So what’s a gamer? According to a friend of mine it’s someone who owns every major system and plays almost all major releases.
But in reality is this physically possible for the average adult? Maybe when you’re in high school, but as soon as you have a job (even a part time job), a significant other and some semblance of social life, playing that many games is next to impossible.
So does that mean I’m not a gamer? I’ve followed the industry for as long as I can remember, I play a lot of games and most importantly I love to get my game on. But because I don’t play every single release or own every console I’m not a considered a  true gamer?
I’d say I’m a gamer, maybe not a hardcore gamer anymore but a gamer none the less. I just don’t have the time or the finances to play every game on every system. I like Kinect Sports but I also enjoy Halo. I like New Super Mario Bros. But I also like deep role playing games like the Morrowind franchise. Because I enjoy what many would consider both casual and hardcore games, I’m suddenly no longer a gamer? I actually like the WiiU (I know it sounds like blasphemy). But I’m excited about it’s gaming potential. It’s unique, uses exciting technology and could potentially change gaming as we know it similar to how the Wii did.
I’ve also heard the following argument on a few gaming communities before, “If you don’t own a PS3 then your not a true gamer.” To that I say a simple resounding, fuck you. Owning a Sony console doesn’t give you an air of superiority, nor does it make you anymore of a gamer than a dude that just owns a Wii. Sure, right now Sony is maintaining the best balance between core games and casual Move based games out of all three major console manufacturers. But to me it all comes down to personal preference.
And what makes a core game anyways? Difficulty? Accessibility? Does a game need to be complicated before its for hardcore gamers? If we follow that logic then Super Mario Galaxy 2 is as hardcore as they come. Getting every star in that game is a truly complicated and very grueling task.
Maybe you’re a huge Nintendo fan – you love Mario and Link with a blinding passion and you’ve followed both of these ironic franchises for years. To me you’re still a gamer but to the majority of the uber hardcore gaming public you’re nothing more than a casual poser.
I admit I’m a Microsoft fan, I’m comfortable with my Xbox and I like the Xbox’s controller (I even wrote a short story about why I don’t want a PS3). I’m familiar with the console’s major exclusive franchises and I’ve been playing Xbox for almost 10 years. I understand why people own Wii’s or PS3′s and I respect their decision. What I don’t understand is how I’m a lesser gamer simply because I don’t own a PS3 and miss out on the console’s exclusive games. If we’re going to follow that logic doesn’t that mean that PS3 gamers aren’t real gamers either? They can’t play Halo, they’ve never touched Fable, they didn’t play Mass Effect 2 first. I could go on and on but the entire argument is flawed and frankly really just fucking stupid.
Now, I totally understand that there is a distinction between hardcore and regular gamers. There are people who spend hours battling on message boards, defending the honor of their favorite franchise, researching their favorite games, and totally immersing themselves in gaming culture. And then there are people who play video games a lot but don’t necessarily follow the industry extremely closely. Aren’t both of these people gamers? Maybe different levels of gamers but they are both still gamers to me.
There’s also the term casual gamer. Mention this phrase on most message boards in a positive light and be prepared to feel the rath of hundreds of self professed uber hardcore gamers. Casual gamers are the scourge of the industry in most people’s books. If your mom plays Farmville all day everyday she’s not a gamer. But have we ever stopped to think why? Farmville is a video game (not a game I’m interested in but still a video game). So shouldn’t she be considered a gamer too?
Kinect, Wii and the Move, if you’re a true gamer you must pass these motion based peripherals off as nothing more than silly cash grab gimmicks. If you don’t, then you’re not a true gamer. True gamers use controllers, they don’t like change and they resist any sort of major innovation (this is the impression I get anyway). Motion control is for your grandmother and little sister.
This is what the hardcore crowd thinks. They don’t want the masses to game; they want to keep our little past time underground. The sooner they realize that gaming is now a mass market, the happier they will be. Playing video games isn’t just for kids in their mid teens gaming away in their parent’s basement. Video games are for everyone now. The Wii changed the market and for better or worse I don’t see it going back any time soon.
In the end, I think I just hate the word gamer in general. It encompasses far to many kinds of people and brings out elitist tendencies in a lot of people that play video games. To me everyone who consistently plays video games is a gamer.
Gaming is bigger than ever and continues to grow. Can’t we all just drop this silly term and get along.
I know I’ve posed a lot of questions in this story. Feel free to respond in the comments section and let me know what you think a gamer is. Are there different kinds of gamers? And can you even call yourself a gamer without owning a PlayStation 3?

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