: Editorial: The Definition Of "Gamer"

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Editorial: The Definition Of "Gamer"

You know, the elitists just love to test others who call themselves "gamers," asking about a tiny plot element in some obscure 15-year-old title, asking how much time they spend playing games in any given week, asking to name the developer and publisher of some other no-name title from yesteryear, etc, etc, etc. For whatever reason, this has always irked me, and let me explain why.

First of all, the aforementioned elitists are all cut from the same mold. They're the socially awkward outcasts who - unfortunately for the rest of us - fit the stereotype of a gamer from head to toe, and absolutely must find a way of elevating themselves above others. They can't do that in school or at work due to their social status and lack of general social graces, and because they're made to feel inferior by others, they must find a way to (ironically enough) do the same to anybody they meet. If you've been around the industry long enough, I can guarantee you've ran into a few of these people, and they quickly try to prove they're more of a "gamer" than you are. That superiority complex forces its way to the forefront instantly, and I completely understand the reason for this behavior. I'm old enough now - I will be 30 later on tonight - to recognize and despise adolescent transparent behavior.

But even so, the debate still rages: what exactly constitutes a "gamer?" Most will agree that those who come home and play computer solitaire for 20 minutes before going to bed aren't "gamers," but it's a sliding scale. Some say you can't just play "casual" games (sports, party, etc.), while others will set bizarre knowledge requirements like the examples listed above. And while I certainly agree one should have knowledge of one of their favorite hobbies, why is this a requirement? It's an automatic byproduct! If you love skydiving, you're gonna know a little something about skydiving. If you love gardening, you probably know a bit about gardening. And who would even bother to call themselves a gamer if they didn't care? If they didn't possess such knowledge as a result of their interest in the hobby? Who poses as a gamer just for kicks? I just can't wrap my head around gamers imposing highly subjective "requirements" on people if they wish to proudly hold a certain label.

But here's the thing. It has nothing to do with how much you know, what type of games you play, or believe it or not, how long you play them. It has nothing to do with how much money you spent on games last year. It has even less to do with how many trivial and random facts you know about the full Atari 2600 library. I'm sick of the gaming elitists swelling up in an effort to counteract those who shun them in the real world, simply to even the scales. You want to know what you need to call yourself a gamer? A love of video games. That's it. Nothing else is needed. And yes, I'm aware this is yet another subjective rule - how do you define "love?" - but it's the best I can do. If you truly enjoy playing video games, and it's a permanent hobby for you, you're a gamer. I don't care how big your collection is and I don't care that you know how many hit points Ozma had in Final Fantasy IX. I really, really don't. If you love games, that's enough for me. It should be enough for anybody.

So if anybody out there ever runs into me for whatever reason, and you know who I am and what I do, please, for the love of God, don't try to impress me with your video game knowledge. Don't boast that you played 35 hours of GTAIV in four days. Don't tell me how much you paid for a Neo-Geo controller on eBay. I'll be very bored. If you want to just talk games, on the other hand, great. But for the last time, to all of you out there who think you know more than every critic, who think you can design better games than the best developers on earth, and who think you simply know more than anyone else: knock it off. Leave us all alone and let us enjoy our chosen hobby. Otherwise, I will humiliate the snot out of you by challenging you to an arm-wrestling match, which you will - more than likely - lose. HA! See? It takes no real talent to make people feel stupid, but it might take some maturity to accept your limitations and wrap your head around the fact that you can't decide who is a "gamer" and who isn't.

I thank you all for your attention. And if you're wondering about the pic, I know it doesn't have much to do with the topic, but I just love that poster. :)

8/1/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (31 posts)

The_Chimeran
Friday, August 01, 2008 @ 10:53:50 PM
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good read Ben. Anyone who like you said chooses playing games as a permanent/frequent hobby than it's fair to say you a gamer. Or if you simply call yourself a gamer than that's good enough to. You some harsh stereotypes for elitists though Ben though sometimes this is true, know-it-alls and jerks can have a social life, but not a very respectable one.
also what's up with the sexual posters, there's more and more of them. Though this one is kind of funny.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, August 01, 2008 @ 10:58:10 PM
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Those posters are awesome. I have one hanging in the living room that shows electrical wires and forks of lightning. The caption reads: "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it rocks absolutely, too." :)

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The_Chimeran
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 5:01:20 PM

hey forgot to say happy birthday, i'm sure 30 is the new 16...at least for online play. :p. But yeah have a good one and yeah those posters are good i've been looking for similar kind of posters and they've all been midly amusing. I just noticed that the DK something event is going on now. What could be a better article for you to write on your bday than ff7(-2) is coming for ps3(and Xbox 360?).

Last edited by The_Chimeran on 8/2/2008 5:05:51 PM

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dso8515
Friday, August 01, 2008 @ 11:31:04 PM
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Good editorial Ben and happy birthday! I think you are absolutely right with your definition of what a gamer is, someone who enjoys playing video games. I feel like I fit that definition, but I would be reluctant to call myself a gamer because of the negative stereotypes you mentioned. Yes I know stereotypes are not always true and in my case they wouldn't be true, but I don't want people to assume that I think I am better than them or know more about video games because I call myself a gamer. And I enjoy those posters as well, there are a lot of funny ones out there.

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cheng
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 2:44:12 AM
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happy birthday ben, it must have been pretty tough to keep the site updated frequently, this is possibly the only sites tat i c has at least 4 or 5 updates each day, thanks man!! btw i wouldn't mind have an arm wrestle with you, i'm 75kg, last time i measured. too bad i'm in ireland though, mayb we can play an online virtual arm wrestling game(if it exists) :) oh i like tat posters too.

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HUSO
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 2:57:54 AM
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happy b'day ben, looks like a self claimed divine gamer really got on your nerves :)) i prefer watching games more than playing it. so all i have to do is make my wife play and give her instructions :P till she gets pissed off and runs after me with the controller. wonder if that makes me a gamer. BTW i'll take u up on that arm wrestling challenge :D

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WaR_HaWk
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 5:11:54 AM
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joke:
"Hello. I'm a Mac."
"-and I'm a PC."
"Say P-"
"F**k you Mac, I can run Crysis."

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ThePoetRazel
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 6:32:19 AM
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I love the Guitar Hero elitists myself. The ones who think they are good cos they completed extreme mode. All i gotta do to beat them is remind them that they did that after weeks on end doing nothing else, while i did the same in the time between playing tonsil hokey with my girlfriend. lol

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Qubex
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 7:04:36 AM
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Happy Birthday Ben!

Q!

"aLL RoAdS LeAd ToO HoMe"

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bamf
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 7:34:54 AM
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If you have a good collection, play many genres, own big epic triple A titles i.e Metal Gear Solid 4, and spend many hours playing these games. I can imagine how they ca call themselves a true gamer, I would probably fit into this categorie?
If I was to ask my sister who plays the odd game on her boyfriends DS, if she was a gamer, the answer would be no. Thats because of the stereotype of a gamer. The ones who play games casually will probably not think themselves to being gamers.

Last edited by bamf on 8/2/2008 7:37:01 AM

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pavlovic
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 9:34:11 AM
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Happy B'day!

I just answer those geeks "u're right I'm not a gamer at all... I do have sex sometimes"

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SerendipityDeus
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 9:39:19 AM
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Yo happy birthday ben! Keep up the updates =)

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MirrorSoul
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 10:01:25 AM
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HAppy B-Day Ben Keep up the Hard work!!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 10:22:40 AM
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Thanks guys. Y'all are gamers, I'm sure of it. :)

But I'm warning any arm-wrestling challengers: I've been lifting every other day for about 8 years and I don't lose often. ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 8/2/2008 10:25:33 AM

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Troy Powers
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 11:28:42 AM

Liar! Gamers don't lift weights! :)

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Troy Powers
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 11:30:37 AM

Liar! Gamers don't lift weights! :)

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infekt
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 10:24:45 AM
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Alas, we are but mere humans. Full of flaws and pitiful greed. But that's why we have wars. To settle our pathetic little unjustified quarrels. For we are mankind; full of hate and disgust for each other.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 10:34:46 AM

I don't need added depression on my 30th birthday, thanks. LOL

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infekt
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 5:43:10 PM

Sorry Ben. Happy 30th. I'm just a dark entity at times. Wait until you get married.

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Advent Child
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 2:32:07 PM
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I don't know Ben, I haven't been known to lose an arm wrestling match in many a year. I will challenge you any day! (and probably go home with my tail between my legs)

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KingRed
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 6:12:32 PM
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Happy B-Day Ben. I'd be willin to challenge you ben. Have a Great day.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, August 02, 2008 @ 8:52:44 PM
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Lots of challengers...but am I being challenged by people who actually follow and have participated in the sport, or people who just arm-wrestle their buddies at parties every now and then? ;)

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shockaz
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 10:58:08 AM
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happy 30th ben (even though I'm a couple of days late)

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Troy Powers
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 11:34:49 AM
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I say, let the geeks have something. If they want to sneer at me and say I'm not a 'real' gamer, that's fine. I'll take getting laid on a semi-regular basis over knowing the back-story to Xenogears any day.

Hey, and happy 30th, man. Hope you enjoyed it. I hit the big three-oh last April, and can honestly say that 30 is BETTER THAN 20. At 30-something, I actually AM good at all the things I THOUGHT I was good at as a 20-something.

And I've got more money. :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 12:14:34 PM

More money is always good, but I refuse to believe 30 is "better" than 20. When I was 20, I was still in college, hanging out with friends all the time, and still completely worry- and responsibility-free.

There IS no substitute for that, I say. ;)

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Nightshade386
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 3:35:13 PM

Happy belated Ben.

My only disagreement with your argument is that you've narrowed the term "gamer" down to simply video games. Most of the old pen and paper RPG'ers would probably feel left out....especially since they're the one's that originated the term "gamer" in the first place.

Last edited by Nightshade386 on 8/4/2008 3:37:30 PM

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Troy Powers
Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 5:00:04 PM

Maybe it's just me, but my 30 was BY FAR better than my 20. The growth has just been exponential. Sure, at 20 I was livin' it up...but on such a small scale. 30 year old me looks back at 20 year old me like, "Wow, you thought that was ballin'?!!?" It's just a completely different league. Everything, across the board, is just more and better. Money, love, leisure...you name it. Even with the added responsibilities (and I'm raising a 4 year old daughter). It's all in how you look at it.

Honestly, 29 was the roughest year. The anticipation of 30 just had me down in the dumps. But, once it hit, and I realized that I'm still the same guy...that I didn't sprout hundreds of new gray hairs and turn humped over with age over night, I was cool. It really is all in your head.

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Jed
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 @ 2:29:35 PM
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Hey ben, great article, I've met a lot of people like this and I really can't stand them. Dont ever talk to one of those people about music either, its the same story. Anyway, Happy Birthday. It's a little late sorry.

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cr67
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 @ 3:38:45 PM
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Ben, first and foremost Happy Birthday. 2nd, awesome post!! I laughed and understood absolutely everything you spoke of, having enjoyed video games since the pong days and at 41 am still enjoying them. I don't play nearly as much as I used to due to work, family, and life in general, but I still enjoy sitting down for a few hours on ocassion with no distractions but me and my PS3. Thanks again for your reviews and this hilarious editorial. You are "the man"!

I also agree....nothing compares to my 20s! No responsibilities, college life, partying all night with friends, the endless babes, partying with friends, more babes...well, you get the picture. :)
Troy: If you felt that way at 29 going on 30....wait till you hit 39 going on 40! LOL

Last edited by cr67 on 8/5/2008 3:43:29 PM

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slayer
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 @ 6:09:43 PM
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hay do you know the person on that poster ben?

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Doomsquirrel
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 @ 11:35:18 PM
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Here's what you do when one of those elitists confronts you about game knowledge: tell him/her some extremely obscure game fact about a game he/she doesn't have, if they do have the game, just tell them you have the Premium Edition, if they say that there is no Premium Edition of that game, tell them it's the Japanese Premium Edition, they will be speechless, that's what I do and it works all the time.

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