One of the questions I get asked the most (not that I have a lot of people asking me questions) is, "where do you get the inspiration for your blog ideas?" And the truth is, I don't really know - it's everything and nothing. For example, tonight's blog...I just happened to be sitting here watching The Voice and thinking about the division between gamers over Sony's Playstation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One; and how Nintendo gamers are sitting on the sidelines fanning the flames hoping both sides go down in a blaze of glory. I try to imagine what these "gamers" look like on each side of the fight, and all I really see are these shadowy figures waving banners with their team logo.

Then it occurred to me.

What the heck is a gamer anymore?

Oh sure, we've had all sorts of blogs on the different types of gamers - hardcore gamers and casual gamers. I've blogged about it before and have seen plenty of others weigh in on the topic too. But with this blog, I'm kind of going in the opposite direction.

If you're an old(er) gamer, you probably remember when it wasn't so cool to admit being a gamer. And if you're a young(er) gamer, you've probably talked with somebody who told you it wasn't always cool.

Heck, back when I was a kid growing up, being a gamer usually meant you played Dungeons & Dragons or some other pen and paper role playing game. But when it came to video games, we didn't really call ourselves gamers - we just played them. We were often called nerds or geeks (or losers)...but I don't think gamers, as in one who plays video games, came about until the late 1980s or early 1990s.  Even during the arcade era, I don't remember the term gamer being used all that often.

Anyway, fast forward to present day where the population of gamers continues to grow; where the ratio of male to female gamers is beginning to equalize; where the gamer age gap is widening...

...where all sorts of people play video games regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, sexuality, social standing, net worth, occupation, shoe size, hair color, political affiliation or Girl Scout cookie preference.

We're becoming a nation of gamers. Nay, nations of gamers.

In some countries (like South Korea) gamers are comparable to our professional athletes or Hollywood stars. They have sponsors, draw huge crowds of radical fans, and are broadcast on television playing their games. It's such a huge phenomenon the government has actually imposed legislation to regulate the activity in an effort to minimize those who play too much (for more, read this article).

That being said, I am left wondering, will we slowly begin to lose our title of - gamer?

Since the dawn of man we have witnessed the birth of all sorts of different art forms and mediums, yet we don't really label those who partake in them (at least not anymore). Whether it's books or radio or television or movies...whenever it's an activity or something most of us's just accepted and not really worthy of a label, or so it would seem.

We don't have moviers or radioers or televisioners.

I'm typing this in MS Word and each of those words is underlined red because it isn't recognized as a real world, yet I can type gamer or gamers and it shows up as a valid word. Of course I'm only being slightly facetious with that, but hopefully you get my point - gamers get a label when most others don't. And well, I'm wondering when more and more people play games will we quit calling ourselves gamers?

I don't think we're quite there yet. Surely we have a few years to go. At least I hope so.

I think we're at the stage now where it's kind of cool to be a gamer. Where many of the personalities in the industry, both male and female, aren't viewed as geeks or nerds but *ahem* viewed as sexy (come on, y'all know Andy McNamara is a hunk); where developing video games or supporting the industry is cool; and where playing video games is normal.

So, until we get to that point...if we get to that point...that point where we no longer hear the term gamer in our normal day to day vocabulary because practically everybody that can play is playing, I'm just going to continue being one and appreciate that it's now accepted and not mocked.