256: Hardcore Maleness

Manicotti

New member
Apr 10, 2009
523
0
0
I couldn't read this article without thinking of George Carlin's routine about how war is basically an international game of Penis Envy.
 

Iron Lightning

Lightweight Extreme
Oct 19, 2009
1,237
0
0
Really now, must we argue semantics so much. Words have neither power nor meaning unless you think that they do. I suppose that if you want to argue semantics, then here is my definition (kindly written before my reply could be transcribed:)
Gildan Bladeborn said:
I take issue with this oversimplification, and not just because all the games used as examples of "hardcore" ones that appeal to male audiences are games I bloody hate (or entire genres I bloody hate in the case of sports titles). For me, the distinction between hardcore and casual games is quite easy to make: Does your game have a narrative structure that gradually unfolds as the player makes progress in the game? If yes, it's not a casual game. If no, it is. Unless it revolves around competitive multiplayer, in which case I will still think of it as merely an 'advanced' casual game since there is ultimately no purpose to your actions in game beyond "shoot some dudes for points" or what have you, but I recognize that others don't see those that way.
If we feel the need to "genderize" terms we are doing nothing more than engendering differences between social groups. I don't play Farmville because it's an absolutely terrible game without any plot beyond "raise a good farm." I also rather enjoy World of Goo a game without any traditionally "masculine" elements.

40% of gamers are women, do you really think that many are just into "girly" games. To make such gender distinctions as this article did is clearly and simply sexist.
 

Odoylerules360

We're all just folk now...
Aug 29, 2008
166
0
0
"Hardcore" equals masculine. "Casual" equals feminine. It's just that simple.
No, no it doesn't.
Hardcore means Hardcore and Casual means Casual.

I didn't read any farther than this, because it sounds like you really don't know what you're talking about.
 

chozo_hybrid

Jund 'Em Out!
Jul 15, 2009
3,456
0
0
NamesAreHardToPick said:
Empowerment RIP.

This article's not feminist, it's reinforcing and expanding gender stereotypes. Games about guns, blood, engines, sports... the article says these things are for BOYS ONLY in case anyone missed the memo. There's no option that a man might enjoy Plants vs Zombies over Call of Duty. There's no option that a woman would enjoy playing these games, or could be capable of doing so with the same skill and intensity as a man. All of the sexualization of beating an opponent can only have legitimacy if you're clearly dominating, gestures like teabagging and claims of "rape" are a dickless backfire if you're making them against a player who's clearly an even match. I've seen my share of women who positively glory in laying out a male opponent in an online fight specifically because of the emasculation it implies.

My wife has played a lot of hardcore games very seriously - Monster Hunter, Demon's Souls, MMO's, etc. If anything she invented competition in Monster Hunter where none existed, since the game is essentially co-operative. She's diplomatic to her teammates in-game but you should hear her rants about members who don't have the equipment or talent to be useful in her hunting party. In Demon's Souls she dreaded player invasions to her game and detested the kind of players who enjoyed attacking others, but saw quitting the game or playing offline to avoid these fights as cheating... with fighting to win being the only option, she played it to the hilt and enjoyed her victories. This is the kind of self-realized woman that could never exist in some gender-neutralized environment safe from anything hurtful or unfair.

Gaming *at all* is a step towards gender-neutrality. The men aren't out there doing "real man" things... racing muscle cars, fighting, working-out, making money, or engaging in sexual conquests. In comparison there's no level of testosterone you can bring to a videogame that isn't entirely impotent. The women aren't cooking, cleaning, knitting, or raising children. Regardless of how they choose to play, they are stepping outside of their traditional domestic servitude and materialism to pursue their own pleasure. If anything, women have a chance to engage in these "hardcore" activities on even terms with their male counterparts. A 105 pound girl tackles as hard as everyone else in a game of Madden.
I agree with you completely, this has to be one of the most generalizing and sexist articles about gaming I have read in a while.

A lot of my female friends play games and some of them are even with me, if not kicking my ass at games we play. I think this article is rubbish.
 

The Random One

New member
May 29, 2008
3,310
0
0
I'll join the chorus and say: Great article, too bad it's such a farfetched idea. I'm reminded of that one article that said Portal was a female game because you use a uterus-shaped gun to open passageways through which you are reborn into new challenges, as opposed to the usual FPS in which you use your phallic symbol to dominate your enemies by ejaculating bullets onto them. (While I think it's a twisted view, there's probably a lot of interesting, accidental symbology if you take Chell's relationship with turrets and the cube as metaphors for the usual relationships between men and women. I leave this analysis to be done by one who can do that with a straight face.)

Now let me explain why you are wrong.

Video games are computers. That is, they are a program that runs on a computer. Computers are good at simulating physics. Games are based on conflict. Since computers are good at simulating physics, computer and video games became good at generating physical conflict before they became good at other kinds of conflict (if they have already, I'd add). Because of that, it means that the oldest games are based on physical conflict. The results of that today are:

- The games that have the most ground covered in the matter of game design, and thus are superior in that aspect, are games based on physical conflict.
- The players that have been playing the longest, and thus are the most loyal, taught the newest players, and are now becoming developers, started out playing games based on physical conflict, and as such are drawn to them.

Therefore, games based on physical conflicted are easier to design successfully. Because of that, they are more successful. This success means they can be more 'meta' and forego a lot of the learning curve, while, say, puzzle games can't. Because of that, there is a hardcore niche that enjoys physical conflict and a large, 'soft' market that enjoys other things.

It just so happens that physical conflict is considered to be a male activity. Board games, conversely, are mostly based on encouraging social conflict, but even though social conflict is considered to be a female activity board games aren't a girl thing.

Thank you very much for your input anyway!
 

pneuma08

Gaming Connoisseur
Sep 10, 2008
401
0
0
Le_Lisra said:
It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.
It's nothing new, in fact, it's been done since the dawn of time. At least we speak English, where it isn't woven into the fabric of the language.
 

BigDonTheDJ

New member
Jan 27, 2010
7
0
0
I'll just post the message that I just sent to Mr. Limp Dick:

'I am what I consider to be a casual gamer. That means I don't get a hard-on when someone says 'Halo' or 'Gears of War'. I like to play these games, but I don't live for it. As for using it to represent my masculinity, I challenge you to a street brawl, boxing match, or straight up MMA match, any place, any time, bud. I'm 6' 320# and can crush your head with one hit. I'm not called Big Don for no reason. I didn't work as a bouncer because I adore the Sims and other boring games of that ilk (use a dictionary Mr. Rod or Dick as you may prefer. Words like 'ilk' are used when acquiring an education, which you obviously need pretty bad). Think twice before calling people out. You could get hurt.'

Edit: I've taken the moment to realize that I jumped the gun on my response to this article. The author has the right to his own opinion whether I want to accept it or not. I no longer fault him for what I felt was a personal attack of sorts. I am leaving my original response here to show just how ridiculously I responded to the article.
 

Twilight_guy

Sight, Sound, and Mind
Nov 24, 2008
7,131
0
0
Hum. An interesting interpretation. Games can be seen as a struggle to show masculinity and dominance. I see this only as one part though. There is an oblivious struggle to identity oneself as the most male among certain games (especially those feature over-masculine protagonists and played by teens who call each other 'gay') but there is also the deep rooted fear within the individuals whop play games. For many years, gaming has been had stigmas and negative connotations and it has had to be hidden. Its ranks are populated by social outcasts and misfits. I think that gamers actually isolate themselves in order to protect themselves from others, from those that disapprove. Just look at the resistance of gamers to 'casuals' and 'non-gamers'. "hardcore" players regularly try to crucify these people for no other reason then because 'they're not one of us'. It seems irrational since a larger player base encourages mainstream use and acceptance of games as a legitimate medium, but gamers still resist others. I see it as a mechanism to try and exclude others as a reflection that the other will potential destroy the uniqueness of there hobby, or intrude on there exclusive group. Thus casual vs. hardcore is more a competition of 'self' vs. 'other' and gamers trying to maintain their identity in a world where in the future the term 'gamer' will be meaningless. The quest for masculine is present of course, as you detailed but it is only one interpretation and one factor making up the culture of gaming.
 

Evan Waters

New member
Dec 12, 2007
94
0
0
I think there's something to this- maybe not in the term "hardcore gamer" specifically, but there's a lot of really forced machismo in the games industry to the point that it gets silly. It's like there's some faction of gamers, probably calling themselves "hardcore" whether that really applies or not*, who feel insecure in their sexuality if they're not playing a grizzled ugly badass with a giant torso and a gravelly voice and/or the women don't have perfect figures with giant breasts. ("Dead to Rights: Retribution" is the latest hilarious example.)


*Not that I really find much validity to the term anyway- it's really vaguely defined and to me, conjures up images of the bad sort of metal fans who don't so much love metal as hate anything that isn't metal.
 

Macar

New member
Jun 16, 2009
118
0
0
Bravo, I enjoyed this article. I believe a lot of people are going to misunderstand this article, but I found it enlightening.
 

Callate

New member
Dec 5, 2008
5,118
0
0
"If it's longer than it's wide, it's a phallus.
If it's longer than it's wide, it's a phallus.
If it's not longer than it's wide, you can turn it on it's side...
If it's longer than it's wide, it's a phallus."

Look, it's been said, but taking all the gray and the diversity out of gaming culture and trying to steam-shovel everything into "male" and "female" to make an over-arcing comment about the negative aspects of "hardcore" culture is not only cheap, it's not terribly helpful. It also ignores aspects that many would apply to the term, like the need for the player to familiarize themselves with an intricate and complicated system to excel at the game. It may be an over-simplification for people to dismiss "Plants vs. Zombies" as casual, but it might have more to do with it coming from PopCap, that great paragon of casual gaming, than any sort of implied condemnation of the player base. Likewise I can't recall anyone describing Civilization, a game enjoyed by both sexes, as "casual", requiring as it does a near-instinctive feel for the flow of technological superiority to succeed in.

There are women who love "hardcore" games, and they're no less feminine for it. There are men who love "casual" games, and are no less masculine for it. And there are certainly a lot of abrasive, socially inept people in gaming, and many of them happen to be male, but the overall gender demographic of gaming is still in flux, so of course for now the greater percentage that falls into that circle of the Venn Diagram happens to be male.

So let's put away the phallocentric patriarchy discourse, shall we?
 

Aurgelmir

WAAAAGH!
Nov 11, 2009
1,566
0
0
Rowan Kaiser said:
There is one term which contains an identification which can compare with the term "hardcore gamer." It encompasses regular Call of Duty players, FarmVille fanatics, Bejeweled addicts, and your raid healer in World of Warcraft. It stands as entirely distinct from "non-gamer" or "person who happens to play games." It is a statement of frank identity, instead of a loaded, coded and confusing claim of maleness. It is, simply, "gamer." A person who declares that they are a gamer, that playing games is a part and parcel of who they are, implies as much or more about their relationship to the game industry as "hardcore" does. Why not use it instead?
There is a catch to this though.

The term "Gamer" has a stigma to it, just like "Hardcore" and "Casual" has. And not everyone that plays games would consider themselves gamers. And that is why the term "Casual" came into existence, as a way to describe people who play games, but do not consider themselves games. (At least that is how I interpret the word, and how it is used)
In the same way the word "Hardcore Gamer" is used to describe people who are very devoted to gaming.

I have never put any gender roles into the two terms, although I agree that there is a bigger majority of girls that could be considered (or that consider themselves) casual gamers, and vice versa.

But I think that has more to do with the stigma surrounding girls that play video games, more than putting gender roles into the terms.
I consider myself a Hardcore Gamer, due to the fact that I spend a lot of time on games, not just playing them, but reading/talking/thinking about them. But while I view myself as a hardcore gamer, I do not feel I fit your description of what a Hardcore gamer is.
 

kingmob

New member
Jan 20, 2010
187
0
0
Social psychology studies have found that children recognize what toys and games go with the "proper" gender based on the form of the toy more than the content. Guns are for boys and tea-sets are for girls, yes, but what happens when you show a child a fuzzy, pink gun? They look at the cover, and say it's a toy for girls. Plants vs. Zombies is that pink, fuzzy game; its content is a hardcore game, but it looks like a casual game, thanks to its marketing, its bright, 2D graphics and relatively simple grid.
I am sorry, but that this kind of stupidity is classified as science is beyond me. The conclusion is not connected to the study at all. All it says conclusively is that the child is confused by a fuzzy, pink gun and the request to classify that object as a gender. What it really tells you is that the kid can NOT classify it, but since it knows it is supposed to (someone told him/her), they 'cheat' by looking at the cover for the 'right' answer.

That this really obvious fact is overlooked bothers me to no end.

The rest of the article appears to be a badly disguised rant from someone who plays around in the Halo community too much and read a book about Freud once.
 

Le_Lisra

norwegian cat
Jun 6, 2009
693
0
0
pneuma08 said:
Le_Lisra said:
It annoys me that everything has to "genderized" like this.
It's nothing new, in fact, it's been done since the dawn of time. At least we speak English, where it isn't woven into the fabric of the language.
It is. Observe: Brotherhood of men. It means unity of all human beings, not just brothers and men.

The key thing, I find, is not to care.
 

MrPatience

New member
Mar 25, 2009
200
0
0
I found this quite dissapointing. This is the first article I've read on the Escapist that felt somewhat contrived, like the kind of thing you'd read in your local sensationalist right-wing newspaper.
Sort of like it was written with specific language and terms to piss off one demographic, and appeal greatly to another.
But perhaps I'm wrong. Just a feeling.
 

Brian Name

New member
Feb 1, 2008
93
0
0
I actually really enjoyed this article. It was certainly well-written. And I think a lot of the commenters seem to be totally misinterpreting the point.

From how I read it Rowan is not saying "Hardcore means male" or "Hardcore should mean male." Rowan is saying: "Most people are unconsciously associating the word 'hardcore' with maleness. And this is a bad thing." It is a criticism of society's association of everything easy, cutesy and 'casual' with girls.

Now, I don't think everybody in society does this but clearly some people do.

If you're a fella imagine you've gone to the pub and you think "you know what I'll take it easy" and you order a half-pint instead of a full pint. How likely is it that your male mates will look at you and say the following: "Man up!" or "Grow a pair!" Harmless comments and I've said them myself. But there is something there, in the back of our minds (whether for good or worse) that associates doing things the rough, 'hard' way with being a man.

That is all this article was trying to say! And people seem to have taken it to be reinforcing gender stereotypes!? What!? In fact it is merely asking 'Why do we do this?'

I think some people just did not pick up the tone.

Rowan, I for one, salute you.
 

Cinnonym

New member
Mar 3, 2010
1,915
0
0
This commenter finds the labels of masculine "hardcore" and feminine "casual" actually less overtly sexual and more like an eight-year-old's playground:

Calling yourself a gamer implies that you are a part of a greater community; this community is getting to be so expansive and so diverse that we want to exclude the lamer kids in the park. Rather than being a term laid upon the manly men to separate themselves from the homos, "hardcore" refers to your peers that you want to be in your club, and the label "casual" is for the ones you want to keep out. Living in a house with five female gamers may have given me this perception--we don't play shooters or MMOs, but we still throw around the term "raped" in a harrowing boss fight.

One of my roommates, who lives on 4chan and thus has strong feelings against casual gamers, refers to my sixteen year old sister as a Casual.

My sister is homeschooled in a move-at-your-own-pace sort of fashion and therefore spends her entire day playing World of Warcraft or the newest RPGs, often getting off the couch only to piss and claim a few hours of sleep. So what makes her a casual gamer? My roommate doesn't want to be in a club with a sixteen-year-old girl.
 

pneuma08

Gaming Connoisseur
Sep 10, 2008
401
0
0
I think that with an article that paints in broad strokes like this one does, a lot of the backlash is the, "this article is wrong because I don't count!" and such. These people are missing the point, that there is worth to be had in looking at the large picture. Yes, people may be wrong in saying that "hardcore gun-games are for boys" or something like that, but if most of the population does it, isn't there worth in explaining the whys or the hows - and isn't it worth point it out so people can be aware of the bias?

I guess what I'm saying is that it seems to me that the article isn't saying objectively "hardcore is male, casual is female" but rather, "there are a large number of people (perhaps even the majority) that associate hardcore with male, and casual with female)." The difference is that just because you can rise above gender stereotyping doesn't mean that others or even most people do - even though it's wrong.

Good article, by the way.