This is an opinion piece and as such everyone is welcome to their own opinions.
#GamerGate. I’m sure you’ve all heard about this by now and if you haven’t, you’re one of the lucky ones. Not only are gaming journalists coming under fire, and rightly so, but so is the term “gamer” and those that use it. A barrage of articles popped up on multiple gaming related websites over the last few weeks stating that we should disown the term gamer, completely rid it from our vocabulary and coin a new term such as “player of games” to describe ourselves, but why should we?
I often describe myself as a gamer, generally because I enjoy playing video games and learning about the culture surrounding it, I’m not ashamed to label myself as such. When I meet new people and we discuss our hobbies and interests I perk up with “I’m a gamer”, probably because other media types such as movies and television shows aren’t as prominent in my day to day life. A gamer to me is someone who is interested in playing a wide variety of games – big or small, new or old. I label others with similar interests as mine the same, although I don’t directly use the term with them unless they wish me to, that’s just manners and it’s a real shame that so many people now want to move away from the term gamer.
The term however is now outdated and the description should be altered and updated, with more people playing games than ever before, whether casual or hardcore, gamer is being used for everyone under the sun who lays their fingers on anything described as a game. As mentioned above the term gamer to me is defined by how many games you play, how many genres span your collection and if you take part in the overall gaming culture. That doesn’t mean that everyone has the same thoughts as mine, some think they’re a gamer because they play Candy Crush on the weekends and other think they’re a gamer because they take part in Call of Duty events.
I use the term proudly, but I do feel slightly ashamed to be pushed under the same spotlight as some of the community we’re now seeing day in and day out. A minority of “gamers” were tainting the term before recent events with their over the mic abuse which always included something about “your mom!”, use of swatting (which has suddenly become all the rage for Twitch and other stream viewers) and general ignorance towards other human beings. Now we’re also being faced by those who think women are a plague of the industry, who see them as intruders in their entertainment dens and those who ultimately wish to disrespect anyone who doesn’t fit their gamer ideals — whatever they are. Idiocy, I know.
When I speak about my relationship to gaming I do sometimes get asked “How come you’re not so angry in real life?” and “Don’t gamers turn out to be killers?”, and the answer to these questions you could probably answer for yourself in a calm and intelligent manner. Not all of us abuse other players, although I would be lying if I haven’t popped off a few sentences during heated gaming moments, not all of us take video games as fact and not all of us want to ruin some other persons day.
I don’t wish the term gamer to disappear, I’m found of using it and being labelled as such, it has been a part of who I am for many years now. I’m part of the majority of “gamers” who love the medium, not part of the minority who wishes to ruin it, but we may need to change our perspective on what a gamer is and WHO should be labelled as a gamer if we wish to keep it intact. I’d rather use the term “gamer” than “player of games” or “game player”. What are your thoughts on the term gamer and do you use it? Leave a comment in the box below!