Monday, August 18, 2014

Nothing lamer than being called a "gamer"?

I've spent a ton of time on various gaming forums over the past 15 years.  During that time I've seen many reoccurring debated issues.  Some of these debates I plan to address here on Ardent in time to come.  Today's issue is a simple one, the use and application of the word "gamer" towards one who enjoys video games.  I'll get this out of the way off the bat; I am a "gamer" and I don't mind being called one.  Now you know my stance so let's get started.

Here's how I often see this argument laid out by a typical forum member:

"I don't like the word 'gamer' because it's a derogatory term that belittles people as being only that which they do.  You wouldn't call someone who reads books a "booker", or someone who watches movies a "movier".  So it's stupid to call a video game player a 'gamer'!"

Okay yes, you wouldn't call a reading enthusiast a "booker".  Rather society calls that person a "bookworm".  And you wouldn't call a movie lover a "movier", but society calls them a "film buff".  There was a time in my life when I was keenly into high tech audio, and I admit to having been an audiophile.  I'm sure you're getting the point.  Throughout our society we have many pet names for people who are very enthusiastic about defined things.  "Gamer" is nothing more or less than just another example of this cultural commonality.  This being the case, one has to ask one's self why some folks consider "gamer" to be a derogatory term.

Now I'm no psychologist, but I can only surmise this situation arises from insecurity.  If by some chance, even subconsciously, a video game player feels some level of shame about their hobby... then it's logical enough to deduce they wouldn't want to be openly associated with it.  Only someone who feels guilty about a behavior would be irrationally concerned about it diminishing their entirety merely by proxy's namesake.

Indeed I've read people say merely being called "gamer" supposedly distills their very being into one who only plays video games.  This makes no sense.  Does anyone really think a "gamer" does nothing else but game?  Of course not.  That's about as logical as thinking a plumber spends their entire waking life doing nothing but plumbing.  Silly thought, no?  So if a plumber doesn't mind being called a plumber, a gamer should feel the same way.

If a game player refuses to be called a "gamer" out of insecurity for their hobby, what then causes this insecurity?  I believe it goes back to the slowly corroding misconception that part of society still has for video gaming.  That some how, video games are for kids and adults shouldn't be playing them.  That would explain why an adult would feel shame for being called a gamer.  In the next few Ardent posts I plan to address the issue of being an "adult gamer".   I'll say that if you're an adult gamer you should not feel any shame whatsoever about it, and I'll even explain why.

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