The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
We're in an interesting stage in the life of video games, almost a sort of renaissance, as we experience deeper stories, detailed graphics, and innovative game play; it's a great day and age to be a gamer. However, this also comes with bad news- an new adversary has raised its ugly head.
The "Real" Gamer.
We've all heard the term before, many of us have used it before, but I'm here to tell you: it's a complete lie. As casual games develop and mature, as more and more people play play video games of all sizes and kinds on a regular basis, many long-time gamer's who have enjoyed the hobby their whole lives are crying foul. It's not always meant as an insult; I've been called a "true" gamer before on this site as a compliment. Now don't get me wrong, it's not necessarily bad to call each other "real" or "true" gamer's, as it's a great sign of camaraderie and friendship; but that still doesn't make it right. What does that make the casual gamer? Is the person who beat all the Metal Gears, played Mario in the early years, and triumphed over Ganon several times over better than the casual Call of Duty and mobile game player? No. Too many people, however, believe differently. There's a pretty large divide that has been growing for years, and is beginning to grow rapidly: casual gamer's and dedicated gamer's, both of which seem to resent the other quite a bit. Here's a lengthy example including two of my friends (not hypothetical, but real people):
Friend 1 has been playing games for years. He started off young with classics such as the Legend of Zelda, and since made gaming one of his favorite hobbies. Now, he's a bit of a PC elitist. He plays almost all of his games on PC, and loves trying out new, hip Indie games like Terraria and Don't Starve, yet has a highly cynical attitude towards AAA's. His favorite AAA game is Dark Souls, and he was strongly against the addition of an easy mode in that game. He's a bit of an afficionado and knows his stuff when it comes to games, granted he has odd tastes in games and can have the impression that he is superior to the casual gamer.
Friend 2 started off playing Grand Theft Auto classics like San Andreas and Call of Duty. To this day, his favorite genre is shooters and he only plays on Xbox 360. He plays Call of Duty "for the killstreaks" and also enjoys Battlefiled 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV. In fact, he was once one of the top jet pilots in the world in Battlefield 3. However, he only likes AAA games and scoffs at Indie games or anything different than what he's comfortable with, and thinks that people who play those games are "weird", to put it nicely. He doesn't play too often and could be described as a casual gamer.
Two entirely different people, but I enjoy hanging out with both of them (not in the same place). They represent the two polar opposites of today's gaming, and both throw around the phrase "real gamer" quite frequently. I can't stress how wrong this is- all this does is alienate people for no good reason. Frankly, it's a petty insult used only to satisfy a misguided sense of superiority over people who are ultimately gamer's too, whether you, I, or anyone else likes it or not. We all need to learn to be more accepting of our more casual or hardcore brethren. The future of the game industry is bright, but we, the gamer's- and I mean ALL the gamer's- have to make it great.
On the brighter side, this kind of a divide is actually a good sign. It's a sign of the industry maturing, developing social classes, and growing into something bigger. All forms of art have gone through stages like this, from literature to cinema, and right now gaming's just having some growing pains. Eventually, I'm sure It'll turn out fine; but for now, know that we are all gamer's, no matter how, when, or where.