Proving Yourself as a Real Gamer: Our Community Responds

Bloodborne

There is no right or wrong way to be a gamer. Any attempts to try and dissuade me on my stance will be immediately shot down. I strongly believe that there’s no criteria or checklist to follow in order to be seen by the community as a gamer. I do not need to prove myself to anybody—ever—when it comes to my video games. There have been countless instances where I’ve been asked a series of questions to try and validate my title as a gamer. From questions about what games I’ve played, what merchandise I own, to the tiniest details about lore, I’ve been asked to prove myself.

I’m often left confused after an encounter where I’m asked to validate my role as a gamer. If I weren’t a fan of the franchise, I wouldn’t be perusing the forums or actively engaged in conversations about the fictional universe/characters. I wouldn’t throw my money at collectible figures or posters. I wouldn’t even be typing this! Why would anyone have any reason to suspect I’m not a fan? Do I not fit a certain stereotype that comes along with the term “female gamer” or “gamer girl?” I decided to go to the Internet and see what a “real gamer girl” looked like. I’ve seen that term tossed around for years now and I can’t stand it. It’s implying that there’s only one way to be a gamer—and that’s untrue.

According to Google Images, a gamer girl is a woman who sits around in her underwear holding a controller wearing a vapid expression. Interestingly enough, Google also produces the image that a gamer girl wears sweatpants, plays Call of Duty, cusses like a sailor, and is even more “real” than the former description of a gamer because she’s different. This is where I get confused again. Why do we feel the need to compete against each other for the title of being a “real” gamer? Who are we trying to prove ourselves to?

I’m tired of seeing this dichotomy. I don’t want to see, “only REAL gamer girls [do this]” or “fake gamer girl vs. real gamer girl” content floating around. I’m not sure when it became a giant competition to try and prove yourself as a gamer to certain people. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you can wear whatever you want when you game. Whether it’s minimal clothes or many clothes, it doesn’t matter! You can play whatever game you want to. Be it Candy Crush on your iPad, Bloodborne on your PlayStation 4—it doesn’t matter! You don’t have to be actively involved in the fandom, either.

Never feel like you aren’t a gamer just because you don’t fit what obscure standards are set before you. There is no competition, no checklist, and no right or wrong way to look and act, despite what you might see on the Internet. We all play video games! Awesome!

When asked about their experiences, this is what our community had to say on the subject.

Bloodborne

danielle-grace:

I was told a number of reasons for being declared “not a real gamer”. Primarily it’s been from men but there are a handful of women who have bought into the idea that in order to be accepted by men in gaming, you must be willing to act like them and degrade other women who don’t fit the “real gamer” label.

The main reasons cited are:

• I have opinions that are somehow deemed to be at odds with my status as a gamer. ie. “how can you say you like games when you actively critcise them?!”. People seem to believe that you can’t love games and criticise them (both individually and as a medium/industry) at the same time – even though mostly everyone would agree that film and book critics are some of the biggest lovers of film and books in the world.

• Not enough play time on my Steam profile. Most of my time has been spent on games outside of Steam – such as World of Warcraft, Dragon Age Inquisition, dabbling in League of Legends, etc – or in Steam’s offline mode using my laptop when I don’t want to get out of bed. So my Steam profile is not an accurate representation of the actual time I spend playing games on a fortnightly basis. Not to mention that your worth or right to call yourself a gamer isn’t connected to how much time you can afford to spend playing games on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

• Haven’t played a particular game (or don’t enjoy a particular game). [Read more]

soycrates:

The vast majority of when I am called “not a real gamer” (or, their code words, “just a casual gamer”) is when I haven’t played a game, or have only played a bit of it once because I really don’t like the game at all. If you’ll notice my “don’t like” list, it’s not like they’re all FPS games, as many people who decry “not a gamer” tend to pick on people who shy away from shooting-oriented adventures. They do all feature male leads, but it’s not like I am against male leads (it would be near-impossible to play only female-lead games and own more than like, 3 games) I’m just really bored by the shared character archetype that those male leads embody. The only other thing those games share in common, really, is that I don’t own them, and I don’t like them. That is enough for some guys to say I’m not a “real” gamer.

It all boils down to “you don’t like the games I like, and that makes me angry. I don’t want you to be a part of MY club.” As if people who play shitty games with lacking plot lines, glitchy mechanics, and repetitive gameplay owned the entire franchise of gaming itself. [Read more]

startupframes:

I’m a person who is much more heavily interested and involved with the characters in a video game and their personalities and struggles and emotions and feelings, That’s always been what I connected to with video games, not being able to kill the most things or win at the highest difficulty or be better then everyone else and “git gud”. I’ve been told several times that I don’t care about the right things in general when it comes to video games, I lack the competitiveness real gamers need and am overly concerned with the frilly “fluff” of course because I am not strictly a male (I’m genderfluid for reference). I get overly emotionally invested in video game characters and frequently cannot make myself to make certain choices that would “harm” them, again frequently getting mocked in gamer circles. I guess it just boils down to me “not liking games the right way”.

syntheticfail:

As for more recently, if only I had bothered to screencap some of the things ‘men’ would message me on okcupid, both doubting my real gamer qualities and my real geek qualities, just because I hadn’t listed certain moves/shows (Not everyone’s a Star Wars fan or considers Doctor Who their #1 fave). When it came to gamer boys, they would immediately ask for my steam id so they could see if I really played any, or some assumed I didn’t even know what steam was. A few others demanded a list of what games I was currently playing on my PS3, since I also list ‘casual pc games’ on my profile, and they wanted to make sure I wasn’t just pretending. Like I’d realy post geeky stuff to get attention of nerds/geeks specifically. There was never really one particular title, other than my dislike of Catan for this one dude who was ‘severely disappointed’ by that. Like there’s not a million other awesome boardgames that are mroe difficult, and less time consuming/boring we could play instead. [Read more]

enbyho:

I had a Gamecube, Playstation 2, and computer. My favorite series was Zelda (Twilight Princess was the best) on GC and Playstation, followed up by other fantasy games like Okami, and on the PC I played free Steam games like Vindictus because I was broke and couldn’t afford to buy games. Apparently, this means I’m not a real gamer because I wasn’t “dedicated” to anything out of “mainstream gaming”. Essentially got called a casual / fake gamer girl.

female-protagonists:

It’s usually men trying to teach me how to play games like I couldn’t possible fathom how to play, that they have some secret knowledge I couldn’t possibly know, is it showing off? Superiority? Pride? It’s obnoxious.

clouddesu:

Well i get it a lot being a woman, but I’ve heard it’s because i enjoy Minecraft, won’t play Diablo or League, because i like Pokemon, because i like console games, because i play pc games, because i won’t choose a single console to blindly support…

I’ve been playing games since 1988, i wrote a two hundred page psychological/literary analysis for Final Fantasy 7 when i was 13. I’ve been here the whole fucking time and i have gross amounts of hours invested in countless games. My cats are named after video game characters. My 4 bedroom house is one giant game room.

javithecat:

I get crap from “gamers” as well, and I’m a guy.  Apparently, the fact that I don’t like games like God of War or what they consider Game Cube classics makes me a ‘judgemental peice of shit’ and ‘not a real gamer’. I especially hate when I play anything multiplayer and people give me crap about the way I play.

Just because you like to quick-scope doesn’t mean I have to! YOU DON’T OWN EVERY VIDEO GAME!

justraeyn:

For me it typically comes down to the fact that I play games “incorrectly”. I care more about story than stats, characters than skills and exploration more than leveling. If I don’t want to fight or level up my character then why am I even playing??

thelibrarycat:

For me, it’s mostly because I play on literally the easiest settings available (I’m playing to blow off steam, not get even more stressed and anxious) and often mod my games and/or cheat (only offline/singeplayer games, ofc) to make it even easier.

minnowkanno:

i am rarely told that i’m not a “real gamer,” however once there was a guy who said you’re only a real gamer if you play the big name mainstream games, i.e. the ones that can cost 70 bucks a pop, and that i was a fake gamer for playing mostly indie games, i.e. the ones that are usually under 10. this led me to rant at him about classism and minding his own business…

little-red-riding-wolf:

In relation to the “real gamer” thing, I’m not a real gamer because I’ve never played/beaten Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda games. I also was pointed out at a really good game shop (that I went to because I liked one of the workers.) I was using a Metal Gear game bag, and was quizzed by a different worker on those games because of the bag I was wearing. (did I do this right?)

Anonymous:

Re: ‘Not a Real Gamer’ I only started playing video games more regular as an adult 2-3 years ago. At first I didn’t consider myself a gamer nor do I now. To be a gamer, always felt like this commitment to a community I didn’t feel part of; I avoid online play unless its’ with friends I already know, I’m not passionate about any Youtube Commenter, I only watch Let’s Play if I need a walkthrough. I’m not a real gamer even though I play a lot, because I’m just not passionate about it. It’s just fun.

waddledoocantoo:

The first time this happened was when I was a little kid and I liked Kirby on the NES but thought that the Nightmare on Elmstreet game was boring. Later it happened many times because I do not enjoy FPS games. Most recently it was because I dont play Dark SoulsYeah i’m not a real gamer.

younhide:

I think the worst games for them are Animal Crossing, Toad Treasure Tracker and the Kirby series they call “for girls” or not “real games” because “they look stupid”. No matter the fact that I generally play more games than these persons who told me that and that I play many different types of games, I’m always “reduced” to “yeah, you own a Wii U, it’s so crappy…” [Read more]

more-than-tits:

I’ve been told I’m not a real gamer because of the games I play. I love my 3ds, animal rossing in particular go me through a hard summer. I started playing games like mario kart 64, spyro and JRPGs, which are often considered “casual,” (?) and because I like those “casual games,” it turns every other game I play and that I’m good at is a girly game by extension.

sinisterblade:

“You don’t talk about video games enough/don’t post enough about them on your tumblr.”

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5 Comments on “Proving Yourself as a Real Gamer: Our Community Responds

  1. It’s interesting that the idea of competition being an integral part of the gaming experience keeps coming up. That’s something that’s big for me too — in that I am not competitive. Sometimes I play on Easy difficulty. I tend to play RPGs because I like the stories, and if a game doesn’t have one, I’m probably not going to get that into it. But there should be no “right” or “wrong” reasons to play or like games.

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  4. I’m really glad ive had minimal experience with this. I had one boyfriend who was a bit of an ass about it but I dropped him. I’ve been playing video games or watching people play them for as long as I can remember. My first games were Pokemon and legend of Zelda. My current boyfriend teases me about how bad I am at video games but he never tells me I’m a fake gamer it’s just teasing because honestly I am terrible at video games no matter how much I love them. I always find it cute though when my boyfriend really wants to play a game with me and then finds out I’m not a fan of it. I’ll play but not only am I bad at it but I’m so awkward playing and then he’s like never mind lets just play this then.

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