FFD: Do you identify as a “gamer?”

5 min read
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FFD05092014

I have always been proud to call myself a gamer. Even before it was “cool” to play games, way before the mainstream push – back when gamers were stereotyped as unwashed basement dwellers wholly devoid of social skills. I’m still proud to call myself a gamer  – but my once resolute stance has very much been shaken.

This week and last, the whole Gamergate scandal – and the actions of others who identify themselves as gamers have me wondering if being a “gamer” is anything to be proud of.

For whatever reasons, the people who identify themselves as gamers are rising up against the people who make games, and the people who spend their lives writing about them. – with a muddied plethora of arguments that flip and flop from game journalism’s credibility to misogyny and the lack of diversity in gaming as a whole.

It started with angry ex-boyfriend releasing private information about a female game developer, Zoe Quinn. That was followed up with claims that games journalism was fundamentally corrupt and it all went downhill from there, perpetuating a sort of “Us vs Them” mentality between gamers, games press and game developers; people who ought to really be on the same side.

Anita Sarkeesian’s latest Tropes vs. Women video exacerbated it all, with much of it coming to a head when gamers’ threats of violence drove her out of her home. Ms Sarkeesian is a controversial figure sure – but even if you disagree with her there’s no need for anybody to act that way. I’m digressing though; I don’t actually want to delve too much in to Gamergate. At this point, it’s like shouting at a storm. For a level-headed and frankly excellent look at the situation, go here.

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There’s a large number of gaming press now that have taken umbrage with the label “gamer,” saying that it’s a dead term, or something we should leave behind.

As if by some sort of pre-determined conspiracy, game journalists the world over have declared the gamer dead. From an excellent piece on the subject by Slate:

Such articles appeared concurrently in Gamasutra(“ ‘Gamers’ are over” and “A guide to ending ‘gamers’ ”), Destructoid (“There are gamers at the gate, but they may already be dead”), Kotaku (“We might be witnessing the ‘death of an identity’ ”) andRock, Paper, Shotgun (“Gamers are over”), as well as Ars Technica (“The death of the ‘gamers’ ”), Vice (“Killing the gamer identity”) and BuzzFeed (“Gaming is leaving ‘gamers’ behind”).

If you’re to believe any of those, “Gamer” is a now a dirty word. I think the gamer identity is still something that’s important. I want to still be proud to call myself a gamer. I think gamer culture is important. The thing though is that gamers are still people – and within any subset of people, you get massive jerks. They’re the ones who’re making us all look like rabid idiots.

Right now, I’m still going to call myself a gamer. It’s an identity I’ve had my whole life, and it’s one I plan on keeping for years to come. I’m proud to be a gamer – even if I’m not so proud of some of the things people sharing that identity have done.

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Are you a gamer? Do you identify as a gamer?  Has this whole storm of controversy and unbridled hate made you want to identify less as a gamer?

Last Updated: September 5, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Kikmi

    Pretty much exactly the same sentiments as the first paragraph.
    Nowadays its embarrassing to be a man, white and a gamer,since all it means is that Im a misogynistic entitled child rapist.

    Sarcasm aside, I i never used gamer as a personal definition of who i am, just what I do, what I enjoy spending time on, but even thats been tarnished. Its an odd time we’re living in. Im not entirely sure im happy about that after the proceedings that have occurred over the last two/three weeks.

    • Yeah, it’s a part of me – but it doesn’t define me.

    • WhiteRock

      Good point. I would myself a Gamer, but I would also call myself a lot of other things – Engineer, Husband, etcetc. As Geoff says – it’s a part of me but doesn’t define me. What I think the real issue is, is those assholes(can I say that?) that are giving us a bad name, shouldn’t be called gamers, but rather trolls, assholes, bigots, whiners and whatever other names really apply…sorry if this is too much of a rant…same as with saying being white = being racist – not true.

  • Uberutang

    Why would a bunch op uppity journalist or ‘extremist’ retards that happen to play games have any impact on my identity?

    Putting everybody that plays games under the same word used for a small portion of people that get upset with other people for writing about the games they play is like calling all muslims members of ISIS. OR calling everybody with a scooter a hells angel.

    If somebody threatens you IRL, go to the POLICE and open a CASE.

  • L337J1MB0B

    I don’t really know what being a “gamer” means exactly, so I don’t know if I would call myself that. I like various things and one of them is games. I don’t need a gaming culture to identify with.

  • eXpZA

    You definitely can identify as a gamer, and there’s nothing wrong with doing so.

    Lately there’s been a rather immature branding of gamers as sexists, horrible people, racists and all sorts of things. Whilst I do witness untoward comments coming from gamers, it’s not the fact that they’re gamers that creates this.

    I’d say the vast majority of my friendship group are gamers, and we’re some of the most tolerant people you’ll ever meet. Race, Gender, Sexual Preference, it doesn’t matter to us. Pick up your sticks and play a game with us.

    On the flip side, I’ve got to LANs (this isn’t a dig at PC gamers, just a congregation of gamers) and heard some of the most sexist, homophobic and racist stuff in the world. It’s disgusting, but it’s not because they’re gamers.

    Unfortunately, Social Justice Warriors have focused their attention on the Gaming Industry and turned the vast majority of us normal, human beings into the spawn of Satan, and if we dare fight back or try defend ourselves (i.e. #GamerGate), we’re grouped with the few bad eggs and made to feel like scum – and if we dare say “You know what, sod off. It’s not us. Don’t attack us.” we then get branded as misogynists, male privilege, told we don’t understand the “fight”.

    I fully empathise with anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a bullying attack, and will fight to have him/her get the respect they deserve – but the second they group the majority into the terrible minority, I lose immediate resect for you and the message you’re preaching, because now you’re just bullying back.

  • PERSONA 5!!!! (Umar)

    Should I be ashamed to call myself a Muslim because of ISIS? Should I be ashamed to call myself a techie because of black-hat hackers? Should I now…have shame in calling myself a gamer because of these scandals? No. It is my identity. It is my pride. I will never allow myself , my individuality, my identity, to be governed by the actions of others. I love games and I will stand proud of that fact, till the day I press start to begin for the final time…

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      #StayStrongUmar

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      #YouHaveMyAxeUmar #GameBrosForLife

    • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

      #StayStrongUmar

    • Norm

      Well said man !
      ^5

    • Rock789

      **begins slow clap**

      Kudos Umar! Totally agree.

    • Sith JJ

      It’s so strange how some people look at you funny for being proud of being a gamer.

      I’m sorry for not being a closet-gamer, this is who I am. If you come into my house and you don’t like my Star Wars and Skyrim art on my walls, fine, but don’t judge me for it.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I only label myself as “perfect”.

    I’ll identify as a gamer if someone asks. Gamer is too broad a term now, it’s like saying you’re a man, or a woman. Yet lazy (not Lazygamer) writers like to talk about gamers as some homogeneous group when there’s nothing further from the truth. The people making death threats are gamers, they’re also assholes – they’re making threats because of the latter, not the former. #NotAllGamers #amirite

    • Rock789

      **begins second slow clap**

      Preach it brother! Couldn’t agree more!

      #NotAllGamers

    • Sith JJ

      Yes
      #NotAllGamers
      Also, your Steam library gives away small tell tale hints that you might be into gaming.

  • Travis

    I think gamer is a very American term to be honest. Most people in SA that like computer games in SA that I know, just say that, they dont say they are a gamer, its quite generic and doesnt imply computer games really, you could be playing monopoly if your a gamer i think.

    • Matthew Holliday

      thats why we cant get rid of the MSSA.
      because people are intent on sticking gamer gamers in the same category as chess players and Morabaraba players.

  • L337J1MB0B

    “GamerGate” is a stupid pseudo-scandal that no one in real life actually cares about. It’s just a bunch of people on the net getting on eachother’s tits.

    • I couldn’t agree more

    • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

      This

    • Lord Darque

      So it is true after all…. ignorance is bliss. And since this comment was featured here I will save them the trouble and see myself out.

    • Sith JJ

      I have no idea what GamerGate is. I’m a gamer in my house, behind my pc. I’m part of a community. What more could I need?

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Is it a gated community? 😉

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Geoff was calling himself a gamer before it was cool, what a hipster! tee hee

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Jokes on us – When Geoff was a kid, games didn’t exist yet. All they had was analog toys like sticks and bricks.

      • Kromas of City17

        I disagree. they had Pong. 😛

        • Weanerdog

          I think it was called tennis in those days and you played it outside.

          • Anon A Mouse

            He’s Asian ~ It was table tennis and is still played indoors.

            (Yeah I know Lacist)

          • Kromas of City17

            So technically it is called Ping Pong. 😛

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Bringing back so many memories O_o

  • GooseZA

    Identify less as a gamer? Nope. However the more time I spend reading pretty much anything on the internet (Lazygamer excluded of course ;P), the less I want to identify as a human being.

  • Sk3tz0

    I’m not a gamer I’m an Enthusiast and Collector of Electrical Entertainment Devices.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Of course, I’ll remain a gamer till I die. I was a gamer when it wasn’t cool, when I used to get bullied because I wore a Megaman t-shirt. Or when I used to get beaten up at my school for being the “brown kid who didn’t like rugby and would rather play with my PSOne and PC”.

    I’m not going to change that part of my identity because a bunch of assholes (on both sides of the current gamergate fence) are trying to destroy it. Be it hyper-extremist feminists, corrupted games media (looking at you Kotaku and Polygon) or extreme misogynistic man-children.

  • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

    I am a gamer. But let me clarify. I am an actual gaming gamer. The type who uses gaming as my primary hobby.

    I am not a political gamer who is constantly needing to stand up against those who make games. Yes I have my moments where I am upset with EA for what they do and yes I am against DRM. But at the end of the day if these people make a good game worth my cash I will buy it.

    I don’t care if someone allegedly slept with devs or publishers or every Tom, Dick and Harry to get their game out there. If it’s good I buy. If not I don’t. It’s not my problem how it got to the shelves.

    So I will call myself a gaming enthusiast instead of a gamer if gamer means lynch mob

    • Kromas of City17

      You could have said. “I hate EA yet I have an Origin account with games on it and that makes me a gamer” 😛

  • Sk3tz0

    • Sageville

      I did note the Telkom Mullet of Paradise…

    • Ryanza

      amazing that Xbox didn’t crash that tv. That Xbox looks like it’s the same size as that guy.

      Xbox One is even bigger and heavier.

  • Mighty Meh

    I will never understand why anyone ever takes death threats from a gamer seriously.

    If the dangerous individual that made the threat ever managed to get his mom to drive him all the way to your house to kill you, you probably had it coming…

  • Sk3tz0

    I’ve Posted this before but its still funny..

    http://youtu.be/nK83m4ef0iU

  • Aussious

    Proudly so since 1992…

  • Matthew Holliday

    i play games.
    whatever.

    mass effect retake and gamergate can go circlejerk by themselves.
    overentitled gamers.

  • Kromas of City17

    I am,was and will always be a gamer. I really can’t give a rats arse what other people think about the term but for me it is very simple.

    Do you enjoy playing games?

    Then you are a gamer.

    Now get over it.

  • Hammersteyn

    I was a gamer, now the scene has changed. I had to make room for DLC,Season passes, yearly releases of the same money making franchises, MOBAs, COD FPS type kak,MMO games that demands monthly subscriptions, broken games, games that always has to use clients or need to be online and microtransactions.

    Peter Moore says we should get with the times. Adam Orth told us to deal with it. My hobby is outgrowing me at a rapid pace but as long as I can go back to any of the 8/16 bit games I will be a gamer. Even if I am a forgotten one.

    • Anon A Mouse

      Here have an upvote. I am with you on that last paragraph. I also feel that I am not going to “evolve” with the industry. I have a huge library of games anyway, when the day comes that I walk away from the industry I will still be a gamer because of my library that I can play over and over again.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Exactly right. I’ve got my Steam backlog, if that somehow disappears I’ve got GOG & other DRM-free games, I’ve got my MAME roms, if I get tired of that I have books – I, shock horror, read every night. I’m not beholden to game developers & publishers, or anyone for that matter, when it comes to my entertainment no matter how much they like to believe I am.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      I don’t blame Adam Orth, he told us the plain truth of what was happening. Shooting the messenger is silly. Peter Moore & his ilk that are responsible? Fuck ’em.

  • Norm

    Gamer since 1990.

  • Sith JJ

    I keep missing these. But was for a good cause today, donating blood and all.
    Yes, I do identify as a gamer, because it forms part of my every day routine.

  • Anon A Mouse

    The fact that I know that the header image is a controller from the Atari console makes me feel old, but it also makes me a proud gamer. Just as you get Afrikaners / English / Muslim / Christian, etc. that are dicks so to do you get them in gaming.
    I blame COD for this, the bloody 12 year old motherhumpers.
    On a serious note though, over the last few years I have seen a trend where humanity as a whole became entitled little asses. Everything and everyone wants to be pandered to. Everything must be exactly to their liking or their will be hell to pay. With the advent of the internet it also gave the loud minority a faceless and anonymous voice to spread their hate and bile.

    On a positive note: It’s Friday, I only worked for two days this week and am going home to jam on my own, offline, without any of this crap.

    • Kromas of City17

      Upvote for COD blame! 😛

  • Sith JJ
    • Ryanza

      Geralt of Rivia will kill them all.

      • Kromas of City17

        Lol … Shepard will kick his ass easy enough.

        • Ryanza

          Shepard easily kick Geralt’s ass. lol. Doubt it.

          • Kromas of City17

            Shepard died once and still came back. Geralt just keeps losing his memories. However I suppose Geralt might win if we are talking about Femshep cause he has the magical power to bed any female.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      +1 up

  • Sageville

    I’m a gamer, have been for decades.

    If I didn’t follow the whole gamergate drama, I’m still a gamer.

    The fact that other people have tied negativity to the title is irrelevant to me. I was a gamer back when it wasn’t acceptable. Nothing has changed for me, the fact that others have a cadenza about certain people, well, I’ll let them waste their time on trying to vilify a title that essentially just means “I enjoy playing games”.

    Really, some people waste far too much of their lives trying to pidgeon-hole others or redefining said pidgeon-holes.

    Fuck that, play games.

  • Ryanza

    The gaming industry is run by non gamers. The gaming industry is not trying to improve the medium. The gaming industry is trying to capitalize on the medium. DRM clients, DLC, forced online activation, forced online for day 1 patches, large patches, ect, is all about capitalizing the market.

    What do gamers want from games. Innovation in graphics, story, gameplay. Proper ports. Complete content. No DRM. No day 1 DLC. No on disc DLC. Not being forced online. Not playing a copy of a different game. I could go on forever.

    The Zoe Quinn issue. A indie developer who had sex with some gaming journalists to promote her game. Then when Zoe Quinn needed defending from her antiques, those sexual relations came to her rescue. One sided journalism. Articles just to get page hits. When it’s not about the games and all about the page hits and money to be made.
    I am not surprised at the reactions this shit got because this type of shit, is just wrong, in any industry.

    Am I a gamer? The Witcher 2, innovation in graphics and story. The Witcher 2 came out in 2011. The gaming industry is only catching up now to what CD Projekt RED did then. Go play The Witcher 2 on PC and what you find in that game will be the base line for the games being released for the next few years.
    Can’t wait to see if The Witcher 3 will innovate.

    Don’t support DRM. Who do I have to fuck to get a DRM-Free game.

    • Kromas of City17

      The answer to your question is CDPR btw. 😛

      SUPPORT THE WITCHER.

      on a less DRM-Free note.

      BUY DRAGON AGE!

      😛

      • Sith JJ

        I agree with you, up until you got to the Dragon Age part.
        Don’t support EA.

        • Kromas of City17

          What can I say. I am a gamer who wants DA. 😛

        • Ryanza

          Because Dragon Age will be coming to PC with DRM, the game is worth nothing really. So when the game hits $5 as part of a sale, I might think about getting it. But for now it’s The Witcher 3 all the way.

  • Nikola

    Well I am a gamer no doubt but it is not really my whole identity I love games will always play them but I do not think I would call myself a gamer only, if someone would ask me to describe myself in one word I do not think I would say a “gamer”. On the other hand if people call me one I also would not mind at all I love video games:)

  • Kromas of City17

    This whole thing is getting out of hand and you know who I blame? Social Media. Twitter and Facebook gave every inept idiot a platform to spout nonsensical bull at every opportunity they get. It has more to do with 5 minutes of fame these days than proper logical discussions. If you want a good example of this type of thing in motion go have a look at the top YouTuber Pewdiepie and go have a look at his videos. Any sensible person would switch to something else the very second he starts talking.

    • Jonah Cash

      I agree with you 100%!! People are making statements and saying obscene things to get attention…

      • Kromas of City17

        And what did we get out of it?! Justen Bieber people!

        JUSTIN FCKN BIEBER!

        • Jonah Cash

          I have always said that people’s IQ should be part of all test done in life!! For instance if you are a clever chap with good reflection you can drive a car over 2.0l if you are an idiot and can’t even miss your own face palm then you drive a 1.1l and lower!! And then apply that to twitter, if you are clever you get the full 140 characters and unlimited tweets, if you are an idiot you get 15 characters and only 2 tweets per day… Problem solved….

  • string_slinger

    “I’m proud to be a human being – even if I’m not so proud of some of the things people sharing that identity have done.”

    Same argument, different day. Proudly a ‘Gamer’…

  • Anon A Mouse

    This quote actually describes all there is to say….

  • brad coetzee

    I have always always been embarrassed to be a gamer. Even when I was a kid. I never spoke of it.

  • Maharaja Crawford

    hahaha I hope this guy never reads the FOXNEWS comment section.
    here is a real article from SLATE

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/09/gamergate_explodes_gaming_journalists_declare_the_gamers_are_over_but_they.html

  • Maskmoth

    It is seen as normal if you are a fanatic soccer/rugby supporter, but when you enjoy playing games (in your free time, not because you cannot achieve anything in your life) society tend to look at you as being different. Unfortunately stereotyping is a trait inherent to human beings, and it is not going to go away. I consider myself a gamer and enjoy playing, no matter what society thinks of me.

  • CAE9872

    yes

  • Mk333

    I am better identified as “player”

  • Brian Murphy

    I was going to say of late, probably not…then I realized I’m wearing (it’s laundry day):

    http://lulzshirts.com/sites/default/files/die%20noob.jpg

  • MrE042

    Yes I am a gamer & I do identify as a gamer (I also identify as many other things). This does not automatically make me a misogynistic terrorist or mean that I want women pushed out of the industry. It means I enjoy playing games. I honestly could care less about the gender/race/creed/sexuality of a person who plays or develops games. I don’t look at the world through those lenses. I judge a game based on whether or not it’s good/fun to play. Who made it simply does not factor into the equation. The dirty tactics being utilized by some people on both sides of gamergate are inexcusable & by no means representative of the actions/intentions of the majority. The blanket terms, generalizations, threats, harassment, & bullying do nothing but victimize people & confuse the issues. If we truly want to fix the problems in gaming culture, we need to be civil with one another or things will only get worse. Open dialogue & positive action are the tools we should be utilizing. I’ve quit Twitter as a result of all this craziness. I’d much rather be playing video games.

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