"Gamer" as a term. Is it dead?

Alex Mac

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In light of all that's being going on within games this week, Leigh Alexander wrote a rather passionate article on the death of the term gamer. (http://tinyurl.com/nlf4zh8). At the same time, Dan Golding wrote a similar piece on his personal blog. (http://tinyurl.com/lsel7wf).

The general conceit is that "gamer" as a term is weakening because the demographics that constitute players are shifting away from the group the name was originally made to represent. Essentially, the notion that gaming became a place where a certain subset of individuals were told they were the most important part of the market and that as that reality shifted, more people began to fight against perceived obsolescence.

So, people. I want to know: What does the term "gamer" mean to you? Is it sufficient in this day and age? What connotations does it carry for you? Is the term dead?
 

RJ 17

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As with all labels, they only last as long as people are willing to wear them or call others by them. I've always applied to the simplest definition of the term: a gamer is simply someone who's primary hobby/pass-time is playing games. So long as there's people out there who continue to play games as their primary hobby/pass-time, there will always be "gamers".
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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RJ 17 said:
As with all labels, they only last as long as people are willing to wear them or call others by them. I've always applied to the simplest definition of the term: a gamer is simply someone who's primary hobby/pass-time is playing games. So long as there's people out there who continue to play games as their primary hobby/pass-time, there will always be "gamers".
I would generalize it even more. Playing games doesn't even need to be the primary hobby. My primary hobbies are exercising and playing 40k, but I still find time for Mass Effect, Silent Hill and Five Nights at Freddys. I consider myself a gamer even though i only get 1-3 hours a night. A gamer is anyone who plays video games and wants to call themselves a 'gamer'. The only stipulation is that you have to play video games. If they don't play games, then gamer doesn't apply.
People like Yatzhee(who I do love) set the bar a little too high by saying 7-8 hours is a decent gaming block. Granted he is a professional, but I can't for the life of me find 7 free hours in a day.

To utterly misquote Shakespeare, "so long as there are games they'll be gamers...doth"
 

Alex Mac

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Those are fair definitions but do either of you think the term carries connotations beyond "person who plays games"?
 

JoJo

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I tend to think of 'Gamer' as being in the same league as 'Movie Buff' or 'Avid Reader', just playing a video game once doesn't automatically make you one, being interested in video games and playing a fair number of them does. Obviously it's a self-identifying label, so it's up to each individual to decide for themselves whether they're a gamer or not.
 

Tony2077

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i play lots of games but i decided due to some events in the past that I'll not use the label gamer
 

Alex Mac

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Tony2077 said:
i play lots of games but i decided due to some events in the past that I'll not use the label gamer
Can you elaborate at all? Was there a certain moment that really prompted this decision?
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Alex Mac said:
Those are fair definitions but do either of you think the term carries connotations beyond "person who plays games"?
Maybe? My guess is that any connotations beyond the basics, gaming itself, are also open to interpretation. For example, as you could probably tell by my avatar, I'm a brony. But in a conversation with some friends I learned that I shouldn't use that term because Bronies apparently jackoff to Rule34 of ponies all the time. It was simply in their(my pals) definition of Brony, so I had to explain that I just watch the show.
So I'd guess that when I say gamer, some people think of basement dwelling 14 year-olds teabagging one another on COD, whereas others would think of 10 year old Nintendo fans who memorized every Pokemon ever. Some people do just assume gamers are the kind of friendless losers who will one day shoot up a school, or to the social activist, gamers perpetuate negative social stereotypes simply by existing.
So just as it should be up to the individual to decide if they want to be defined as a 'gamer', it should also be up to them to clearly define what that means to/for them. For example, I'm betting everyone on the Escapist is a gamer and my definition is simple: you enjoy and play video games on a somewhat consistent basis.

Done and Done
 

krazykidd

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Silentpony said:
RJ 17 said:
As with all labels, they only last as long as people are willing to wear them or call others by them. I've always applied to the simplest definition of the term: a gamer is simply someone who's primary hobby/pass-time is playing games. So long as there's people out there who continue to play games as their primary hobby/pass-time, there will always be "gamers".
I would generalize it even more. Playing games doesn't even need to be the primary hobby. My primary hobbies are exercising and playing 40k, but I still find time for Mass Effect, Silent Hill and Five Nights at Freddys. I consider myself a gamer even though i only get 1-3 hours a night. A gamer is anyone who plays video games and wants to call themselves a 'gamer'. The only stipulation is that you have to play video games. If they don't play games, then gamer doesn't apply.
People like Yatzhee(who I do love) set the bar a little too high by saying 7-8 hours is a decent gaming block. Granted he is a professional, but I can't for the life of me find 7 free hours in a day.

To utterly misquote Shakespeare, "so long as there are games they'll be gamers...doth"
Wouldn't that make everyone who plays any kind of game a "gamer" thus killing the point of the term?

OT: eh , i spend most of my awake time playing games. I used to associte myself gamers, now i don't. Now if you gell me you are a gamer i naturally assume you play CoD ,drink mountain dew and eat doritos all day.
 

Phasmal

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Eh, what does gamer even mean any more?

It's becoming associated with the type of people who think it's their right to dictate who is and isn't a gamer, who violently object to anyone criticising `their` games.

I'm not trying to romanticise days of nerds gone by (cause geek culture has always been a bit terrible), but with games, it seems like actually liking games is a very small part of it these days. Positivity about games is going down a lot.

Now we have to fight imaginary wars. We have to be defensive about our hobby, and fight each other all the damn time.

Personally, I'm attatched to being a `gamer`, because of what it means to me, and cause I've had to fight too many assholes trying to tell me I couldn't be one.

Now I'm gonna play a damn game. ;)
 

Panda Pandemic

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JoJo said:
I tend to think of 'Gamer' as being in the same league as 'Movie Buff' or 'Avid Reader', just playing a video game once doesn't automatically make you one, being interested in video games and playing a fair number of them does. Obviously it's a self-identifying label, so it's up to each individual to decide for themselves whether they're a gamer or not.
Gotta agree with this one. Nowadays playing games is so much more common than it used to be I think. You don't need a word for someone who has read one book or watched a few movies, everyone does that now. Kinda getting to be the same with games. Only really need to distinguish those with a more than common interest. Which is still a lower bar than for movies or books as video game playing is still not as common. But in 20 years who knows.
 

Tony2077

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Alex Mac said:
Tony2077 said:
i play lots of games but i decided due to some events in the past that I'll not use the label gamer
Can you elaborate at all? Was there a certain moment that really prompted this decision?
i can't really think of a good way to elaborate on it but it was more then one event
 

Lilani

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A term taking on a meaning you don't like is not the death of that term. It's just a change you don't like.
 

Alex Mac

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I'll be bold enough to throw my weight behind some of what Alexander is saying. I think that as the space "gamers" inhabit becomes more varied, the term itself is going to move away from a traditional connotation into something broader and more general. I don't think we're watching the death of a term but we are certainly seeing a marked transformation. Some people just can't keep up with it or else they don't want to acknowledge the shift. Not all, mind you, but enough that you can notice it.

I like the comparison of "gamer" to "movie buff". At the moment? I don't think we're quite there yet.
 

Atmos Duality

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No skin off my back.
"Gamer" was a largely ambiguous, worthless term to describe "person that plays games".
I mean, before video games the term "gaming" referred to "organized gambling".

As a matter of commentary on the articles, well, the stereotypical "gaming community" is pretty much collapsing.
What does that mean?

Nothing.
For most of us, it means absolutely nothing.

There is no "new beginning". This isn't marking the end of the CIS straight white male gamer at the hands of the feminazi agenda or whatever. Nothing is really changing here.

People are still going to buy and play games to varying effect.
Some people will cover their experiences for fun and profit.
 

SOCIALCONSTRUCT

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Alex Mac said:
A couple of things have happened regarding "gamers":

1. The whole geek chic thing that started blowing up about a decade ago has definitely run out of gas. Fads rise and fall and this one is no different. Anyone trying to push a particular political or cultural angle (*coughcough*SJWs*coughcough*) will frame the issue in terms that are favorable towards their chosen system of thought. I've already seen a few finger wagging essays that follow the template that: gamer culture is dead > if only you had been more progressive > you should have listened > serves you right. The reality is that all we're seeing here is the inevitable cycling of trends and, if anything, having gaming culture turned into the political battlefield only accelerated the decline.

2. The late 20th century nostalgia that was also helping to fuel geek chic has also ran its course. This too is inevitable. This is a product of everyone getting older, millennials, gen Y, gen X. How much time and energy can adults spend reminiscing of a more pleasant youth until it too becomes tiresome and repetitive?

3. The novelty of new computer technology and box framed glasses has worn off and it's just another thing that has disappeared into the background of daily life.

4. This one is a bit of stretch but I think very generally there is a trend where people are re-assessing their relationship with technology and have a renewed appreciation for real life.

5. "Gamer" has taken on a negative connotation of an out of shape and socially stunted near shut-in that lives vicariously through consumer culture. It is not an identity that many people want to project any more. Gaming too much is considered a vice, a type of both gluttony and sloth.

6. Complimentary to #5, while people don't want to identify as "gamers", gaming has been so completely mainstreamed that it is analogous to watching TV. While people don't want to be perceived as gaming too much or not having other things in their life (i.e. being a "gamer"), it has become a common pass time.
 

DoPo

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Alex Mac said:
Those are fair definitions but do either of you think the term carries connotations beyond "person who plays games"?
I don't think so. Did it ever? What did it mean in the past so that taking on this meaning "kills" it? The articles didn't answer that - just kept going on about how horrible it is now and doom and gloom. Though I did skim most of them - doom and gloom are not my favorite topics, so I might have missed the definition.