Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Words - Gamer

Words - Gamer

Do you know what a gamer is?  Media, modern media would have you believe it is a sociopath, or a psycho.  It would have you believe a gamer, and I include myself in this, that a gamer is a person who is fundamentally mentally unhinged.  A person who cannot distinguish right from wrong, who enjoys killing, and violence.  A person who is wrapped in a kind of illusionary reality, an escapism from the 'real' world.  That gamers are predominantly unhinged young men suffering from acute mental trauma, who are more capable of stripping down a 9mm gun than asking a normal person for directions.

That is what people would have you believe by the word, gamer.  This catcheism, this strange, curious word that somehow categorizes us and dennounces us at the same time as less than human.  Gamers are violent, vitrolic.  They have no mastery of the spoken or written word.  They are sexist, chauvanistic, and prone to tantrums or displays of threatening behaviour.  They live in their parents' basements, subsist on cheetos and mountain dew.  They do not bathe, are pasty white, greasy unkempt hair, and black t-shirts.  They are the dregs of a digital society.

That's what people would have you believe by the terminology, gamer.  Is that not so?


Gamers.  I am a gamer.  I am a gamer in that I play games.  Fully 1/4th of the population of the world now has access to the ability to play games.  They could play if they want to.  Heaven forfend but I'm talking about games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Threes.  But these are games, and people, are playing them are they not?

They are not gamers though.

They are not unbalanced, as our current affairs would have you believe.

I'm here to tell you of a different definition of gamer.  You can take it, or reject it as you will.

I am 28.

I rent a house.

I earn an income.

I pay taxes, have healthcare.

I have two degrees, and a plethora of letter designations which follow my full name.

I play games.  I also read the news, comment on media, engage in discourse with my peers, and critically analyze art, predominantly film and music, but also visual media, mixed media, dance, theatre, opera and that strange beast that is modern art.

I am capable of cooking in six different forms of cuisine.

I can stunt-drive vehicles.

I am self published with 3 books, have a blog of more than 200 entries, and write in excess of 1000 words a night without fail.  Excluding vacations.

I am linked to some 2000+ other people through digital means, although predominantly these people I have met in person, and at least either given them a high five or shaken their hands.

I have made 20+ prototypes of games, spent hundreds of hours staring at code, or doing art, or composing music myself.

I have done theatre projects on three continents, in a variety of countries, in a variety of languages, with a diverse group of other artists across our world-community.

What ties these things together...these...features of myself is not that I am a 'gamer'.  But rather a core aspect that feeds into my love of games, and my design of them.

I am curious.

Gamers are curious.

We have an underlying want to understand systems, we feed off understanding them.  We delve into games to see how interaction works, we love it.  It can be easy, it can be hard.  It can require mastery, it might not, and instead paint a backdrop of story and character.  But we see systems.  We are curious.  We want more, more media, more characters, more challenges, more interactions.

We want more of them, and faster, and on our own terms.

That's what being a gamer is.

We're not psychotic, or sociopaths.  We are as well, or as poorly adjusted as any other subsection of arbitrary characterization you may impose on a group of people.

We just have better hand-eye coordination.

In most cases.