The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
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 do...it'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.