The mass public has an incorrect consensus about many things and people. Be it a certain race, religion, culture or anything else that one may hold dear, the majority views and stereotypes always seem to take a big dump right on top of it, in the name of what is popular.
And you know what? I hate it. Yes, I hate it. I hate it so much. So very, very
much. Specifically, I hate society's views on what a gamer is. A gamer is not an antisocial, basement-dwelling, hot pocket-eating, social cripple with nothing on the mind but gaming-- as "the cool kids"¯ would have you believe. I recently had an encounter with these ignorant views.
So the story starts with me, a senior in high school, who designs graphics and whatnot for the school newspaper. I had, about three weeks ago, been given the job of designing the shirts for our staff this year. You see, every year we design a new shirt for the staff to wear to promote the newspaper. I procrastinate (as I tend to) and suddenly, the advisor springs up saying I am to have the shirts done by the end of the week. I set to work.
This is where trouble begins to set in. I am sitting down, at the computer, whilst more than 10 staff members are huddling around me, all horribly eager to tell me what I am doing wrong and what it should look like. They don't care that I have designed shirts before and have a grasp on the situation, they still rabble on, make it black, I hate gray, yeah make sure to have no gray¯, that font doesn't work¯, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. This is not a productive environment, and I get little done, but do crank out an interesting looking use of fonts to work with as a foundation. However, the deadline is the following day. Meh, I can handle it.
The next day I am absent, due to forces beyond my control, but I call in asking to have the design emailed to me so I can finish it up and get it in by the end of the day. That task has been given to someone else.
Fine, I suppose if they feel confident, they can handle it from this point. No biggie. Now, we fast forward to three days ago when the shirts arrive, sporting a completely separate logo, in gray, no less.
My base design and idea was fully scrapped. The reason (here is the kicker): "It looked too much like a video game case thing". That is the exact quote of what I was told. To clarify, I am an outward gamer, and am known as the more tech savvy member of the staff. So when I hear this, I take offense. The design had nothing to do with video games. Nothing.
It has a somewhat techie looking feel to it, and people used that as an outlet for their ignorance and misunderstanding. They used the fact that I have a hobby of playing video games as a scapegoat to consider my ideas less than, and just another stupid "gamer thing"¯.
But as a gamer, I don't want to be seen as "that gamer kid"¯, or to have my ideas seen as less valuable because I play video games. I don't go around judging others on what their hobby is. I don't think of the football players as automatically unintelligent or incapable of higher level thinking because they excel in athletics. I want to be seen as another member of society, another mind with which to interact instead of a mind to shun on the basis of ignorant, mass opinion. Opinion that says I am a loser because I am a gamer.
And here I thought that society was beginning to understand that gamers are not just the minority. Here I thought that we were getting past the uneducated views that seem so prevalent on videos games. Here I foolishly thought that we were more intelligent than that.
Games have evolved so far beyond what the public sees them as. A video game plot can be socially relevant and truly moving. The graphics can be artistic and beautiful, just like the people who make them can be. But as long as we have popular figures that make a mockery of games (see: Souja Boy, Jack Thompson, any given British publication) and sheep that will cling onto these fools opinions with their dying (or disbarred, amirite?) breath, stupidity will prevail.
No community makes the fact that we have evolved beyond the simple, less united, and more secluded days of gaming more evident than us, the Destructoid community. We get together and socialize at completely random parties, we lift each other up and help each other out when we are in distress or are just having a rough day, and we have intelligent discussions on video games and beyond. We are the anti-stereotype, and as such, we have to stand up for our hobby and prove that gamers are not what the ignorant public thinks of us.
I do not wear a pocket protector. I do not get stuffed in lockers. I do not feel awkward in every social situation. I do not only want to talk about games all the time.
I do have a life. I do have friends. I do think about socially relevant issues. I am a gamer, and I do not fit the mass public portrayal of me.