The term “Gamer” has various definitions in the gaming community. These definitions usually have requirements. The term gamer as defined by Dictionary.com is “A person who plays computer games or participates in a role-playing game.” That’s it! It’s a person who plays games. So why is it that we gamers instill requirements onto people to consider them real gamers?
“You only play are Madden and Call of Duty. You’re not REAL gamer!”
“You've never played a Super Nintendo Game? You’re not a REAL gamer.”
“You don’t know who Sparkster and Sephiroth are? You’re not a REAL gamer.”
These might not be exact quotes, but I’m sure you’ve either used similar ones, thought this way, or heard people talk like this. You’re not a real gamer if you don’t do *insert random or dumb reason here*. I’ll be honest; I used to do the exact same thing too. When I heard that someone only plays one type of game, it annoyed me. In my opinion, a gamer was someone who has a broad horizon of games. It’s alright to have a favorite genre or franchise, but to ONLY play FPS, RPGs, or ONLY Final Fantasy branded games didn’t make that person a REAL gamer. This is a habit most of us have, aware of it or not. This attitude does affects the gaming community as a whole and does segregate gamers.
There are two terms the gaming media uses these days, or at least I noticed: the Hardcore gamer and the Casual gamer. These adjectives are used to describe both games and gamers, but I think it mostly applies to the gamer than the actual game. Games that are considered hardcore can be played through in a casual manner and vise versa. For example, Smash Bros. Brawl is considered by many as a kiddie party/fighting game, but there are hardcore Smash Bros. players in that community that will prove those people wrong. Another example is with Dark Souls. I casually played through Dark souls, beat the game, and never returned to it again. Dark Souls is considered a very hardcore game, but I beat it casually. Does that mean I’ve been upgraded from a casual gamer to a hardcore gamer for defeating Dark Souls?
The difference between a hardcore gamer and a casual gamer is the time each spends on a game and how serious they are about it. A hardcore gamer would spend a lot of time training to perfect themselves on a game. They’d either try to learn combos or find the rarest items or defeat all the hidden bosses in a game. A casual gamer would typically beat a game and be done with it. With Dark Souls, a hardcore gamer would probably replay the game over and over again to get the best spells, weapons, and armors. I didn’t care for all that stuff. I just wanted to see all of the bosses and beat the game, so I did the bare minimum to attain that goal. Even then, the majority of those same hardcore gamers casually play other games. They would hardcore play Street Fighter, but casually play Call of Duty or Dead Island. Does that mean they’re really a casual gamer because they casual play more games than they hardcore play?
There are other requirements that pop up too. If you don’t play certain games, you’re not a real gamer. If someone has never played a Mario game, but grew up on the ps1, they won’t be considered a real gamer. If someone has never played Chrono Trigger, but love Final Fantasy branded games, they aren’t real gamers. It’s mainly with popular or highly rated games.
Probably the worse requirement that people try to instill on people are opinions. If you don’t THINK this way, then you are not a REAL gamer. I’ve played through Dark Souls, Dishonored, Dead Island, and Devil May Cry. Besides those games all starting with the letter D, I thought those games were highly over-rated. Going down the line:
1) Dark Souls is not a 10/10 game. I agree that the gameplay is what makes this game shines, but to say that the story is a 10/10? What story? The premise of Dark Souls is cool, but there is no concrete story to this game. Either way, I don’t consider Dark Souls a story driven game and is more along the lines of Monster Hunter.
2) Dishonored has a boring and predictable story with bland characters. The gameplay gimmicks were cool, but this game was a drag for me to play through. I didn’t care for any of the characters at all. When I started to actually care for the little girl, the game was already over.
3) Dead Island I absolutely hated. Bland quests, boring story, uncreative enemies, NO ZOMBIE ANIMALS, no real day and night system, stiff characters…I’ll just stop there.
4) The new Devil May Cry is not better than Bayonetta. Nothing in that game wowed me, other than the surprise Castlevania: Lords of Shadow style puzzle that appeared near the end as a way to stuff the game. Not a bad game, but this game is definitely not 9-10/10 material.
These opinions made people question my REAL gaming status. I’ve been called out a few times and was demoted several gamer ranks. I’ve been through Another Century’s episode, Castlevania, Donkey Kong country, Final Fantasy, Goldeneye, Hoshigami, Killer Instinct, Legend of Zelda, Megaman, No More Heroes, Phantasy Star online, Resident Evil, Sailor Moon: Another Story, Terranigma, Xenogears, and Zombies Ate my Neighbors. These are just a few of the several games I played through spanning several console generations. I played Japanese games, spent hundreds of hours on Pso and other RPGs, played 95% of the Megaman games in the entire franchise, and some people don’t consider me a REAL gamer all because of a few negative opinions I have on certain games? Aren’t all the games I played enough proof that I’m a REAL gamer?
No matter what we do or how many games we played, we’ll never be considered REAL gamers to each other because of simple faults, opinions, and disagreements. These unwritten rules segregate gamers and make it harder for newcomers to get into the community. Gamers hang with people who play the same games and share many of the same ideals. It’s the same thing with a lot of hobbies and is normal. It gets bad when gamers go about it with a high and mighty attitude, looking down upon others. If a person isn’t on the same skill level or play the same game or even think the way they do, they’re not REAL gamers to them. What makes this worse is the internet. Their attitudes and beliefs spread like a disease, infecting those who are easily influenced. Those influenced enough carry on those beliefs onto others.
Newcomers typically have a hard time getting into games because of this attitude. They get turned off by the way the gamers act and their harsh opinions. Not too long ago, I visited a family friend who needed help fixing a few things. I was talking with their son (he’s 21) about random stuff. We got onto the topic of gaming, but what surprised me the most was the way he replied. When I told him I’m a gamer, he gave me the “oh” of disgust. Not the nice “oh”, but the “oh” as if you did some sort of terrible deed. I was a little insulted by this and asked him why that “oh”. He goes on telling me stories about how he hangs out with gamer friends and the way they acted. His gamer friends were very aggressive, vulgar, and competitive. He told me how they’re always playing Call of Duty, Halo, or Madden and always yell or flaunt their gaming skills over their headsets. His experience made him generalize gamers with that crowd. To him, gamers are rude people who only play certain types of game. There are several others like him that thinks gamers are just plain immature and don’t want to associate themselves with that crowd. It only takes a few sour apples to spoil the bunch.
To recap, being a REAL gamer requires one to have played several games spanning different console generations and different genres, play all their games in a hardcore fashion, and think the same way everyone thinks about games. To be a universally REAL gamer is impossible as everyone has their own opinions on what a REAL gamer is. All of these requirements and labels just make the term "Gamer" a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
To be a REAL gamer, all you have to do is play games. That’s it!
No one has the right to tell you that you’re not a REAL gamer because you don’t meet their personal requirements. You shouldn’t talk down to people or push other gamers away simply because they don’t play the same games you do either. If you play games, you’re a REAL gamer. Play what you want to play and have fun. Be yourself and don’t force yourself to meet anyone’s personal requirements.