Smile and Nod: I'm No Rosa Parks

Smile and Nod: I'm No Rosa Parks

What do brunch, movie rentals and Best Buy have in common? They all remind Russ Pitts of his showdown with Billy Kramer and the appeal of flying beneath the radar.


Wow, I can relate to a few things said. I'm not a people person, I actually tend to avoid people.

I hate people.

*hugs* Nothing wrong with hiding. People fucking suck. The only advantage to finding that out when you're a kid is that you can't be arrested. When you do...something to your own personal Billy Kramer.

I might be a bit hasty in saying this, but this is probably the best article on gaming culture that I have read. Well, atleast to one as horribly vain as I am.

The only cure is to wear a Zero Punctuation (tm) T-Shirt, if somebody embarasses you use your editorial powers over Yahtzee to make him flame them publicly.

No offense or anything, but you seem a bit more attuned to what people think of you then is healthy. I can't really relate, since my attitude was, and still is, "You don't like me? That's fine. You're an asshole to me, go fuck yourself. You hit me, and I'll fucking make you remeber me until the day you die." It has always served me well. And I'm a major geek. I'm just insane. (WOOEE!) Not really, but I might as well be.

No one, NO ONE, is more terrified of his own profession then Mr. Russ Pitts. What's more, his fear is tangible, and comes across crystal clear in that always moving, utterly gorgeous writing of his. And it saddens me, as until I was a gamer, I didn't know what I was. All my life I was the "weird girl:" too oblivious and book-happy to be one of the popular kids, too aggressive and loud to be one of the nerds, not funny enough to be one of the clowns, I was bad at sports and at schoolwork, I cried in public and wasn't embarrassed about it afterwards, I asked lots of questions, I ignored rules, I had no friends, and no one really knew what to make of me.

It might sound strange that my experience with gaming has been one of finally feeling like I belong. Gamers, as a community, didn't care too much that I was loud or confrontational or obsessive; as long as I liked the games they liked, I was in. And since I love games, it's the first time I've felt like there's a real subculture with a place for aliens like me. Being a gamer, I think, has made me a stronger, more secure person. For the first time ever there are other people like me out there. I'm not alone.

Well its good to know that there are more of us out there. Personally i probably wouldnt have gone fore the halo controller because i got diff. gaming preferences, but had it been a controller to my tastes and had a 30% percent discount on it, i prob would have gotten it.

As for the Bobby Kramer incident, i can relate to that in slightly different ways, but nothing makes you tougher then when u decide to stand up to another guy.

Don't make me roll for initiative, Bobby Kramer.

I have several things to say to this.

1. I love the "Russ Pitts is a gamer. His blog can be found at" at the end of it. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but I had a lol right at the end.

2. I grew up in a time when gaming wasn't a "Kiss of Death" to having a life. Only if you didn't care if girls were directly involved in your life. So I had a sausage fest of a adolescence, because I chose games over girls.

Honestly, I probably could have done with a Bobby Kramer to bust my ass and put me in my place, but it didn't happen. So I continued to play games, almost exclusively to everything else.

I knew several people who made this transition, from Gamer to non-gamer (Or so they'd like their girlfriends to think), and I generally hated them - because I knew what they were on the inside, and it bothered me that they were lying to themselves and everyone else. Maybe it's just something those who choose girls over games can understand.

Maybe I was jealous. All my girls were online, and that too, was mainly like a video game. My love life was basically a text-based dating sim. It's a really odd way to think about it, and I haven't until this point, but that's the best way to put it.

3. Don't need to be so hard on yourself man. If the people at Best Buy or Blockbuster, or old fogeys on the street have anything bad to say about your gaming, shove them. I promise they won't clock you and break your glasses.

They might however cause your Wanted Level to increase. Or at least that's how I think it works. I wasn't paying attention playing GTA.

People fucking suck.

Hey! I take offense to that!

I also agree with it wholeheartedly, though. It's weird how some people are so worth the time it takes to get to know them and others are turds covered in turd pudding.

It's not as bad as maybe it once was, though. Society has changed quite a bit over the last few decades. In a time where nearly everyone has access to the internet and teens can't fit in without Xbox Live, gamers aren't nearly as spittle-worthy as they once were.

"Older" gamers, I suppose, are still seen by the general public as a little "weird," though I actually don't think it'll take too long until games get close to the same recognition as movies and are seen as general entertainment instead of some "cult" thing.

Who knows? Maybe in ten years, we'll have our own "gaming Oscars" complete with a live broadcast on NBC and developers sashaying on the red carpet. Now that would be progress.

For now, though, all we can do is believe. *cue Halo theme*

Hey, I am proud of being a gamer and wear my gaming as a badge of pride. When anyone as much as looks at me funny concerning my gaming passion/obsession/hobby I conjure up the fact that gaming made me interested in philosophy, politics, history, writing; all of these now define me as a person. When I go game pruchasing I enjoy clerk attention, even though ours (Romanian here) are not to knowledgeable or interested in games...

Very nice work, Russ. As usual, I can identify with much of what you've written here.

It seems that my experience is the odd one, being a gamer was the persona I used in order to fit in. "Look, I am a gamer and academic achiever. I am not the product of a broken house. I am not Asian. I am not a non-Christian. And I am most certainly not... totally uninterested in the opposite sex (before I figured out there were other non-normal people like that.)"

It's good to know that I was not the only one out there with their own bully issue. Mine was named Robert. A kid who had been held back twice, so was two years older and a good many pounds heavier than all of the rest of us. Especially an undersized skinny bookish nerd who sported heavy coke bottle glasses.
There were other kids who picked on me, but they mostly did so because they were Robert's lackys. I was chased home every day for doing really odd things like reading well, or getting the right answers... Until one day, a couple of kids found out that even in grade school a history book to the face can really mess you up. My dad just stood there watching this mini brawl on his front yard unfold, until he had decided that I had hurt them enough then came out to stop me.
That next monday on the bus, I kicked Robert in the face, was kicked off the bus, was grounded for being kicked off of the bus, but had found my self esteem and realized that it no longer mattered what other kids thought.
To be honest though.. when other non gamers are walking by and I am talking RPGs with a buddy.. I still lower my voice a little.


Yup, grew up in the same era...and being the new kid in school at 4th grade, I was totally "wrong".

But I lucked out and befriended a couple of other C64 kids and we decided it best to insulate ourselves--come high-school though, there was no way in hell I was gonna admit that I was a gamer...that I probably spent most of my freshman year playing Nobnaga's Ambition on the NES and shortly there after the first CIV on PC.

But, now I have come out of the gamer closet, and damn it feels good! :) I proudly pronounce my status of "Geek" as if it were a red badge of courage, because there is no questioning the beatings, humiliation, and general social rejection we faced as kids deserves to be recognized!

Then again, maybe I found the source of my anger!


Mr Pitts, it saddens me that it is only now I find your column. I would just like to say that it is very refreshing to read an article like this. I too am a gamer, I lower my voice in public, flinch easily and tend to be over emotional. Your article illustrates an important point for me.. That is to never change yourself just because another person bullies you for it. (Unless you're a complete jackass.. perhaps.) I'm lucky enough to have a lot of mates (I'm only 16) and get on with most people. I am unsure about myself and do truly dislike many people around me at school but.... that's life I suppose. 95% of everything is crap.. Or so the saying goes. Perhaps that applies to not only humanity's creations, but humanity itself!?

Sorry if this doesn't add much to the comments but that's how I feel. Thanks a lot Mr Pitts. Really, thank you for your column.

I have several things to say to this.
I had a sausage fest of a adolescence, because I chose games over girls.

Yet another reason why I didn't get into games until relatively late: gaming groups were sausage fests, and the guys weren't exactly welcoming. Since then I've gotten used too the guys club atmosphere of the gaming community and now have way more male friends then female ones, but my gender was one thing standing between me and real Gamer-Dom.

I never had a direct experience with bullying either, probably because of my gender. The way girls bully and are bullied is very different from the male tradition of physical abuse, as girls perfer the back-ally rumor and complete social sabatoge. I was the target of a lot of bullying in that sense, but I was too oblivious most of the time to notice.

I also had a rough time in High School. I attended as school where the kids drove better cars than the teachers and looked down on anything that MTV didn't exhort as "cool". I changed the way I dressed and acted, and even put down other gamers, nerds, other fellow my everlasting shame. It took graduating and my current attendance at college to show my that originality is MUCH more interesting than another cut and paste personality. Thanks to me becoming a out of the basement gamer, I have found two best friends and a life long passion for games.

Gitarooman "That is to never change yourself just because another person bullies you for it. (Unless you're a complete jackass.. perhaps.)"
..............Yeah,I'd say I was....or am?

The author has a family, a job he enjoys, and enough money AND spare time to pursue his hobby. We can all only hope for so much. I don't see any reason why he should be embarrased or feel the need to "shy away" in the first place. Especially since the person who scoffs at video games might religiously watch American Idol or America's Next Top Model. I view either of those hobbies as rediculous. Their opinion is only the "superior" one, from which they can look down on you, if you let it be so. Rosa Parks, on the other hand, had real trouble. She faced actual physical and mental abuse from all of established society, not just the possibility of an eyerolling from a local fashion victim.

You know its possible for an extremely unintelligent and immature stockboy at the grocery store to laugh when he sees a jar of sweet gherkins in your cart. That doesn't mean you should feel embarrassed by buying pickles. He's making himself a fool, not you.

Then again, the author is a little older than me (I'm 27) and that makes it a little more difficult. Even today, games are seen as "kids' toys" but the misperception is stronger with older generations. That's because when they were our age and we were kids, video games really WERE monopolized by the young. When everyone that's older than you all collectively scoff in unison at your video games, I suppose it is a lot more powerful. But then again, I doubt most of the people working at Best Buy are much older 30-something.


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