No Right Answer: Are Gamers Dead?

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Are Gamers Dead?

Is the species known as "Gamer" on the brink of extinction? We try to define what it means to be a gamer, and if that definition is a good thing.

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Last time I checked I'm still alive.

*sees video title* Oh, this ought to be good. Yup, no way this will stir up controversy.

*gets to image at 4:01* Oh yes, I see where you ar- WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!

*video ends* Seriously, what the fuck was that thing? I'm still freaking out about that.

OT: I'm more in the camp for the broad definition, but only if it's voluntarily applied. I know people who game who don't consider themselves gamers, and I'm not going to argue with them about it. Once you start putting a qualifier on like 'passionate' it's too easy for someone to say 'oh you don't count because you aren't as passionate as that guy.'

I've got to admit admit it was nice to see someone even vaguely discussing the issue and staying neutral about it. Could have done with that judgement at the end, though, regardless of it being applied to both sides. Also, it was nice to hear Chris talk, even tangentially, about games again.

I think we have a serious problem when certain journalists identify gamers as frothing consumerist zealots one day then insist anyone who's ever cast a flirtatious sideways glance at Angry Birds a gamer the next.

"Gamer" has just become a media abused term, warped to prove whatever point the writer is trying to make and inevitably contradicted at a later date and I'd recommend just staying clear of anyone trying to dictate to others on what a real gamer is or is not for the future.

Human nature likes to take exceptions to the rule and prop them up as the rule. I've been a long time "hardcore" gamer and have tried to never be a troll. Unfortunately, by not doing something only makes you a silent participant. Its the vocal minority that gets the attention. All those window-licking mouth-breathers give us all a bad name.

But you know what, if someone were to ask, i'm still proud to identify myself as a "gamer." So are gamers dead? Hell no!

*Sigh* Less exclusive?

Let's just say I fully disagree. I think gamers as a whole have been very inclusive, the vast majority I've talked to when asked about the increased presence of women in gaming have either been like.

"Thou-est musteth be-eth joketh, there arenth nay womenth on thy net!"

Or

"Sweet"

Or they are girls, because I've been in the kind of situation that a lot of the people I've been around in my life with by pure coincidence have been girls, and most of them are gamers. All kinds of games, MMO's, social facebook stuff, shooters, Mobas... Mostly Mobas.. I've stopped playing Mobas with them, they're like preying mantis except no intimacy, just biting heads off when I misfire an ability..

It's not my fault my mouse lags.. it was mouselag i swear.

Anyway-

I've not seen anyone saying 'Wahh, Women in my games, get them out of here- boys only!'

Gaming culture has in the recent years, or recent decade been tied a lot to the online community. The Online Community has by and large prided itself on anonymity. It's been very easy for gays, transexuals, nerds, bisexuals- women and otherwise people feeling a bit outcast or dis-empowered to find equality there under a banner of anonymity.

The problems arose with the.. What can we even call them? The people who believes the whole 'your rights end where my feelings begin' an incredibly loud minority usually recently out of some humanities study who believes that we should rid ourselves of our anonymity and cater ourselves to well- them. Just them, and that they stand for an idea which is the most inclusive of all, the idea that Gaming must be reformed into something that doesn't hurt anyones feelings.

They are very authoritarian in that way and I don't want gaming to become about politics, and if we are to become something that doesn't cause offense to -anyone- that is exactly what it's going to be about, politics. To have my information streams that I relied on turned into sites whose articles can push an agenda. It's a big industry now, Hollywood became political- some say we can't prevent gaming from becoming about politics, from splitting down the sides like this.

But this is why Gaming and by extension Gamergate which consist of people who care about videogames is so inclusive, it's because we don't care about gender or politics or any of that... We care about videogames and we care about the future of videogames and we are worried that if we let these people who want to control us with an agenda get their way, our hobby will push us away and our hobby will become exclusive.

A well grounded fear considering the way they've been censoring discussion, the reach they've had within the independant gaming community and the games media- the ability to completely blackout coverage on games made by people whose opinion doesn't fall in line with theirs- the ability to destroy careers... Banning people and excluding and ignoring and blocking and removing former 'friends' after this conflict started, due to hurt feelings over what is a fact of life- that even among your best of friends you're still going to disagree on certain issues.. Being an adult is about overcoming those disagreements and finding common ground, to be mature. You can't live your whole life in some sort of hug box, that's unhealthy.

It's unhealthy for people, and it's unhealthy for gaming. We should allow games of all shapes and sizes and themes, sure some of them may hurt someones feelings- sure some of them may be developed by someone whose political opinion we may disagree with. But they should still get attention because we as gamers care about games, we as persons may care about politics but as gamers we care about 'games'.

Gamers are indeed alive, they're a growing hobby and they're not going away. Our hobby is becoming larger than film, it is time we did something to make sure we don't allow the same mistakes to happen as it did to them- or at least try.

I'm a gamer. To me a gamer is someone who plays games, and who plays games and is a BIT more interested in the medium than playing farmville once a month.

I dont think the term is dead, but I dont think the term is very meaningful either. Its about as meaningful as "swimmer". Whats a swimmer all about? Living in pools and only drinking water and wearing trunks all the time?

One has to divide a person from a term. You cant sum up a person with one word. Its even hard to sum up a culture with one word. When I say gamer I guess a lot of people think about raging xbox kiddies or frothing cod players. They exist, but thats barely a subculture. In fact its even just a small part of a subculture. Gamers are just people. As diverse in any direction as any people with a particular hobby.

flying_whimsy:
*sees video title* Oh, this ought to be good. Yup, no way this will stir up controversy.

*gets to image at 4:01* Oh yes, I see where you ar- WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!

*video ends* Seriously, what the fuck was that thing? I'm still freaking out about that.

Ah don't worry, it's just a tooth fairy from Don't Be Afraid of the Dark...

Good film, you should check it out. :)

Very awesome! Thank you.

It doesn't matter what words we use, as long as people associate negative stereotypes to them, what ever word you choose to use will become negative.

We can always always further divide amongst ourselves, by the type of game genres you prefer. I don't like the idea of just throwing games in the two "casual" and "core" groups though. It creates a false dichotomy and causes conflicts that don't exist. There are TONS of better defined genres, and some games have cross over appeal. when I was a kid, Nintendo had genre labels on their first games.

But to outsiders, they will still group all of us together, so attacking or decrying fans of different genres is pretty stupid, especially from fan press.

Kmadden2004:

flying_whimsy:
*sees video title* Oh, this ought to be good. Yup, no way this will stir up controversy.

*gets to image at 4:01* Oh yes, I see where you ar- WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!

*video ends* Seriously, what the fuck was that thing? I'm still freaking out about that.

Ah don't worry, it's just a tooth fairy from Don't Be Afraid of the Dark...

Good film, you should check it out. :)

The sad part is that I've seen that movie a couple of times now, and I still didn't recognize the little bugger. I'm just used to thinking of them as small and lumpy, so an out-of-context close-up of one totally caught me off guard.

Who is slantering the definition of 'gamer'? Gaming media.

Who is redefining what 'gamer' means? Gaming media.

The age old pop culture image isnt the problem. The arguement itself about Gamers being dead is so far out, its not even about gaming. It's so out of touch it's a non-news that has nothing to do with gaming.

The only thing making this news is to ask how, HOW could any gaming site post this with a straight face? "Gamers are baboons! Should we redefine what Gamers actually are?". Is anyones input even needed? They came up with the idea of gamers being something else, and now they want to redefine gamers as something more believable? What!?

This is a joke.

Let's see...
I'm a gamer.
And I'm about 99% sure I'm not dead.

TippiestRook:
Last time I checked I'm still alive.

I'm playing games and I'm still alive.
I feel fantastic and I'm still alive.

The whole "Gamers are dead" thing reminds me a lot of a video that Bob did about the change in acceptance of nerd culture.

tl;dr As the acceptance of the subculture has grown over the years, the culture itself hasn't. The extremely overblown "Gamers are dead" articles that nobody actually ever read (which I'm certain of because most of them are far from inflammatory) were mostly about a predicted upheaval in the gamer subculture (which IMO is on its way, if it hasn't started already). Gamer culture overlaps with nerd culture for a reason - they developed around the same time and were very much stigmatized in a way that make it a small but generally accepting and united group and would accept the other stigmatized members of society. Today, thats all out the window. Once upon a time you were bullied for liking videogames, then videogames other than Pokemon, but now you're viewed as a weirdo in high school if you don't have an Xbox 360 and at least one Call of Duty game. Now the majority of the population of the United States plays videogames at least once a month, and we have parents mini-maxing Zynga games on Facebook. The President of the United States received The Witcher 2 in a gift basket from Poland's Prime Minister. The Wii was the most popular console of last gen because almost everybody could play Wii Sports. The word "gamer" doesn't mean what it meant ten years ago or twenty years ago simply because of a growing and typically overwhelming acceptance of gaming.

Not only that, but for the hardcore enthusiasts, the gaming landscape has changed dramatically. As the video points out, games started becoming more and more about art, and now we're seeing divides among hardcore enthusiasts about their feelings regarding this. Some people don't give a shit about it, for others, thats all they care about, and you can't reconcile the two sides when they often can't even agree as to what constitutes a game. Everybody shares the passion, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

The "Gamers are dead" point, in my opinion, has some weight, because it doesn't mean what it once did, both within the context of the greater national and international culture, but also because gaming, what it means to people, and even just what constitutes as a "game" is changing within the enthusiast gamer culture that existed long before its cultural acceptance.

Rex Dark:
Let's see...
I'm a gamer.
And I'm about 99% sure I'm not dead.

TippiestRook:
Last time I checked I'm still alive.

I'm playing games and I'm still alive.
I feel fantastic and I'm still alive.

"You know what my days used to be like? I just gamed. Nobody insulted me. Or put me in a stereotype. Or fed me to insane media personalities. I had a pretty good life. And then "Gamergate" showed up. You dangerous, misogynistic lunatics."

Oh, GLaDOS, you have a quote for everything.

Oh man, great video. Gamers aren't dead, gamers are anyone that is passionate about gaming.

But both definitions were entirely inclusive, always have been. Even those knuckleheads screaming that some chick isn't a real gamer are generally trying to say that the person isn't passionate about gaming. Even though they're wrong for making judgments about people they don't know shit about the sentiment that a gamer is passionate about games resides.

So, great video.

the question is the problem.
every now and then someone declares sth dead or asks is it dead?

hey you punks dead.
nope it isn't.

hey you rock'n'roll(or "guitar music") is dead.
nope it isn't.

if you feel that way: great.
doesn't mean it's true.

forums like this prove it basically.

i'm a gamer in that i do play games.
not mistreating ppl for any reason.

i'm a biker because i ride bikes.
i don't destroy forrest or behave rude in traffic.

some ppl like to use a term used for a group of people and try to brand it into sth negative and that's just bullshit!
i can't be blamed for every asshole that shares a hobby. or car manufacturer. or likes the simpsons.

TippiestRook:
Last time I checked I'm still alive.

Relevant song:

As long as videogames are played, there will be gamers.

Gamer doesn't have a gender, a sexuality, a race or personality, it is simply someone who enjoys playing videogames and talks about them.

Saying that gamers are inherently *anything* other than people who play videogames is creating a restrictive stereotype.

A gamer can be anyone, all they want is good videogames to play.

MarsAtlas:
The whole "Gamers are dead" thing reminds me a lot of a video that Bob did about the change in acceptance of nerd culture.

tl;dr As the acceptance of the subculture has grown over the years, the culture itself hasn't. The extremely overblown "Gamers are dead" articles that nobody actually ever read (which I'm certain of because most of them are far from inflammatory) were mostly about a predicted upheaval in the gamer subculture (which IMO is on its way, if it hasn't started already). Gamer culture overlaps with nerd culture for a reason - they developed around the same time and were very much stigmatized in a way that make it a small but generally accepting and united group and would accept the other stigmatized members of society. Today, thats all out the window. Once upon a time you were bullied for liking videogames, then videogames other than Pokemon, but now you're viewed as a weirdo in high school if you don't have an Xbox 360 and at least one Call of Duty game. Now the majority of the population of the United States plays videogames at least once a month, and we have parents mini-maxing Zynga games on Facebook. The President of the United States received The Witcher 2 in a gift basket from Poland's Prime Minister. The Wii was the most popular console of last gen because almost everybody could play Wii Sports. The word "gamer" doesn't mean what it meant ten years ago or twenty years ago simply because of a growing and typically overwhelming acceptance of gaming.

Not only that, but for the hardcore enthusiasts, the gaming landscape has changed dramatically. As the video points out, games started becoming more and more about art, and now we're seeing divides among hardcore enthusiasts about their feelings regarding this. Some people don't give a shit about it, for others, thats all they care about, and you can't reconcile the two sides when they often can't even agree as to what constitutes a game. Everybody shares the passion, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

The "Gamers are dead" point, in my opinion, has some weight, because it doesn't mean what it once did, both within the context of the greater national and international culture, but also because gaming, what it means to people, and even just what constitutes as a "game" is changing within the enthusiast gamer culture that existed long before its cultural acceptance.

When it comes to the gamer's are dead articles I think the biggest problem is that the articles attacked me directly so much as they put me under fire. I didn't think that they were speaking about me directly. I also know that no one else knew that because everyone in the world doesn't know me. The issue wasn't that they were insulting me directly it's that they were creating a stigma about gamers that I would then have to defend against apologize for and be identified as such until I somehow proved otherwise. I was made guilty until proven innocent and that sucks. So sorry those articles were awful and it didn't take long for that to start either. Fortunately gamergate came out around the same time so they took the brunt of it but don't think I easily forgive people for making me the target of harassment.
As for the word Gamer it's a enthusiast title like gearhead or politophile. Someone who has a passion for games and gaming and who probably has some interest in gaming communities and the ongoings of the gaming industry. If you enjoy a show like Jim Stirling's you are definitely a gamer. However, if you love gaming enough to want to be identified as such especially with the shit we get then that's all you really need to qualify as a gamer. You want it you get it. Doesn't get more diverse and inclusive then that.

Gamers (over the internet) ARE dead to me.

I'm virtually at the conclusion that healthy communication of ideas, feelings and passions doesn't happen exclusively over the internet between users, namely by forum and comment systems.

More than my defeatist feelings however, I don't want to pidgeonhole gamers (too hard). Other avenues of connection, such as doing just about anything with gamers offline can be a beautiful thing. I wouldn't even write off all digital methods of communication... but to save a tangent, my main gripe is with forum and comment systems; I just think they're ugly things now. If you've found other avenues to communicate with players, my opinion is that you're all the better a person for it. If not, I think you should re-evaluate how you communicate with others (if you even have the aim to be effective in getting your points across).

Nikolaz72:

It's unhealthy for people, and it's unhealthy for gaming. We should allow games of all shapes and sizes and themes, sure some of them may hurt someones feelings- sure some of them may be developed by someone whose political opinion we may disagree with. But they should still get attention because we as gamers care about games, we as persons may care about politics but as gamers we care about 'games'.

Gamers are indeed alive, they're a growing hobby and they're not going away. Our hobby is becoming larger than film, it is time we did something to make sure we don't allow the same mistakes to happen as it did to them- or at least try.

I actually somewhat disagree with parts of this sentiment. It's good and necessary (to the point of base decency) to be inclusive of all peoples and perspectives we possibly can, but we also have to understand what ideas a community wants to express.

'sure some of them may hurt someones feelings-'? Is this as flippant a comment as I'm eyeing it?

...Probably not, but a community, or any group at least pretending to be 'inclusive' can't simply let its members be hurt, then call it circumstantial. A community has to first make the effort to understand why its members are hurt, then resolve, hopefully without having to cut someone off, but I can't think this should be off the table; some people just hurt others for its own sake. Without a community making the effort to understand why someone is hurt, even if they're someone you disagree with, even if they're some random schmoe to you, it's no different from being trampled on by circumstance, circumstance the community would let happen.

Of course gaming and gamers aren't going anywhere. That's not the fear. What is truly concerning is if gamers are actually going to be good to each other in this medium. You've somewhat evidenced it yourself; the game industry is rivaling film, but that notion is related to money, which doesn't always attract good people. Am I going to have a legitimate reason (not the games, but the people) to NOT share this medium with my family in the future?

All this to say: we have a bit more responsibility to the effort of inclusion, if not some strict game community, than merely talking about or caring about games.

MarsAtlas:

tl;dr As the acceptance of the subculture has grown over the years, the culture itself hasn't. The extremely overblown "Gamers are dead" articles that nobody actually ever read (which I'm certain of because most of them are far from inflammatory) were mostly about a predicted upheaval in the gamer subculture (which IMO is on its way, if it hasn't started already).

Quote:

"I often say I'm a video game culture writer, but lately I don't know exactly what that means. 'Game culture' as we know it is kind of embarrassing -- it's not even culture. It's buying things, spackling over memes and in-jokes repeatedly, and it's getting mad on the internet.

It's young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls. Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that marketers want them to see. To find out whether they should buy things or not. They don't know how to dress or behave. Television cameras pan across these listless queues, and often catch the expressions of people who don't quite know why they themselves are standing there.

'Games culture' is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online 'wars' about social justice or 'game journalism ethics,' straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games."

...

"Suddenly a generation of lonely basement kids had marketers whispering in their ears that they were the most important commercial demographic of all time. Suddenly they started wearing shiny blouses and pinning bikini babes onto everything they made, started making games that sold the promise of high-octane masculinity to kids just like them."

...

In big letters: "'Gamer' isn't just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Gamers are over. That's why they're so mad."

So, no, people have read what was written, and it wasn't about a death of a subculture. It's about a petri dish of socially inept lonely basement kids who are consumerist zombies. In other words, the collection of the worst nerd stereotypes that most nerds have been fighting all their life. A lot of those people are in their late 20s and 30s, are socially well adjusted, have jobs and families and certainly don't live in their mom's basement and never have. It was always a rude and demeaning stereotype and now it's been put forward by other gamers.

Had this been one website it wouldn't have been half as bad, but when other websites jumped on board the 'gamers are dead' ship it stopped being something you can wave off with your hand, it became a coordinated attack on the gamer identity by the people who were in possession of significantly sized soapboxes. Most other sites didn't use this kind of vitriolic language, but the damage is already done.

My response was to stop visiting the websites that subscribed to this kind of...lunacy and to try to stay away from the backlash. Other people got really, really angry.

I've seen this argument before, that it's about the death of a subculture, but my reaction was the same as yours - people who say that haven't actually read the same Gamasutra article that I did.

Most people in the forums don't worry about what the word "gamer" means (or at least most of those who stumbled into my poll a couple of weeks ago don't, which amount less than 1% of the Escapist members...) other than meaning "a person who plays games".
Do you know the definition on gamer? (blatant self-promoting forum poll)

The title made me remember the infamous The End of Gamers article, but that's something that the Escapist already addressed in their own article.

This was a different type of discussion than I thought it was going to be. From the title I thought it was going to be about the difference between casual and hardcore gamers, not the gamer "culture" or definition at large.

Personally I would agree that despite gaming becoming (at least more so) mainstream the stigma and stereotype "gamer" is still what most non-gamers think of. Unfortunately that image of gamers as anti-social, basement dwelling, etc. weirdos will probably take a while yet to fade away.

Gamers are anyone who is passionate about games, end of story.

Right now there is a movement by several individuals who wish to change the narrative and the landscape to fit their definitions of what the word means, and the landscape where it exists. Problem is, evidence just doesn't support them. It just doesn't.

Gamers were born out of a culture that was largely derided back in their day, so they circled the wagons and became just another subset of nerd/geek culture. They had a name. Thing is, that name is stuck now. Companies who make games, talk about games, make tertiary gaming products like merchandise, use the name "gamer". They use it to market their product and create a consumer culture to sustain themselves. Gaming Journalism also does this. It's not going to go away just because several people don't like a select few people from that consumer culture.

Gaming is inclusive now, and always has been. It's a market, and markets do not deny anyone entry if they are willing and want the product.

I've always been a fan of the saying, "practice what you preach." I think the people demanding calling for diversity would be the first people to demonstrate it themselves... right?

image

Huh. Strange.

Gaming and "gamers" are more alive than ever. The gamer identity is something for people who are games enthusiasts, people who see gaming as one of their primary free time pursuits, people who not only play a lot of games, but read about gaming, read the gaming news, read critiques, and also socialize with other gamers.

This definition does not preclude women from being gamers, it does not preclude black people, it does not preclude older people, it does not preclude any human being from claiming the gamer identity. I have known people from all walks of life who are gamers and it has never been an issue.

I think the reactionary, and ultimately self defeating, articles we saw recently declaring "gamers are dead", came from a very frustrated games press. They have a lot to be stressed out about. Making money is as difficult as ever as a games writer, with online content all being given out for free and having to rely on ads, which are often time being blocked by a larger percentage of the readership, in order to fund everything, from the web hosting, to the payroll, to the taxes, etc.

Not only is making money writing about games very difficult, but now Youtubers, who seem to be immune to any criticism over ethics or getting paid to cover games, seem to be almost replacing traditional print as taste makers. If you look at the the new Steam curators lists, TotalBiscuit, a prominent Youtuber, has far and away the most subscribers.

I know there has historically been a not insubstantial number of games writers who have sought jobs in the industry, and with pay so low the field tends to attract people who are passionate about games. When you are a games writer and you get to have contact with a developer or publisher who have made games you love, games you venerate, and is a company you might even wish you could work for someday, it is only natural that some games writers may end up developing a relationship that is too close. This is something that has not really been closely scrutinized until lately, and I think this is part of what has set off the games writers, I don't think they want their readership to question how close is too close when it comes to the developers and publishers they cover.

Games writers already have a heavy load, with pressure to create content on a constant basis, to have to rush through games to meet review deadlines, and when you add on top of that the rise of video content and Youtube, and the close scrutiny of their relationships with the people they cover, I am not surprised that some of them reacted the way they did. I think they see #gamergate as a personal attack against themselves and overreacted. It doesn't help that, the Internet being the Internet, a lot of writers have been receiving awful and disgusting personal attacks. Attacks that are unwarranted and in some cases illegal. Attacks that should stop, but that the rest of us gamers are just as powerless to stop as the writers themselves.

Unfortunately by taking the reactionary steps that some games writers did I think they just hurt themselves further and fanned the #gamergate flames. The way to stop a flame war is not to flame back, but to either enforce moderation through whatever tools your forums offer, or to keep your statements professional and focused solely on the issues at hand. You can never win a fight you pick with the people who keep your lights on.

I'm a gamer, and I'm still not dead. End of story. It is up to us in the gamer community to band together against the Loud Minority in our community and say "You! Yes, you! You don't represent us!" I think every group that has fringe elements within it should do that.

tzimize:
I'm a gamer. To me a gamer is someone who plays games, and who plays games and is a BIT more interested in the medium than playing farmville once a month.

I dont think the term is dead, but I dont think the term is very meaningful either. Its about as meaningful as "swimmer". Whats a swimmer all about? Living in pools and only drinking water and wearing trunks all the time?

One has to divide a person from a term. You cant sum up a person with one word. Its even hard to sum up a culture with one word. When I say gamer I guess a lot of people think about raging xbox kiddies or frothing cod players. They exist, but thats barely a subculture. In fact its even just a small part of a subculture. Gamers are just people. As diverse in any direction as any people with a particular hobby.

I think it is as useful as any other term to describe someone who has a large interest in a given hobby. To me gamer is to people interested in games as gun nut is to people interested in guns, as gearhead is to someone interested in cars, as otaku is to anime fan, etc.

Just a term used to show someone has a larger than average interest in video games of one type or another.

Eh, I prefer the second definition. "Gamers are those that game".

I don't really think any other qualifier is needed other than the person themselves choosing to identify as a gamer.
You play games/a game? You want to call yourself a gamer? If yes to both, then you're a gamer.

For next episode, how about you all argue what a game "IS"! ;D
;p

flying_whimsy:
*sees video title* Oh, this ought to be good. Yup, no way this will stir up controversy.

*gets to image at 4:01* Oh yes, I see where you ar- WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!

*video ends* Seriously, what the fuck was that thing? I'm still freaking out about that.

"Someone who is passionate about games" is the correct definition of gamer, not "Someone who plays or has played a game at some point."

Of course gamers aren't dead, even many of the people who made those articles knew this and are aware they were just being reactionary to criticism (or joining in view bait).

If journalists actually believed gamers were dead, they'd all be finding other jobs right now because it's pretty hard to write stories about a specific topic if everyone who likes that topic is dead/gone. :) Considering the gaming industry is bigger then the movie industry now, no one can really have this discussion with a straight face. Objective facts are hard to dismiss.

Gamers are a larger group then ever before, and they are probably the most diverse group of people the planet now since games span every country on earth and appeal to every age and gender. Given the recent drama, I am going to go out on a limb here and assume some people aren't aware of this, or simply don't want to be aware of this.

The best comparison I ever came up with was the one with a metalhead.

You are a metalhead as soon as you start dressing like one and are listening to metal. That means: Wow, you found a black T-shirt. Maybe let your hair grow a little.
Nobody cares who or what you are. As long as you don't fling shit around, nobody will care.

That's the same with gamers. Nobody cares who or what you are. If you are passionate about games, you are a gamer. And if you fling shit around ... well, then things get ugly. Sorry.

"Nerd Militant" is my new favorite title. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

*rubs eyes* Jeebus please-us, I thought I'd never see the day when I'd say this but man I wish gamers had half the social grace of goths and punks when it comes to the phrase, "[our subculture] is dead." The former saw the humor in it and laughed it off, and the latter didn't care. Both subcultures are fine (for varying values of fine). As is ours.

Everywhere I see gamers pissing and moaning. Because I self-identify as a gamer, so here's my two cents : it's not the media that I see abusing the term, it's the trolls who appropriate it that get to me. The gamers I know don't need defending. The behavior of trolls doesn't warrant defending. But for reasons which are opaque to me I keep seeing gamers defend trolls.

For me, that is the line on which 'gamer' as a word and something with which I identify. When my hobby gets linked with /4chan and not Child's Play, I don't want to be know for it.

The wailing that games might start self-censoring because the target audience widens is scarcely less off-putting. All my life I've been trying to get people to play games because I've wanted to spread the happiness they've given me. But I know not everyone's got the same taste so yeah, as more folks come to the market designers are going to shift what they're making. Some of that won't be to my taste. Fine. There will still be something for everyone.

The popularization of vampires lead to Meyers writing Twilight for the masses, but Lindqvist wrote Let the Right One In. I don't care about (or for) the former, but I'm glad the genre got big enough to give me a chance to read the latter.

Thanatos2k:
"Someone who is passionate about games" is the correct definition of gamer, not "Someone who plays or has played a game at some point."

My definition always was "anyone who identifies themselves as a gamer, is a gamer." If playing games and the surrounding culture is something that is so significant in your life that it forms a part of who you are rather than, well, something to do while you're on the toilet with your tablet or whatever, then you are a gamer. So, only qualification: call yourself that.

I have personally never identified as such, even though gaming has occupied most of my free time for 24 years now. Mostly due to the social stigma, I suppose.

The broad definition is best. It needs to be more specific because there are already well established definitions that the context changes the meaning of the sentence.

The the phrase
Lets do some gaming.

Does it mean lets go gambling? If I'm in Los Vegas it very well might.
Is someone who is passionate about gaming passionate about Gambling, or are they passionate about Computer Games?

Does it mean lets pull out the table and get out our character sheets?
Can someone be a Gamer who is passionate about table top RPG's, but isn't passionate about computer game?

All the definitions are technically correct, but context is the only thing that specifies what the word really means. Unfortunately we need to get a handle on the debate because the word Gamer is becoming slang. If you can't easily tell what meaning a word might have it is ether slang, or becoming slang.

Hm. The flow of this thread seems to be to sweep this under the carpet - even me, by blaming trolls. While most of the gamers I know are good people, I would say the preconception of the gaming community as not being welcoming is valid. The environment in most multiplayer games is pretty toxic.

This hobby represents the largest entertainment industry that ever was. We aren't going anywhere, despite the wishes of some.

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