: Editorial: All Gamers Are Weird

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Editorial: All Gamers Are Weird

Of course, I'm not referring to the casual gamer who occasionally jumps online to play a round of CoD or plays Bejeweled once a week.

This is in reference to the avid hardcore gamers; those who list video games as a primary hobby in the same way sports nuts list watching the Super Bowl as a top priority in February. This is also in reference to gamers of a certain age; I'm not talking about the hardcore teenager or 20-year-old, although the "weird" label can certainly apply in many such circumstances. 

Look, I've been doing this long enough to know that in any circle, professional and social, where the average age is 30+, the term "gamer" holds a certain stigma. It's unavoidable. And that's because in the history of video games, the only "hardcore" gamers in the 80s were the friendless, unpopular kids in school. It was akin to being a comic book geek, a "Star Wars" fanatic, or a Dungeons & Dragons "addict" (according to any parents of the 80s, anybody who played D&D was a dangerous addict). Those labels have persisted. They've persisted and taken root.

In only the past week, I've encountered this fact in a number of different situations. I'm not about to talk about them - because they're just so unbelievably stupid - but let's just say it was a wake-up call; a harsh reminder that no matter how popular this industry gets, no matter how many 20-year-olds find it to be perfectly normal, the age gap means there are completely different views of gamers. And you know, those in the wrong, those suffering from archaic stereotypes, have absolutely no desire to be corrected. None.

"Oh, well, you know I started my journalism career with the newspapers...three of them, working my way up from local news to major features." "Yeah, I like to play, but I mean...I read "War and Peace" last year, among about fifteen other classics." "What? ...oh, yeah...I work out, six times a week. Have done so for eight years." "No, I don't play forty hours a week. I work in the industry and I still don't play that much." "...only playing? No, it's 90% writing, I would say..." "Outside? Yes, I like to go outside. ...no, not just to see the sun for the first time in a week."

I could say all that in reply (and I have in the past) but it's entirely meaningless. Biased ears are permanently closed and aren't receptive to the truth. Even those who know little to nothing about video games are immediately inclined to believe the worst, and are more likely to just ignore you for the sake of their own safety and sanity. There was a time when this used to anger me. Then I tried to figure out if there was a way past this barrier, if the social and professional sphere of the 30-somethings who aren't gamers would ever voice their acceptance.

But now I'm just indifferent.

I have no desire to correct. No interest in educating. No pressing need to enlighten. But permit me the rolling of eyes and perhaps a rude gesture when you've turned your back...which, by the way, was intensely rude of you in the first place.

3/2/2012 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (38 posts)

maxpontiac
Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 10:09:57 PM
Reply

I am a 38 year old gamer and proud to admit it. I recently volunteered tho help on my sons 6th grade field trip and kids and adults alike were shocked at the fact I play video games. Needless to say, the 12-13 year olds on the bus were who I spoke with the most.

My son was happy, and that's what really matters, not some people who couldn't accept the fact that my hobby was what their students did.

Meaningless is exactly right, Ben.

Agree with this comment 15 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Palpatations911
Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 11:32:19 PM

Keep that attitude and you'll always be the "Cool dad" :)

It is easy to forget what it is like to be a kid and it becomes more and more difficult to relate to them as we get older but gaming is a great way to bring young and old together as friends or family.

When I have kids, I totally want to have at least one night per week where we play video games!

Last edited by Palpatations911 on 3/2/2012 11:36:07 PM

Agree with this comment 11 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 10:14:53 PM
Reply

I honestly didn't even know the term "gamer" until this generation. I never liked being labeled as a gamer. Don't care so much anymore I guess. Though I would consider gaming my second hobby behind music.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 10:59:33 AM

Others might put the "GAMER" tag on me, but hell, I'll wear that label with eff'ing pride.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/3/2012 11:00:16 AM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SmokeyPSD
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 7:38:27 AM

My feelings exactly Jawk, I love film, books but when games come up in conversation none of that matters, I am now and only a "gamer". It wasn't always the case though I remember when I was younger it was I just enjoyed games among everything else.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 10:25:24 PM
Reply

You do reach a certain stage of malaise after trying to justify yourself to outsiders for so long. I've thought on the matter myself a great deal and come to a conclusion concerning the cause of the social stigma.

As I see it people who don't understand believe that gaming is a waste of time that could be better spent on something else (something REAL!) The problem with this is that it comes from the same people who will gladly spend plenty of their own time with, say, reality TV and think nothing of it.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 11:04:01 AM

As an outsider & a biker who doesn't follow the rule of the mainstream sheep, I justify myself to no one!

And my motto is: F*ck "THEM" if they can't handle it.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/3/2012 11:04:42 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Shams
Friday, March 02, 2012 @ 11:59:53 PM
Reply

In debate, the burden of proof is on the one who makes a claim, except for the bigot. A bigot makes his claim about who a people are, then expects the victim to prove him true, otherwise the bigot dismisses him/her as an exception. It is the complete absence of intellect and manners, and it is the height of ignorance coupled with arrogance. So, if they were educated, their arrogance would still get the better of them. And if they were humiliated, they would refuse to be educated. Life is the only teacher of these people. And they don't learn until they've been victims, too. Yet, even then, many continue in it, because it somehow makes them feel superior though it is also is the source of their insecurities, and even give them a feeling of belonging when they find their like, though they become lonelier and more estranged.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Shams
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 3:45:44 AM

I also forget to add to "A bigot makes his claim about who a people are, then expects the victim to prove him true, otherwise the bigot dismisses him/her as an exception..."

"...when in reality, the reflection of actual statistics show the exact opposite case to be true."

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Dante399
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 12:19:03 AM
Reply

I'm 30 years old and I'm an addict to video games along with tons of other hobbies and I work as a secondary school teacher and I can relate to my students more than any other teacher for the sole fact that I like what they like.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Yukian
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 12:46:58 AM
Reply

Ben, I am 21 years old and when I say to non-gaming people, be it my age or older ones,
that my main hobby is to play video games they look at me like "For real??" and start with the "video games are bad for your eyesight and brain and you don't get to learn anything from them, blah blah blah..." when video games where my number one tool to refine my reading and writing in English. Second tool was movies for pronunciation.

It's mildly annoying, but I shrug it off since one doesn't need to feel ashamed for having such an awesome hobby. :P

Last edited by Yukian on 3/3/2012 12:47:50 AM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 1:32:02 AM
Reply

as the saying goes habits die hard!
it never ceases to amaze me that once someone gets something in their heads, its nigh on impossible to get it out!
like my grandmother, she has so much sh*t in the fridge and everything is wrapped in aluminium foil so every time she gets something out of the fridge she has to pull out 20+ dishes before she gets the right one.
the whole families tried to convince her to use cling film since its clear you can actually see through it, so you dont need to pull out 20+ dishes!
but she refuses to use it because she says it does not keep the food fresh.
she wont even try it, every time we switch it over when shes not there and she will change it back and tell us off when she gets back.
why not leave it, and see if were right?
stereotypes are the same, no matter what you do you its nigh on impossible to get rid of them!
ive learned to say f*ck it.
people do whatever they do, no point trying to help, and convince them out of habits because you would have better luck turning water into gold.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Russell Burrows
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 2:14:46 AM
Reply

I sit in my business and either watch movies or play video games and hit pause when a customer shows up.

Some customers ask about it and I say theres no way I am sitting all day stareing at the shop windows day in and day out with no entertainment.

And every single customer tells me they also either play videos games or watch movies to pass the time when the boss is not around.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 5:24:58 AM
Reply

lol - I think what you're trying to say is that because most older gamers buck the trend and do what they want in the face of ignorance and bias, that we're a bit strange? Or the rest of the world is a bit crazy because they don't understand?

I'm not worried either way - if anyone doesn't accept the fact I like gaming, that's their problem, not mine ;). As long as I'm doing my bit (at work, with my partner, for the community more broadly) then it's just another hobby, and far better than many.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

parasitic
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 6:03:29 AM
Reply

Stereotypically speaking there are plenty of 20-25year old hardcore gamers who are very weird. My own experience comes from doing a degree in Games Technology course, not only programmers but animators can be equally as strange. Some people simply lack social skills, they are a bit awkward in public or there's something you just can't put your finger on it. However at the same time, some of these hardcore gamers are the nicest and most entertaining people with plenty of experiences to share, so they haven't been living in the basement. Looking at my class, there are more 'strange' people than ones I would call normal.. But you know, even the strange ones are nice people once you get used to their akwardness. Stereotypes exist for a reason, so that we can generalise and sadly I find that they are mostly true. This is my experience only though... perhaps it's different for 30+ gamers who had to get job and now have a family which would result in them being fairly normal and not that stereotypically geeky and weird behaving gamer :)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

JackC8
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 7:50:00 AM
Reply

Considering most people spend their evenings sitting in front of their TV watching The Bachelor or Dancing With The Stars, I honestly couldn't care less about what they think of me sitting in front of my TV with a controller in my hands. I don't think I've ever met anyone who looks down on gaming, or if I did I paid so little attention to their opinion that it didn't even register.

I graduated from high school in 1982 when video arcades were hugely popular, and I'm sure there were a certain number of snobs back then who looked down their noses at it, and they probably grew up into adult snobs who look down their noses at everything today. I didn't pay any attention to them then, and I don't pay any attention to them now. Let them go through life with their superiority complexes intact, and all the bitterness and indignation that goes along with it. I'm way too busy enjoying my life to care.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 9:11:54 AM

Nice. A family friend owned a coin-op video arcade called the "Twilight Zone". Great memories...

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 8:33:52 AM
Reply

It's so true. I have an excellent recent example.

I had an old supervisor write me a reference letter for something for another job working with youth.

She had excellent things to say but mentioned I had my foot both in the adult world and the youth world, being able to bridge the gap between the two....

Get this: In one sentence she wrote, "He can relate to their problems, understand and address their issues, speak their lingo, gets their jokes, and play their video games."

haha..... ahhh.... I don't know if that's seen as good or not for a reference letter, but to me, that spoke VOLUMES....

Last edited by Underdog15 on 3/3/2012 8:35:18 AM

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 9:54:27 AM

Ah yes, "their" video games. As in, games are only for kids.

......I just want to scream. That's my biggest pet peeve, right there.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 11:31:03 AM

Concerning the age thing, I remember a few years ago I was at my former bosses house(about 5 years older than myself with kids) I saw in his office he had various older PC games and an Xbox and stuff, it was evident he was a gamer. So I asked what games do you play? He responded with "my kids like playing.. Etc"
He being an entrepreneur and extremely busy and multi talented acted as gaming just has no place in the scope of his ambition. His duties and passions were so singular to his higher commitments, like family, work and other responsibilities that gaming as a "gamer" asked too much energy.
Now I know we all have our own circumstances but I've been feeling that greatly as of late. I'm so busy that as much as I'd like to spare a couple hours each day for gaming, I just can't right now. I have too many obligations. Obligations that come from being an adult(family, school, work, and other responsibilities). When I do get time to relax its usually time to relax with the family, not by myself playing games. Im beginning to suspect the perspective of being a gamer and being younger has a correlation together based on that perspective. Where, introspectively a busy adult may rationalize that gaming must be for kids because only kids have free time for themselves.
Just an observation.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 8:36:25 PM

After kids, I think we all have less time. I have a career too. Normally weekends would have been key gaming times for me, but this weekend, since Thursday, I've played a total of 2.5 hours. And that was split between 2 times. Once, my wife just happened to take our baby out to visit his grandparents, and the second was when they both took a nap this afternoon.

Just because you have more family time or work doesn't mean it's no longer a hobby. And the fact that I don't have as much time to play video games would not stop me from admitting video games are not a hobby of mine. Nor would I hide that fact from a co-worker or supervisor. Instead, I defend my hobby intelligently, highlighting facts, not only about games, but about my clear ability to prioritize my time appropriately.

So while I too understand having less time, I do not understand people's need to deny it as their passtime. Why.... because they're insecure? Because they think people will label them?

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to allow someone else's ignorance affect my being embarrassed.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 3/4/2012 8:38:42 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

gray_eagle
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 8:38:24 AM
Reply

i'm 49 and i'm proud to be a gamer. everyone has some
kind of hobby.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 9:12:25 AM

You get a thumbs up!

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 9:54:56 AM

I think that makes you the second-oldest gamer at PSXE; BikerSaint holds the crown, I believe. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/3/2012 9:55:05 AM

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 11:12:54 AM
Reply

Ben,

I think I might have to digress, as I believe that there's 1 other member that only posts here occasionally, who I had posted to before that actually has my 59 years beat(but by only a few months, LOL).

But I do think I'm the oldest one here in as far as being the more active poster.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 12:27:02 PM

Really? I don't know him. But it's always good to see everyone gaming, from 6 to 60. :)

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 5:15:50 PM

You are almost 60 BikerSaint? That is awesome.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 11:15:52 AM
Reply

BTW, as far my age closing in on the "big 60" this upcoming November, all I've got to say is...

When I grow up, "I just wanna a Toys Are Us Kid"(of video gaming).

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/3/2012 11:16:37 AM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 2:43:18 PM
Reply

I am realizing how incredibly lucky I am, cause I don't meet that attitude at all.

I work as a programmer for a company here in Norway that mainly consist of young computer nerds (I'm the oldest with my 43 years). Needless to say, it's a company of gamers too. So at lunch at work everyone are either talking gaming or tech, and noone is thinking I'm weird at all. Not one. They don't really question my age even. They just, "oh, a gamer? Cool".

And with a girlfriend that's just 26 I don't meet any problem with my gamer status amongst her friends or brothers either. And my own friends.... Well they know me. So, I'm off the hook all around. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/3/2012 2:47:38 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 7:37:53 PM

Beamboom,

That's way cool you've got a job full of like-minded gamers.

I spent 21 years at my last job, & out of 4000+ employees, I only knew 2 who gamed, both Xbots.

And one of them was so fanatical about FPS, that's all he would ever play.
Matter of fact, at 36, all he ever did was to keep bragging endlessly on how he was going to take over the worldwide #1 spot for all FPS shooters.

But it sucked for him that he still had 35 thousand xbots standing in his way, and all way ahead of his record though, LMAO

And I never told him but when we played a couple of Gears 2 co-op in the Horde map, he wasn't all that much better than me(in which I consider myself to be about an average Joe gamer)

Ben,
Hey, don't you be hating on my Bejewel, that game's my rock candy on crack. LOL
And when I checked my playing stat's just last week, I already had 403 hours clocked in on Classic mode.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/3/2012 7:44:11 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Deadman
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 8:14:29 PM
Reply

This past week there was a fatal school shooting near the Cleveland area. Since this was local, we were receiving the news as it broke on the radio. I was shocked when one of my co-workers immediately said, "It's those god damned video games."

I was simply like "Dude, I have been playing games for over 25 years. And not once have I ever had the urge to want to shoot someone." And no amount of arguing was going to get through to him, that this kid that shoot up his school just broke and that video games were not the cause.

Normally I disagree with you Ben on these stigmas that are placed on gamers. Because personally I have never experienced it first hand. But after arguing with that ass for what felt like hours, it was a slap to the face.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 9:03:27 PM

I'm telling you, it's there. Some days, it's just unavoidable, and it tends to come out during emotional situations like that.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 12:10:51 AM

I was watching some murder show on Netflix and one of the stories was about these two teens who murdered a man at his shop and paralyzed a woman in the gas station by shooting them. The police found out they liked that movie Natural Born Killers and doing acid so the families tried to sue Oliver Stone. I couldn't help but palm my face. I have no doubt that exposure to violence desenetises us to some extent but in the end the movie didn't force those two kids to commit murder. They decided to do it on their own.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Fane1024
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 5:44:26 AM

I think I've told this story previously, but it's apropos to the discussion.

When I walked out of the theater after watching Natural Born Killers, I could tell that I was in an agitated state. As I crossed the street (in the crosswalk, with the right-of-way), a car whose driver didn't see me (or didn't look) jumped into the crosswalk and clipped me. I wasn't injured since the car was barely moving and the driver hit the brakes as I hopped away from the car.

In my agitated state, now heightened by a kick of adrenaline, I felt the urge to attack the driver. What I did, however, was glower at him for a few seconds and then go on my way.

My point is two-fold: first, the movie absolutely had an impact on my reaction to the situation; second, that it didn't dictate my actions.

Of course, I wasn't an active gamer at the time. If I had been, I obviously would have gone on a killing spree.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 3/4/2012 5:49:20 AM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Robochic
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 8:43:21 AM
Reply

I'm 31 and proud to be a gamer, as a mom i find what i can to play but now my 7 year old is right into it mostly cars 2 but hey we all started somewhere.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ather
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 3:30:29 PM
Reply

It's nice how people like to make your business their business. It's nice they want you to think, do, and say what the do. They're lives beign such smashign successes. Oh wait.

Last edited by Ather on 3/4/2012 3:30:44 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

dbyzforce
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 10:37:13 PM
Reply

I am 35 and have been gaming since the early days. I used to go to the arcade and when went to my neighbors place to visit, I used to play the colecovision with their son and on an old Tandy computer. I don't care what others think.Its not like I am doing something bad.
Just like Ben says " Biased ears are permanently closed and aren't receptive to the truth. Even those who know little to nothing about video games are immediately inclined to believe the worst, and are more likely to just ignore you for the sake of their own safety and sanity." My father who died last Aug. He never played games himself but enjoyed watching me play. He was amazed at how games have evolved, he even thought Heavy Rain was like a movie. So I follow his advice: "Ignore them and enjoy what you like to do." (heavily edited cause original quote full of nasty language, he always swore at time). Geez talking about him has made me already miss him...

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Monday, March 05, 2012 @ 11:41:08 AM
Reply

lo, I've been playing video games for over 35 years now. Forget the stigma, people will think what they think, and that is *their* problem, not yours.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Did Destiny live up to your expectations?
Yes it did and then some!
Not quite but it's still great.
No, it's only okay.
Not at all; it's a huge disappointment.

Previous Poll Results