understand fully that this is not true for every gamer, but in this I am talking about the gamer culture in general and not about the specific individuals of the culture.  So please take this for what it is, and consider the words without taking them personally. 

Thank you,

BHW 

This is one of the first images that comes up when searching for gamer....

Take a second and define the word gamer.  What does that word mean to you?  How does that word make you feel?  What do you think of first when that word comes up in conversation?  Is it a positive word or a negative one?

You see to me that word describes a person that defines their self through games.  Now whether that is positive or negative is based on a person to person basis, but the overall feel and the way the majority of people see that is as a negative thing.  A gamer to the average person is one who is obsessed with gaming.  Now while this is unfair it isn't hard to see why this definition comes up.

1. Most people that play games as a casual hobby do not call themselves gamers.

2. The ones that call themselves gamers are usually the ones who obsess over games and gaming.

3. The ones who obsess over games and gaming typically have a difficult time talking about anything else other than gaming.

The above three points are why the stigma about gamers exists.  The people that the general public thinks of when they think of gamers are like the above.  The people that obsess over games and tech who have no ability to exist outside of that bubble.  Granted this is not fair.  I personally would call myself a gamer if pressed to, but that takes away from everything else I do.  I am not just a gamer, nor am I just a soccer player, nor am I just a dancer.  I am all of that, and then some.

You see though, the issue with this is that gamers like to be a very exclusive group.  They like to decide who is and who is not a gamer, and I admit that when I was a little less balanced that I was part of the problem.  I tried to define who was and who was not a gamer, and all that does is further the stigma about gamers.

But this blog i not about baseless complaining.  It's about taking that first step that is necessary to change the feelings and thoughts that are associated with the culture of gaming.  And step one of that is to stop excluding people from feeling like gamers.

It doesn't matter if it is the Wii, Xbox, PS3, iPhone, or just on Facebook.  If you game as a hobby, and you enjoy it, you are a gamer.  There is no reason to be snobby about it, no reason to state that a person who only plays farmville is any less of a gamer than the person who plays all the latest and greatest AAA titles on their console.  That thought process has to go.

like it or not, this is still gaming.

After doing that, and starting to include everyone that wants to be can we then take the second step.  The second step is to start holding people accountable for their actions, even over the Internet.  That means that we as a culture have to start alienating the people that are obscene and obnoxious to others and show that this will not be tolerated.

Now this is the important part.  We can not stoop to their level when doing this.  Standing up for others is one thing, but stooping to their level solves nothing and does nothing for anyone.  It just starts pointless arguing and that is something no one needs.  So I propose the following three ways of dealing with this.

1. Don't be like the person - Take the high road and if you do confront the person do so with manners and intent in mind.  Stay calm and rational and don't let it get to you.  They are a troll.  They are doing this to get a rise out of you.

2. Step up for others - Just because the person isn't attacking you directly doesn't mean you can't give your support.  Standing by idly and just letting something happen is just as bad as attacking the person directly.  Not getting involved should not be an option anymore.  Stand up for what you believe in and what you think is right.

3. Take the proper steps and report the people to higher powers - Let's clean up these places.  I know moderation is usually slow and not always effective, but it does work.  If a person is being homophobic and yelling racial slurs then take the minute and report them.  It may not stop them immediately, but if enough people do it eventually it will work.

People are always asking why gamers aren't taken seriously and it's because of this stigma that the culture has gotten.  The stigma of being a bunch of immature kids who yell and scream racist remarks through the 'safety' of the Internet.   This is just a start, and it will take time, but the first step is always the most important.  It is difficult, but it'll be worth it.  Because if we can change the thought behind what it means to be gamers we can change it to become a positive thing for the culture as a whole.

So don't be scared, stand up and stand strong.  Because it's about time we stopped the hate and started understanding that while some things are much bigger than ourselves that each person that makes a small change can create a very large impact overall.

 

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