Are you a “real gamer”? How can you be sure? Maybe you think you’re a real gamer, but you actually don’t fit somebody else’s definition of a real gamer. Maybe you’re love for videogames is newly found, and you think you’re a real gamer, but actually there’s this whole other gaming world to which you’re completely oblivious.As ever, it’s the tricky subjects that has The Ultimate Gamer team in heated, fervent debates this week. The idea of what constitutes a “real gamer” us up there with the trickiest of them. Nature Vs nurture? Is morality objective? Should euthanasia be legal? Wtf do people watch the X-Factor?
Perhaps more importantly, it’s a question that potentially creates a divide amongst the gaming community. And maybe that’s a bad thing. But what even is a “real gamer” in the first place?
Is it a Matter of Genre? Some genres are considered more “serious” than others. For example, an avid Bubble Bobble player is arguably less of a real gamer (whatever that means) than the average Starcraft II addict. But then, many people play who consider themselves real gamers enjoyed a good session of Bubble Bobble back in the day, glued in front of their Sega Master System on a Sunday afternoon. But then, what about people who play nothing but ARMA? This are a very serious video game. But are they real gamers by default? Some say they’re not because that’s the only game they ever play and they apparently just want to kill each other in as realistic a setting as possible. Some people argue the Call of Duty Players are “not real gamers”, but then someone else who plays almost nothing but Counterstrike 1.6 is a real gamer. We guess it’s not down to genre.
If one thing’s for sure, whoever these “real gamers” are, there seems to be some animosity between them and casual and mobile gamers. Hey, we’re all gamers here, right? Are these casual, CoD-playing, mobile gamers really just a bunch of lowly noobs?
Why all the Gamer on Gamer Hate? We’ve all been in the situation. We attend a party, get chatting to a stranger, there’s a potential for geeking out. Cool. We ask if they’re a gamer, secretly hoping we don’t get laughed at. “Oh yeah, I am!” they reply. Excellent! We get ready to ask if they’re following the development of Fez II, but they keep on talking. “Yeah, I play Wii Golf… Sometimes Mario. Nothing else really…” Ugh.
These days, a similar situations happens with mobile or casual gamers. Maybe it’s Farmville, maybe it’s Candy Crash. Puzzle Quest is a best-case scenario. These people are not considered “real gamers” by many, but ironically they’re doing a great service to our industry.
Real gamers are being born left right and center. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 smashed the launch sales figures of their respective predecessors many times over. Where are these new gamers coming from? We cited the TED statistic before that planet earth now spends 3 billion hours a week gaming. Market research shows the number of Americans playing videogames exploded to hundreds of millions around 2008 shortly after the original iPhone was released.
Casual Gaming: The Gateway Drug Digital distribution platforms brought to the living room by Sony and Microsoft, offer a myriad of casual games on the big screen. Many of these titles range from Bubble Bobble-esque creations marketed right alongside endearing indie successes such as World of Goo. It’s only one or two stepping stones until you’re looking at Fez and Super Meat Boy, and how can someone not fall in love with games like that?
Casual and mobile games may be mostly enjoyed while “dropping the kids off at the pool,” but we believe they’re also serving as a gateway drug. Maybe it’s the metaphorical marijuana leading unsuspecting gaming-addicts-to-be onto their harder, syringe-based fixes? The kind offered by the Starcraft II, Battlefield 4 and World of Warcraft sessions we all feast upon like insatiably hungry, ravenous gaming junkies (we bet MAVAV think so…).
It’s good for the Industry Perhaps more importantly, these budding gamers are pumping serious amounts of cash into our most beloved of industries. Surely, this can’t be a bad thing? The Ultimate Gamer team feels we should be encouraging and nurturing the newcomers to our favorite hobby and rejoicing in the fact that billions of hours each week are being invested wisely into this most noble of pastimes. Less hate, please. More gaming love. Gamers of any creed or preference are very welcome on our blog.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, it’s time for a number 2 and some Fieldrunners…