Video games have truly grown as a medium over the years. Although many out there still see it as a sign of immaturity, a large portion of society now recognizes gaming for the interactive art that it is. It’s so large now it has its own (crappy) televised award show, tens of thousands flock to gaming conventions, and nowadays you can actually talk about games in public without hiding your face (though some of you still need to wear a mask).
But with its growing popularity comes something very dreadful, something that has always been a part of the gaming world, but it seems to surface more often and does impact what society thinks of us gamers.
They are the fanboys: the elitist gamers who participate in e-peen glorification and want to bring anyone down that thinks differently than them. You know, because society thinks with one mind and has one collective thought. So gamers should too.
Once a badge of pride, the word “fanboy” now carries a negative connotation. There are 2 arguments I’ve seen fanboys be the most vocal about and here I am to complain about them because I have nothing better to do too.
Hardcore vs. Casual Gamers
When I go to the movies to enjoy the latest hit film that everyone won’t shut up about, I don’t get confronted by people asking me, “What are you, a movie buff, or just enjoy movies?” Nor do I get approached at Barnes and Nobles, “are you a book nerd or just like to read?” as a means to bump heads.
The gaming world works differently, as it does in almost every other aspect compared to other mediums. When it comes down to the answer of, “what are you, a hardcore or casual gamer?,” it can cause a bit of commotion.
Now, I understand where the initial motivation for this argument comes from. We like feeling a level of distinction from the market flowing in thanks to the Wii and now the PS Move and Kinect. I have friends that didn’t even know what an Xbox was, but are now flocking to Best Buy to pick up the newest gadget in interactive fun called “Connect!” – I’m sorry, I meant Kinect; this is just what my boss called it. So, of course, we like representing our “senior status” over the fresh meat coming in.
But what I’m bothered with is not the matter of wanting to flaunt, but what we require to flaunt said label. Whether you listen to podcasts, troll N4G articles, or follow your favorite writers on their websites or social media pages, it won’t be long before you come across this argument. I’ve seen plenty of people tell others (even me at times), “Your argument is invalid because you’re not a hardcore gamer.”
Well, what are the requirements for a hardcore gamer?
- Is it how many consoles and handhelds we own?
- Is it owning/playing every game that releases?
- Is it only playing the top games?
- Is it knowing every little detail about every franchise? Game developers? Artists?
- Is it owning every peripheral?
- Is it NOT buying Kinect and Move?
- Is there a certain amount of hours needed to play a game?
- Is it if you’re great at games (mastery)? Always playing on prestige/elite/god mode?
- Is it how high your gamerscore is/how many trophies or platinums you have?
- Is it how long you’ve been playing games (childhood to adulthood)?
- Am I boring you yet? RHETORICAL! Sad thing is I can go on and on and on…
Hell, even Wikipedia doesn’t know: “Hardcore gamer is a widely used term applied to describe a type of video game player. There is currently no unanimously agreed upon definition for the term.” And we all know Wikipedia is the grand center for information.
So, let’s look at the opposite side, what exactly makes a casual gamer?
- If they own a Wii, Kinect, or Move?
- If they only play party games?
- If they don’t know about games coming out every month?
- If they don’t know anything about who the game developers are?
- If they only play one certain type of game? This can stem from those that only play Mario games to those that only pick up the new Halo or Call of Duty.
See, it just gets ridiculous, or it may just be me blabbering on and making it seem ridiculous. In either case, there is no agreement on the definition, but fanboys will fight nonstop to devalue your “gaming status” to make your arguments invalid. “Shut up, you’re not even a real gamer!”
Well, I’d like to propose another “definition” for a hardcore or real gamer, which can maybe help subdue some of this unnecessary trolling. How about passion? Simply having an actual passion for what games are, appreciating their merit in our lives, is what I think a “hardcore gamer” should mean.
I’m a hardcore gamer because I care enough about games to constantly play them, discuss them, buy them, etc. Although I have all consoles, been gaming since I was 10 (and I’m still the same height, hooray), am up-to-date on gaming news, etc… I don’t see those as the things that qualify me as a “hardcore gamer.”
This article qualifies me as a hardcore gamer. Because I’m writing about something I actually care strongly about, and that’s all you need. Casual gamers do care about games, if they didn’t they wouldn’t play them in the first place. They’d be lumped in with those people that still think video games are the cause of all evil. Yet at the same time they see video games simply as a past time. Considering our infatuation with this, I think it’s safe to say we see it as more than just a past time. It’s something that defines us, we use to make friends, we use to stay in touch with people, we use it to get away from the real world or just know more about ourselves. Sounds pretty hardcore right?
What’s this article about again? Oh right, something about peen and elitism. Now that we got the meaning of hardcore out of the way, let’s take a look at the division on its own. When you think of gamer flame wars, the first thing that should come to mind is the constant debate of which console is better: the Xbox 360 or PS3 (I have never seen anyone really debate for the Wii). People will list exclusive games, sales, who has the better motion control (ahem, Godfree vs. HipHopGamer) and all this other crap that really comes down to… nothing.
Honestly, think about it. What do you win from this “console war”? If Microsoft prevails, do you get free XBLA games? Are gas prices going down (they sure have to!)? Do we get a live broadcast of Chuck Norris punching out the CEO of the losing company? If one console ends up dying out from these “wars” fans keep igniting the flames for, how do you benefit from one console ruling the gaming world? Traits such as innovation, graphics, quality, and prices will suffer. The last one is most important, especially for consumers, whom we all are.
If you’re part of this imaginative war, you jump at the chance of putting down the opposing console. The “fanboyism” comes out and it’s nothing but unsupported drivel and unnecessary name calling. Can’t we all just get along? No, an Xbot will say, not until you admit Microsoft is supreme and all knowing! Shut up, says the PS3 fanboy, Sony rules all and commits no errors!
It’s okay to have preferences, but when you begin to blindly defend a company or product and resort to hate bashing, the fanboyism needs to stop. You’re giving gamers a bad name amongst our own community and those that look at us already with judgmental eyes. There is such a thing as intellectual debates and civility in the gaming world, I’ve seen it! It’s just rare these gaming days.
Personally, I will rag on all and enjoy them all because in the grand scheme of things, each console brings a different experience. If I find something I don’t like, I’ll comment on it. If I find something I do like, I’ll praise it. I feel privileged to be able to experience it all because as gamers in this day and age, we are truly fortunate when it comes to great tech and games. If the Xbox dies off, people won’t be able to play games like Gears and Forza. If PlayStation disappears, there goes Drake and the lovable Sackboy. These companies’ competing amongst one another is our gain, why can’t people see that? It’s okay to spit a few words back and forth when it comes to an actual conversation, but if it resorts to name calling and bringing in someone’s mother because Xbox WILL FOREVER RULE YOUR FACE OFF, grow up.
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There’s something fanboys don’t seem to understand. In the eyes of the world who idolizes Jersey Shore (Snooki wrote a book by the way; literature as we know it is in peril) and still thinks 2012 is our demise (NASA has something to say about that), we’re all considered “nerds” anyway. Regardless of which console you like more or if you think you’re one of the few real gamers out there, you’re still a “nerd” by society’s standards. So we technically only have each other… let’s play nice!