"Gamers"

speaking of the gamer archetype image what on earth is going on with the angry video game nerd’s 12 epaulette shirts? It doesn’t make sense for a vg nerd. But I saw a recent not in character vid and he was wearing the same thing but tan. I don’t get it.

Part of what drove me to make this post was a statement of “gamers suck” somewhere on the forum. I was curious what group people mapped that word onto. Sort of similar to the statement in the latest podcast of “gamers are the worst people in the world,” but it felt to me that in the former case, there was a sense of IC being the positive ‘anti-gamer’ as described by baftaboo, whereas in the example in the podcast it seemed to mean to include any person interacting with games (getting their psychology ‘poisoned’ a bit by interacting with skinner boxes). I realized that both things didn’t sit well with me.

It then made me curious about how people thought of it, and how it may be utilized in some form of in/out group definition among the community. Not sure there is any way to map the truth of that interpretation, and these are individual examples, so there may be nothing there. I can say I didn’t feel great about either statement, because group labeling/ putting down is just not something I feel cool with, even when being hyperbolic or including oneself in the group.

As an aside, I was speaking with a group of not-into-games friends and asked them how they felt about the word gamer. I had forgotten how little of the world has the mental line drawn between gamergate and other events, and it was interesting to me how much less negative baggage they seemed to hold for the word. Suppose that could be true for anyone who doesn’t have a particular label applied to them as well.

@MDS-02#26741 I‘m not sure how much of the podcast you have listened to, but I think you may have taken Azurelore’s statements out of context, through no fault of your own.

Alex's question of "What is wrong with videogames?" is part of a longterm recurring discussion initiated on Episode 146 - What Is Wrong With Videogames And Nine Other Questions (August 16, 2020). In that episode, Alex asked the titular question, well, once, and then nine subsequent times. The discussion didn't start there but eventually the discussion did land on social and cultural problems with videogames and gamers and "Gamers," in the "toxic element of videogames as a cultural sphere as a whole" sense. As well, when Alex finds it appropriate, he re-asks the question, and has a few times before, including in the anniversary episode. Again, the question was not meant to specifically steer the discussion towards social and cultural issues within games, it organically went there. I think a lot of us were feeling it at that time, with all of the social unrest of those times (which hasn't gone away, of course). I distinctly remember listening to that episode and thinking that it was timely, to say the least.

So, when Alex asked that question and Azurelore gave the answer that they did, I would say with some confidence that that was not meant to speak about videogames or people who play videogames in a general sense at all. There is a sort of implied "What the hell is wrong with [the aspects of] videogames [that have made it develop such pronounced anti-social, right wing, bigoted elemenst]" in the question within the context of the ongoing discussion on the podcast. Perhaps, even, also with an implied "and what can we do about it?"

What Azurelore I believe was getting at overall, and I don't mean to speak for them so they can correct me without reservation if they read this (they don't read the forum regularly I don't think), is that the toxicity of some subcultural elements of gaming did not just spring up out of nowhere and that there is something inherent to games that may have contributed to it happening the way that it did with Gamergate and with current associations of gaming with borderline sociopathic white men who embody a sort of equivocation of being a gamer with violence against women, being racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and so on and so on. And, that there is no small measure of social power and influence that games are attempting to tap into and have tapped into for a long time (hence the reference to games having origins in gambling). Games do have psychological influence and they have, for a long time, attempted to tap into psychological feelings of validation, complacency, and feelings of power and autonomy. And I think that that is or at least could be a contributing factor to the sort of social/cultural problem that the overall gaming community has been facing for some time. That's how I understand what they were saying, at any rate.

I don't want you to think I'm just trying to tell you how to feel, rather, trying to reassure you that I don't think how you interpreted the discussion was the intention behind the discussion, and there was implication about what the question was about that you may not have been aware of.

right, I don‘t think the “anti-gamer” sentiment is directed against innocent husky fellas who like super nintendo, it’s A) the psycho gamer gate stuff and B) the kind of gamer-ness that sets the limits of what videogames can be - like the pissed-diaper reaction of quite a few people to gone home for example, or how something like bioshock infinite or the last of us are the products of gamer “seriousness.” I though azure‘s comments in the podcast to follow the throughline of gambling lineage were insightful. There’s a real tension between the kids' toy aspect and what the form can be beyond that, and the sometimes shrill and atavistic gamer insistence that the kid stuff is in fact good and important, is a real drag.


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@yeso#26757 innocent husky fellas who like super nintendo

I'm far from innocent

Thanks for writing that up @Gaagaagiins, I feel like I'm on that same page.

Ultimately, I think what I was trying to suss out with this thread topic was how much people saw a line between "people who play games" and "people who play and think about games," and how much of a value judgement was held by members of this community of one mode of engaging vs another.

An earlier example was given of a person who likes movies saying "Ghostbusters is the best movie ever" but not being able to articulate much about why - I think I'm rather ambivalent about the "good/bad" judgement of that mode of being. When that statement then comes to say "they should never make a new ghostbusters movie because the old one is just the best," then we are switching into that 'gatekeeping' mode, which has the negative impact of limiting what things are possible.

I wholly agree that there is some population out there that applies crappy pressure that ultimately "sets the limits of what videogames can be," and that group overlaps with the population of people who "just play" games. Consideration of how to deal/cope with the 'limit setting' elements in the broader culture is obviously a big ongoing challenge.

Maybe my last thought then is that I think we can sometimes use the term "gamer" to refer to "a person not thinking that much about what they're playing," and sometimes to refer to "a person harmfully clinging to some image of what games should be." I personally have pretty different value judgements about those two classes, and I don't feel good if I catch a whiff of people denigrating the former. I'm confident we all consciously think pretty similarly about that, but I had some fears about this community defining itself as "the place where thinkers come, not 'just gamers'." I don't think I really have any evidence of that being the case, though, so don't feel you need to persuade me that's not the case. It was mostly an itch in the back of my mind.

I personally know that I've kind of drained my mental energy thinking about this thread over the last 24 hours, thinking about how I can talk about this appropriately and not be a jerk. I regret if it was an overall drain on anyone else, but I hope maybe some helpful thinking was had, and that maybe I've made some sense in the end. Thanks.

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@MDS-02#26762 use the term “gamer” to refer to “a person not thinking that much about what they’re playing,” and sometimes to refer to “a person harmfully clinging to some image of what games should be.”

I suppose I really shouldn't speak for everyone, but in the past ten months I've spent browsing this forum I have only ever seen the term used in the latter sense (of those two), or else as a(n ironic) term of endearment (maybe there's a discussion to be had there about irony and the self-deprecating language we as game-players use to talk about ourselves). No one here (I hope!) is hating on people playing video games having an innocent good time, don't worry. A not-small fraction of this forum is dedicated to no-strings-attached love of not only software but marketing materials, t-shirts, peripherals, console color variants, instruction manuals, etc. etc., basically all kinds of stuff that's totally commercial, ephemeral, and not really think-aboutable in a deep way. It would sure be hypocritical of a community which partakes in all that to turn around and look down its nose at people having fun (and not doing anyone any harm).

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so don’t feel you need to persuade me that’s not the case. It was mostly an itch in the back of my mind.

forgive this attempt to relieve that itch ;)

just put this on, gonna smoke this thread

https://youtu.be/uLd7WuNwIXU

@captain#26765 I think the Hardware Showoff thread is a good example of the culture here. People excited to show and tell. People excited for that excitement. People helping with information others might not know. Clearly a community super invested in the medium. But also deeply opposed to setting rigid terms as to who gets to be involved in the hobby and how.

On a syntax level I think of it this way: If I say "I play video games" I am inviting you to ask me about it if you wish, if not we can talk about something else and by degrees come to know each other. If I say, "I am a gamer," I am already setting the terms by which I want you to get to know me. That my identity as "gamer" supersede's all else about me.

@dicegame#26766 aint no gamer aint no gamer

For me, the term gamer started as a gross marketing term and now exclusively refers to individuals as seen in examples like this

https://twitter.com/frailgesture/status/1382472697175699458

(Please expand if the preview/embed cuts it off. I’m talking about the reply in the picture, not Matt Rorie!)

I feel no embarrassment nor shame in saying that I enjoy playing games, but I would never call myself a “gamer”, to avoid that association