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Published on July 6th, 2013 | by Alex Porter

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Blog: My Experiences With The ‘Gamer’ Stereotype

I did say that my next blog would be a more positive one but I read something recently that really annoyed me so I thought that I’d make it the topic of my next post. I promise that the next one will be positive! I hope…

Why does the ‘gamer’ stereotype still exist? As a gamer of reasonable skill with a 6 digit gamerscore, I find myself being messaged regularly about how I ‘have no life’ or that I ‘need to move out of my parent’s basement’. In particular, I receive messages about my gamerscore, although it’s funny how people only send you them when they lose, but not when they win. Below is an example of one such message that I received a few years ago although I cannot remember the details of what I had been playing at the time.

Another time that I received a stereotypical message was during a game of Modern Warfare 2. I play MW2 with several friends and we tend to play Team Tactical. As a tight-knit team we usually win most games, and on this occasion, we had done just that. I had personally topped the game with a reasonable K/D ratio. Before the game had even returned to the lobby, I’d already received a message about how I need to get a life because of my gamerscore. My first thought was that he was just a sore loser, but then it dawned on me that he’d sent me a message aiming at my gamerscore. This made me realise that this guy who was about to complain about how we’d beaten him, had suddenly changed his mind and instead decided to stereotype me. As I normally do, I simply ignored the message and continued playing.

These are not the only occasions that I have received such stereotypical messages but these are the two that particularly stuck with me. Normally I can just shrug these messages off and block communications with these people if necessary, but what I saw and read today encouraged me to speak out about it instead.

A friend of mine, knowing that I like to collect games, decided to mention me in a gallery that Xbox had featured on it’s Facebook page about gamers’ game collections. This is something he likes to do to encourage me to snap a picture and post my collection for other gamers and collectors to see. It’s something that I’ve done before several times and usually the response is positive with other avid gamers posting up pictures to show off their collections as well. On this occasion however, I was completely put off by what I read. After viewing the few pictures that they had featured, I glanced at the comments… and soon regretted it. After looking through a handful of the comments, I got the gist of what most of these Xbox ‘fans’ and ‘gamers’ were talking about… and I was disgusted.

Among the comments you had people making positive comments about how awesome the pictures are or the odd funny comment such as ‘GameStop be like, 5 bucks.’ I found that one particularly funny! Despite this, many of the comments were negative, and in my view, darn right abusive. While you had the odd comment saying things such as ‘sad’ or that they have ‘more money than sense’, many of them actually targeted the ‘gamer’ stereotype and I actually found them to be hurtful. Comments such as ‘they all need to get out more’ and ‘go kiss a girl’ infuriated me. Some people went further but I’ve decided not to include those messages here because of their content.

Luckily I can control my anger so I didn’t reply to these messages, but God knows I wanted to! The only saving grace here was that some people made constructive responses to these comments which at least made me feel a little better about the situation, although I still refused to upload a picture of my collection. But this just goes to show how many people out there still pick on the ‘gamer’ stereotype. I find it amazing how many people, and gamers, online are prepared to throw the ‘gamer’ stereotype around. It’s funny though that despite no matter how many people send me these messages online, not one person has ever said it to me offline. The advantages of being a big guy at 6ft 3″ I guess!

I’ll be honest in that I kind of fit into the stereotype as I still live with my parents, but I’m 21 and in full-time education so I haven’t got the financial ability to have my own place. Trust me, I would love to have my own place, I definitely need the room, but it’s just not feasible. Most gamers that I know do not even come close to fitting into this stereotype, so why is it still so common? Perhaps these people are just using it to vent their anger or jealousy? Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for it.

Comments and messages like these will never stop me from enjoying my hobby or stop my passion for video games but perhaps one day they’ll annoy me enough to break my rule of not replying to this kind of abuse. I just hope that this, along with many stereotypes, eventually die out… probably wishful thinking on my part…

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About the Author

A 22 year old avid gamer across both PC and consoles with the gamerscore and game collection to prove it. He tries to divide his time between work, playing through his massive game collection, and studying a degree in Computer Science. He is hoping to follow a career path in video game programming in the future. GT: The Porternator - Steam: The Porternator - PSN: The_Porternator - Twitter: @ThePorternator



8 Responses to Blog: My Experiences With The ‘Gamer’ Stereotype

  1. James Hart says:

    It’s easy to say, but to me, all I think when I come across people like this is “who cares?”. Some people think I’m a geek, some that I’m sad, some whatever else and perhaps I am, but I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks about any part of my life. I love playing games as well as watching football, going on holidays, cycling, swimming, eating, drinking, I just see it as 1 part of my entire collection of things that give me pleasure.

    I’m a bit obsessed with Valve games and have numerous plushie toys from Portal and Half Life and have a Headcrab Zombie collectors model which is worth over £200 with a Gordon Freeman one due next month. Is all this a waste of money? Yeah, it’s a complete waste, but it’s my hobby and interest and it’s doing no one else any harm and not getting in the way of paying the bills, doing things with others, or affecting my relationship.

    The best part is my friends and girlfriend are the great type of people who couldn’t care less, they are happy that I’m happy. It’s a shame really that other people can’t think the same way, but you know what, it’s nothing to do with gaming specifically. It’s just people being narrow minded, bigoted idiots. It’s the same when people bang on about jobs, benefits, immigration, gender, race, whatever, it’s just idiots being idiots that don’t deserve fresh air.

    Anyway, that’s a bit of a rant but hopefully it gets my point across that you shouldn’t worry about it buddy. Do what you want to do, do what makes you happy and as long as you’re a good person, balls to anyone else.

    • Alex Porter says:

      I normally don’t let this stuff bother me but I think was having one of those days were you just need to vent some anger. Spending money on something you enjoy is not a waste to me, I have the £100 Portal Gun myself alongside the £100 Gears of War Lancer 😛 Those kind of comments from people like that will never stop me enjoying video games!

  2. Scot Mackay says:

    With the wave after wave of new players joining what used to be a very small and geekish hobby, it is inevitable that you will be faced with the dregs of humanity. This may be someone who is just upset at losing a game and decides to have a rant about it or it could be something far worse such as racist and homophobic comments that have been thrown out there purely because the anonymity that online gaming gives you.

    I made the point during one of the HGR gaming sessions that it may be possible that there are select groups of people who still hold on dear to the term “hardcore games” or the “original elite”, but does this still count today? I consider myself a long term gamer but as much as gaming has benefited from the influx of new gamers/consumers I find myself becoming a gaming snob when i hear people talk about their gaming experience and defining themselves as a gamer.

    Does playing FIFA 4 hours a week make you a gamer? Does playing mobile phone games give you the right to call yourself a gamer? Maybe, maybe not.

    A true gamer to me is someone who plays to enjoy the intended experience of the game. This could be as a single player in a campaign or in a multiplayer interacting with other players. In respect to the multiplayer aspect, is there really a situation (apart from cheating) that makes you want to hurl torrents of abuse at anyone so much as to cause offence and upset? Logically i would say no, its just a game. Now im not including playing the French here but if there is ever a situation where you find yourself so angry that you have to shout obscenities at strangers or worse, take the time to craft a lovely little text message to them, then some people really need to re-evaluate their lives because that is not what being a gamer is all about.

    For the best example have a look at the link below, I know its a discussion about being a geek and a nerd but …. isn’t that how gaming started? In basements and in the rooms of the guys who wore glasses 2 1/2 inches thick, had goofy teeth and collected comic books/ A big problem now is that with the increased demographic of people who game now, you can get the most fantastic people who use the system for its intended purpose and to create that fantastic sense of community but also you get the bottom feeders who believe themselves to be digital gangsters and people who want to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

    With a seriously flawed complaints system that is grossly ineffective, the chances of preventing this kind of behavior is nigh on impossible. Hopefully with the next generation of consoles, something can finally be put in place to keep these people where they belong……at the bottom of the pile.

    http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/05/wil-wheaton-explains-to-a-newborn-what-it-means-to-be-a-nerd/

    • James Hart says:

      Completely agree Scott, gaming has gone from being popular amongst those with a specific interest in it to hugely mass market and widespread. Naturally that will bring the best and worst of society with it.

      Funnily enough and a less than subtle shoehorn, my first contribution to the site will hopefully be published soon, first part of a pretty lengthy 3 part blog discussing this exact thing – the stage of gaming from the 80s to the possible future.

      • Alex Porter says:

        Kept seeing those blogs in the editor and was wondering what they were about, looking forward to reading them now! 🙂

        • James Hart says:

          Well I have planned to write something about my thoughts on what’s around the corner for gaming as my first contribution, then when I finally got around to starting it the other day, I ended up writing over 900 words just on the late 80s to early 200s! And that wasn’t even going into a huge amount of detail, just giving my thoughts and barely even mentioning some consoles. So I thought yeah I better split these up otherwise people will be bored off their tree by the time they get half way through a more than 3000 word blog!

  3. Andy Bell says:

    I do not read a lot of blogs, but I liked that. I try not to think too deep into what defines as a gamer, I have been a dad for 8 years but I looked back on what I have spent on games, and all the extra merchandise and I don’t regret a thing. I’m glad you are proud of your collection and achievements, and I would be too, as for the other people.. clearly jealous they would have all of that and more if they had the chance!

  4. David Guild says:

    I’ve been hit with the bad sigma that has came with being a gamer, I happily admit I spend a bloody lot on games. I spend more on games than I do on a car.

    I been a gamer for years and when my missus had our son it was a great chance to start collecting and so I did. I’ve stuck pictures up with my collection and have had, “you don’t have a life”, “virgin” and some other crap. I just tend to laugh and walk away. I was bullied from a young age due to my speech problem and because I was a geek, but still lived a very active outdoor life. These days its near enough the same without the bullying. I work from home with a no bad paying job, working 50+ a week gives me the flexi income to spend the money I do on gaming and still be alright. I go to the ice hockeys on the weekends to watch my local team and go out walking and recently picked up a new hobby geocaching that takes me places to explore.

    If anything gamers have became awful rude, I mind playing online and hardly meeting a bad gamer, we were all good to each other and if there was an idiot he got swifty kicked and a ban. I’ve always said it but consoles have brought these idiots to the gaming world, its so much easier now to play games and the bastards who use to bully you for being a geek are now playing CoD or whatever. They have brought there personality with them and its spreading. The gamers of the past are few. Shame really, as we aren’t the ones who are catered for … its the idiot masses.

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