I’m no gamer. The most gaming I have ever done was on my Tamagotchi in primary school and the occasional cooking game on the infamous Friv. But over the years I have watched my cousins indulging their fascination for Sonic, Mario, Zelda and the Super Smash Bros, among others; and this leads me to suggest that being a real gamer depends on whether you have at least partly defined yourself by your love of gaming.
What follows is my personal taxonomy of the different kinds of people who see themselves in gaming, just as we see the gamer in them.
Technical Whizzkids: whatever is the latest tech, s/he just must have it. This kind of gamer would feel s/he was letting the side down if s/he didn’t. Never mind the nausea that often comes with VR, you must expect to suffer a little sickness in order to safeguard your whizzie reputation!
The Passionate Ones: Never mind the tech! In this person’s eyes, to be a gamer is to have a deep passion for the vast world of gaming. S/he loudly rejects criticisms of gaming as morally dubious, asserting that the adrenaline rush that comes for gaming is a force for good, healthy socialisation.
The Invested: They must be serious, because they have put serious money into it. Judge me by how much I have spent, s/he is effectively saying. Easy to spend loads, given that PS4s and the Nintendo Switch are £300 a piece. Much harder to finding the money to pay for it!
The Addict: I’m using the term loosely, not scientifically. But just as movies and games themselves have developed the stock character of a scruffy, young, skinny man, holed up in his room eating Cheetos and talking into his Bluetooth headset, so some gamers, including some women gamers, have cast themselves as the scruffy, young, skinny man, holed up in his room eating Cheetos and talking into his Bluetooth headset…..
While it is the case that everyone is more than the stereotype they have come to be associated with, nonetheless it seems to me that most gamers have at least partially signed up to one of these gaming types.
Or maybe that’s just because I am a non-gamer who is too ready to categorise.