Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Gamer Tag

What does it mean to be a gamer?

Despite traditionally implying that you played D&D and Warhammer, it usually now focuses on anyone who plays video games. It also includes forms of interactive media that can not be defined as a game.

But does playing a game really make you a gamer? Is it about time investment? Or is it specifically a label applied to those who play only certain games?

Consider that many people have run across situations where they are viewed as a gamer and are looked down upon, by others who play video games (but of a different nature). Here is a quote from a comment to Tobold's post made by Merlot Darksun:

"The people I know who laugh at me for playing a computer game generally waste the same amount of time watching brain-dead reality TV. I even know people with Xboxes and 360s who sneer at me. The irony is lost on them. They associate fantasy and role-playing with social ineptness, a lack of friends, and general life failure without recognising any comparisons with their own situation. The also see online gaming as all-consuming while considering their own interests to be in balance with a grown-up lifestyle."

In that quote we see derision based on game type, choice of platform, and perceived time investment.

This implies that people who play Facebook games (day and night and even at work) as well as iPhone games (or apps, as they are usually more in the realm of interactive media than a real game), do not view themselves as no-life gamers, regardless of the time investment, because they don't perceive the time investment as being the same.

Let us not forget platform.

With all that in mind, we can establish that being a "gamer" is something that is looked down upon in our society currently, and will most likely continue to be so, for a few more generations.

I was amazed to see how many people in comments look down on golfers. I imagine there are many people out there who have bosses who play golf, and who look down on those who play video games. Regardless of the fact that those same bosses will leave work early to play golf.

In my job, many people left work early to watch the world cup. Yet those same people look down at playing video games as something childish.

So is this evidence of something else? Of perhaps justifying your choice of hobby or pass-time?

If so acceptance will take even longer, but will eventually reach the same views as golf, and television watching have now. Which implies that a gamer will always be looked down upon, but eventually will not be seen as a liability to the company.

I leave this one final quote from a comment from Tobold's post, made by Sam:

"I've read several articles where HR proffessionals have stated they won't hire gamers because they skip work to game. I don't think it's any worse than those that call in sick to watch a Football game, or any other reason people call in sick. (except being actually sick of course) but its percieved as worse by the culture."