Poll: On the Term Gamer And Its Usage

Slayer4472

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Hello, everyone.

Through recent events it has come to my attention that we don't have a proper definition for the noun we've been using to describe ourselves, namely "Gamer". My hope is that through the democratic process we can nail down a semi-precise use of the term.

Before we begin, the terminology I'll be using in the poll should be defined:

- Mobile Gamer- Probably your mother or a younger child. This individual plays games exclusively on their iphone or ipad. Their day to day consumption is made up of titles like Angry Birds, or Fruit Ninja.

-Casual Gamer- This individual likely owns a console or a PC which can run lower end games (i.e not Crysis). They enjoy playing games like Call of Duty or Halo, or Skylanders/LEGO if younger, and may be connected to the greater culture, but lack the desire to "master their powers", so to speak.

-Hardcore Gamer- Also known as the enthusiast, this individual stalks the night, preying upon poorly written A.I. While they may have devoted themselves to one game or an entire smorgasbord of different titles, as a group they have devoted themselves to conquering their foes and achieving victory. This person has likely fallen victim to "one more turn" syndrome at one time or another.

Thank you for your participation, and your time.
 

Calbeck

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Jul 13, 2008
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We are gamers. We are legion. We do not forget, we do not... oooh, I never did finish this X-Com runthrough. Lemme just load that right up...
 

Agayek

Ravenous Gormandizer
Oct 23, 2008
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I'm not a fan of these options. I've always believed that "Gamer" as a term refers to anyone who is enthusiastic about games, regardless of what those games happen to be. It doesn't matter whether or not you play COD, StarCraft, or Candy Crush. All that matters is that you love games and get excited about them.
 

Random Hajile

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Sep 2, 2014
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I'm not sure what to pick as I think the amount of time spent gaming (daily/weekly averages, not how long one has playing video games overall) and the amount of importance one places on gaming in their lives has a lot to do with it.
 

Slayer4472

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Sep 1, 2014
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Corey Schaff said:
The first option is the closest, but I see traditional gamers aren't included. Traditional Gamers even have their own section on The Escapist talking news about Dungeons and Dragons and the Warhammer 40k LRC from Fantasy Flight Games.
You know, when I made the poll I was only thinking about videogames >_>.

Well, I certainly feel silly; there's not much that I can do about the options, now.
 

Irick

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Apr 18, 2012
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A gamer is anyone who games.
However, subculture identity is a thing. So, gamer exists as both a descriptor and an identity.

gamer as an identity is anyone who wishes to be a gamer. The subculture is unique enough that this distinction needs to be made. While aspects of gamer culture are now mainstream there is still enough that separates the gamer culture from that of someone only casually interested in the subject.

So, It doesn't fit into any one of the single choices. As a prescriptive definition it is simply anyone who games. As an identity is it anyone who identifies. The debate between 'true' gamers and 'phonies' will always rage because identity politics will always be a thing. But... strictly speaking it's just a mater of saying you are a gamer.

But it's still fair to call anyone who is playing a game a gamer.
 

Yendor

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Oct 6, 2014
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Here is my answer to what is a gamer:

A gamer is someone for whom games is their primary hobby. I read books, but am not a bookworm. I listen to music, but am not an audiophile. Nor am I a golfer, nor bowler, not skiier. I am a gamer. The exact question of which system I use, what genre I play, and whether I am hardcore or casual is not part of my definition.
 

Nikolaz72

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Apr 23, 2009
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A Gamer is a video-game enthusiast. Be they mobile, casual or hardcore gamers if they're enthusiastic about games I'd call them a gamer.

Some who passes the time on the train with angry birds like reading a newspaper never touching another game I'd not call a gamer.
 

Gretha Unterberg

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Jul 14, 2013
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Nikolaz72 said:
A Gamer is a video-game enthusiast. Be they mobile, casual or hardcore gamers if they're enthusiastic about games I'd call them a gamer.

Some who passes the time on the train with angry birds like reading a newspaper never touching another game I'd not call a gamer.
Pretty much.
People who identify themself by their hobby
are people who consider it of relative importance in their daily life/lifestyle.

Trying to define a "Gamer threshold" by harcore,causal,mobile lines is like
drawing a line for Bookworm somewhere between non-fiction*,formula fiction and comic books




*is there relly no better word in english for this then "stuff we didn't make up"? o_O
 

Phasmal

Sailor Jupiter Woman
Jun 10, 2011
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We're never gonna get to a point in which everybody agrees on the same definition of `gamer`. It's pretty useless except to exclude.

So, when someone says they are a gamer, and they play differently from me, I don't feel the need to say `Oh but you're not a REAL gamer`.
I don't get the obsession with drawing lines, unless it's to keep people out. Gaming is too big and open for that.
 

Silvanus

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Agayek said:
I'm not a fan of these options. I've always believed that "Gamer" as a term refers to anyone who is enthusiastic about games, regardless of what those games happen to be. It doesn't matter whether or not you play COD, StarCraft, or Candy Crush. All that matters is that you love games and get excited about them.
Y'know, I hadn't thought of that, but that's the description I like the most.

I agree, enthusiasm is what matters, not necessarily the kind of games that are played.
 

hermes

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Mar 2, 2009
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You do know the words "hardcore gamer" is a marketing term for a demographic, right? Marketers wanted to distinguish "real gamers" from "casual gamers", that casually bought one or two games a year and only focused on those games (we all know some examples, the people that only bought Call of Duty or Madden or FIFA, played them all year long and couldn't care less about the rest of the market). They made the distinction because they knew they could hardly sell games to casuals, and wanted a name for the demography they were targeting.

Whatever... I sometimes use them because it is a comfortable word (even when poorly defined), but I am reluctant of labeling myself and others with what is basically a buzzword.
 

Lightknight

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Nov 26, 2008
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I would say that passion is the primary component of someone being called a gamer. The same thing as the difference between a film buff and merely someone who likes movies.

I would posit that if a person is truly passionate about casual and/or mobile games, not merely playing them as a distraction from being bored because they fit conveniently in their pocket, then they would be gamers as well.

It's not just someone who plays games. It's someone who is passionate about them. Someone who thinks about them when they're not playing them and is excited about new titles.

The fact that this deals with passion means that really only the person themselves can attest to whether or not they're a gamer. I would add that a devotion of time would be necessary to serve the passion. But you could never say, give them a test about gaming culture and find out the answer as their passion in games could be recent or may have taken a different path than mainstream titles.
 

happyninja42

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If you listen to one of the head people at the escapist, apparently the term "gamer" is equivalent to someone who is a "car nut" compared to someone who is just familiar with how to drive a car, but doesn't obsess over every minutia of all things car.

I personally dislike this definition, because it excludes me. And I've been playing video games pretty much every day of my life, since I was like 5 years old. I'm not exaggerating that. If I have had access to a gaming system, I will spend some hours every day playing a video game. To have someone else declare that because I don't obsess over every gaming development update, or prowl the internet looking for gaming critics to talk at length about the development process on every new title, for every new platform. To say that I'm not a gamer because I don't chomp at the bit for E3 news, or follow developers on twitter or facebook, or whatever other thing, is frankly insulting to me, and it annoys me to no end.

But hey, if those people want to self identify as gamers, and have that mean the equivalent of a "car freak", and push everyone else out to another definition, go ahead. I personally think car freaks are stupid, and so are people who obsess over games to the same level of intensity, so knock yourselves out guys.
 

Mezahmay

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I'm of the belief that "gamer" refers to an enthusiast of gaming, be it video or table top versions. To me, this almost exclusively includes casual and hardcore gamers since they actually have a gaming library and common vocabulary used amongst and/or between them. These people from my experience tend to have a critical view of games beyond enjoying it or not enjoying it, they're more aware of developers and publishers, and tend to interact with larger communities of other enthusiasts.

For example, my mother likes to buy really cheap hidden object puzzle games and a click-and-find adventure game or two for her crappy laptop. She does not call them hidden object or even click-and-find games though, she has called them "investigation" and "mystery" games. There is little consistency in nomenclature and she plays them regardless of story or setting. She does not think of these games individually, as a franchise, or in the broader scope of the interactive medium. For these reasons, I do not consider her an enthusiast, ergo I do not consider her a gamer.

I like that the mobile space is expanding its horizons and complexity a bit so people can begin to form a better appreciation for games as a medium using the same tool as they did for their simple swiping games or puzzle games. I'd like to see my perception of mobile gaming evolve past a select few free-to-play gaming gems and then hundreds of clones that erode their market share.
 

Atmos Duality

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Mezahmay said:
I'm of the belief that "gamer" refers to an enthusiast of gaming, be it video or table top versions. To me, this almost exclusively includes casual and hardcore gamers since they actually have a gaming library and common vocabulary used amongst and/or between them.
Concise and accurate.
The kind of games one engages with doesn't define one as a "real" gamer; just their level of commitment and interest.

Kinda like how not everyone that writes is a journalist; but all journalists write, by definition.
 

Lightknight

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Happyninja42 said:
If you listen to one of the head people at the escapist, apparently the term "gamer" is equivalent to someone who is a "car nut" compared to someone who is just familiar with how to drive a car, but doesn't obsess over every minutia of all things car.

I personally dislike this definition, because it excludes me. And I've been playing video games pretty much every day of my life, since I was like 5 years old. I'm not exaggerating that. If I have had access to a gaming system, I will spend some hours every day playing a video game. To have someone else declare that because I don't obsess over every gaming development update, or prowl the internet looking for gaming critics to talk at length about the development process on every new title, for every new platform. To say that I'm not a gamer because I don't chomp at the bit for E3 news, or follow developers on twitter or facebook, or whatever other thing, is frankly insulting to me, and it annoys me to no end.

But hey, if those people want to self identify as gamers, and have that mean the equivalent of a "car freak", and push everyone else out to another definition, go ahead. I personally think car freaks are stupid, and so are people who obsess over games to the same level of intensity, so knock yourselves out guys.
How would you be excluded from that category? If you play for hours every day it is an integral part of your life and you would be equivalent to a "car freak" then.

This is like a person telling me that every day since he was five he pops open the hood of his car and looks around and tightens things and oils things for hours. To hear that person say, "but I'm not a car nut" would be hilarious. People are passionate about things in different ways. You don't have to keep up to date on the news to be passionate. You playing those games is you being passionate about the games themselves.
 

happyninja42

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Lightknight said:
How would you be excluded from that category? If you play for hours every day it is an integral part of your life and you would be equivalent to a "car freak" then.

This is like a person telling me that every day since he was five he pops open the hood of his car and looks around and tightens things and oils things for hours. To hear that person say, "but I'm not a car nut" would be hilarious. People are passionate about things in different ways. You don't have to keep up to date on the news to be passionate. You playing those games is you being passionate about the games themselves.
I wouldn't include myself in that category, because it implies being up to date on every minute detail of the industry. Or at least, that's how the escapist dev stated it. And I've known plenty of "car nuts" in my time, and in a gaming equivalent comparison, I'm not a car nut. I couldn't tell you what anti-aliasing does for my graphics quality. I don't know how to overclock a computer. I don't know shit about zoe quinn, anita sark, gamergate, or any of the other stuff that populates this website. Again, by the dev's definition of "gamer", I wouldn't qualify. Because I don't live, breath, eat, and sleep gaming. Which is why that definition of it annoys me to no end. But the fact that my earliest memories of being alive were to the sounds of Alladin's Castle arcade, and the symphony of noises and lights as I fought evil and saved kingdoms from tyranny says to me personally, that I'm a gamer.

Just to clarify, I do consider myself a gamer, through and through, from the days of my youth, probably up until I die, I will be gaming. I was simply commenting about what another person's definition of it was. And considering it was one of the people who runs this site, and they stated it in a "a comment about the state of gaming" during all the gamergate bullshit, I felt it relevant to point out. If only to disagree with it. xD