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Veteran Member - Level 11
*Warning: generalizations ahead*
The culture that has grown up around video games is an interesting one to say the least. It supposedly originated when people who felt excluded or estranged from mainstream society went off and created nerd/geek communities of people who shared similar interest in video games. From these communities various cultural icons arose and shaped popular culture into what it is today. Somewhere along the way, video games and the nerd became the new bread and butter of mainstream culture.
Everyone and their mother now plays video games in some form and can access a game on almost any electronic device. You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t play Angry Birds on their phone, iPad, or what-have-you. Not only this, but mainstream society now openly caters to the nerd and geek community. There are video game themed nightclubs and bars; video game clothing is chic; video game art and museum exhibits pop up all around the United States; and video game streams and events get more attention than big sporting events. Heck, some of the richest and most powerful people in the United States come directly from nerd culture and have staggering amounts of money at their disposal. The nerd has become the norm and everyone plays video games.
Despite this, people still use the word “gamer” as if it somehow classifies them into a certain social group. I might be wrong, but this might stem from an unconscious urge to retain that aloofness that initially created video game culture. Hardcore gamers and casual gamers are placed in separate groups based off of what kind of games they chose to play. Many a hardcore gamer will look at you with scorn if you tell them that you enjoy cultivating the fields of your FarmVille. Extolling the virtues of Dark Souls or a similar title will earn you puzzled befuddlement from a casual gamer. I have a feeling that deep down, whether consciously or unconsciously, a lot of people identify with one or the other kind of gamer.
If everyone plays video games, what makes us gamers different from everyone else? We are people who enjoy games. We are not (or at least should not be) identified by the type of media that we enjoy. I have the deepest respect and love for video games, but I am not defined or labeled by the games I play anymore than I am by the music I listen to or the movies I watch. We are part of a community that loves video games. Let us share that appreciation and enthusiasm without limiting it to a miniscule social area. We don’t need to hide our hobby and entertainment of choice behind social walls and labels. We are people who enjoy video games and video games are a great entertainment medium.
What do you think? Does the term gamer still have relevance in today’s society? Or are we in a post-gamer society?
I think that gamer certainly has relevance, but by and large, it has changed.
I don't know though, that the people that do play(exclusively) Farmville and the like do consider themselves gamers. I think that they are counted in the demographic, but if you asked them if they are a gamer, my sense is that they may eventually say yes, but only after thinking about it.
I also don't think that being described as a gamer means the same as it used to, so in that sense, it has lost some of it's...meaning? I mean, gamer can describe so many different people now, where 10 years ago, it pretty much meant video games as we know them.
I say gamer more as a general term, not something that I wear as a badge. It just easily describes a big part of my life, but not who I am.
I prefer being labeled a gamer than some other categorization that takes into account my heritage, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, etc. And frankly, "gamer" is an all encompassing label as you point out. The community of gamers is heterogeneous, without borders or other demarcation. For that reason alone, it's a democratic, egalitarian label that I'm proud to wear. It might indeed apply to so many people as to seem irrelevant, and perhaps it suggests an end to labels, but until that's the case, I'm happy to be called a gamer. ; )
I wonder if it helps to look at it like politics. Both "sides" consider themselves to be fighting for what's best for the country, and it's easy for both to slip into the mindset that the other side can't really represent what this country is all about.
You have video gamers, old school gamers, table-top gamers, casual gamers... And sometimes one group looks at one of the others like they don't belong. We ALL don't belong to a degree, when you look at the big picture. Geek culture has always put us, to some degree, on the outside looking in. It's why smart and clever movies and shows struggle while reality TV full of drunks and miscreants is a safe bet for mutliple seasons.
There are a lot of flavors of "different," but there's no need to look for reasons to exclude someone from the party.
Are we gamers or are we dancer?
I think that the kind of games people play reveal their psychology(mind type) and that is how we can tell the difference.
Great blog. I've been thinking about something like this as well. If everyone plays videogames, is anyone a gamer?
The last paragraph pretty much sums up everything I feel about this. One interest shouldn't be what anyone uses to define their entire personality.
Subcultures feel like a thing of the past. With the internet you can be exposed to so many different cultures and hobbies, there's no reason why you shouldn't like more than one.