An Open Letter to the "Gaming Community" about labels
We are all gamers. White, Black, Purple, Tentacle Monster or even Human, we're all people who share a passion, and the fact that we share that passion should create a bond between us. However, some amongst the crowd are what any psychologist would call a grade A sociopathic. They seem to dislike this idea that their hobby could be shared with others and live with an indescribable drive to call themselves "Hardcore" and separate themselves from the rest they call "Casuals".
You're a kid in a school yard. You have a shiny red ball that you really enjoy playing with. Some other kid shows up with a shiny blue ball that they really enjoy playing with. Neither of you are kicking each other's ball away, the ownership of one ball doesn't interfere with another. She's not getting in your way. You're not getting in her way.
At what point in this situation is there a reason to bitch? There isn't a point.
Let's take this analogy to a different level. You have a shiny videogame. It's filled with all the blood, gore, and action you could ever want. It entertains you, you enjoy playing it night after night. Now, your friend has a shiny videogame too. It's a casual RPG with characters she enjoys and amazing gameplay. She has her own system. She isn't getting in your way, in fact, it's another system entirely.
At what point in this situation is there a reason to bitch?
You got the pattern yet?
In 2010, actor Jerry Lambert, playing the character of VP of Gaming Inspirations Kevin Butler, stepped up on stage and offered the president of Sony a coke. He then smoothly went on to deliver one of the single most inspiring speeches in gaming history.
He made an excellent point here that everyone should take away with them: We are all gamers. White, Black, Purple, Tentacle Monster or even Human, we're all people who share a passion, and the fact that we share that passion should create a bond between us. However, some amongst the crowd are what any psychologist would call a grade A sociopathic, they seem to dislike this idea that their hobby could be shared with others and live with an indescribable drive to call themselves "Hardcore" and separate themselves from the rest they call "Casuals".
Let's look at these words a moment:
1.happening by accident or chance: a casual meeting
2.offhand; not premeditated: a casual remark
3.shallow or superficial: a casual affair
4.being or seeming unconcerned or apathetic: he assumed a casual attitude
5.(esp of dress) for informal wear: a casual coat
6.occasional or irregular: casual visits ; a casual labourer
7.biology another term for adventive
8.( usually plural ) an informal article of clothing or footwear
9.an occasional worker
10.biology another term for an adventive
11.( usually plural ) a young man dressed in expensive casual clothes who goes to football matches in order to start fights
Can we sum up the word Casual? Yes, "relaxed, irregular or occasionally involved". First, all gaming is relaxed, it's an escapist hobby meant to relax the mind and the spirit. That's the essence of gaming. As for irregular or occasionally involved, this may be the only relevant wording. At best, "Casual" in gaming can mean "outsider", or someone who doesn't game on a regular basis.
What of hardcore? What does the term mean? Well first, the definition:
hard-core [hahrd-kawr, -kohr]
1. unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated: a hard-core segregationist.
3. being so without apparent change or remedy; chronic: hard-core inflation; hard-core unemployment.
We can accept #1 as the meaning for the gamer's slang. To be deeply committed to the hobby. But is this something to necessarily be proud of? Borderline fanaticism over playing videogames? I live the Gamer lifestyle. I walk around every day in my ScrewAttack Hoodie, wear t-shirts that display my gamer personality, earn odd looks from guys who don't expect a girl like me to be pulling out a PSP on the bus and playing a Final Fantasy on it. But it does earn me a stigma, it does in any society. In Japan, we call people like this "Otaku", which contrary to popular belief, is not a good term. It means obsessive, someone who sacrifices parts of their life in devotion to something that isn't considered worthwhile. People in the root of my culture, that of a Japanese, actually end friendships over finding out someone is an Otaku. It is considered less shameful to admit homosexuality then to admit one is an Otaku.
So why then, do we as "hardcore" reject the idea of "casuals"? Shouldn't it be the exact opposite? This is a sign that our hobby, our passion, is becoming something that everyone accepts and enjoys. At the risk of losing our licence to act like hipsters, do we really lose "cool points" by accepting new people of all ages and sizes into the community? We don't. We're enriched by them, we become "cool" in the eyes of all those people who would otherwise turn up their noses to us. Casual Gamers should be embraced, welcomed, for one reason: by doing so, we become the cool kids, we become those experts that people look to for advice.
I don't know about you, reader, but I grew up a small, weak person. With Caucasian looks and all the downsides of Japanese ancestry, including a tiny size, I spent a better portion of my life ostracized by people who were luckier then me, who were more "cool" then I was. I spent my whole life rejected by all the neat circles, finding only solace in my fellow geeks, my fellow brains, and my fellow nerds. It takes a sociopath to be offered the chance to be the cool person in the room and to look at all those people who we can finally reach and understanding with and simply state: "No."
Think before you start throwing out labels. Didn't you get tired of that bullshit in school?
Former Content Editor for WoWRadio.com and Community Help for Myndflame.com, avid gamer and movie buff, and an Anime Geek. Spends most of her nights slaving away over a novel which she hopes to one day publish.
Currently studying to be a teacher with a specialization in English Literature and History @ Buffalo State University.