Editor's Note: Full Spectrum Gamer

Full Spectrum Gamer

Examining the spectrum between hardcore and casual.

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I'd say I'd be fairly hardcore in terms of hours played; it's a case of not having much to do in the summer and games being a very good timesink. That said if I ever go more than a couple of days without gaming I'd get a little antsy, so it's borderline addiction here. Days just seem to be a lot longer when I can't find time to sit down with a good game.

I think there definitely is a line that is crossed between casual and hardcore. Where it is I have no idea but if you can sit down and play a game for 10 hours straight that makes you hardcore. I would personally say Im hardcore as well just for the sheer time spent gaming on my xbox and now somewhat on my pc.

Russ Pitts:
Then I spend a half hour writing about what kind of gamer I am and feel like a moron, like some neurotic existentialist anxious over the lack of a cliff to debate jumping off of.

Quote of the month for me, and damn it is only the first! I like the discussion on classifications, mainly because I feel so contradictory. I live in a frat, I play mw2, am I one of the oft spoken frat sheeple who only play fps shooters? (NO, in case anyone was going to ask)

For me, alot of lines which define each are very blurred, and really its each person that defines it. I mean, we can name some of the most obvious signs of hardcore...like people who play without eating, sleeping ect...but that also more on line of obsessive.

I think, really we are all jsut gamers. We do what we can in spare time between work, sleep, friends & Family. I know I dont always get as much in as I would like, but, im comftable with what I do get.

Maybe 30 hours a week? 10 of which are usually ojn a weekend

Im a casual Pc gamer..

Aibt of a story snob actually. I love RTS games.. thats where my heart lies.. and oh god have I bought my share of bad RTS games.

But even a good movie can inspire me to buy a space game. Its an addiction of mine.. I once watched a Sci -fi movie.. then went on steam and bought x3-terran conflict.. Just because..
And ive only played 10 minutes of it.

but one thing I am not is good at "MMRPG"'s I find then boring waay to quickly.. and yet Ive got 5 different ones!

You could consider me a gamer. maybe not hardcore, because gaming isn't my life, but still a gamer, because it's definetly a part of my life.

im a gamer
but then again we are just human, it is what we define ourselves in life that truly qualify us as to what we are.

then again, again, we can also add on to that, for example:
if I find myself dangerouse i can add dangerous
- I am a dangerous gamer
or if I am psychology twisted and believe I am a potato i can add that too
-I am a dangerous potato gamer
or as another extent of my own insanity and believe that i might be a pirate
- I am a dangerous potato gaming pirate

- I am an Insanely dangerous potato gaming pirate

-did i mention i was dashing aswell? (describing my perfection is bringing a tear to the eye)
so yes, this is what i believe I am

What sort of TV show requires such a computer? I would like to know more of this.

I've been playing all types of games on various different consoles (including PC) all throughout my life, so I suppose that makes me a 'hardcore' gamer.

I guess back in the 90s in the UK, I was 'hardcore' if only because I had a massive LAN set up at home, while everyone else was still trying to find titles for the PSX.

By 2000 everyone had moved on to the new consoles and I used to play on them at friend's houses before finally getting my own. I think it was by the time the next gen consoles hit that I was no longer 'hardcore' as I just didn't (and still don't) have the money for them, let alone the titles.

Now in 2010, I'm at uni, studying a physics degree, working part time and spending the majority of my free time with friends (or my girlfriend) and don't really bust out the games that I do have with me.

So I'd probably call myself a casual gamer now, except I still spend several hours a week playing free online flash titles and other such stuff I come across. And I know that if I boot up any of the total war series, or even AoE, I'm going to be sat there for at least another 10 to 15 hours.

So in conclusion? I'm just a gamer. The hardcore fans live in the flat next door and use phrases such as "the fail" and "awesomeness of epic proportions" while laughing at others for going about they're normal social lives. And washing.

I'm mostly casual, but sometimes hardcore, like back in the day with runescape, sigh good times good times.

Is "hardcore" about HOURS played or TYPE of game played?

I will game hours every day, maybe 20-30 hous a week. But it ranges in tone. Some of it is RPGs like Mass Effect. Other times I play RTS games, mostly in a LAN setting. Sometimes I'll get right into a FPS, either single or multiplayer. Other times it's cutesy games like Spore, or even Anno 1404. And then again, I'm not too proud to admit I have a Facebook account and play Flash games like Happy Aquarium online.

It's all very different gaming experiences. Some could be described as "casual", while other content is far more "hardcore". I would put myself into the "hardcore" category if asked, simply because of the sheer amount of gaming I do, the mature content of gaming I reach, and the fact that I study Games Design.

But I'd really rather not define myself. Because, as I've found, it's hard to define anyone's gaming experience, and I just don't think it's helpful.

I have issues with the word "hardcore", actually, since it seems to be used as an odd mix of statement of fact ("boy, do you game a lot") and praise ("boy, are you really good at gaming"). It's a mix that I don't think gels well, especially when used as self-appellation. I can say "I game a lot" without coming across as bragging, but I can't say "I'm really good" the same way.

What am I leading to? Like other words of respect and praise, I think it should be given by others, not by oneself. Either the word needs a more rigid definition that minimizes the laudatory aspect or people should avoid using it to apply to themselves until after a lot of others have already told them they were hardcore.

I would say, my 'hardcore' era started when I actually bought a console. I wasn't so fortunate enough with upgrading my PC constantly, I mainly played RTS games like Warcraft III, that was an infinite source of fun. But I always shyed away from the Triple A titles, simply because my PC would die from exhaustion.

Hooking my 360 on my HDTV proved such a stunning effect. All the ace games and playing in HD, that was just a revolution within myself. Maybe it caused me to be spoiled but I never regret giving up my PC for a netbook and a xbox360. I am having jolly fun with all my other friends.

I'd rather just separate people in two categories.

Gamer & Non-Gamer

If your a Gamer then you just happen to fall into different genres preferences.

I'm not sure when it came along but "Hardcore Gamer" sounds so incredibly silly it makes me cringe at the thought of it.

Gaming-wise I'll generally try playing anything and don't hold resistance to much. I have my preferences but when your having fun with friends or family you can usually put up with stuff you usually don't on your own or see and feel things in a different light.
I'd never play Gears of War on my own but I've spent a couple nights drinking myself silly playing online matches with friends at their houses.

I suppose I could be considered "hardcore", what with my custom built gaming PC and choice of games (If you get into X3: Terran Conflict, you're in for the long haul. Really long haul), but I'd rather not be, since it makes me sound like a twat.
And I don't play as much as I'd like. Time just disappears, so I only spend a couple of hours on games some days (but others I spend what feels like twenty five hours a day on them)

I'm certainty a PC gamer through and through, though. I just don't like console gaming, it feels simplistic (when I can play a ported game with one hand on my PC, it's too simple). I like masses of controls, buttons, lists. I like power, I suppose, and console gaming just doesn't give me that.

Anyway, enough of my obvious superiority elitism.
before you reply with "ZOMG PC gamers are so stuck up", lighten up

In all honesty... I say I'm hardcore. I started at the age of 7 (for full console that is, Lemmings on the Omega and Tetris on the Gameboy came before) with the N64 and Diddy Kong Racing. I've gone through the consoles since, clocking up as many hours as I could and today, standing but a few months of 21, I am coming to the end of an (involuntary) year out in which I have just finished Fallout 3 (add-ons and all) with a grand total of 223 hours and 14 minutes. I've obsessivley panned all the Resident Evil story game, know Fable 1 & 2 like the back of my hand and now own all the Fallouts... Because art and film is my work, games are my fun. Therefore I am hardcore.

editor and cheif of a videogame news and reveiw site? yes whether you game for an one or 72 hours a week you are more hardcore than most of us.

as for myself i consider myself a gamer. No more no less. not hardcore not casual. I have a wii and Hard core Gaming PC. I play Team fortress 2 and mafia wars. I'm that middle ground the bridge between obsession and hobby. And it's fun. And thats the point right?

I'm with you, Russ. When I was a kid, I didn't play video games as much as watch them, because my best friends had the cool consoles. It wasn't until late in high school that I really got into CounterStrike. By the time I hit my second year of university, I was far too busy to play games most days, though it didn't stop me from trying all of the latest games. When the Wii came out, I just had to get it, and when Rock Band came out, I was all over that too. Now that I have graduated and am working on a career, I try to share my evenings between playing games and socializing, doing both when the opportunity arises. A friend has lured me into playing NES games (and setting world records), while others have me playing StarCraft II and Altitude.

Am I hardcore? I don't know, because I don't know what it means. I can spend 8 hours a day playing games on the weekend (and put a quick end to Fallout 3), but I usually only play a couple of hours every other day. I like all kinds of games, from the old to the new, from Flash-based casual games to hardcore RTS and FPS.

I think the reality is that everybody is all of these things. Few gamers can say they've never played anything but hardcore FPS, and even people playing casual games have had gaming sessions hours long (come on all you Snood and Peggle addicts). We all have games and genres that we like or dislike and they can all be trivially simple or ludicrously hard. I think the only thing that separates any of us is our desire to label ourselves as hardcore. Some people wear it like a badge of honor, while others see it as an admission of obsession. Perhaps they are both right.

What's certain is that we all like games and I think that's all that matters. Whether you like Planetscape or Pony Stars, games are there to entertain everyone. What used to be the taboo pastime of nerds has now become the world's favorite way to kill time and have fun. We've moved beyond the passive consumption of media like radio and television and have entered an era of interactive entertainment. And it's fun!

You don't need to play 40+ hours a week to be a gamer; you just need to have a love and admiration for games. As for me, I'm a PC gamer. It's mostly out of practicality, since it is difficult to play a console with a bunch of kids zooming in front of the television.

Great message, Russ, thank you for doing it.

I think the variety of life changes and gaming changes make the point. That point is perfectly reflected by the similar variety in all these comments.

What is the common thread through all of it?

We are gamers.

With the number and type of devices one can play a game on exploding, the self selecting into 'tribes' within the gaming community is unnecessary but as common as humankind. We don't seem to be willing to be part of one large contiguous group in anything. We always subdivide into smaller subsets.

I'm am certain sociology will have a term for this group dynamic and a lot of MEGO writing about it.

But bottom line, whether we use PC, console, phone, touchpad or toaster, we are simply gamers. If we could all hang together instead of finding ridiculous things to divide and attack each other about we would actually see the massive group we are worldwide and all the anti-gaming bias would evaporate overnight.

Something to consider.

And, Russ, I would love to join you for an afternoon at the range.
Semper Fi!

When I left home for college, the only game I took with me was TIE Fighter. I kept those floppy disks for years - long after I stopped installing the necessary drives on my computers. That game was awesome and would make the the pope a hardcore gamer.

Back on topic: I'm casually hardcore.

First and foremost, I´m a gamer...I think. I mean, I´m also a writer, a student, an older brother and what have you, but those aren´t relevant here. Right now, I´m a gamer (and a forum member...okay, that´s enough), although I´m not sure what kind. Perhaps I´m an old school type, since I haven´t been very much in touch with the current generation of games, mostly because I can´t afford it, but I do know my way around older generations (from PS2 to C64). However, I still like to read about upcoming games and what´s happening in gaming today (both market and culture).

You could say I´m a ludist at heart. I like games simply for what they are, and not just console or PC games. Gaming = fun, and that´s all there is to it, I think.

I came up with my definition of who a 'hardcore gamer' is after reading that article one the Escapist by that one doctor that played fifteen minutes of Dwarf Fortress a week (too lazy too look it up). A hardcore gamer is anyone who makes time for gaming. So you spend every afternoon playing MW2 and weekends back to back? If you're a twelve-year-old who has no responsabilities and, in a world without video games, would spend that time surfing the web or listening to music or masturbating or whatever, you're not hardcore. Are you a doctor who plans you schedule around a fifteen-minute Dwarf Fortress break? You're hardcore.

I realized this now that I'm working, and have money to buy stuff but little (well, less) time to play. Before, I'd always plan which games I rented/bought so that I never got bored during longest holidays. Now, I always have a lot of stuff on the backburner to do, so whatever time I take off to play a game is more important.

Our hobby is finally gaining legitimacy after decades of being pushed into the corners of derision and mockery.

I think the time for categorizing what kind of gamer one is has passed. Identifiers for the sake of identification are fine (and will always be necessary), but let's unite, rather than divide.

Russ Pitts:

I've been a gamer for most of my life, but I've given them up twice. Once when, as a teenager, I simply didn't have time. I'd discovered theater and girls and was spending late nights and weekends with one or the other - always.

Ah yes. "Girls". I read about them once in an online forum. I'd go outside to see if I could find one, but I'm too busy having a max-skill/special character in Fallout 3, Journeying through Ferelden in Dragon Age for the 3rd time, beating every Final Fantasy ever made, going through my 20th round on Resident Evil 4 Professional Mode (as in, New Game, not New Game+ with Typewriter-use or high-level guns at start etc.), Being a nigh-on Korean Starcraft 2 Player (Diamond League, Rank #4, baby.), slaying countless n00bs in Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Halo, Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, Age of Mythology, CODMW2, and any other online game ever conceived by Mankind. And that's just modern games. If I have a daughter I'm going to name her Schala or Marle, because that's how damn much I adore Chrono Trigger. And Cross. And Lunar 1, Lunar 2, Legend of Dragoon, Golden Sun, Deus Ex and a hundred other brilliant RPGs who are destined to be forever mired in undeserved obscurity. Though I too adore some "Casual" games. Plants vs Zombies is goddamn incredible. Hell, the only genres I don't play would be Sports Sims and Racing games. I could wallpaper my room (possibly with two coats) with the amount of games I have (and love). When asked for a poem describing my life in English class, I submitted the following:

See the world through my eyes
For I am the master of a thousand weapons
I have slain countless foes upon an endless array of battlefields.
What lies before me is an eternity of carnage and slaughter
For I shall never die
Only Respawn.
(Doubtless this put me on some kind of psychological watchlist with the University, but sod it, I adore it almost as much as the poem I wrote when my Xbox red-ringed, which I posted here on the Escapist.)

As far as I'm concerned, Pitts, there's Video Gaming, and then there's the things you have to do in real life before you can play more video games.

HardCORE? I've practically got a hard exoskeleton at this point.

/End Giant Nerdy "Video-Games-Are-A-Way-Of-Life"-style rant

Gun was omn the PS2 too.

I use hardcore to describe the big gamers, like me and as described, Russ Pitts. True hardcore gamers are ones who appreciate all games. My old profile has over 160 games on its list, and thats just 360 games. I do not just play FPS games or just RTS games, and though currently I mostly just play 360, I am not soul-bound to it.
I like variety, long as I enjoy them. I play games I like, regardless of genre, or if they are "casual" or not. And I play them over and over again.

I guess I have the same as you: I consider myself hardcore, but I don't game enough (anymore) to classify as one. Simply a lack of time. What still makes me a hardcore gamer though, are two things:
- the fact that I consider mysélf as a hardcore gamer;
- the fact that I come to sites like the Escapist every day, comment on articles like this one every day and post comments on gameforums every day.

My 'hardcoreness' isn't determined by my gaming habits. It's determined by the fact that I know that 'KotOR' isn't something that makes my car go 'vroom'.

I think every hobby changes as you get older. As adult responsibilities increase, it's much harder to dedicate dozens of hours to something you may have had a diehard passion for in your youth.

Take a look at guys who are really into sports. The former high school quarterback probably plays golf by the time he's in his 30s or 40s. He may even play in an intermural league, but he's not playing in full-contact championship games. Those of us who remember Pac Man in the arcades are the same way. I can hold my own in RTSes like Starcraft but I'm not topping the leaderboards. I have decent gear in WOW but I'm not in a top raiding guild. I'm not worried about it, since that's the natural progression of things.

Now the only question is will I revert to hardcore gaming when I'm retired, in the same way my retired dad plays golf every day.

I play any amounts of any type of game. Plants vs Zombies one day, then maybe some Fallout 3, or i might feel like playing the original Sonic titles.

I'm in no rush to call myself a hardcore gamer. I'm just a guy that plays a lot of games ;D

I could go on a rant here about how harcore i am as a gamer. But my brain got stuck after you mentioned Quake...so....


I play various titles, from FPS through RPG to games like Guitar Hero or Skate 3. I mostly play on my 360, as I don't have a PC. But I'm happy to spend some time playing iPhone or facebook games. I work quite a lot, so I can't devote as much time to gaming as I would like to, but hey at least I can afford buying new titles often.

To keep it short and sweet, I play on anything and any genre if the game is good the platform excist Im doing it .... 0.0 yeh all except the Wii

I'm a gamer that looks at games and tries to find all the paths and loop holes as I play, usually through the first run though. I do this because I want to be a game designer but also because I've always loved the idea of exploring game worlds and find things so few people have found on their own or even with hints on their maps.

Games to me are these fun and interesting worlds that are worth exploring to their fullest while being able to keep track of where you are so that you can find your way back to the path that your quest leads to (sort of like having bread crumbs to lead you back home while exploring the woods). I think that's one of the reasons I don't enjoy time challenges in games. They make it so that you don't have time to explore the area you're in and that you need to rush to complete the task you've been handed so you don't have time to explore all your opinions to completing it in a way that would satisfy you as a player.

Anyway, my point is that I'm both a gamer and an aspiring game designer who wants to learn more about the game worlds and experiences you can have in games so that one day I can make my own worlds that might tempt other's to explore them like I have in games I have. Though, I will admit, games like Plants VS Zombies are what I play just for the fun of finding out which plants will kick a zombies butt harder. ;3


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