I’m here to explore as to why and when gamers got the stereotype that if they play video games everyday, they are nerdy. Why were gamers stuck with such a label? Why not intelligent, artistic, or even dead sexy?
It’s safe to say when the NES came out in 1985 in the US and you got it for Christmas, you were easily the coolest kid on the block. Hundreds…no, thousands
of kids would come across the land to see top of the line technology. Imagine, no longer do you have to take your lazy ass out of your home to a nearby arcade because now you can just walk into your family room and play some Bible Adventures.
Some of the features were things people had never seen before in such a small “box.” Not only could you have regular games like Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. but you could play some Duck Hunt with a badass light gun. Unbelievable.
This attitude continued onto Nintendo’s other successful platforms such as the SNES, Virtual Boy (besides the fact it burned out people’s retinas), and the N64.
In my opinion, I believe this whole “nerd” phase began right around the releases of the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox. These platforms offered an uncanny amount of realism to your home television and many people who had grown up on the NES and SNES now had jobs and didn’t quite have time for these new consoles. Additionally, people who loved the simple arcade like games such as Space Invaders or Missile Command on some of the older consoles found these new 3D games like Metal Gear Solid and Halo a little too technical and lost interest.
Around this shift in generation of gamers is right about where the nerds started playing video games.
Games were no longer mindless and easy to play (some were, but few). Many required some serious thought on how to maneuver through the world with a more complicated control style and difference in HUD and interface. With realism, comes a lot more things that you must look out for. Whether it’s where your enemies are flanking you from, or other cars on the race track trying to pass you, some games required serious focus and attention.
So doesn’t it make sense? Smart kids, AKA nerds, are good at video games because they are able to take everything in that is going on and able to make quick decisions on what to do next. Well, yes and no. Sure many “nerdy” kids played video games, but wasn’t that a way to escape school from kids who constantly made fun of them? In some ways yes it was.
What people seem to forget is that video games are just damn fun. What’s so hard to understand about that? If you enjoy doing something, aren’t you going to do it again? Especially if it offers something new and fresh every time you try it.
I’m not saying being nerdy is a bad thing. Hell, I usually consider myself a nerd for the exact reasons I’m listing here, but I think it’s wrong that if someone were to tell another person that they play video games, that person is instantly typecast as a nerd.
Let’s say for instance, you enjoy reading books. Books seem nerdy, right? So why don’t people who read get typecast as a nerd? Oh I get it, if you read, you’re intellectual, not a nerd. Makes sense. Not really. In some ways, video games can offer a serious amount of reading (have you heard of a game called Final Fantasy?) and other kinds of mind strengthening exercise. Hell, there’s a game out now that is solely based on making you smarter, and you wouldn’t imagine it, but it’s fun
. (Thank you Dr. Ryuta Kawashima)
It’s wrong to stereotype gamers as nerds (or if your Jack Thompson, cold-blooded killers) because games offer one of the best forms of entertainment in history, not to mention a multimillion dollar industry. Gaming is not a lifestyle, it’s a damn hobby. And that’s all it will ever be. Sure we hear about the World Series of Games and people getting paid to play games, but honestly, I would be surprised to see someone start playing in the World Series of Games because it pays the bills. They start because they think it’s fun.
As I stated earlier, I’m not implying being nerdy is bad, I’m merely bringing up the fact that gamers are not
all nerds. This isn’t a write-up to bring about a change. My voice just needs to be heard. read