Home > Uncategorized > Apologies to the Bard

Apologies to the Bard

January 22nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This is a blog written by a gamer. This is a blog designed to be read by gamers, and to be contributed to by gamers. I want gamers to connect over this, and maybe get some enjoyment and some thoughtful discussion going about this blog. That’s my hope.

But what is a gamer? Would that which we call a gamer by any other name would have as much fun?

I was going to do a little research on the term gamer, etymologically speaking. Where did the word come from? Where was it first used? What is our shared history as gamers, so to speak, but I’m not quite sure that it matters, for reasons I’ll get to shortly.

A gamer is someone who plays games as a primary form of enjoyment. They may deeply analyze the rules and structure of the game, or they may be new to the game they’re experiencing. They might participate over a wide variety of games (tabletop, console, card, computer), or they may devote themselves to one game, and believe that it is superior to others that try to emulate it. Despite all these different kings of gamers, they all share the same aim: to get enjoyment from playing a game, and devote some amount of time to it above their other interests.

Thinking that this is a reasonable definition, I submit the argument before you, dear reader, that anyone who wants to claim the mantle of Gamer is free to do so. Hell, they should be encouraged to do so. More people at the gaming table means more fun to go around. Exclusivity should never be our aim, as we’re too often misunderstood anyway.

In a very excellent article, Jeffrey Michael Grubb notes that gamers tend to instantly leap upon accusations of impropriety, defending their passion with a furor that may scare “normal’ people. He writes, “…if we are going to be more concerned about protecting the reputation of a video game than about fighting international sexual tourism, people are going to continue to look at gamers as an unbalanced people with twisted priorities.”

So when people want to call themselves gamers, embrace them as gamers, and invite them to play. Don’t question their title, or where they fit into the hardcore vs. casual debate, just accept that they are a gamer, and want what you want. They want to have a good time playing a game, just like you.

Share Button
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,
  1. Rob
    January 22nd, 2010 at 15:48 | #1

    As a side note, sports fans also often refer to themselves as gamers.

  2. Rob
    January 22nd, 2010 at 16:05 | #2

    To clarify my earlier comment: I completely agree with your assessment that gamers come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of passions.

    …it’s part of what makes us so awesome.

  3. onelark
    January 22nd, 2010 at 17:42 | #3

    Wish you’d said something more incendiary, honestly ;)

    One quibble, “or they may be new to the game they’re experiencing” leads to the “casual gamer” page on Wikipedia? As a self-described casual gamer that is not how I define myself at all! I’ve played the games I do for a long time, whether we’re talking tabletop role-playing or even Settlers of Catan. Longevity is not the defining mark of the hardcore vs. casual gamer.

  4. Rob
    January 22nd, 2010 at 18:05 | #4

    @Lark: Good point.

    Is it, then, a function of time spent playing? Or perhaps how much of one’s consciousness is devoted to said game (i.e. spending hours reading rulebooks or theorycrafting)?

  5. Bret
    January 23rd, 2010 at 02:00 | #5

    Don’t question their title, or where they fit into the hardcore vs. casual debate, just accept that they are a gamer, and want what you want. They want to have a good time playing a game, just like you.
    That may at its root be true, however some gamers will have biases and leanings towards one form or style of game play than another and bringing two or more with different styles and wants to the same place to participate in the same game may not result in this “good time” you promote.
    A standard example might be someone who enjoys the depth of story presented in the CRPG, yet shy from table-top or LARP experience due to being socially awkward. Another is someone who balks at board games, finding them to be boring compared to other games that they feel have more interaction. Even among two people who might like coming together at a gaming table to roll dice and pretend to fight monsters might hate one aspect (dice rolling and monster fighting) over performing the other (imagination and acting) and vice versa.
    Gamers might have a large diversity, however it is in part due to that diversity that originates a schism, not just between the supposed “hardcore” versus “casual”, but between individuals personal tastes.

    P.S. Those examples above about preferences are taken from real world excerpt of my observations of some of my friends.

  1. No trackbacks yet.