Monday, 11 May 2015

People Who Live in Glass Houses Get Pretty Good at Ducking

We've briefly touched on this subject in our last blogs. The image of the stereotypical gamer. Unshaven, unwashed, and uninterested in anything apart from their level 63 battle mage. But are the shackles of "nerd-dom" really just for the hardcore? Today's soundtrack is the CPC 464 version of Total Recall from 1991, so let's dip in.

There has long been a stereotype attributed to the hallowed flock that is Nerd-dom, but now even that is changing slightly, and it seems to be annoying everybody. As a very inclusive family, it's tough for us to see people being belittled and criticised because they play video games to much or (a new and worrying trend) too little, or even because of their gender. It's turned into a double edged sword of late and, of course, if you try and insert a modicum of acceptance for either, the other side are going to be breathing down your necks.

Gaming has changed, massively. It's possible you wouldn't know it, with the testosterone mostly on show but at the last count gaming was split down the gender divide and instead of being the tiny minority, people who identify as female now occupy around 50% of the gaming market. Now, we hate the gender divide as much as you do, especially when it comes to gaming because, in all honesty, why does it matter?

It makes no difference if the l33t haxxor who's kicking our butt online is a guy or a girl, there's no need to feel insulted or ashamed, if you are beaten by either, you still get beat. The term "girl gamer" is bandied around a lot, although I find it hard to pinpoint a decent reason for calling them that instead of the other term I prefer for females who play video games - "Gamer".

It's even come to the point now where we see on various social media, people being lambasted because "they're not a real gamer". Now, I've been gaming for roughly 24 years. There have been times where I did nothing but go to work, come home and turn on my Playstation (or, later, Xbox). Now I'm hurtling towards 30 with no signs of slowing and I have less time to play, until my son grows up a little and I can play with him. Does that make me less of a gamer now, or any less entitled to think of myself as such?

"She's not a real gamer" - "They're ruining it for us" - "I bet they don't even play games"

While I admit it seems a little silly to pretend you play games just to fit in, this could be said of anything from pretending to enjoy lager to telling everybody your name is Thunder Doombringer (that actually sounds ok!). Silly, maybe, but I have no idea how it's possible for that to detract at all from my enjoyment of Colin McRae Rally, unless I force it to. By the same token, shouting about people playing Farmville or Mafia Wars on Facebook is largely similar.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't touch those games myself even with a ten foot clown pole, but unless people are constantly sending me game requests (and please do remember you can block these) I don't find that it's effecting my life at all. We live in a very judgmental society and while it's important that we keep focus on breaking down the prejudices regarding the big issues, I think we as gamers have to admit that our hobby isn't just for an "elite few" any more. People enjoy Farmville, Angy birds, and Hidden Object games. They enjoy games which they can drop in and out of easily, and I don't think we should discourage people just because they don't play the games we like or because they don't spend every free hour tea-bagging opponents in Halo

Like Elmer the Elephant, it's important for us to remember that some things you can give and give and give, and not lose any. Things like happiness, and love, and gaming.

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