Monday, September 15, 2014
Why The Word "Gamer" Is Slowly Losing All Meaning
.:Why The Word "Gamer" Is Slowly Losing All Meaning:.
Last month showed that even with all our so-called progress, it's still hard to be a woman. Not only did Cee Lo Green try to redefine the word “rape” by saying you can only rape someone who's conscious, you even had one of the largest scale hacks in history that exposed nude pictures of almost solely female celebrities for the internet to salivate on. This may not be the crux of this entire blog entry, but it certainly helps to emphasize the point I'm trying to make.
On the same month, a female (ah, there we are!) game developer named Zoe Quinn was doxxed and harrassed because of allegations made by a jilted ex-boyfriend via his blog, and Feminist Frequency videomaker Anita Sarkeesian was sent serious threats that forced her to leave her house, all because she bothered releasing a bunch of videos about tropes versus women in video games.
Funny how that works: the people denying that there's any mistreatment of women in video games end up making their voices heard precisely by mistreating women involved with video games. And funny how suddenly, gamers are all about fighting for journalistic integrity in their video game sites when the idea of "objective" video game "journalism" is laughable at best. Where were these guys when a low review for Kane and Lynch got a journalist fired? Oh, right. They didn't care because it didn't involve the wimmenz. They only raise a stink when it suits their misogynistic agenda.
But I'm not here to go on a feminist tirade about the ills of some gamers, and the complicity the rest of us have by not condemning it. What I'm doing is merely pointing at several events connected by only one apparent thing: misogyny, and how this has, directly or indirectly, led to the call by some game writers for the “death” of the term “gamer.”
I agree with them. But the whole issue of misogyny is only one of the issues why I do. I have several ideas why I feel that the term "gamer" is really becoming less and less relevant as time goes by.
.:The Term "Gamer" Is Getting Too Toxic:.
The people who most loudly proclaim they are gamers are often also the people who sneer at “fake” girl gamers, noobs, and Anita Sarkeesian. When one has to admit out loud they are also a gamer, they unfairly end up carrying the baggage of all these fringe lunatics (or are they really just fringes?) who give gamers a band name, and because of that, they end up saying “I play games, but I'm not really what you would call a gamer instead.”
If the term is now coming with more bad connotations than it ever has since it was first used pejoratively by the popular jocks at school, then it stands to reason that more people would stop labeling themselves as one. The word "gamer" is fast approaching a scorched earth status, and it's a little too loaded for the average person to want to let the term be associated with them.
.:There Are All Sorts Of Distinctions Nobody Cares About:.
Hardcores. Casuals. Console gamers. Portable gamers. Mobile gamers (yep, there's a difference.). PC gamers. What constitutes a video game has expanded to far beyond what we used to attribute to it, and it's bogging down the word. Suddenly, something like “Heavy Rain” is now a video game, despite the fact that it's more like an interactive movie with next to negligible gameplay. If you want to be even more crude, how do most H-games even count as games, when it's essentially just a “Choose Your Own (Sexy) Adventure” playing out on your computer screen?
We've heard people say that “just because you've got a camera doesn't mean you're now a photographer.” But that clearly doesn't apply to gamers, if we're willing to label some of them “casuals” just because. So just like calling someone a hipster, what exactly does it really mean to call someone a gamer now?
.:Everyone Is A Gamer:.
Remember Syndrome in “The Incredibles” when he said that if everybody is a super, then nobody is? That's exactly how the term gamer has become as gaming has become more ubiquitous than ever. You have people playing board games with other strangers in a cafe. You have people playing Angry Birds on their mobiles, and what right do we have to insist they're not gamers, too?
There was a time being called a gamer was some kind of insult. But now, it isn't an insult when nearly every single person on this planet is a gamer in some shape or form. When you see poor kids who spend what little they have on some DOTA matches, then you know gaming is far more all-encompassing than it's ever been.
Let's face it: everyone is now a gamer, and that word has lost all meaning. That's exactly why the most elitist of gamers loathe the “filthy casuals” and revel in how hardcore they play games, all the while losing the point of games.
.:The Point Of Gaming:.
Gaming isn't about who sleeps with who or who exploited whom. Games are about having fun. Does it really keep you from having fun if there's a wider variety of women characters in a game? Does it really keep you from having fun if someone else is having fun playing Candy Crush instead of Skyrim? If we all focused on making games more fun for everyone by listening to their valid issues instead of forcing them to shut up about issues we supposedly don't care about, then maybe gaming would get even better than it already is.
There is no feminist or social justice agenda ruining gaming for everyone else. Feminists and social justice warriors just want to have fun with video games, too, the way every other straight, racially acceptable male already is. Is that really too much to ask? I don't think so. If you don't want to listen to feminists analyze your video games, then don't. You don't need to put all of your effort into destroying their lives, because if the issue is so "insignificant" to you, then why are you making this concerted effort to shut her up?
Ultimately, if everyone's a gamer, then using “gamer” as a mark of distinction no longer holds any value whatsoever. We're all just fun-seekers on a digital platform, and that's good enough for most of the world. Only those people who are asinine enough to want to own the rights to the term "gamer" feel otherwise, and as their whiny voices gets drowned out by the wave of people who have better things to do than to humor their petulant ways, things will march on. With or without them.
The "gamer" is dead. But long live gaming.