Playing: Forza Horizon 2, Powerstar Golf
There’s been a lot of discussion in the past several weeks about the term ‘gamer’. Both what it means to identify yourself as a gamer and how the world around us perceives you if you do. In light of recent events some have come out and stated that “Gamers are over”. Is that true? And if so is that necessarily a bad thing? When I first heard someone say that I thought it was a load of bull. But the more I think about it the more I realize that it may be the truth.
When I was a kid video games were also in their youth. While the Atari and NES were certainly incredibly popular they were looked at as a kids toy. And those of us who spent a lot of time playing Super Mario Bros. were definitely not a part of the cool crowd. Many of us were geeks, nerds and dorks who instead of going outside and playing football wanted to stay in and visit the Mushroom Kingdom. I can’t speak for anyone else but for me video games were an escape from a world that was scary and uncomfortable. I was never good at socializing and when I had a controller in my hand it didn’t matter. Video games were my safe haven, a place where I belonged. I have a feeling that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
Through most of my youth gamers were looked down upon. Oddballs and freaks who huddled in their basements staring at a screen for hours on end. But in recent years video games have become so accepted and a part of our popular culture that I think you’d be hard pressed to find any household that doesn’t play. Boys and girls, moms and dads, even grandma and grandpa are playing video games now. Whether it’s with millions of others in an MMO or on your phone during your lunch break. Everyone wants to play. The nerds, the jocks, the goth kids, everyone.
And that’s probably part of the reason some people lately have reacted so defensively when someone from “the outside” comes into their little world and starts pointing out flaws in system. The very same people that teased us as kids for talking about Goombas and Chaos emeralds now want to be playing alongside us. For most of our lives gaming was our shelter from the outside world. It’s where the shy or socially awkward went to when we needed to feel a part of something. Nobody judged us or laughed at us or gave us funny looks there. But gaming isn’t “ours” anymore and that’s okay. Because now everybody else is in on the secret that we’ve known for years. We were the cool kids the whole time.
So when people say that the term ‘gamer’ is dead I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I don’t think it’s the insult that a lot of people take it as. All it means is that we don’t need to feel alone and seperated from the rest of society anymore. We don’t need to hide behind that wall anymore because we are all in this together. Video games belong to everyone now.
What do you think? How do you identify with the title ‘gamer’? Let us know in the comments.