Pyxis recently wrote a post on the Gamers Decrypted blog about what it means to be a “gamer”. There have been several subcategories of the term “gamer” floating around, but I feel that “gamer” is not so much a term to be placed upon someone else as it is a title one would place upon them self.
Pyxis certainly makes the point that being a gamer has evolved from a term of condescension for people of my generation (the Nintendo generation I guess you could say-I’m 31) that spent hours trying to make a little orange and red Italian plumber save a Princess from a fire-breathing mutated turtle instead of playing outside and making lasting social interactions into a badge of honor that a whole subculture seems to have united around (albeit due to the popularity of MMORPG’s). Since our global (well at least Westernized or Western-inspired) culture has seen such a tremendous influx of people entertaining themselves through controlling a recreation of themselves through a fantasy universe (not fantasy in the way WoW, GW2, or LotRO are fantasy because I include WildStar and SW:TOR in this fantasy universe as well) has taken in people from all walks of life.
Now, like Pyxis, I would not argue that everyone that plays games (be they MMORPG’s, video games, or otherwise) should be viewed as a gamer. I would also tend to argue that the casual player of a freeware mobile app-style game would not identify themselves as a gamer. And here is where I make the distinction. To me, being a gamer is a self-proclaimed title. It means that you are willing to take the smugness of other “non-gamers” upon yourself.
I do consider myself a gamer even though I probably only play SW:TOR a few times per week (though I would love to play more often). I guess one of the reasons that I consider myself to be so is because I personally consider myself to be a casual-core player. I love to play the group content and am just now beginning to get into Operations (my guild and I have recently completed 8-man Story Mode of Scum and Villainy and Explosive Conflict). The biggest reason I would add “core” to the style of gamer I am is because I do allow SW:TOR to nearly encompass every part of my day. I listen to SW:TOR podcasts (The Usual Podcast, Corellian Run Radio, Far Far Away Radio, Healing SWTOR, The Idiot’s Array, It’s A Trap Podcast, Old Republic Radio, Podcast 66, Star Wars: Beyond the Stars, The Star Wars Escape Podcast, the Bad Feeling Podcast, Coffee with Kenobi, and the Galactic Gamer’s Coalition), read several SW:TOR Fan Blogs (Ravalation, Going Commando, Pixelkaffe, Pretty Little Sith, Xam Xam Says, The Legacies in SWTOR, Gamers Decrypted, Powerdress Gaming, and many others though I have only listed the SW:TOR specific ones), if you’re reading this then you know I blog about SW:TOR, my Twitter handle (@zerneblog) is nearly full of tweets that I have made either about SW:TOR or tweets to other SW:TOR players. I feel so involved with the community sometimes that all I talk about is SW:TOR!!!!
So, in summary, to me the title of “Gamer” is something that is to be considered by oneself. Just like I embody the title “Geek”, “Dork”, or “Nerd”, I embody the title “Gamer”. I am pleased that we have finally gotten to a point in our society that we are able to look at other gamers and not think of them as the obese teenagers with bad complexions that we all once thought gamers to be. I am excited that we finally live in a time when gamers are considered to actually be viable members of society as well. I love playing SW:TOR, like I am sure many others love playing other games.