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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?