I’m not quite sure why, but it appears that gamer stereotypes have remained relatively unchanged in the last 15-20 years. Sure, there are references to specific titles and the types of gamers who play them. In general, though, the same cliches are repeated, and I’m so tired of it.
For the purpose of this argument, I’m going to ignore the gender stereotyping. Not because it doesn’t exist or isn’t important, but simply because that’s a whole other topic and I’ll open that can of worms at a later date. For now, these are the stereotypes that apply to the entire population of gamers, male or female. And they’re ridiculous.
Gamers have no life.
How many times have we heard this one? Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a life and had time to play all the games I wanted. But the reality is that most gamers have very active and fulfilling lives – gaming is just the preferred hobby. So instead of playing golf, or collecting stamps, or taking up quilting, gamers will spend their free time engaged in their activity of choice.
Perhaps it’s based on the assumption that skill and expertise in gaming can only come with massive amounts of time spent on practice. While I have sunk tons of hours into gaming, it usually comes at the expense of watching TV, or trolling Facebook. I still have time to bathe, eat, socialize and work – time is always just a matter of priority.
Gamers are ugly
Plenty of people on this planet are unappealing looking. Probability ensures this is the case – with humanity having a wide range of features, some of the inhabitants of Earth will look horrifying. Some of those people will be gamers. Others might be radio DJs, or athletes, or businessmen. Just because gaming is a primarily private, indoor activity doesn’t mean that gamers look like cave dwellers. Stop it – this stereotype is beyond inane.
Video games add no value to society
Let’s not even look at the monetary value of gaming. It should be clear that as a multi-billion dollar industry, it helps support the economy and is an important job creator. But no, let’s not look at that.
Gaming can help with things such as lazy eye and decision making. Gamers are better at non-linear thinking, problem solving and spotting differences. Some companies are even using games to improve their employee’s performance, and gamification is a growing phenomenon. Oh, and all the work done to create accurate physics and AI in gaming is also utilized in other fields – the military industrial complex happily jumps on board the new technology that is initially developed for games; the more accurate the simulation, the better prepared soldiers will be in combat.
Gamers are all trolls
Yes, gamers are known for being abusive online. That said, it is (more often than not) often said in good fun. Women are told to go make someone a sandwich, losers are called n00bs. It can be irritating, but you can also turn off comments in most games, or report bad behavior (even on this site’s comment section). Perhaps it is because sarcasm doesn’t translate well online, or maybe because trolling trolls can be such fun, but things can spiral out of control in this regard.
That said, most of the gamers that I’ve gotten to know in person are really warm, funny, interesting people. Like any population, there are plenty of assholes, too. However, the vast majority of gamers are just happy to talk about common interests and support each other in their love of gaming.
Gamers are lacking in social skills
Sure, as above, there are some trolls in the community, and plenty of immature kids who love to run around causing trouble. That said, it is not true that all gamers lack social skills. Some are shy, which is why they might have found gaming in the first place. However, many use gaming (particularly table-top or online gaming) to overcome their shyness and make more friends or learn to be outgoing. Just check out the parties at any gaming event – it’s not as if people are walking around, avoiding eye contact and refusing to make conversation. There will always be shy people, or socially awkward people in any group – just look at politicians! They seem to be more lacking in social skills than most, which is ironic considering their role in public office.
Which social stereotypes are you tired of? Have you been judged for being a gamer?
Last Updated: June 10, 2013