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Geeks Are In, But How Come Game Geeks Are Always Out?

Somebody has to explain this to me, please.

Nerd culture is in. It's hip. It's slick. It's the thing to be. "The Big Bang Theory" is a popular television show. Everyone loves electronic gadgets; it isn't just the pale, friendless, awkward kid in school.

So why aren't gaming geeks in fashion? What happened?

Everything about cell phones and tablets and computers is deemed "cool" or at the very least, "normal" these days. Back in the 70s and 80s, electronics were strictly the haven of the nerds, of the kids who weren't invited to parties, and of the adults who never were invited to parties and were subsequently stuck with solitary forms of entertainment. Quick tangent- Let's not forget that video games was initially a solitary hobby, which is why the nerds gravitated towards it.

But now, just about everything that was considered "geeky" decades ago is part of mainstream culture and widely accepted as perfectly normal. ...except video games. We just can't win, can we? Growing up in the 80s, I never would've dreamed that the majority of stuff I was interested in would become interesting to the masses. And yet, here we are, and the most popular chicks in school are into electronic gadgets of all kind, and yeah, even the jocks might play a video game or two. But overall, in the bigger scheme of things, avid gamers simply aren't allowed to move up the social ladder. No more rungs for you!

It's a bizarre phenomenon, actually. You could do all sorts of geeky things. You could be a "Star Wars" buff and dress up and go to conventions, and even that doesn't seem half so geeky as someone over the age of 30 playing video games. You could still be into Dungeons & Dragons or be in love with all of Tolkien's work. Hell, those "Lord of the Rings" movies were kinda popular, yes? And we're all allowed to enjoy that but when it comes to video games, the stigmas and stereotypes remain firmly entrenched, despite the electronics explosion. Totally weird.

I will never understand why it's okay for someone to play a game on their cell phone or tablet, but playing a game on a dedicated entertainment system is still seen as a touch...questionable.

Tags: video games, gaming culture, gaming geeks, gaming nerds

4/10/2012 9:11:44 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (39 posts)

bebestorm
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:06:02 PM
Reply

I don't believe people will ever change their view of gamers just like everytime I go to best buy or gamestop they always assume Im buying for my boyfriend or husband my personal favorite is when the guy directs me towards the wii games.

Last edited by bebestorm on 4/10/2012 10:06:58 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:18:57 PM

Sounds like the guy that directs you to the Wii games needs to take an arrow to the knee.

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Vitron
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 11:57:24 PM

But he'll just say "Must have been the wind..." :P

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:36:00 AM

I used to be a gamer like you, until I took an arrow to the knee...

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FM23
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:17:28 PM
Reply

I don't know where the rest of you guys are from or how old you are, but I'm 24 from LA and video games are hardly considered nerdy. If anything, it seems like people (women especially) consider gaming something unemployed people without constructive hobbies partake in. Haha, negative, but true this is just a small percentage though. Bit then again, we all live in different areas with different customs. All I know is gaming isn't considered nerdy where I from and most of the people I know who do it are pretty social. Times have changed yes, but most of the time....you're considered a nerdy loser if well your just a awkward weird person with poor social skills. Just sayin.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:18:14 PM

You're also 24. When you're 34, it won't be so widely accepted, which is part of the problem.

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FM23
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:23:38 PM

That is true because my cousin is in her mid thirties and she stopped dating this man because well he fit my stereotyle of gamers over here, so I don't think it the PS3 is to blame but his failures as a man. Lol. But I know alot of older gamers who get no bullshit because well they are successful I guess. I dont know, the stigma isnt as bad where I'm from.

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shadowscorpio
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 11:01:40 PM

I am a male, turn 29 this year and work for a living. Oh yeah , I 'm a gamer. Its something that I have never kept from the women I've dated. They never seemed to have an issue with it but maybe that's because not the only hobby I have.

Don't get me wrong, I devout a good 30 + hours a week to gaming. You might be on to something when you say that some people see gamers as anti-social , unemployed, etc.

I think the first step is showing people that gamers, even console gamers come in differnt types these days. Lawyers, web designers, chefs. I know people with these professions that are in fact console gamers.

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Teddie9
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 4:34:45 PM

I'm envious FM23, 17 years old and I get the odd older relative or adult family friend that's surprised that I supposedly haven't "matured" yet. *rolls eyes*

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jugheadjones
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 12:30:53 AM

I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I am 47 yrs old and the younger gamers accept me because I'm the only one they trust over 30. lol. People my age aren't into what I'm into, but they love my youthful exuberance, so I am accepted as an older gamer. I do, however, see a lot of what you guys are saying out there. I think it's a kind of jealousy, in some cases. They don't like the fact that they have become "stodgy old farts". They wish they could be cool again. haha

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:29:42 PM
Reply

Hell, at 59(and except for one other member who occasionally posts here too), I don't know of even 1 single soul(or lack of one,LOL) in my own age bracket, that also claims to game.

And I've only got one thing to say about that....

"Their loss".

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sunspider13
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:51:25 PM

They'll have to take my controller out of my cold dead hands.

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Gordo
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 3:58:09 AM

As someone brainier than me once said:

"Youth is wasted on the young".

You are an inspiration to us all.

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La_Bete12
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:31:53 PM
Reply

I don't know about you, but in my city and among a lot of people in the high school I attend, video games are seen as normal. a lot of even the "cool kids" will talk about the latest Elder Scrolls/CoD/Assassin's Creed game coming out. Surprisingly, many of the somewhat "nerds" or "geeks" are really beginning to be popular and wellknown among my classmates. At least in my generation (I'm almost 18 btw) video games are becoming almost second nature, and it's just seen as an entertainment source a lot of people are using. Even a lot of the teachers I've talked to have played some kind of console game as well. (Skyrim seems to be really popular among them lol) I'm just saying it from my point of view, I hope I didn't offend anyone.

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La_Bete12
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:32:40 PM

I just noticed my comment is a lot like FM23's up above. My bad. :P

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:43:08 PM
Reply

Yes, I may not have made it clear in the article, but it's mostly referring to adult gamers over a certain age.

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sunspider13
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 10:57:22 PM
Reply

I'm 37 and I'm fortunate enough to have a few friends my age that game as well. Also the friends I've made online that are younger than myself don't find anything strange or wrong with my gaming. One actually called me cool, lol. Every so often I run into people that I just meet that are like "Gaming is something for kids". Lets me know they are not worth the time to get to know further. Their loss.

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kraygen
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 11:30:54 PM
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Something I've never understood either, I simply see gaming as another form of entertainment. Yet, it seems ok and perfectly normal to watch 4 hours of tv or a couple of movies every night of the week, but if you spend 4 hours playing video games then there must be something wrong with you.

I have family that all have smart phones, they all play angry birds and other little cell phone games. However they often say things when I'm around, including this past Easter weekend, that video games ruin lives.

While I have no problem keeping my gaming life from getting in the way of my marriage or other responsibilities, I have known more than a few guys that have become addicted to gaming so much that they completely ignored their wives and children.

I think in the end, certain stereotypes will remain just because of the small percentage that have no self control.

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JDC80
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 12:59:10 AM
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I'm turning 32 next month and I just view gaming as another form of entertainment. While I was at college it didn't impact me at all. I stood up playing Street Fighter anniversary or whatever with people in the dorm's lounge til 5 AM and still managed to get to my 8 AM class which I got a A in that class.

I think the problem with gaming is that old stereotype of gamers jacked up skin, gut touching the floor and the only time a gamer had a girlfriend was within the game.

I'm proud to call myself a gamer, it's fun, gaming inspires the imagination and unlike other forms of entertainment you have an active role in that universe. I look at it this each its own but I rather be fighting the beast in Infamous 2 than watch Jersey Shore, I rather be running over Russian mobsters in a car I just ripped off in Liberty City than watch a teeny boomer show or the multiple spin offs of 16 and pregnant and I rather swinging through New York as Spider-Man or lurk in the darkness waiting for the right time to strike a thug as Batman than read any of the Twilight books.

The only thing I won't embrace in the gaming culture is cosplay even I had the body to do it would be just weird for me to do it. Cosplay rule should be as follows Hot girls yes, dudes not so much.

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Nerull
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 1:45:27 AM
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prejudices are very rarely logical, and also baby boomers eat up negative propaganda like it was beer flavoured ice cream

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PharaohJR
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 2:19:04 AM
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im 24, been gaming heavy since 1993. alot of folks i meet especially females are suprised i like spending time gaming. i been told im serious & disciplined & my demeanor looks more of a anti social criminal lol. even my kinfolks sit in shock when they see me pick up their youngins controller & play a couple games with them.

im not really anti social just like discussing relevance & im a man of action. 90% walk 10% talk. only time i try fitting in is when im kooling with a feline lol, so i care less if society accepts the hobbie.

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Gordo
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 3:50:52 AM
Reply

Turn 40 in three days (kicking and screaming!).

Just bought a PS Vita as a birthday present to myself.

Have a good job, a wife, two kids and a mortgage. Gaming in my life is as valid a hobby as reading, music, art, movies, etc etc...

Nothing nerdy about it as long as you don't do it to the exclusion of everything else. Balance is the key.

In this modern world most people are negative about most things so to see people enthusiastic about their hobby or interests is good to see.

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:37:23 AM

People are as old as they feel, I find that many people around my age or a few years older believe that they must somehow be older than they are and frown upon those that do not 'act their age'. Playing video games is apparently unbecoming of someone of our age group and so we are scorned...

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:58:48 AM

Highlander,

Ha! Laying somewhere in this old body, there's a "Toys R US" kid always screaming to get out.

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shadowscorpio
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 12:05:55 PM

"A man should never lose the boy in him". I actually take this saying very close to heart.

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Russell Burrows
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 4:44:24 AM
Reply

It depends on what type of gameing setup that 40 and older guy has.

If its just game platform plus small tv that screams no job! then yes its not cool.??

If its game platform plus large HDTV plus many plate amplifiers plus many subwoofers plus 7.1 L, C, R,Rs,Ls and Cs speakers plus projector and screen and dedicated Home Theater room that says hey! this cost the bucks! to set up then its cool for either games, music or movies.

It comes down to its sad to see a 40+ guy just playing video games with no job versus that same 40+ guy playing video games/movie watching and then saying to the hot female date:

Sorry but I have to cut this movie short since I need to go to the airport to do a deal in Sydney, Australia and by the way umm how about we both go and after the deal we relax on the beach in Sydney??

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Kealan94
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 6:13:36 AM
Reply

I know lots of people my age who consider gaming to be for people who are geeks or nerds etc yet these same people will spend hours on facebook or twitter.

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___________
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 6:18:26 AM
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i dunno about that.
everyone i know plays games from the social crap like draw something to the corest of games like deamon souls!
i was really shocked to see a friend of mine whos studying to become a model playing demon souls this morning!
not to mention me and my uncle were playing a little online BF3 on easter sunday.
BTW my uncles 83!
then afterwards whipping out GT5 and racing the family around a few tracks.

everywhere you look people are playing games and all ages too so its not just electronics that have shaken the geeky niche stereotypes.

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Nerull
Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 7:30:20 AM

wait wait wait wait wait wait wait...wait
STUDYING to become a model?
as in what plastic surgeons to go to and which of the 2 dozen varieties of poutiness to display?

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Palmetto
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 8:08:18 AM
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At 47 I am not sure when it was that stopped caring what other people think of me. I game big deal. I have a loving wife who I don't nor have I ever whored around on. I dont drink or do drugs. So if gaming streotypes me as an over aged nerd so be it. Life is to short for me to really give a rat's butt.

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:51:58 AM

Excellent post, 1000 thumbs up and a big old "ditto" from me.

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telly
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 9:59:16 AM
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I may be overly optimistic here, but I think that stigma is fading. The fact that someone like my girlfriend -- about as disinterested in tech as one could be in this day and age, at least in a major metro area -- in the last year bought an iphone and actually plays the occasional game on it speaks to just how "normal" gaming has become. This time last year she had less than zero interest in any of it (needless to say she's ok with me being the kind of guy with about five consoles hooked up to the TV!) but now, she sort of "gets it." She didn't even grow up with an NES or a Genesis, but she's definitely a bit more interested in the stuff now.

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of dedicated consoles -- she's terrified of even holding my 3DS, hahaha -- but I think the barrier between socially acceptable gaming and hardcore gaming is the lowest it's ever been. And moving forward, as virtually everyone plays video games in some form or another, I think that barrier will continue to fade away.

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telly
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:05:55 AM

post-script: I'm 31, she's 28, if that matters. Also, was playing some Peace Walker HD when she came over last night, when I was in the middle of fighting, well, Peace Walker. I told her I needed a minute to wrap up the fight. She read a book and kept an eye on the fight with the enormous robot and the crazy, semi-animated comic book cut scenes that followed it. She was a little confused but definitely interested, and that game is about as hardcore as games get: comic book cut scenes, crazy voice acting, weird names (we both laughed out loud as Snake went back and forth talking about "kaz" and "paz,") laberinthine plot, etc. etc. etc. It was a big step in our relationship :)

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MrAnonymity
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:24:14 AM
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I pretty much love a double taboo - video games and metal. Just as metal will pretty much never be universally acceptable, I can't see video games doing much better. There's a common thread there... With metal there are bands that have positive messages and the like, but adversely there are bands with imagery like - say - Cannibal Corpse. With video games there are thousands of games that are kid- and family-friendly, BUT there are also games that are just plain violent and brutal. Either way, due to countless fans, loyalists, followers, blah blah blah... both markets continue to thrive.

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 10:43:22 AM
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Video games are an easy target because they are intrinsically linked to games that kids play on the one hand. Which leads people to dismiss video games as something for kids. On the other hand, video games are seen as something that loners, social outcasts and slightly unbalanced folks lose themselves in. Which brings it's own connotations. It's all to easy for people to frown on video games simply because they are a time waster.

<sarcasm>
All in all, geek might be cool, but a gaming geek is still a childish nut-job that wastes his time with other social outcasts and loners playing violent games that you'd never (yeah right) let your kids play.
</sarcasm>

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 11:17:34 AM
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Someone once... "complemented".... me in a reference letter for a job I applied for working with youth... this "complement" was that I speak their language, get their issues, and (this is the part)... "play their video games"...


THEIR video games.... *ugh*... I didn't say anything because it was a kick-a$$ reference, but it definitely rubbed me the wrong way.


I don't find I get much disrespect for playing games, really. My in-laws don't particularly like it. My wife isn't into games, but she's got no issue really with me playing them since it's not a priority over family. People know me for the good things I've accomplished and am accomplishing in life, but I'm not gonna lie... when people find out I play games, they're flat out surprised.

Seriously, straight up surprised... as if a man with a family and career would actually play video games... recently, someone even commented that my son wasn't nearly old enough to play games yet. (He's only 5 months) I usually say something like, "Yeah, well, it's true. Believe it or not, my 5 month old son who doesn't even walk, is not, in fact, the one playing Assassin's Creed."

I'm sure people have thought disrespectful thoughts about me playing games and have kept it to themselves, but it's really sad... it's literally hard for people to understand why a grown man would play video games. I find it's easier just to joke around and go with it.



Here's a good trick I do you should all try... when criticized or looked down on for playing games... just ask them... "What's the last 5 movies you saw?" or "What's your favorite TV show?" 9 times out of 10, I betcha it's something trashy and immature. Afterall, whether it's the last game I played or not, I tell them about how in Assassin's Creed, I wandered around 14 and 15th century Italy exactly as it would have looked while learning all about it's historical landmarks. (Whenever near one, hit select, and it tells you all about it)

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kevinater321
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 5:39:02 PM
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It's because the younger generation are used to video games, where as someone who grew up thinking only nerds play video games aren't going to change their opinion on it.

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Robochic
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 5:56:16 PM
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i turned 31 this past february i have a loving husband, two kids and i play when i can i see it as i can go online release my stress on some poor person and not go to jail for it :) without gaming dude i'd be a bundle of anger.
I do get alot of flak from my inlaws but i once put it as i spend alot of time with the kids i clean i work 40 hours a week i work out so damn it i need something for myself it could be worse i could ignore my kids, hate my life drink and do drugs till i die they now just accept it :)

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 9:36:54 AM

haha,

That would be excellent to say to the in-laws next time they criticize gaming...

"I could just drink every night and swing a hammer at shit instead, if you'd rather"

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