The term “gamer” is quite a difficult term; Simply put, a gamer is someone who plays video games regularly. Yet then video games can vary from casual game types such as CandyCrush or any other smartphone gaming, ranging to just portable consoles, home consoles, current generation, retro consoles, PC and such. Gaming has evolved into such various aspects that it’s difficult to generalise a “gaming” community as it can be so diverse. Modernly, nearly anyone can be a gamer as long as there’s a passion for the platform(s) of gaming they play. However that always wasn’t the case…
Lets look back around the late 1970’s to 1980s era; being a “gamer” wasn’t always something to be socially enthused about. Whilst this era was the prime time of many popular Arcade, PC and even home console gaming companies to arise, gaming was still provided a “geek” stereotype. People who played video games were often stereotypically segregated socially from other groups due to the lack of understanding of what video games can offer. Of course the increase in home consoles (specifically the easier to use Sega & Nintendo systems) allowed a more family friendly approach which helped diverse gaming into a more mainstream audience, so that PC gaming and Arcade gaming weren’t the only primary focus for gamers to play and there was a wider amount of options to play games and widening the potential target audience.
Well now? Almost anyone who is privileged of being financially stable would have most likely played at least a video game, and whether it being just Flash games on Facebook or iPhone games or to more dedicated gaming on consoles and PC, there are “gamers” everywhere.
Personally, I feel proud to claim to be a gamer. I don’t go around shouting at rooftops, but I will often explain to people my hobby of playing games. Being in the Western region though causes the mainstream audience to either focus primarily on smartphone gaming or a huge focus on FPS or also appraise of the FIFA franchise (being British means that football/soccer is a major part in most peoples lives). I feel almost criticised when I tell people I don’t enjoy mindless shooters which people often appraise such as Call of Duty or that I don’t enjoy simulating football matches with FIFA. If I play a game I care about a riveting plot with some technique to the gameplay – generally without much care for online.
Then again I feel people can vary in comfortableness of admitting that they’re a gamer. It’s not a shaming hobby, but sometimes social attitudes towards people gaming at a certain young age (playing violent games) or older ages (where many media institutions claim that video games are for children), gender, class or just the types of peer groups can influence or cause people to retain their gaming identity.
So what about you? Leave a comment below and tell us if you’ve ever felt uncomfortable telling people about your gaming obsessions and the main reason as to why!