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What's a REAL Gamer?

The term “Gamer” has various definitions in the gaming community. These definitions usually have requirements. The term gamer as defined by 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.

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OmniSlashPT1895d ago (Edited 1895d ago )

A gamer is someone that plays and cares about games. Just like any film or book enthusiastic. I watch films, but I don't consider myself as a film person because I dont really care. But I care about games, I care about the industry, the news and releases, the rumours and reviews.

I have friends that played Uncharted and RDR but they're not gamers, because they dont care. They bought them because those games were in the top charts and everyone was talking about them. Not because they actually had been waiting for that game and enjoy the series.

IMO, a person that plays games is just that, a person that plays games. A gamer is someone that cares more about games than simply playing them.

OcelotRigz1895d ago

See, thats "your" definition..... but also one i agree with really.
Like i said how in my head i tag guys who keep up with the gaming news and know what im talking about when i start mentioning gaming lingo, they're the guys who i feel are "real" gamers, that would be my own definition. But yeah, you kinda hit the nail on the head for me, people who care about the medium, thats who i consider "gamers".

BadboyCivic1895d ago

I used to be a real gamer until I started playing COD.

OcelotRigz1895d ago

Great post, you kinda strayed from you point when you started talking about the "D" games and giving your view about them, that was for a whole different argument, the whole opinion vs fact argument regarding reviews and overhyped games etc..

But nonetheless, i enjoyed reading this and completely agree. By definition its simple, gamers are people who play games. But people have a way of complicated and changing definitions to suit themselves.
I also shared your view once, that if a guy only plays one game then he isnt a "real" gamer, i still forget myself now and then when i argue with my brother who doesnt play games as much as me that, since i play games everyday, that he's not a "real" gamer like me. But i say these things as banter and never really take it serious.

I think people use the term to identify with people who play games a lot opposed to those who dont and dont really have as much interest. I kinda think that way in my head, like when i see a guy who keeps up with news and knows what im talking about when i say some gaming lingo etc.. i say "yeah, this guy knows his stuff, hes a "real" gamer", but like i said, i only use it to identify someone and thats all fine and dandy, but on the otherhand that can lead to a division between gamers, people who take it to far and starts looking down their nose at other gamers if they dont meet their standards, thats where we get pointless arguments across the web and the creation of these "elite" communities etc..

Im going to stop as im only repeating what you already mentioned.
So yeah, good post, i completely agree. Play games and enjoy yourself, dont worry about what other people think, then again thats the greatest flaw of mankind, if you can solve that problem let me know. So to rephrase, dont worry 'too' much about what other gamers think.

God, im just going to stop typing...

TuxedoMoon1895d ago

If they bought a PS3 and those games, they have to have some level of care and interest in gaming. Just based on that, I'd consider them gamers because they got what they wanted, played it, and most likely enjoyed it. If they don't acknowledge themselves as gamers, then they're not gamers. If they do say they're gamers and continue getting games, then they are gamers. Try to be more involved, maybe you can turn them to like gaming.

It's really how they identify themselves, not how we perceive them as. Because then we're just saying they're not gamers because of their faults of not playing X amount of games. There are plenty of gamers out there who don't visit forums and buy games based on ratings or what everyone else is play. Just recently I had a friend who bought Ni no Kuni simply because he loved Studio Ghibli's movies. He didn't even know about this game until it actually came out.

The who D-games things was just a few more examples of how different my opinion is on a few games. I just wanted to make the point that, with those few games, I don't agree with reviewers and many other gamers that think those games are the cream of the crop. I got into a lot of arguments due to my opinions and was pretty much made fun of for it. I've been on both ends, making fun of and being made fun of. It just plain sucks.

This realization though helped me be a lot more open with other people coming into the gaming community. I'd just hope that when people read this, they realize what they're doing and try to be more open with their casual friends.

OcelotRigz1895d ago

Open mindedness is a very uncommon trait, people have their views and become very defensive when they are challenged by others. Especially when a guy considers himself very knowledgeable and competent at something, then he is going to be very closed minded and defensive when people challenge his views and ways of doing things and this goes double for when newcomers do.

This is what leads to these elite communities or elite bunch of members on certain sites, who are very aggressive about correcting and putting the new guys into their place when they say something they don't agree with, instead of asking them why they think such-a-thing should such-a-thing and why they themselves don't agree. This is called a discussion and its something you dont see much of between gamers and if you do it usually ends with "go play cod!".

People just cant except other people having different opinions from them, i really think people still dont understand the difference between opinions and facts. I know this from my own experience where i got banned from a site, the site was for PES and the guys there, well the loudest guys anyway, started becoming more aggressive towards people who were complaining about PES. Most of these guys weren't offensive or anything and were simply stating how they feel certain parts of the game should be changed, how they were disappointed with the game because such a reason etc... But these guys were always ganged up on and treated with such condescension, it got to the stage where guys were getting banned for posting complaints about the game and thats when i got on to the owner about how he shouldn't be so harsh and the guys had the right to there opinions. Thats was the end of me.

I seen the same stuff on BF3 forums where guys who complained about the game were nearly always told "go back to cod noob!".
You even see it on here when a post is made about a console and you have the same stupid fanboy arguments over and over how one console is better than the other.

I think im going off the point though and this is another big post from me, so i'll stop typing.

steve30x1893d ago

Talking about Elite groups. Theres elite groups all over N4G. Theres even Elite Disagree'ers in here. A lot of the time I press the disagree button though because its so easy to get desbubbled on here.

parkerpeters1895d ago

I actually wrote a blog about this myself last week in varying shades of the same opinion as you, but I put it more harshly. YOU are a real gamer. I have no doubt of that. But there are people out there that use gaming as a fashion accessory, like the "gamr grls" who spend more time eating their peripherals than they do playing games. There are also the "seasonal gamers" as I call them. People than get a new Madden, Fifa, Call of Duty, or other seasonal game every year and stick to that. I would not call them gamers, because GAMING in and of itself is not their hobby, their hobby is their one and only game of choice.

I think for a person to be a "real gamer" they have to have gaming be their main hobby. Just as a cinephile's main hobby must be cinema. It is a niche hobby, and a niche culture. Not every tom dick harry and sally can be let in just because they owned a Gameboy one time. But we aren't completely exclusionary. I for one don't care who plays games as long as they actually play games, not just chew on the cords of their controllers in a plea for attention.

TuxedoMoon1895d ago

If they acknowledge themselves as gamers and don't play games or consider it a hobby. Then that would be hypocritical. I never met a fake gamer girl before who does that. I've only seen it in the media with whats-her-face that's on ign these days. When a person does something like that, yeah, it really is just for attention. Maybe she is a gamer and really did grow up playing RPGs and whatnot. I don't really know. Girls can be sexy and have their own right to flaunt what they got.

A person can have as many hobbies as they want, there's no limit to that. When those seasonal gamers play madden or Fifa, they play it for a while. Most sports gamers play online too, which only increases their chances of keeping the game for a while. It's probably kept just as long as the yearly COD/BF games. Which they'd probably have too. Like I said before, if those people don't consider themselves gamers, then they're not gamers.

Back in the day when I started gaming, it was a niche thing that not everyone did. I didn't have anyone to show me or help me beat games. I'm sure a lot of us didn't since gaming back in the 90s was still a new thing with new genres coming out everywhere. Gaming has aged and so has its early gamers. People today are lucky since the experienced gamers can now pass down what they know to others. Where this gets sour is the attitude. Gamers don't want to share their secrets with noobs most of the time, believing that they should tough it out on their own like we did.

I used to have the exact mindset. That gamers needed to do certain things to be real gamers, but all they really need to do is care enough about gaming (interest), play games (base requirement), and consider themselves gamers(self identity).

All I'm saying is to try to be more open to the idea of new gamers joining our "Gaming Clubs." The more we push people away and place more requirements onto being a gamer, the less of a friendly environment the gaming community becomes which may lead to the gaming being perceived as a bad thing. We're getting old and passing our knowledge to the younger generation will only make the future of gaming brighter. I do hope that eventually, gaming becomes as common as it is in Asia.

parkerpeters1895d ago

I agree. I don't care who becomes a gamer, and I am open to anyone who wants to start gaming, but you can't just enter a niche culture on day one and expect to be "one of the guys" especially if you were one of the people who ostracized gamers in the first place, before it was a trend to be a "nerd"

No being exclusionary. Just being sensible.

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